Sold - $1,400,000

Once in a lifetime opportunity to own both a beautiful home as well as a piece of history. Frank Vanderlip, the original developer of Palos Verdes, constructed this home as his first estate on the Peninsula in 1916 in the Portuguese Bend area, which he called the "Old Ranch Cottage", now known as the "Cottage". This was one of the first homes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The Cottage, located at 99 Vanderlip Drive, is ideally situated at the top of the Portuguese Bend community behind private gates, and adjacent to the famous Vanderlip Mansion.  The home has incredible ocean and Catalina views,  and the site was hand-picked by Mr. Vanderlip as the ideal location on the Peninsula for views and the consistency of its delightful climate.


The Cottage has 4 bedrooms , 4 bathrooms, and is approx. 3,866 sq. ft. There is also an adjacent 1 bedroom 1 bath approx. 478 sq. ft. guest house. Both the dining room and living room exude a Victorian style of the 1920´s. The 3 upstairs bedrooms are very large, especially the Master Bedroom, with spectacular ocean views. The private entrance drive is up a beautiful tree lined promenade ending at the entrance to the Vanderlip Mansion and The Cottage. The sense of history and exclusivity of the home , combined with it´s beautiful architecture, pool area, and views, makes The Cottage one of the most unique homes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Vanderlip Cottage

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 99 Vanderlip front

Aerial View of Vanderlip Mansion grounds to the left of center, and The Cottage ( gray roof ) and La Casette to the right

 Aerial view with Plot map overlayed. The Cottage lot is marked with the red square. The lot contains 59,677 sq. ft. ( 1,37 acres )  Note that property line extends past the tree line to the rear of the Cottage.  The large parcel across the street is owned by the owners of the Cottage with other heirs of John Vanderlip as well as another investor. That lot drops off rapidly all the way down to Narcissa Drive.

You can see an extensive history of Rancho Palos Verdes beginning with Mr. Frank Vanderlip´s purchase of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1913 at the following link on our website:  HISTORY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES , or read the brief history of The Cottage Below:


Early in 1913, George Bixby decided to sell approx. 16,000 acres of the Rancho de los Palos Verdes (retaining about 1,000 acres which later became Harbor City), which his father, Jotham Bixby, had acquired in1882 by a legal partition of the original land grant area of Rancho de los Palos Verdes. Mr. Carl Schader negotiated a 90 day period to complete the purchase. With about 20 days left to raise the funds, after exhausting all financing possibilities on the west coast,  Mr. Schader then left for New York to raise the money and while there was able to get Mr. Frank A. Vanderlip, then President of the City National Bank of New York, interested in the property. Although Mr. Vanderlip had never seen the property, after only a 10 minute meeting with Mr. Schaeder, he was intrigued and recognized its potential for development.

By November 1913, Mr. Vanderlip organized a consortium of New York investors and completed the purchase of the property for a price of $1.5 to just over $2.0 million (historical accounts vary as to the exact price).  Vanderlip was a self-made man, an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President McKinley, and president of the National City Bank of New York.

Frank Vanderlip (center rear) meeting in 1928 with Japanese dignitaries at The Cottage, his first estate on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Nobusuke Kishi, who was to become Japan´s prime minister in the 1950´s, stands second from the right in the back.

From the beginning, Vanderlip, now known as "The Founding Father of the Peninsula" had great plans for the development of the property. As early as 1914, Vanderlip hired architects, including the landscape architectural firm of Olmsted Brothers, to draw up a master plan for the development. Original plans included the construction of a magnificent golf club on the bluffs overlooking Portuguese Bend, to be known as "Los Palos Verdes Country Club".

 Vanderlip writes glowingly in his biography about a visit in 1916 to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the property he bought unseen three years earlier. He describes his vision for the development, likening the geographical location to Italy where he took vacations:

"I found myself reminded vividly of the Sorrentine Peninsula and the Amalfi Drive: Yet the most exciting part of my vision was that this gorgeous scene was not a piece of Italy at all but was here in America, an unspoiled sheet of paper to be written on with loving care."

Vanderlip planned to develop the area above the current Point Vicente lighthouse as an Italian hillside village, to be occupied by craftsmen who would live, work, and sell their wares. In 1916, Congress approved funding to build the lighthouse at Point Vicente.  Since this was land that Vanderlip had master-planned as an artisan community modeled after the Italian village Neri, he fought the government for 5 years, however the Federal government finally acquired the 8 acre site and constructed the lighthouse which went into service in 1926. Marble was imported from Italy for the first building in 1928, but due to the start of the Great Depression, the project was never completed.

Model of original Frank Vanderlip proposed artisan village at Point Vicente, the current site of the Point Vicente lighthouse and the Terranea Resort.

Immediately after purchasing the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1916, Vanderlip engaged a study to compile weather information about the entire Palos Verdes Peninsula.  From the data from that study, Vanderlip determined that the most consistent mild, sunny and fog free weather was in the Portuguese Bend area of the Peninsula. Vanderlip chose this area for the Vanderlip´s summer home, which was constructed in 1916 as the first residence on the Palos Verdes Peninsula other than a couple of ranch houses that no longer exist. The home was copied from their vacation house in Scrub Oak, New York. Vanderlip´s summer home in Rancho Palos Verdes located at 99 Vanderlip Dr., although over 3,800 sq. ft. with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, was initially called the "Old Ranch Cottage", and is now known as "The Cottage".

For the most part during the 1920's, Frank Vanderlip lived in New York at his Scarborough-on-Hudson estate "Beechwood". Frank Vanderlip's wife, Narcissa Cox Vanderlip, was one of the founders of the League of Women Voters, and was a leading suffragist in New York. She was also a good friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, and was instrumental in her involvement in politics. She and Frank had 6 children (Narcissa, Charlotte, Frank Jr., Virginia, Kelvin, and John).

 Other buildings were added to the Vanderlip´s Portuguese Bend estate in the 1920's including a small guest house and garage called "La Casetta" and a larger guesthouse known as the "Villetta", now known as "Villa Narcissa" ( named after Frank Vanderlip´s wife ), or by most people simply as "The Vanderlip Mansion". A third structure, a barn and stables called the "Farmstead" later became the Portuguese Bend Riding Club.  Behind the Villetta, a beautiful stairway of 268 steps, lined by cypress trees, soared to a spectacular lookout point where a white marble temple was built.

You can see the original gatehouse to the property at the gated entrance of Narcissa Drive just off of Palos Verdes Drive South.

Frank Vanderlip on the back porch of "The Cottage"

Frank Vanderlip loved birds, and for many years maintained an aviary just below The Cottage, including a pond for the birds.  Mr. Vanderlip introduced the peacocks to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

 Frank Vanderlip with his birds and peacocks at the Aviary below "The Cottage"

Villa Narcissa is still owned by the children of Elin Vanderlip, the widow of Frank Vanderlip Sr.'s second son, Kelvin, who lived at the estate from the time of their marriage in 1946 until her death at the age of 90 in July 2009.

The Cottage is still owned by the children of Suzanne Vanderlip, the widow of John Vanderlip, the youngest son of Frank Vanderlip, Sr., and for the first time ever is now available for purchase. 

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