Harry Benedict, the personal secretary for Frank Vanderlip, built the "Villa Francesca" as a gatehouse to the other entrance to the Portugeues Bend gated community on Peppertree Drive. He had planned to build a more palatial estate further up the hill, but as the Depression hit, he too abandoned his plans. Elin Vanderlip, in her memoirs tells the story that Frank Vanderlip Sr. , while vacationing in Paris, had cabeled Mr. Benedict just prior to the 1929 stock market crash to sell his stocks, but Mr. Benedict thought better of it and did not, thus costing Mr. Vanderlip millions of dollars. Mr. Benedict also had control of the Palos Verdes Corporation from 1943 to 1945, which owned the Vanderlip family's remaining ownership of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Etching of Villa Francesca by Nancy Backe
For more interesting things about the Palos Verdes Peninsula and it's history see Palos Verdes Secrets & Little Known Facts
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