Historically, high society in Long Beach has been chiefly centered in the Los Cerritos/Virginia Country Club neighborhood, home to many of the city’s top attorneys, bankers, oilmen, Realtors and their wives, who continually opened their homes and yards for teas, meetings, parties and receptions.
It’s Long Beach’s old-money territory, with large homes and mansions set on massive lots along the quiet, winding roads lined by 100-year-old trees.
There are a couple of homes currently listed in that neighborhood, with rich society backgrounds. Both are impressive in their own right, in terms of their outward appearance.
One, at 4160 Locust Ave., is a sprawling compound consisting of a main house featuring five bedrooms and five bathrooms coupled with a pair of ADUs—one is a large townhouse-style 1,150-square-foot, two-level home with two bedrooms, and one and a half baths. The second is a single-level home with one bedroom, one bath, and a private yard area. Both have inside laundry.
The 1930 home was one of the first residences built in Los Cerritos, and its most notable resident was Winifred Campbell, who grew up and lived in the house for decades. She was married to Realtor Melvin L. Campbell. She had long been interested in charity and volunteer work and in 1940 she founded the Assistance League and its young women’s auxiliary, the Rick Rackers.
The former Campbell home’s total square footage, including the ADUs, is 6,457, with a total of eight bedrooms and seven and a half baths and, while the buyer is obviously free to rent out the ADUs, the list price for the property of $3.795 million would indicate that the new owner probably won’t need the additional rental income to help with the mortgage, so the layout is ideal for a family compound with room for elderly parents as well as adult children.
The house(s) and pool/spa and patio are in the center of the half-acre property, with plenty of room left over for dogs and games.
The bedrooms are large, and three of them could serve as the primary bedroom, with two on the ground floor and one upstairs, each with its own full bath.
The home just underwent a thorough redesign and upgrade by its current owner, Jereme James, a contractor who owns several businesses including a building company and a design firm.
James, in fact, owns both the Locust property as well as the next place we’re visiting. It’s nearby at 135 E. Roosevelt Road. Again, it’s been totally redone by James.
The home on Roosevelt is a tad smaller than the Locust house, with five bedrooms and six baths in 3,770 square feet on about a quarter of an acre; a bit less expensive, listed at $3.17 million; a bit less of a compound, though it does have a very nice ADU with a full kitchen, a full bath, two bedrooms and fireplace in 900 square feet.
It’s designed in a modern farmhouse style, with a bright and wide-open floor plan. James has relocated its kitchen from near the front of the house to farther back, where it opens to the pool and patio area through 16-foot bifold doors.
An additional and welcome benefit are the 27 solar panels installed on the roof with an electric car charging station.
Both houses are listed by Tina Burke of eXp Realty, and both are vacant (as are the ADUs) and ready to move in.
Though Burke says there’s been a bit more interest in the Locust Avenue home, “they both really have the best energy. I’ve been in a lot of homes over the years as a Realtor and an appraiser, and some you just want to run out of, and it’s not because they’re bad houses, but some have a better vibe and a better energy.”
That may be true, depending on what you want out of a home. Both houses are pristine and modernized, and if there’s a gripe to be made, it’s the fact that they’ve been so thoroughly rebuilt as to be basically brand new and in a style employed by home builders and flippers with no preservation of some of the touches that make older homes so attractive: elaborate molding, built-in cabinetry, original hardwood doors, vintage tilework in the bathrooms or kitchen, to name a few. There’s a feeling of luxury here, though not of history.