Category Archives: Laguna Beach Real Estate

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Art from the psychedelic era


Art from the psychedelic era

The overlooked contribution of
the Brothers of Eternal Love

Until now Come join us this Saturday for a curator’s tour of the art work from the late 60s in
Laguna’s counter culture days


If you haven’t heard about the Bother of Enteral Love days in Laguna get ready to be blown away.

To put it as briefly as possible, during the late 50s early sixties, there were a gang of hoods in Anaheim that loved to fight and take drugs of every type.

They heard that a new drug LSD, which at the time was legal, was being served at a party in LA, so they crashed the party and stole the LSD.

All of a sudden these hard-ass dudes became spiritually enlightened with the gang’s leader John Griggs seeing Jesus Christ on one his first LSD trips. They called themselves the Brothers of Eternal Love and set up their new residence in Laguna Canyon in Laguna Beach on Woodland St. which is next to the Sawdust Festival.

There they put their mission to ‘enlighten the world’ into action with vast quantities of LSD (when it became illegal they made their own, called Orange Sunshine) as well as hashish and marijuana. They were the first major worldwide distribution drug network having gone to Afghanistan and stuffed VW vans they bought in Germany with hashish and shipped them home. Later it was marijuana stuffed surfboards.


 Click here to read more

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Laguna Home sales have month to month volatility

August sales are way down but homes going into escrow bounce back to summer average of 53 homes

August Summary:

  • Sales way down: 24 home were sold vs. 44 last month and 34 in Aug. a year ago
  • But 53 homes are in escrow (which is the same as Aug. for the last 3 years) and is the true pulse of the market
  • The median sold price for the year is $1,650m down 8% compared to last year
  • 250 homes are for sale – consistent with last few months and last year but will be going down based on historical info for last few years for fall and winter
  • $0 to $1.5m is a sellers’ market, $1.5m to $4m is a neutral market and over $4 is a buyers’ market

This 3 cottage St. Ann property is currently for sale as a ‘pocket listing’, not in MLS

Live in one and rent the other two
Or rent all three short or long term legally

255 St Ann – There are three beautiful cottages on this property. They’ve all been beautifully remodeled. They are permitted rentals so they can be rented on short or long term basis.
It will be offered for around $2.4 and the seller says it has a 6% cap rate. Let me know if you’ve any interest and I’ll send the financial proforma. Great village location and a beautiful property.
Video of area on St. Ann St. where the Laguna Lady was found and shots of the newly refurbished cottages.
Website of property

Another Pocket Listing

31868 Circle Drive

This property is PERFECT for the couple, individual or person seeking a beach getaway. 2 bedrooms and 2 baths.  Contemporary and remodeled with breathtaking views of Paradise Cove (Thousand Steps Beach) with beach access and great parking. This is not in mls but is listed.  Please call me with any questions or interest.  This is a great value and home $2,050,000

Articles about the Local Real Estate Market

Will Wall Street turmoil affect Southern California housing market? – LA Times

Mid-summer homebuying down 12% in million-dollar Orange County ZIPs – The Orange County Register

One in three O.C. homes for sale are priced above $1 million – The Orange County Register

July rent up 5% in a year – The Orange County Register

$1 million home listings surge: one-third of houses for sale in O.C. have asking prices in seven figures – The Orange County Register


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The story of the discovery of the oldest human remains in the Western Hemisphere, discovered by Howard Wilson in Laguna Beach California

It was a hot, sunny day in Laguna Beach California in 1933, when 17 year old Howard Wilson showed up at his pal Ed Marriner’s house to talk to him about something that he had been thinking about lately. Howard had plans for a great adventure that day.

Howard Wilson - 1932 Howard and Ed often spent time together, roaming over the empty Laguna landscape searching for local Indian artifacts. They both had been well schooled in the lay of this rugged land, the coastal bluffs, it’s rivers, hills and canyons. They both had spent most of their youth scrambling amongst the hidden treasures of this unique coastal environment, and they loved it deeply. They shared a common interest in the history of the area, and especially the living history of the inhabitants that were living here before the Spanish “discovered” them in the late 1500’s.

