As one of California’s older communities, Bixby Knolls showcases a variety of architectural styles across its many neighborhoods – something that’s hard to come by in these days of neighborhood uniformity.
There’s something to be said for the variety and customization found in established communities like Bixby Knolls. I think they call it style, character or panache, and each Bixby Knolls neighborhood has it – whatever it is.
So, let’s examine a few of these Bixby Knolls neighborhoods and what makes them special and unique.
California Heights is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Bixby Knolls. During the California oil boom, Jotham Bixby advertised that, ““You could stand on one corner of California Heights and with a 30-30 rifle shoot the lights off the top of dozens of [oil] rigs where gushers are spouting thousands of barrels of liquid gold daily,” when pitching his new development. It certainly helped as 435 lots of the 830 sold in less than two days.
Well, there was no oil or natural gas underneath these lots. There were just great home sites.
The common style throughout the initial development of California Heights were the traditional Provincial Tudor and Spanish Colonial Revival. That was later supplemented when the expansion of the local airport led to the displacement of many residents. These new residents opted to transport their smaller, Craftsman Bungalows to California Heights rather than spend the money to build a new, larger home.
California Heights is just one neighborhood that brings the rich history of Bixby Knolls to life.
So, today, along with well-kept yards and streets, you have three distinct architectural styles within one neighborhood.
Los Cerritos and the Virginia Country Club
Rancho Los Cerritos as we know it today is also a result of the California oil boom of the 1920s. Once a farming outpost fallen into disuse and disrepair, the area was remodeled by Llewellyn Bixby is the early 1920s. Development quickly followed. Initially the primary styles were the Craftsmen and Shingle styles common to the period; however, as more money began to flow into the region, the Craftsmen and Shingle homes were replaced by Colonial, Provincial and Spanish Revival homes on massive estate lots. Once the Virginia Country Club opened its doors, the neighborhood’s reputation as a luxury retreat was set.
Today the Rancho Los Cerritos is a historic landmark and the area around the Rancho itself is home to some of Long Beach largest and most stunning homes. These historic homes are remarkably preserved and some sit on lots considered enormous by today’s standards.
La Linda Drive
Finally, there is La Linda Drive. La Linda Drive is a private gated community with historic homes scattered throughout on large well-wooded, yet manicured, lots. These homes harken back to the old “California Estate” style of construction with its emphasis on traditional architectural embellishments and features.
Bixby Knolls just proves that while many people considered Long Beach to be a wholly modern California city that would rather pave over history than preserve it, nothing could be further from the truth. There are many pockets of historic homes scattered throughout this city where you can still feel “Old California” with each step.