Mrs. Elin Vanderlip, a living icon and the grand dame of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, died yesterday at the age of 90. She embodied the living history of Rancho de los Palos Verdes and will be greatly missed.The following is an excerpt of an article published today in the South Bay Daily Breeze:
"Elin Brekke Vanderlip - widow of Kelvin Vanderlip and daughter-in-law of Frank A. Vanderlip Sr., the man who assembled the syndicate that in 1913 bought the entire Palos Verdes Peninsula - has died.
Barely six weeks after her 90th birthday party, the woman whom daughter Narcissa Vanderlip called "a force of nature" succumbed Monday morning to heart failure at her walled Villa Narcissa estate above Portuguese Bend in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Left behind are sons Kelvin Jr. and Henrik, daughters Katrina and Narcissa and five grandchildren."
The full story may be read at http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_12892502?source=rss_viewed
Elin's father-in-law Frank Vanderlip planned to develop the area above Point Vicente lighthouse as an Italian hillside village, to be occupied by craftsmen who would live, work, and sell their wares. Marble was imported from Italy for the first building in 1928, but the project was never completed. Vanderlip constructed his first residence on the Peninsula in 1916 in the Portuguese Bend area, the "Old Ranch Cottage", now known as the "Cottage". (See The History of Portuguese Bend for an excellent detailed history of the Portuguese Bend area) Other buildings were added to the 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".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. The Villa Narcissai s located at 100 Vanderlip Drive, at the end of Vanderlip Drive, near the end of Narcissa Drive, the road through a private gated community just south of the Wayfarers' chapel at the beginning of the Portuguese Bend area, and public access to visit the property is not available. You can see the original gatehouse to the property at the gated entrance of Narcissa Drive just off of Palos Verdes Drive South.
Villa Narcissa (Picture Courtesy of Palos Verdes Peninsula Library District)
The Cottage is still owned by Suzanne Vanderlip, the widow of John Vanderlip, the youngest son of Frank Vanderlip, Sr., and Villa Narcissa is still owned by Elin Vanderlip, the widow ofFrank Vanderlip Sr.'s second son, Kelvin. A third structure, a barn and stables called the "Farmstead" later became the Portuguese Bend Riding Club. For the most part during the 1920's, Vanderlip lived in New York at his Carborough-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).
Frank Vanderlip at "The Cottage" (Photos LA Public Library)
During the 1940's, Villa Narcissa, then occupied by Kelvin Vanderlip, hosted many Hollywood celebrities. Myrna Low, had lived there before World War II, and Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith had honeymooned there. In 1946, Kelvin hosted his good friend Ted Geisel (a.k.a "Dr. Seuss", the famous childrens book author) during the summer. In 1946, Kelvin married Elin Regine Brekke, of Norwegian descent. Dr. Seuss, in 1949, dedicated his book "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" to his godson, Kelvin, Jr., the son of Kelvin and Elin Vanderlip.