Believe it or not, at one point early 19th Century sailors described LA as, "isolated, dangerous and unpredictable." Maybe some of that still exists, but to keep the waters well lit at night, Point Fermin was one of three lighthouses built along Los Angeles County.
So why is this lighthouse so special? Mainly because of its construction and architectural design. Wagons carted Californian Redwoods and Douglas fir logs to create a lighthouse centered in the middle of a home. The Gothic style house was built by a Swiss carpenter and officially completed in 1874. Some history buffs recognize this quote stated about the lighthouse, "In high lands fitted for a fairy palace, a lighthouse stands instead. -Poem by Haven Charles Hurst printed in the Los Angeles Times in 1908."
If wanting to mix a bit of sun, sand, sea and history, look no further than the Adamson House in Malibu. This was the first ever beach house in Malibu, and the park's property once belonged to Rhoda Rindge Adamson, the only daughter of Malibu’s first family. Construction began in 1923, with inspirations of a Moorish-Revival “beach cottage,” decorated with tiles from her mother's May's Malibu Pottery. The original beginnings of the house all rooted to love and one feels as if they've escaped America for a moment and find themselves walking though an ancient house in the middle of Spain.
In 1919, the socially progressive-minded feminist, Aline Barnsdall made a radical gesture for that late Victorian Era. She bought 36 acres of land in Los Feliz and hired architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, to design her dream of an art commune. Although the dream never succeeding, today locals and travelers enjoy plenty of greenspace surrounding her former home, the Hollyhock House, which is known to be one of the best sunset spots in town.
Construction of the house began in 1922, with this being Wright's first west coast design. He couldn't explain the design, which defied most people's understanding of it being a "California Romanza," which fused Mayan, Aztec, Asian and Egyptian design.
This home and garden is a hidden gem and described as a Southwestern fairy tale. Formerly well known Californian editor and writer, Charles Lummis, and friends, began building his dream home in 1894. Like any other artist with radical ideas, he wanted to highlight the artistic community and to realize that the US's history began long before some of the conquering of the east. The handcrafted work took hard labor but showcased some of the best designs from Peru to New Mexico. Indoors, the writer packed the home with southwestern artifacts. The writer called the home El Alisal, "the place of the sycamore trees."
What is now a public art center and library was once the estate of Leslie C. Brand, the estranged modern founder of Glendale, who named the stated Miradero. The mansion features an East Indian facade and design structure as well as extensive green space for sport and picnics. Most come to explore the expansive Japanese Gardens and the lookout points overseeing Glendale. Most say that Brand was a strange and corrupt man with a Napolean complex.
If looking for the ultimate luxurious experience, look no further than The Paramour Estate. The five acre Spanish/Mediterranean inspired estate includes an 18,000 square foot mansion, green house, three staff cottages, tack house and several garages. In 1918 the socialite Daisy Canfield, who was heir to the Pan Pacific Petroleum fortune desired a lavish estate. What daisy wanted, Daisy got, which was an estate decorated with orange groves, rose gardens, terraces, wishing wells and an orchard.
She and her silent screen Hollywood actor husband, Antonio Moreno, moved into the estate and were some of the prominent socialites in the city, often throwing countless Roaring 20's parties. Tabloids at the time called it, "The Most Beautiful Home in Hollywood." Today, it operates as a luxury hotel and event center.
What is your favorite historic home in LA?
This Lemon Tree article is now featured on GPSmyCity. To download this article for offline reading or travel directions to the attractions highlighted in this article, go to 6 Out-of-the-Ordinary Historic Homes to Visit in Los Angeles.