A mobile home (of sorts) on Signal Hill for $1.194 million

One dark evening in early 2002, an old and stately Craftsman home on the south side of Ocean Boulevard at First Place snuck off its foundation and made a slow and perilous journey up to a new lot in a new city, a bit more than 3 miles inland where it would settle, no longer “steps from the beach,” but where it would enjoy an arguably grander view of the ocean and Long Beach, the city where it had lived since 1911.

The house sold for a buck in 2002. Because it had a violent and terminal date with the wrecking ball to make room for an oceanside condo development, Michael Noll, then-mayor of Signal Hill, and Signal Hill planning commissioner John Ellis, managed to scrounge up enough pennies to rescue the house and, at a considerably higher price, relocate it to their town.

The Craftsman Bungalow in its original location on First Place in Alamitos Beach. Courtesy photo.

“We just wanted to save the house, it’s a beautiful Craftsman,” said Noll. “It cost a lot though to move it and fix it up.” He said he doesn’t recall how much it cost, but, “I think it would’ve been cheaper just to build a new one.”

The first people to buy the house once it got to Signal Hill were Jeff Kieu and his partner Brett Rohring, who purchased the home in 2002.

And now, they’ve put the house at 2440 Gaviota Ave. up for sale at $1,194,000.

For the move from Long Beach, the house was carved up into three pieces—four, counting the garage and the carriage house on top of it. “We had to measure everything carefully to make sure it wouldn’t interfere with traffic signals and power lines when going down the streets,” said Noll. “There were a million things to consider to make sure we could move it. It’s not something I’d like to do again.”

The home’s journey had it trucking to Alamitos Avenue north to Pacific Coast Highway, east to Walnut Avenue, east to Burnett Street, then north to Rose Avenue to the rear of its new foundation on Gaviota Avenue.

Kieu said the house was in pretty good shape when they bought it, though because it had rained during the move, water had pretty much destroyed the hardwood floors.

“So we put in new flooring, we modernized the kitchen a bit and we added a patio and a fire pit,” he said.

The owners are overly modest. They’ve taken meticulously good care of their home over 17 years and it’s aged remarkably well, looking more youthful than ever sitting proudly atop the hill, and the former mayor and planning commissioner should be applauded for rescuing it from the trash heap and giving it a new life in the Crescent Heights neighborhood.

The view from the patio and fire pit. Courtesy photo.

The two-story, five-bedroom, three-bath house is an expansive iteration of a Craftsman, sprawling over 3,000 square feet and a 9,000 square-foot lot.

Its white-and-cream interior is bright and airy, augmented by an abundance of windows letting natural light into the rooms.

The two downstairs bedrooms can be used for offices or guest rooms, while the master bedroom with bath and the other two bedrooms are upstairs.

The patio and fire pit were good adds and offer panoramic southern views of Long Beach, the ocean and Catalina Island.

The one-bedroom 540 square-foot carriage house is a rental, generating a bit of income for the property owners, and is expected to be vacant soon. It’s perfect for an older relative or a kid you don’t want bothering you in the main house.

“It’s been a great home for entertaining,” said Kieu, who is moving with Rohring to Rancho Mirage. “We love the house,” he said. “But it’s time now to let someone else enjoy it for a while.”

If you think he’s talking about you, contact its listing agent Judy Pierce at Anderson Real Estate Group.

 

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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