This magazine's headquarters is situated on land that was originally part of a land grant to Don José Arguello, governor of Spanish California in 1815. The site is an appropriate location for a magazine that was founded in 1898 by the Southern Pacific Railroad to promote the California lifestyle.
Constructed in 1951 (with ongoing additions until 1966), architect Cliff May and landscape architect Thomas Church synthesized a corporate version of their celebrated yet sensible postwar suburban gardens. The structure, opened to the public in 1952, embodies many of May’s innovations, employing contemporary materials and ideas that aimed to modernize the ranch house without compromising the relaxed, informal, indoor-outdoor qualities.
As with other May and Church commissions, the outdoors came inside with ample patio gardens to assist with the seamless transition. Although the original display gardens by Church, which followed the contours of San Francisquito Creek, have been altered over time, the idea of a long serpentine border flanking a generous lawn still survives today with many of its original trees and shrubs.