By L. R. Schott
Frank Vanderlip headed a syndicated that purchased the Palos Verdes Peninsula from the Bixby family containing 16,000 acres in late 1913. The reported price was between $1.8 and $2.4 million (or $112 to $150 per acre). Having previously engaged one of the premier landscape architectural firms at that time, the Olmsted Brothers, Vanderlip hired the firm to design a project on this property in 1914. It was known as the Palos Verdes Ranch Project. Initially, Vanderlip envisioned developing the Peninsula with architecture similar to what he revered on his vacations to the coast of Italy. This would include buildings with red tile roofs and some small commercial districts for artisans to make and sell there wares as well as to supply residents with essential needs. In particular, a more dense area with many mulitfamily lots was planned adjacent to Lunada Bay, including a marina. Near the current site of Los Verdes Golf Course he also envisioned a golf course with a grand hotel containing 150 rooms. However, on the land to the south around Portuguese Bend, he planned to have large estates for himself, his friends and others in his Syndicate. However, the design work was interrupted by WWI and stopped (temporarily) in 1916. Still, in that year, Vanderlip built what he called "The Cottage" in the area where he planned the large estates.
(Please refer to a book about Vanderlip, recently written by Vicki Mack.)
In 1921, Vanderlip contacted the founder of University Park, MO, Atascadero, CA and entrepreneur, Edward Gardner Lewis, about purchasing the Syndicate property.