Whittier to the White House

Side Excursion #1

If you are giving yourself the tour of Richard Nixon’s life in Whittier, a great side excursion is to the lovely home at 14033 Honeysuckle Lane, a modest, 1,393 square foot house on a half acre lot with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. This was the first home that Pat and Richard purchased, closing escrow in 1949 when the home was brand new. Built by William T. Hughes, developer of the Hugheston Meadows, which was the site of many Nixon campaign events. Located across a dirt road from the Hugheston Meadows restaurant and ninth hole at Candlewood Country Club, the area was rural at the time, and there were only four experimental homes built. The Nixons shared their telephone service through what was called a “party line,” meaning ten to thirteen people were on this line—including a market, a dentist, a musician, a convalescent home, and a woman bookie who kept her receiver off the hook.

This is where Pat and Richard lived when he he ran against Helen Gahagan Douglas for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring democrat Senator Sheridan Downey.

Nixon was a serious campaigner, but occasionally an absent-minded candidate. When friends stopped by the Honeysuckle home one day, Nixon was out on the front lawn, watching his daughter Julie ride her tricycle. Julie abandoned the tricycle to play elsewhere, and when Nixon’s friends prepared to leave, he forgot Julie’s trike, which she left in front of their car. The friends ran the tricycle over as they drove off, dragging it down the street.

Nixon ultimately defeated Douglas in the Senate race, which he won by the widest margin of victory of any candidate in the country for Senate that year, laying the groundwork for Dwight Eisenhower to select him as his running mate.

As 1951 progressed, the Nixons sold their Honeysuckle property, opting for a newly constructed home on Anaconda.