Rossmoyne was conceived and developed in the 1920’s by the Haddock-Nibley Company of
Los Angeles. During the 1920’s, Southern California had become a destination for people
seeking economic opportunity and a temperate climate. Between 1920 and 1930, almost one
and a half million people had relocated to the greater Los Angeles area, and the City of
Glendale was directly impacted by the increased demands for housing which prompted
residential development in formerly rural areas. One such area was the Rossmoyne Ranch.
In 1872, Judge Erskine Mayo Ross purchased the ranch land which came to be known as
Rossmoyne from his uncle, Captain Cameron Erskine Thom. Captain Thom’s land was former Spanish land-grant land purchased directly from Catalina Verdugo prior to the “Great Partition” of 1871. As leaders of the community, and along with other founding fathers, Captain Thom and Judge Ross founded the township of Glendale which was officially recorded in 1887. Aside from his career as a judge serving the California Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for Southern California and the Circuit Court, Judge Ross became a well-known horticulturalist. As a farmer, Judge Ross planted citrus and olive groves on his ranch, establishing a successful fruit packing plant and olive oil business. Many of the citrus and olive trees from the original Ross ranch can still be found on Rossmoyne properties today.
In 1923, a portion of the Rossmoyne Ranch was purchased for residential development by
partners Lon Haddock and Alex Nibley of the Haddock-Nibley Company. The initial Rossmoyne tract was subdivided and laid out in 1923 and 1924. In 1925, Lon Haddock sold out his interest in the Rossmoyne tract to Alex Nibley and the Nibley Investment Company. By 1927, most of the homes constructed within the initial subdivided areas had been built, however infill construction would later extend into the 1940’s.
Residential development trends in the 1920’s catered to a burgeoning middle class and
Rossmoyne was no exception. California developers consciously adopted the architectural
styles of England, France, Spain, and Italy. Like other developments of the time, the
Rossmoyne neighborhood was meticulously planned. There were restrictions on building above the foothills in order to maintain the pristine natural setting. Nibley enlisted experts to design wide, flowing streets that bend and wind to keep the views fresh, however the plan also emphasized safety for children by eliminating through-streets. He donated the self-named Nibley Park where he planted live oaks for shade and built tennis courts for neighborhood residents. Nibley Investment Company installed the cast metal streetlamps that still dot the neighborhood today and were a selling point for the tract. Utilities were full service - water, gas, and electric, which was a luxury at the time. Nibley also maintained his vision through rigid building restrictions. Only period revival architecture was allowed, and plans had to be approved by the development office. Residents were required to spend a certain amount on building their homes, based on the location and size of their property.
Another meticulously planned aspect of the neighborhood was the sales and marketing
campaign. Nibley and his developers garnered extensive coverage in the real estate section of the local newspapers by creating events centered around promoting the development. They rigged huge "Rossmoyne" signs in the hills above the new subdivision, mimicking the
"Hollywoodland" sign which announced that now iconic Los Angeles development begun in 1923. Capitalizing on the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922 Egypt, Nibley built his sales office to resemble an Egyptian temple. Located on Verdugo Road just outside of the Rossmoyne tract, it turned into a local tourist stop and Egyptian themed signs around the area pointed tourists in the right direction. Thirteen properties within the boundaries of the Rossmoyne Historic District are listed on the Glendale Register of Historic Resources, including Nibley Park.
1206 E. Mountain (#48) “Cannon House”
1114 Rossmoyne (#53) “1114 Rossmoyne Avenue”
943 E. Mountain (#56) “Sahakian House”
1230 Rossmoyne (#57) “Lynch House”
955 Rosemount (#73) “955 Rosemount Road”
1117 Rossmoyne (#74) “1117 Rossmoyne Avenue”
1344 Rossmoyne (#78) “1344 Rossmoyne Avenue”
1020 Hillcroft (#80) “1020 Hillcroft Road”
1220 Cortez (#81) “1220 Cortez Drive”
1050 Hillcroft (#99) “Thompson-Howe House”
1106 Rossmoyne (#108) “Samuel and Beth Peterson House”
1116 Don Jose (#131) “Wright House”
1103 E. Mountain (#135) “Nibley Park”