If you missed our Rolling Hills Newsletter for October, don’t worry we’ve got it all here for you!
The People of Rolling Hills
Excerpt from Rolling Hills: The Early Years by A.E. Hanson
“From the porch of Rancho Elastico I looked out over the Los Angeles basin and I knew that there were thousands and thousands of people who would like some fresh air, who would like to look down on the plains, who would like some elbow room.
One buyer was Mr. Done E. Williams, a businessman in Wilmington who had been, several years previously, one of Howard Jones’ football stars at the University of Southern California. He was about 30 years old, his wife about two years younger; they had two small girls, and were a typical, salt-of-the-earth, American family. Their home was started in March 1936.
The next buyer was a completely different sort of person, Ham B. Johns, insurance broker in Long Beach. I can remember as clearly as if it were yesterday, Ham Johns riding up to Rancho Elastico and hunting me up in the early spring of 1935. He was riding his favorite sorrel horse. He had on western riding pants over fancy, tooled cowboy boots, a black, velveteen shirt, a high white Stetson hat, the kind we used to call a ten-gallon hate, he had large Spanish spurs, a silver bit and silver rings on his reins, and some silver on his saddle. He was a member of the Long Beach Mounted Police and Major in the Victor McLaughlin Mounted Troops.
I got on my $50.00 horse, which in comparison to his looked like a second-hand model T, and we rode down to the Rolling Hills Gatehouse, and he selected his ranchito. He didn’t have one thin dime, but he had a tremendous desire to have a place in Rolling Hills, god bless him. We eventually got paid –we had to take out a lot of insurance with him though. His home was started in March, 1936.
Ham Johns and Don Williams were typical of the two types of people to whom Rolling Hills appealed – one was the family man with small children, and tremendously interested in gardening. He didn’t give a snap of his fingers about a horse – and I didn’t know if Don Williams had ever been on a horse. Ham Johns was the exact opposite; he was keen about horses, parades, roping, and rodeos. I don’t think he ever planted a plant, although Mrs. Johns had a small, modest garden.
The people who first purchased in Rolling Hills were the people who made it a vibrant, pulsing community. They had a number of things in common, such as wanting to have a better environment for their family – a place for their children to grow up in, a place of fresh air – and they all had deep feeling for growing things, whether it was children, plants, a baby calf, a new-born colt, a baby lamb. That was one of the ties they all had in common.
By the Spring of 1937 we had a sufficient number of families living in Rolling Hills so that we were becoming a community. The men were executives in corporations or in business for themselves. The men would average probably 35 years of age; the women were somewhat younger. The families would have from one to three children.
Rolling Hills was unique in that it was not a suburb, but a brand new village. It was about 5 miles to the stores and post office at Malaga Cove, and about an equal distance to San Pedro and Torrance.”
Excerpt from Rolling Hills: The Early Years by A.E. Hanson Page 52-53.