Explore the Forecourt
When the Bixby’s moved out of the Rancho in 1890 they left in horse drawn wagons. When they moved back in 1931 they came via automobile. Changes had to be made. The Bixby guests would drive up the now paved hill and turn into the forecourt, a walled courtyard outside the backyard. A modest space it was enhanced by the trees Cornell saved from the original gardens of John Temple. These old trees graced the forecourt with a sense of maturity as well as shade.
The walls were made of commissioned fired bricks matching the dimensions of the adobe bricks used in the original construction house. This is a subtle design detail typical of Cornell, even though the adobe house was plastered, the unusual size of the bricks in the wall hints of the adobe. To strengthen the connection they were initially whitewashed, though the Bixby’s allowed the warm red tones of the bricks to prevail as the whitewash weathered.
Two separate gates were installed both accessing the backyard. Each entry point had electric lanterns to shed light when the guests would depart after an evening’s entertainment. One gate led to the secondary orchard while a set off double gates led to the veranda of the house. An electric bell was installed at double gates so the guests could announce their arrival. When the Bixbys received their guests they would welcome them into the backyard before escorting them into their home.
Other Notable Plants:
- Osage Orange – Maclura pomifera