On March 15, 1891, E.W. Scripps drew a sketch of Miramar Ranch. The lines show the canyons and streams that ran through the property. Courtesy of Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College.
E.W.'s wife, Nackie, had several large issues with the them moving to Scripps Ranch and fought for them to reside in Los Angeles. For one, it was 30 miles from the nearest hospital and a hotspot for rattlesnakes. That certainly isn't safe for the children! It was also within miles of one of Scripps' first loves, Lida. E.W. however loved the area so that was that. He wrote, “there is just enough of mountain background—just enough of sea foreground, just enough of level plain around and just enough of hill and hollow on the spot to suit a man whose aspirations are dreams and whose present comfort demands ease without plain flatness.”
1930 aerial of E.W. Scripps mansion and grounds, showing the sides of the house organized around the central courtyard. Courtesy of Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.
E.W. Scripps mansion and grounds in 1906 showing the southwest tower on the left side of the house.. Courtesy of Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.
So in August of 1889, E.W. and his brothers began building the Miramar Ranch, which translates to "View of the Sea" in Spanish. E.W.'s home was inspired by the Miramare Castle in Trieste, Italy, imitating the structures with its crenelated towers and promenade on the roof. He modified the plan, however, by adding the structural touches of a villa with four 1-story wings around the central courtyard.
1880 photographs of Miramare Castle in Trieste, Italy showing some of the architectural features E.W. incorporated into the design of his home in San Diego: Courtesy of Wickimedia Commons.
E.W. envisioned Miramar Ranch to be a utopia and one of "the most famous of dwelling places". He wrote "To make it a paradise, all that is needed will be a little more spending money than we now have (which we will soon have), contentment in our hearts and ability to compel to quietness those restless spirits who grumble because the country will not yield dollars as well as beauty" He imagined a domestic space that would provide companionship and care for the elderly, a source of income for brothers who needed work, and “isolation and privacy” for individual families, including his own.
The photograph above was taken sometime between 1907 and 1910 and shows E.W.’s daughter standing inside one part of the corridor that surrounded the courtyard/auto court. Courtesy of Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries
Ellen B. Scripps and her brother Will typically played chess after dinner at Miramar. Courtesy of Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College.
Multiple wings gave family members the option to have space from one another while still close enough for interaction when needed. E.W. said, “Fred would have his room or rooms and I would have mine...I will not interfere with him, his wife, his remnants, or his land, neither shall he interfere with mine.”
Photograph of the Miramar Ranch garage taken sometime between 1907 and 1910. Courtesy of Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.
E.W.’s wife, Nackie Holtsinger Scripps (1866-1930), with her horse in the mansion courtyard between 1907 and 1910. Courtesy of Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.
The E.W. Scripps mansion courtyard as it looked when the mansion was open for tours from a 1969 issue of San Diego Magazine. Courtesy of California History Room, California State Library
Early 1890’s photograph of the E.W. Scripps mansion dining room. Courtesy of Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.
1910 photograph showing the east wing of the mansion courtyard, flat topped roof and towe.: Courtesy of Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.
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