Category Archives: Laguna Beach Real Estate

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Woods Cove – The Story


Woods Cove – The Story

Starting with the twin cities – Arch Beach and Laguna Beach

In the late 1800s, the Woods Cove area was originally called Arch Beach and was a separate town from Laguna Beach.

It even had its own post office.

The reason for the twin city effect was that wagons could not go between the two towns due to the deep gullies of Bluebird and Sleepy Hollow Canyons.

So while Laguna Beach could be accessed by the Laguna Canyon, Arch Beach could only be accessed by Aliso Canyon. In fact, to get to Laguna Beach from Arch Beach you had to go all the way around Aliso to El Toro to Laguna Canyon.



The Arch Beach Tavern was built to house visiting potential buyers of Arch Beach properties. It later housed actors for the movies made in the area. It is now an apartment building at the corner of Moss and Catalina.

As with much of the surrounding areas at the time, it was primarily used for farming, and even had a pier off of Diamond St where they exported barley hay via ship to San Diego for feeding the stage coach horses. Alas this was short lived once the railroad came to SoCal.

The farms were replaced with a resort destination hotel, called the Arch Beach Hotel. The forerunner of the tourist destination town we have today.

It was located at the corner of Diamond and the Coast Hwy. and was very successful until the late 1800’s when a financial and real estate bust be felled the country.

But never- the- less the word was out. Laguna is a great place to visit, as well as to build your beach house.

For more pictures and a place to submit your stories please visit

Residential Development

It wasn’t till 1915 through the 20’s that they started building the many summer cottages, artists’ studios and dream homes that we still see to this day.

There was no design review or governing body prior to 1927 so it was fair game to build with has much individuality as you liked.

The spontaneity of development can still be seen in the informal layout of the streets (no curbs or gutters), irregular setbacks, odd-shaped lots and, most importantly, the lack of uniformity among the architecture.

In other words, it was the foundation of the quintessential eclectic Laguna Beach.

Click here to see current homes for sale in Woods Cove

Name Change

An interesting tidbit is that the neighborhood’s name was changed to Woods Cove after a businessman from Colorado, Harry Woods, bought the land around the cove.

Note: It’s Woods Cove and not Wood’s Cove

A few of the Historical People and Celebrities that lived in the area:

The famous actress Bette Davis had a home you can still see today on the bluff on Woods Cove.
William Wendt, one of Laguna’s premier original plein air artists had a studio, that is still there, on Arch Street.

Even Woodrow Wilson convalesced in a house on Moss Point after his stroke during his presidency.



“The Way it Was” watercolor of the old Wood’s Cove staircase by Roger Folk, long time exhibitor at the Festival of the Arts. Nowadays staircase is all concrete and iron rails but not nearly as fun to descend as it’s rickety, rotten predecessor from the ’60’s.


There is almost every type of architecture imaginable in the Woods Cove community.

First, there are the big luxury homes that sit on the cove bluffs, then the small bungalows, as well as the craftsman style houses. And that just the beginning with modern, mid century, Tuscan, adobe and normandy also sprinkled in throughout the area.


One of the other reasons the area is so popular is you can walk to the beach and local stores in just minutes and to the Laguna downtown area in about 15 to 20 minutes via the beach or along the scenic back roads.

It’s about as far South as you can go and still have a comfortable walk to the village.

Also, the locals love to walk their dogs and meander through the neighborhood, especially on Glenneyre, the old goat path, where they’ll pass many of their neighbors doing the same thing.

Ocean Views:

Woods Cove has a mild uphill slope from the ocean providing many homes with an ocean view. This results in the double benefit of view and walkability which is usually sacrificed when living on the steep hillsides.

The Coves:

A unique attribute of Woods Cove, and Laguna in general, is the many relatively small but world class coves, such as Moss, Ruby, Agate and Woods Coves. They have beautiful flora rich cliffs, as well as ocean bluff homes of every shape and architecture.

The crystal blue water is great for diving and exploring the kelp beds.
The locals enjoy walking down to the beach after work, take a swim, hang out with their friends and take the edge off with a glass of wine.

So say ‘hi’ when we see each other walking in the area. Everyone else does.