They also knew exactly where to look amongst the cliff tops and fields of coastal Laguna for places the Indians lived and worked. Indian village sites were scattered everywhere along the coast and easy to find – if you knew where to look. The patches of rich black soil filled with small bits of chipped and burned rock, mixed in with seashells by the thousands, that told them this was the living floor or “midden” of a vanished people who once populated the coast.

The makers of these middens, were a semi-nomadic group of desert culture people that had come into the Southern California area around 3,000 years ago, displacing the older “Oak Grove” people, who were here before them by nearly another 3,000 years earlier. Little is known of these earlier “Oak Grove” people from that ancient time, but a great deal is known of the more recent folk.

Coming from the harsh deserts of the Southwest, they had brought with them the tools and traditions of a nomadic people who had learned to fashion their lives around the constant need to migrate in the never ending hunt for food. When they arrived at the coast they continued their ancient habits after a fashion, but only between the oak tree filled mountains with their plentiful acorn supply, and the coast with it’s unlimited supply of fish, clams, abalone and small game. Life was so good and so easy compared to the desert, that they kept their tools and culture little different from what they already knew. Apparently they felt little need to improve their circumstances – it was near perfect as it was.

When the Spanish missions were established, these unfortunate and gentle people were rounded up and named after the missions to which they were sent. The Laguna people were split in two groups. Those north of Aliso Canyon were sent to Mission San Gabriel and called the “Gabrielinos”, while those to the south of Aliso were sent to San Juan Capistrano Mission and became the “Juanenos”.

Arrowpoint collectionHoward had already amassed a sizable collection of stone tools, arrowpoints, carved shells, and cooking utensils left behind by these now vanished peoples, but that was not their goal today. He had bigger, more exciting plans for today’s adventure. Today they were going to look for something new. Something entirely different.

They went looking for a rumor…

The rumor was that a few years earlier some workmen were digging the foundation for a new house on St. Anns Drive when they found some skeletal remains…a few old skulls…that looked like humans. The workers supposedly crushed them up and tossed them into the cement mix for the slab and continued working. Howard figured that if it were true, there might be other remains still to be found in the area, and it would be a perfect way to spend a sunny summer day with his adventure buddy Ed.

The boys set off with the the typical high hopes of youth, thinking that finding a an old bone would be quite a thrill, little knowing that even their wildest dreams of discovery would not match what they were about to do…

They were about to meet the first American!


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Panama Escapade

I recently went to Panama exploring potential international living opportunities. My trip started in Panama City which is an international city where new architecture meets beautiful gentrified Spanish Colonial neighborhoods. Went to a cool jazz club in a 1600 building that is now an Ace hotel an international boutique hotel chain.

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Cool Stories and Pics of Early Movies Made in Laguna


Laguna played a big part in the early development of Movie Making

Since there was no verbal dialogue and no artificial lights for inside shots, the Laguna Beach coast line visuals were important for the original success of silent films. If you couldn’t ‘wow’ them with dialogue you ‘wowed’ them with Laguna’s dramatic cove shoots.

A few of the silent films that were shot in Laguna from 1915 to 1924:

Watch the first couple minutes of this movie (it’s actually pretty good) and you’ll see it takes place at Table Rock beach and they built a light house there and many other places along the Laguna Coast for scenes in the movies. Watch it here.


Filmed in Laguna, 1916

Captain Blood, with Errol Flynn, made in Three Arch Bay.


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Film Plays A Starring Role In Smithcliffs’ History

A rare early 1920s image showing the promontory now known as Smithcliffs and Seal Rocks, as seen from Emerald Bay. On the point is the Dobbins’ house, Dos Rocas, and behind it the Lowe house, later moved to McKnight Drive.
Photo courtesy of First American Title Corporation.

