Rancho Palos Verdes
Long before Rancho Palos Verdes became the newest city on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, it was part of Rancho de los Palos Verdes, a seemingly worthless patch of oceanfront hill covered in brush fit only for shore whalers, smugglers, and cattle. Through forfeiture and foreclosure, the Bixby family from Maine acquired the peninsula and made the land profitable by diversifying-ranching, sharecropping with American field farmers, and renting land to Japanese flower and vegetable growers. New York financier Frank Vanderlip realized in 1912 the real estate potential of the hill's dramatic vistas and rugged cliffs and canyons. Over the years, three cities were created as tree-covered havens for horses and wildlife-islands of calm. But danger to this lifestyle lay in overdevelopment from the Los Angeles County-owned land encircling them. This, then, is the story of the fourth city, Rancho Palos Verdes, created in 1973 from county land and dedicated to keeping the peninsula green and underdeveloped, as Vanderlip envisioned.
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