By Maureen Neeley Homes photographed by Ellen Butler
Moving can be a real pain. Selling, buying, packing, unpacking. But what if you could just take your home with you? That’s what plenty of Long Beach residents have done over the years, with many of them moving their houses INTO Belmont Heights.
Take for instance 247 Bennett. This substantial, two-story French Normandy-style home was built for Judge Percy Hight and his wife Nancy Maree Hight in 1926. Construction of the house and garage started on a lot on Weston Place, several miles away. It was designed and built by preeminent craftsman Wayne Foster. Judge Hight decided mid-construction to move to Belmont Heights. So, the Hights hired Star Movers to transport the partially built home to its current prominent location on a knoll in Belmont Heights. A more modest home was erected on the Weston Place lot by Wayne Foster’s brother.
Another unusual move was the old Bixby Mansion, located today on 4th and Roycroft. This was the original home of Jotham and Margaret Bixby, two of Long Beach’s founding residents. In 1884 the couple erected a substantial Victorian on West Ocean between
Chestnut and Magnolia. It must have seemed heavenly after several years of living in the old adobe at Rancho Los Cerritos. In 1911 they vacated this 2-1/2 story home for the Myers Mansion on East Ocean Boulevard at the foot of Junipero (that home has since been demolished). Their old Victorian home was then occupied by Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Howard, renowned for their collection of Asian art objects. As the Howards aged, they sought a home for their unique collection, fortunately finding a willing recipient in the Assistance League of Long Beach. This latter organization had renovated the former Belmont Heights branch of the LB Public Library at 4th and Roswell. It had the perfect rooms for displaying the Howard collection. But what about the Howard’s house? In 1947 new owner Laura Q. Smith moved the former Bixby house to its current location by sawing the structure in two, and unfortunately, removing the character-defining cupola and attic. Eight years later the Zambrano family bought it. Today it overlooks Colorado Lagoon, sporting a fanciful storybook roof of wood shingles with mirrored detailing.
In 1924, furrier Frank Harris hired contractor Edgar Horner to build an attractive single story Spanish Revival home with a front courtyard at 3808 Pine Avenue. Two years later Harris moved the house to its current location at 269 Quincy after oil exploration in Bixby Knolls
encroached upon many of the homes there. Harris, an émigré from the Russian Revolution, started a furrier business in downtown Long Beach in 1920. Subsequent generations continued with the business, making it one of the best-known companies in the City. The current owners of the house on Quincy added a second story to the rear, complete with an outdoor arcade overlooking the backyard.
A more recent move took place in 1950 when lots along the old Pacific Electric Red Car line opened up. As the Southern Pacific released its ownership of track easements, developers and individuals bought the lots. Edgar J. Davis Sr. lived at 3805 Wilton. He was an oil worker and his son, Edgar Jr., was in the Navy. When the lots near the old P.E. Right of Way opened up for sale, Davis bought one on a slight rise. Using Star House Movers, the family relocated the Wilton Street home (originally built in 1924) to 4450 E. 6th Street in Belmont Heights. In quick succession they added a service porch, breakfast room and garage prior to taking up occupancy.
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