Bixby and Cornell Period


Llewellyn and Avis Bixby: 1929-1955

The memory of what the property’s former grandeur motivated Llewellyn Bixby to purchase the house and remaining property from the Jotham Bixby Company. He then set about restoring not only the adobe house but the gardens as well.

Noted landscape architect Ralph D. Cornell designed the 4.74-acre estate garden for the site.  Key to the vision was preservation of as many of the existing garden features as possible.

Cornell integrated several of the existing trees, the water tower and even a try pot from Temple’s cattle ranch. A paved drive made accessing the hill easier and changed the traffic flow for both guests and family. Guests parked their cars in the forecourt, where they entered the backyard to gain access to the house. The backyard now featured a vast lawn and secondary orchard, along with a rose garden, cutting garden, and wisteria arbor.

In the other direction, wrapping around the drive to the garage, he installed a buffer zone of California native and exotic plants to soften the view of the developing cities beyond. This led to the servant’s wing and service yard. Once at the main entrance, the inner courtyard became an intimate garden complete with a terrace and covered verandas that extended the family’s living space. A small pond with a bronze toad served as a focal point.