The ultimate plan for Alvarado Estates was to create country living within the city. The choice of home sites was determined by lottery. Those whose names were drawn first had first option. It is amazing, however, how many families received the sites of their preference, regardless of whether they were high or low in the lottery.
For instance, famed architect Lloyd Ruocco held No. 31 and said it would have made no difference had he been far down the list, “because I chose a site that no one else wanted, anyway.” His home sits on the lip of a canyon, where the house is so well tucked into the hillside that it is not visible from the street front. The same situation applied to families with airplanes who wanted home sites adjoining the airstrip.
Although all the dwellings had to conform to strict architectural control that was maintained by a committee, like homes having a minimum of 1,500 square feet of interior living space, there is a great variety of design.
Alvarado Estates is a unique neighborhood featuring midcentury moderns and sprawling California ranches. In addition to Ruocco, Cliff May, Richard Neutra, Herman Hester, and Rex Lotery are a few of the renowned architects. Currently, five homes have historical designation including Hester’s that was featured on the cover of Life Magazine 1958 as the “Home of the Future.”
—Susan Clarke-Crisafulli writes on behalf of Alvardo Estates.