Barbara Isch, an 18-year old native daughter of Laguna wrote in a 1926 letter to a friend, describing to him a situation that made her unhappy. “Saturday night we went to the local hop and the movies were there.  First National Company is shooting night scenes and we will probably have to put up with them for another two weeks.”  “The movies” was the name locals attached to the cameramen, stars, directors and crews involved in filming.  Laguna saw a lot of the movies.

In April of 1944 the movies were in town and filming at one of the most beautiful oceanfront estates in Laguna, what was then known as Howardcliff, which is today called Smithcliffs.   The crew set up housekeeping temporarily at the Coast Inn, Hotel Del Camino, and Sea Cliff apartments, and enjoyed meals provided by Hotel Laguna. The Columbia Pictures crew of 50 were at work shooting “Shadows In The Night,” starring Warner Baxter and Nina Foch.   This was the third in a series of ten Crime Doctor films.  Basically, it is about a criminal psychologist who tries to help a beautiful heiress   who is going mad in a haunted mansion.  Yes, it is a B movie.   According to one Los Angeles critic, “characters were added to thicken the plot.  It gets thick to the point of becoming all but ludicrous at times.”


Although it is unclear if the interiors were made at the studio, all of the exterior shots were made in Laguna on location. There are scenes of Seal Rocks, the two large rocks in the ocean off of Crescent Bay Park, and a few shots to the north that show a hugely empty Emerald Bay.  The movie portrays the magnificent grounds, the paths down to the sea, the rocks below, and a sense of the scale of the large house.  And this is a house with history.


An aerial view of Howardcliff in 1941 as it looked during filming of “Shadows in the Night.”
Photo courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society.

In 1915 wealthy Pasadena resident Caroline Dobbins fell in love with Laguna and bought 20 acres of land just south of Emerald Bay.  In 1917 the local newspaper reported that “ plastering of the Dobbins house will begin next week.”   She named her estate Dos Rocas for the Seal Rocks, just south of her house.   She then built a house behind hers for her daughter Wilhelmina Lowe.    When Wilhelmina died, her daughter Florence, better known as Pancho Barnes, a famous aviatrix, inherited the second house.  The noise of Pancho’s wild parties was intolerable to Caroline Dobbins so she had the Lowe house moved to the point of what is now McKnight Drive.

The Howards Of Howardcliff

In 1929 the local newspaper carried a story about the sale of the Dos Rocas by Caroline Dobbins to wealthy Oklahoma oilman Oscar Howard.   He bought the 10 acre ocean-front property, and she built a house for herself above the highway on another part of her 20 acres.    Oscar Howard renamed the property “Howardcliff,” and he and his wife Inez would use this as their summer home for the next 22 years.  Inez in 1925 published a book she wrote called “Chrysalis of Romance.” Oscar had made a fortune in the oil business.  He started in Tulsa by investing his savings of $100, and then participated in the rapidly expanding oil business in California.   The Los Angeles Times of the 20s, 30s and 40s have numerous articles reporting on the progress of his wells.  They moved to California around 1919 and in 1922 bought in Los Angeles as their permanent residence an estate in Fremont Place, an exclusive enclave whose residents included over the years many famous names. Their home, 56 Fremont Place, had in the past been rented by both Mary Pickford and Mary Miles Minter, two names who have connections to Laguna also.

After purchasing Howardcliff, they re-landscaped and built a fence on the property. They furnished the house and cut 100 steps into the cliff for access to the cove below.  I don’t know if a planned swimming pool in the rocks below was ever built.  Oscar Howard died in 1950, and by 1952 Howard’s widow Inez had sold the property to Lon Smith, who renamed the property “Smithcliffs.”  After Lon Smith’s widow died in 1989, plans were filed for a 26-home gated community, which retained the Smithcliffs name, and the old Dobbins house was subsequently torn down.

In the movie the house is called yet another name, “Rocky Point,” and in a scene where a car pulled up to the front of the property a sign on the gate said “Ravencliff.”   Perhaps the director was trying to set the mood for a Poe-like story?    The original house is long gone, but at least we can glimpse what was originally on the property because the images were captured on film.

Barbara Isch may have been unhappy, but I am glad the movies were in town