Long Beach’s 90814 ZIP code area is the city’s smallest at 1.34 square miles. The middle- to upper-middle class neighborhood appears to be carved out of the Belmont Shore/Naples 90803 ZIP to the south.

The area is long and narrow, running from Cherry eastward to Pacific Coast Highway between Seventh and Third streets.

It’s bracketed by some charming and historic parts of town: Carroll Park, Bluff Park and South Rose Park on the west end and Alamitos Heights and the Colorado Lagoon neighborhood on the east.

Walking from one end to the other you’ll find some great food and dining at Gusto Bread, Coffee Cup Cafe, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, the Breakfast Bar, Ubuntu, the Starling Diner, Little Coyote pizza and others.

Ubuntu Cafe is one of the popular restaurants in 90814, January 28, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

In terms of population per square mile, it’s a dense area and parking can be problematic if you don’t have a driveway or garage parking can be problematic—and expensive, too, if you’re the sort of person who’d rather stay in bed than rush out in your PJs to move your car and avoid street-sweeping tickets.

The median price of homes in the 90814 is in the mid-$800,000s and can top $1 million in some of the swankier parts of Alamitos Heights, especially in the high part of the Heights, the streets below Seventh and Fourth streets between the Lagoon and Bellflower Boulevard, where you’ll find houses designed by such world-class architects as Paul Tay and Raphael Soriano.

For such a relatively small slice of Long Beach, the 90814 enjoys an abundance of recreational opportunities including the continually improving Colorado Lagoon, Recreation Park’s 9-hole golf course and, if they’re allowed to cross the street into north 90803, Marina Vista Park and Marine Stadium.

Pickin’s for homebuyers in the 90814 are skimpy.

I lied. For the past week it’s been a lot skimpier than what you might expect “skimpy” to mean. I could only find one house currently for sale in the ZIP.

I lied again. The one house for sale is actually two houses on one lot, but who couldn’t use a bonus house?

The Miner Smith house at 365 Coronado St. in Long Beach’s 90814 area. Coldwell Banker photo.

The good news is the front house is a heck of a house. It’s one of about a half-dozen bungalows  in town designed and built by Miner Smith in the 1920s. Smith built his homes as a step up from your basic Craftsman/California-style bungalow by adding cool and extraordinary artistic touches. He termed his creations “bungalow mansions,” which, because of the care and craftsmanship of Smith, sold for considerably more than other, plainer bungalows that were being built in large numbers in the 1920s.

His porches featured ornamental sculpted concrete touches that looked like logs or trees, with similar work done inside on the ornate fireplaces. His houses generally featured handsome wooden doors with diamond-shaped windows set in. Inside, hardwood abounded, with built-in shelves, cabinets and bookcases.

This particular 1922 Smith-crafter bungalow at 365 Coronado Ave., has, likely because of regulations regarding homes’ exteriors in historic districts, retained much of its historic handsome appearance.

So, from the street, it looks like a perfect example of a Miner Smith house.

Inside, however, its history has largely disappeared. Making a home modern, with up-to-date conveniences is one thing, but this bungalow has been completely remodeled, with not so much as a nod toward preservation—no unpainted wood to speak off, no exquisite cabinetry, no fireplace (ornate or otherwise) and the front door has been replaced. Walls were torn down to give the home an open floor plan, like all the kids are doing these days.

The modernized interior of the Miner Smith house on Coronado Avenue. Coldwell Banker photo.

The listing says the home is in Bluff Park, but it’s actually north of that district in Bluff Heights—still a nice neighborhood, but a solid notch below Bluff Park.

The property, listed by Fay Abed of Coldwell Banker at an asking price of $1.6 million, which gets you both houses: The front home has three bedrooms and four baths, the back house is two beds and two baths. All bedrooms have their own bathroom.

The buyer will wind up with a comfortable, spacious and fully updated home (or two) in a nice neighborhood in the 90814, but they will end up with a piece of local architectural history that is fairly superficial, historically significant on the outside only.

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.