History of Mesa Palos Verdes
Written by Mr. Ray Mathys, Resident Since 1964

In the fall of 1962 Ray Watt acquired the land that Mesa sits on today. The land had previously been owned by Don Wallace, who had a huge antenna farm on it. His system was initially built during World War Two to provide the means for war correspondents to report on the war's progress in the Pacific.

By January 1963 an entrance was graded in off Crest Road at what was to be Whitley Collins, and a portable sales office was set up at this location. Buyers could reserve lots from a tract map. Five models were built in a row on the west side of Whitley Collins and one on the east corner of Crest and Whitley Collins, where a temporary sales office sat. From there to Sunmist was a parking lot. This comprised the initial model complex. Full grown pine trees that were planted along Highridge Road for a wind break were moved to the center of each end of Whitley Collins.

The tract started out being built in increments of fifty houses. The first ones were built along the West side of Whitley Collins. The next batches were built in the Quailwood and Stonecrest area. I don't remember the expansion from there except that Whitecliff and Sunmist were finished in July of '64. East of Whitley Collins hadn't been started at that time. Sales had dropped off. One builder bought eleven lots along the east side of Whitley Collins and began building larger more expensive houses. Sales were slow and he went broke, but Ray Watt took over and finished the last 3. Small homes were built on the three cul-de-sac streets off Mistridge Drive: Pine Castle Drive, Moro Bay Drive and New Star Drive They didn't sell too well so he changed the design and built the houses along mistridge. It took five years to build out the full tract of 423 homes. Ridgecrest school was originally planned to be built in the center of the tract. The plan was later changed and the school site was moved to its present location. Ridgecrest was built in the latter part of 1964.

In the beginning Mesa was surrounded by 450 acres of unimproved land. What existed was Crestridge, Saint John Fisher Church and school, Del Cerro Park, Northrop Research Center, Monaco, bean fields, and an old farm house and barn. Both Crenshaw and Crest Road had one traffic lane in each direction with no curbs or sidewalks. Heavy fog prevailed due to agriculture and irrigation. In '64 or '65, a Texaco station was built on the sourthwest corner of Crenshaw and Crest. Shortly thereafter Whitley Collins was extended from Crest down around to Crenshaw. What this extension did was create two gas station sites, Union 76 on the East side and Standard Oil on the West. Next came a Shell station on the corner of Crest and Highridge, and another Union 76 at the corner of Highridge and Crestridge.

Five gas stations around us hit the wake-up switch, which resulted in the Mesa PV HOA being formed. We became political overnight and began the battle for compatible development and have been fighting for it ever since. We joined the Council of Home Owners Association early on to increase our lobbying strength. We took a real active role in the battle for incorporation of our city and helped to pick the original City Council members.

The Mesa HOA has worked continuously over the years to improve and maintain the image of our community as being an upscale, highly desirable place to live and raise a family. The entryways and perimeter walls provide the first impression of the neighborhood. Therefore, this is where the efforts have been concentrated. Monuments were built in the median at both ends of Whitley Collins Drive to help provide the impression of being the entryway to an upscale community. Later on, when money was available, the light fixtures were added. New Mesa Palos Verdes identity signs were installed at the two entryways. Fifty feet along each side of the two Whitley Collins entryways were veneered with stone to further enhance the community image. Periodically, the perimeter walls along Crest Road and Highridge Road are painted with a vinyl acrylic coating for apearance's sake as well as to slow the erosion of the concrete block due to exposure to the sun and weathering. These improvements have been made over the years using the annual HOA dues money along with the welcomed City finanacial assistance from both RPV and RHE.

Mesa is a great place to live, and with everyone's help it can be kept that way.




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Cover of booklet published in 1976 which was "prepared as a public service to the new residents of Mesa Palos Verdes."
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Mr. Ray Mathys
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