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One Kind of House by Alana Coons


Until now, the first homes built by Cliff May and how they related to each other in the context of his career and the development of his style was unknown. This was complicated by May’s own recollections later in life of when he built particular homes.


In preparing for this home tour, research done by Dale and Ron May (no relation to Cliff May) and Bruce Coons, brought to light some important new information on the sequence of his first homes that were built on speculation and his first commissions which drove his career from that point on. While much had been established in documenting his later homes, especially those of the mid century era after May left San Diego, the homes that were the progenitors of his signature style were not well documented.


Through construction and building completion notices, it is now known the following homes were finished as listed here in chronological order:


February 1932 .....Col. Arthur J. & Francis O’Leary House February 1933 .....Lindstrom House August 1933 .......Sheldon Hodge House November 1933 ....Dr. John R. & Florence Porterfield Beardsley House May 1934 .........Langston House October 1934 ......Alexander & Nancy Highland House November 1934 ....Dittenhaver House December 1934 .....Wood House


May was as unpretentious as his ranch style homes. There were other builders who were also experimenting with this design concept but none as influential or as successful as May would become in defining and perfecting the style. This is most likely due to his intimate knowledge of how a hacienda actually functioned, having lived in and around them his entire life.


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