Ten-acre Neff Park has three historic structures, a gazebo, a playground, picnic tables, a tennis court, a basketball court, and horseshoe pits. The sports facilities are available for open play, and the gazebo can be booked for special celebrations.
Chicago-based printer and mapmaker Andrew McNally and his son-in-law Edwin Neff are credited with creating La Mirada. Over 2,200 acres of Rancho Los Coyotes were acquired by McNally for $20,000 in 1888. He turned 700 acres into Windermere Ranch and planted lemon, orange, and olive orchards all around it. The property at its height grew to be the world’s largest olive grove.
The La Mirada Land Company was established in 1896 by McNally and Neff to build a new neighborhood of gentleman’s ranches on 20 acres. McNally wanted to develop a colony that was entirely distinct from any that had ever existed in Southern California.
According to the members’ opulent tastes, a clubhouse was to be constructed. The colony was to have broad boulevards, green spaces, a man-made lake, huge swimming pools, and maintenance of all the shared property.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, “it is anticipated that the distinctive surroundings and atmosphere of riches and luxury will draw a friendly and aristocratic populace, where all the whims of fashion and the extravagance of money can be indulged in without intrusion.”
A downturn in the economy prevented McNally from completing his plan, so he used the remaining property for agriculture. However, a few parcels did sell.
George House, Neff Barn, and Neff Home are a few examples of historic structures.
In the early days of Windermere Ranch, the George House was referred to as the superintendent’s cottage. Jack George, who started working on the ranch in 1910, spent fifty years living here with his family.
Frederick Roehrig, an architect, constructed the 11-room Neff Home in 1894. It has a red-tile, Spanish-style roof and shingles on the exterior. Edwin Neff, the first manager of the ranch, was the son-in-law of McNally who inspired the name of the residence.
The Neff Barn is utilized for group reservations, meetings, summer and holiday day camps, and special events. It also houses a sizable collection of historical artifacts.
As the ranch’s administrative center, the Neff residence was constructed in 1894. The National Register of Historic Places has listed all three structures. The Neff family sold 2,218 acres of their land to Jack Spears of the Los Angeles-based Pioneer Land and Realty Company in 1953 for $4,500,000, but they kept the 10 acres that surrounded their home. The current Neff Park was created from these 10 acres.
Next Point of Interest: La Mirada Disc Golf Courses