For more pictures and a place to submit your stories please visit

*Trivia: did you know that the Fairview Development Company/ Santa Ana Immigration Association had laid out a town called “Catalina-on-the-Main” just southeast of Arch Rock in 1888? They applied for and received a US Post office but it was never built, as this venture failed shortly thereafter. Also in the early 1900s, what is now the “Woods Cove area” was planned to be developed and called “Seawood” as a seaside resort. The property was owned by Clemma E. Woods.(Were we get “Wood’s Cove” from) The site was surveyed and a tract map filed with the County on February 19, 1907, and they received a Post Office commision, but once again the project never came to
fruition. Had these projects succeeded “Arch Beach”, “Catalina on the Main” & “Seawood” would have all predated “Laguna Beach” as townships by several years. *edited text from the Orange County Historical Archives & the National Archives materials.



John Garfield and Lana Turner, Woods Cove. *during filming of “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, 1946

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Laguna Friends of Architecture (LFA) bus tour of the Historical Districts of Los Angeles

Laguna Friends of Architecture (LFA) bus tour

of the Historical Districts of Los Angeles –

Saturday, March 15th

    Come and join your fellow friends that have a passion for architecture on a 50 seat bus tour of L.A.’s historic districts and architecture.

Art Deco, Victorian, French Revival, Mid Century, you name it, will be visited, as well as, a stop at the Museum of Art & Design.

The bus is half full already so step up and RSVP right away.

It’s going to be fun and informative.

BYOB on the bus (yes it’s a wet bus). We’ll supply to music.

Click here for more detailed information and how to sign up.


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The Laguna Lady Story

If You Love Laguna’s Historical Past

You Can’t Miss This One

Horst Noppenberger, the prolific local architect, is going to make a presentation at the site where the 9,000+ year old Laguna Lady was found. Besides telling the story of her discovery he’ll be showing his plans for a mini museum at the site, as well as, the remodel plans for the homes on the property.

As a regular reader of my newsletters you probably know this great story of the Laguna Lady.  It’s a reader favorite since she was found in our own backyard and hardly anyone knows of this remarkable find.

If you’re not familiar with the Laguna Lady here’s a quick summary:

Back in the 1930s when they were building the Coast Hwy they had to grade down the land on St. Anns Drive from Glenneyre, since it had a higher elevation. This exposed the fresh cut swath on both sides of street.

Two local boys who loved hunting for Indian artifacts in the area took advantage of this and went exploring.

St. Ann’s Drive location

 Laguna Lady’s head (my type)

Typically they found artifacts like arrowheads and bones in loose dirt, but to not this time.

To their surprise they found a skull and shoulder fossilized into the stone and a little too aggressively cut it out with their tools.

For one reason or the other, it was kept in one of the boy’s closet in a shoe box for decades.

It wasn’t until a friend of theirs said Dr. Louis Leaky, the world famous discoverer of the oldest human being Lucy, was coming to Newport and since he was friends with the doctor he would introduce them so they could show their find.

The bottom line is Leaky said ‘we have something here’ and got it carbon dated and the results were incredible. 9,000 years old and probably more since it’s been oxidized while in the shoe box.

Arguably the oldest person in the Western Hemisphere and you probably go by it every day. Incredible.

For a more detailed story click here. It’s a fabulous read.


Event Details:

Date: Wednesday, March 5th

Location:  255 St. Ann’s Drive (across from the Woman’s’ Club)

Time: 6 o’clock

Dress warm and bring some wine to share.

All this is weather permitting of course

See ya there. Sean and Laguna Friends of Architecture

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Surterre Logo

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21692 Ocean Vista Drive, Laguna Beach, CA

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New ‘Pocket’ Listing – My clients get the first chance at this beauty

I’ve a single story 3 bedroom, 2 bath 2,000 sqft condo pocket listing with panoramic ocean views. It is actually 2 side by side condos with the wall taken down between them.

The condo has been completely remodeled with a large kitchen with 3 sinks, 2 refrigerators, granite countertops and new high end cabinets.

There are slate floors throughout the living area, all new windows, crown molding and an ‘open’ office converted from a bedroom.

The large patio, with sliding doors and ‘dutch’ doors give a nice indoor/outdoor feel. The ocean view can be seen throughout the condo with the exception of the bedrooms.

This won’t be in the mls for another week or two. So if you’re interested please let me know asap if you’d like to see the property.

3 blocks to the magnificent beaches in front of the award winning Montage Resort.

21692 Ocean Vista offered at $1,470,000

Click Here to see all photos

IMG_0171 SL 13 2012-03-18 12.50.38

21692 Ocean Vista

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