Palos Verdes Estates CA
There\’s more to the story of Palos Verdes Estates as an independent city separate from the other 3 cities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula; Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes. To a large extent, while each of the cities claims its own unique ambiance, character, style and “vibe”, they all share a common history dating back to the late 1800s. There\’s a plaque created by the Rancho de los Palos Verdes Historical Society which reads, “The Farmery – The first family home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. In 1894, Harry Phillips built and occupied the first permanent residence, a small cottage near the present Rolling Hills City Hall. It was replaced by a larger farmstead located east of Rolling Hills Road where the family lived until the 1920s. As foreman of the 16,000 acres Bixby Cattle Ranch, Harry Phillips found rare water sources, marketed livestock, introduced farm crops, and planted the present groves of eucalyptus and pepper trees”
In 1913 George Bixby sold 16,000 acres he owned from the original Spanish Land Grants of the Sepulveda Family to Frank Vanderlip, a wealthy New York financier and one of the originators of our present-day Federal Reserve system. Vanderlips long term plan for Palos Verdes was to create an “American Riviera”, something that would surpass the beauty and splendor of the French Riviera. He was so meticulous and focused on this plan that he hired a meteorologist to survey the many locations around the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the most temperate climate for the location of his estate. The conclusion was to create the estate above Portuguese Bend coves named thus because this was the location where Portuguese whalers harbored. Incidentally, from the Point Vicente Interpretative Center and from the many ocean view homes in Palos Verdes, one can watch the migrating grey whales every year. Quick digression here; Frank Vanderlip was acquainted with the Wrigley family (yes, the chewing gum people) who owned Santa Catalina Island back in the day. The rumor is that Vanderlip complaining how quiet it was on his estate here in Palos Verdes, was given peafowl by the daughter of William Wrigley. Palos Verdes now has hundreds and hundreds of beautiful peafowl strolling the streets. It’s always fun seeing the reaction of people when they first see the splendor of these birds living naturally here.
Vanderlip, known now as the “father of Palos Verdes”, put his plan into action beginning in two locations on the Palos Verdes Peninsula; one was in what is now known as the city of Palos Verdes Estates, the other on the east side of the Peninsula in what is the city of Rancho Palos Verdes and within the neighborhood known as Miraleste. His vision was essentially codified into the tenets of the Palos Verdes Homes Association which continues to have architectural and exterior element control over homes located in the city of Palos Verdes Estates and the homes in the Miraleste area. The rules and regulations are very reasonable and in large part, help make what is one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and welcoming cities of California.
The architecture of these early 1900s homes was dominated by the stylings of Spanish Revival architects such as Kirtland Cutter as well as Walter and Pierpont Davis, each founders and proponents of this style of architecture. Their design intent was to meld a home into the natural topography of the lot on which the homes sat thus connecting building and nature for a pleasing visual conclusion.
Thirty percent of the land in Palos Verdes Estates is designated “Parkland” open space and so the density of homes is fairly low compared to other built-up areas of Los Angeles. The city is a haven for those who seek quiet and tranquility. Many people remark that they viscerally feel the stress leave their bodies when they come home from work and drive into Palos Verdes Estates. Present day Palos Verdes Estates has it’s very own police department very tuned into the community. Other emergency services are contracted with Los Angeles County Sheriff and Fire Departments.
The schools located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula are some of the best in These United States. There are two high schools serving Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates. They are Palos Verdes High School designed by world famous “mid-century modern” architect Richard Neutra and Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. They each have been ranked in recent years, among the approximate 30,000 high schools in the country, in the top 300 schools, often in the top 100.
If one were to look at a map of Southern California, one would conclude that the Palos Verdes Peninsula is somewhat isolated from the rest of Los Angeles. In fact, eons ago, it was one of California’s “Channel Islands” like Santa Catalina Island, Santa Barbara Island, San Nicolas Island (made famous by the book, ‘Island of the Blue Dolphins’), Santa Cruz Island. Of course isolation has both positive and negative consequences. The negative is that of all the cities in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area, the Palos Verdes Peninsula (and especially Palos Verdes Estates being furthest west of all the Palos Verdes cities) is about the furthest you can get to a freeway onramp. On the other hand, that “isolation” makes Palos Verdes one of the safest communities in all of Los Angeles and because it is a peninsula jutting out into the Pacific ocean, one of the cleanest air quality areas in all of Los Angeles.
I can’t think of a more relaxing, quiet, safe area in all of Los Angeles than Palos Verdes Estates and its sister cities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
About the Author – Palos Verdes Estates Real Estate Agent George Fotion
George Fotion is a real estate broker of over 40 years serving and residing in Palos Verdes with his wife Kathy. They have 3 adult children. George and his wife both attended schools here in Palos Verdes, George graduated from UCLA in 1979 with a double major in Economics and Psychology, began is real estate business in 1980 and continues to serve his clients full time.
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