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August 15, 2014

Casa de Parley Johnson

The Casa de Parley Johnson in Downey is an example of an adobe residence built for well-to-do citrus rancher in the 1920s. The architect was Roland Coate. The gardens were designed "by landscape architects Florence Yoch and Lucille Council who designed gardens for classic Hollywood movies, such as the 1939 blockbuster Gone With the Wind." The best description of the house that I could find comes from its nomination for the Register Of Historic Places:

Casa de Parley Johnson, a 6,000-square-foot residence situated on a lushly landscaped estate surrounded by whitewashed walls was designed in the Monterey style by noted Southern California architect Roland Coate for a prominent citrus rancher, Parley Johnson. As such, it typifies the lifestyle of the area in the 1920s and 30s and is evocative of Downey's rural beginnings. Coate is acknowledged to be a major proponent of the Monterey style in Southern California, believing that its blend of Colonial and native California forms particularly lent itself to a formal, yet relaxed country lifestyle. Mr. Johnson was the ideal client, who allowed Coate to articulate his theories. Coate's articles on the "Early California House" provided examples to the revival architects of succeeding decades. The plan of such a residence, integrating patios and courts with balconies and galleries (and thereby to interiors), was critical to achieving the kind of ambience Coate sought. He saw it as the extension of Southern California's Spanish heritage, with a touch of Yankee ingenuity (and, at times, formality) added. It was well-suited to the climate but not a simple adobe ranch house. The rancher of the Twenties was a businessman, and, as such, required space for management as well as entertaining. Featured in a 1931 Architect and Engineer article devoted to California country homes, Casa de Parley Johnson was touted as an excellent example of a style of architecture and a plan designed to provide for a variety of needs. While the original context of many of Coate's commissions have been lost, the Johnson residence retains its architectural integrity and much of its original landscape design. Originally surrounded by the Johnson orange groves, the space within the walls remains intact, providing a unique sense of time and place.

Flowers at Parley Johnson House (0302)

Flowers at Parley Johnson House (0297)

Flowers at Parley Johnson House (0296)

Parley Johnson House (0310)

Parley Johnson House (0308)

More photos here.

Filed under Architecture,California,Photography | permalink | August 15, 2014 at 12:29 PM


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