Cinderella Ranch: Anaheim (Part 1)

Cinderella Ranch: Anaheim (Part 1)

Last year, I fell in love with Cinderella Ranch houses. KayLynn Deveney’s All You Can Lose is Your Heart introduced me to Cinderella Ranches, and Barbara Miller Lane’s Houses for a New World only fueled my fascination.

Luckily for me, many Cinderella Ranch houses were built right here in Southern California. This includes the first three tracts, built by the Vandruff brothers themselves in western Anaheim. (After building these homes, the brothers couldn’t find land tracts large enough to build profitably, and licensed their designs to other builders.)

Armed with a copy of Dr. Lane’s book (which has two small maps of Cinderella Ranch tracts in Anaheim), I went to see these dream homes of yesteryear for myself.

If any of my readers are thinking of doing the same thing, let me spare you some pain: Section 1 had the lowest number of recognizable Cinderella Ranch houses. Nearly all had been altered in some way – many beyond recognition. One house had – horror of horrors – been converted into a profoundly unattractive monstrosity that grossly overfilled the lot it occupied. (And Cinderella Ranches are on WIDE lots. The Vandruffs negotiated a 70-72′ lot width with the city of Anaheim.)

Sadly, Section 2-2 didn’t fare much better. Section 2-1 has the highest number of minimally altered, recognizable Cinderella Ranches. (Section 2-1 will be shown in Part 2.)

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Not the original garage door, but at least the gable is still untouched.

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The windows appear to have been replaced (I realize older windows aren’t always energy efficient), but overall this house looks well preserved.

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Original window! Original shutters!

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I’m in cute-1950s-house heaven.

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This appears to be the Ravenswood model.

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A house very similar to this one (with the facade flipped and the shutters trimmed in black) appears in Professor Deveney’s book.

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You can even see the cuteness from across the street, through trees that were probably planted in 1955.

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Original windows gone…but thankfully the gingerbread trim remains.

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One of the altered houses. Were it not for the asymmetrical gable and the brick placement, I would never have recognized this as a Cinderella Ranch.

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Newer front door, gable and window left alone.

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I normally dislike stucco and painted brick, but the color scheme here is SO cute that it just clicks. Whoever owns this house must really love it.

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Original shutters seem to be a rare feature on surviving Cinderella Ranch houses. I’m glad to see these are well preserved.

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The gingerbread gable and original shutters say “I’m a Vandruff” – and I love the fact that the trim is a nice 1950s minty green. One of the cutest Cinderella Ranch houses left in Section 1.

I plan to do more Cinderella Ranch posts, highlighting surviving examples of these homes in other cities. (I’m also researching storybook ranch houses from other builders.) Please bear with me…I have to locate them first!

(If you have questions regarding my photo policy, click here.)

There are 8 comments for this article
    • Retrolandia at 12:12 am

      You don’t know the half of it…I’m slowly tracking down as many storybook ranch tracts as I can find in SoCal. Accidentally stumbled upon two in San Diego County last month!

  1. Pingback: Cinderella Ranch: Anaheim (Part 2) - Retrolandia
  2. Ingrid at 8:39 am

    I am obsessed with the Cinderella Ranch! I live in Lodi, CA and I have found many house twins from your article. I am trying to find any information about the house styles/colors because I want to incorporate some of the features into my 1960 ranch house which is currently a little boring. Any information??

    • Retrolandia at 10:14 pm

      Hi Ingrid! I had no idea Lodi had Cinderella Ranch houses; thanks for the tip! The best resources on Cinderella Ranch houses in particular are a couple of books I’ve mentioned on this blog:

        All You Can Lose is Your Heart

      by Kaylynn Deveney and

        Houses for a New World

      by Dr. Barbara Lane Miller (although I would love to someday write a book about Cinderella Ranches myself). Professor Deveney is reportedly planning to create another photography book focusing on the Cinderella Ranch houses in Del City, Oklahoma.

      I also found this scanned Cinderella Ranch brochure, courtesy of a Costa Mesa local: http://s872.photobucket.com/user/designerjimo/library/Costa%20Mesa-Cinderella%20Homes%20College%20Park-1958?sort=6&page=1

      There is limited information on house color, but Retro Renovation is the best source on midcentury house stuff, including exterior paint colors, hands down. (Or just look up my second Cinderella Ranch posting. Some of the houses in that tract might possibly be sporting their original paint colors…).

      Personally, if I ever manage to buy a storybook ranch house (Cinderella or not), I’m leaning toward black trim and a bright pink front door.

  3. Lori Allen at 2:37 pm

    Hello! So excited to have stumbled upon your site! I was born and raised in THIS style of home. It was custom built in 1958 and my 97 year old daddy still lives there today! He contracted the builder from somewhere in L.A. or the Valley area. It sits on a 1/3 or 1/4 acre lot. New windows, small bump out kitchen window built in keeping with the design and an enclosed patio. That’s it. Inside is all original, Pink tiles and all!
    Love your site!

  4. Mark VanDruff at 8:34 pm

    As of 7//16/2017, J. V. Vandruff is still going full tilt at 95. He is lucid and remembers every home he ever designed or built. His email is truthisgreat@sbcglobal.net. His daughter-in-law, Carey VanDruff, has much of his memorabilia and has been scanning, and will eventually post the best-of on a website to be determined. Her email is carey.vandruff@gmail.com.

    • Retrolandia at 12:07 am

      Hi Mark! Thanks for stopping by, and for the information. I definitely want to visit Carey’s website whenever it’s ready, and I may be reaching out to Jean about the possibility of an interview sometime.

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