Vintage Long Beach: Where a Bixby hung his shingle

By Lauren Beale

The rich architecture of the Bixby Ranch House in Long Beach is evident just walking up the gated pathway to the column-flanked leaded-glass front door. The home was built in 1890 — a year of experimentation and discovery — the same year the jukebox was invented. Soon to follow were electric kettles, escalators and shredded wheat.

Arguably one of the best-known houses in the area, the city-designated landmark was constructed for native son George H. Bixby as the 10-acre centerpiece of the Bixby ranch and real estate operations. The nearly 7,000 square feet of living space provided plenty of room for his wife and seven children. Formal gardens and farm buildings dotted the landscape.

Today, the now-subdivided site is a gated community anchored by the Bixby house. Clad in cedar, the eight-bedroom, seven-bathroom mansion is primarily an example of the Shingle style of architecture. This American genre echoes the Craftsman approach with emphasis on such materials as stone, wood and brick. More often found on the East Coast, the style is rare for Southern California.

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