Category: Architecture

Ranch home


1943 image of 1939 Cliff May residence, Riviera Ranch: from An American Vernacular, Cliff May’s Ranch Homes, by Ed Fitzgerald

The contemporary Ranch Style originated in 1930s California amidst a design atmosphere that embraced the International Style championed by European architectsIt was in this environment that the work of designers like Cliff Mayexcelled.May, a self-taught San Diego architect, is credited as the foremost pioneer of the modern Ranch Style…”

The suburban Ranch Style homes that grew so popular in the three decadesfollowing the Second World War originated in pre-war west Los Angeles with theconstruction of May’s Riviera Ranch development in 1939.

“…May’s ranch house designs were widely adopted and mass produced. May’sranch design sold almost 15,000 plans, making up the entire neighborhoods of LongBeach and Anaheim…”

Learn about Cliff May designed homes by downloading: .

In an unrelated topic, the term “suburban ranch” appeared in a southern California newspaper: “…On Sunday they attended the eighty-first birthday anniversary celebration held in honor of Mr. Cahill’s uncle, Ed Stiles. The celebration was held at the suburban ranch home of the Stiles’ two miles east of San Bernardino. Mr. Stiles, who is still active for one of his age, drove the first 20-muleteam hauling borax out of Death Valley, in 1882, ’83 and ’84. He is truly one of the pioneers of the district…”

San Bernardino Sun, April 5, 1939 .

Streamline moderne


There are many sources of images and information on the style called streamline moderne. The Machine Age In America 1918-1941 by Wilson, Pilgrim and Tashjian (above) is one of several books. The Streamline Era by Reed is another.

Online, here are two “must see” websites that really show the subject well:

Neferteri by Larry Pointer with Rik Hoving

Don’t be distracted by the title, this is an excellent multi-part series showing the origins and then plenty of examples of streamline moderne aircraft, boats and motor vehicles. .

At the bottom of each installment, be sure to click on the link to go to the next one.



“If Art Deco skyscrapers could be thought of as “vertical”, Streamline Moderne buildings typically embraced horizontal massing.”

Excerpt from .

Hope’s home


His two-story French Revival residence was built in Toluca Lake, California (in the San Fernando Valley near North Hollywood) in 1939. It was designed by Los Angeles architect Robert Finkelhor. The postcard image above is undated but likely contains images of him and the home soon after it was completed.

To learn more, see: and (scroll down).

Wright’s Usonian style


Images courtesy Douglas M. Steiner

Frank Lloyd Wright proposed the word Usonian to describe a style free of previous architectural conventions. The George Sturges home, completed in 1939, was Wright’s only Usonian style structure in southern California. Learn more about it here: