That's because the neighborhood was not purely an Alexander venture, Krisel says, but a partnership with an investor and longtime builder, J.C. (Joe) Dunas. "Dunas said, 'We should have a variety of homes in that neighborhood, not only modern,' " Krisel says. Bob Alexander objected, but Dunas insisted, so they divvied up the lots, Krisel says.
For architecture Dunas hired Charles Dubois, about whom little is known. Krisel says he was a building designer, not a trained architect. As early photos show, the Dunas-Dubois Swiss Miss houses were among the neighborhood's earliest.
"Thirty distinctive estate homes" at Las Palmas Estates, one of the neighborhood's several phases, sold for $36,950 to $42,500, according to a sales brochure, for homes of three or four bedrooms and two or three full baths. All came with lighted pools.
The constant remodeling that has bedeviled the neighborhood for the past few years also attracted criminals who stole construction equipment and burglarized homes. So neighbors, including Corbin and Dickinson, formed the Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization and hired a security firm to patrol 24 hours a day. It seems to be working, they say.
One problem that affects folks citywide is loud parties and blaring stereos at vacation houses. Josiah Hamilton, whose Swiss Miss is across the road from the Elvis Honeymoon House, works for a firm that manages 100 mid-century vacation rentals. Their policy: "If the police are called one time," he says, "renters lose their full deposit and are immediately vacated from the property."
Not every party in the neighborhood, of course, is hosted by weekenders from Los Angeles. The most famous party house in Vista Las Palmas, Leisureland, is known for lavish soirees attracting hundreds of people, often in conjunction with art openings. There are flashing lights, go-go dancers, a sculpture of Greek god Atlas holding the world on his shoulders by the pool, the 'Blonde Bombshell Room,' and a fabulous Barbie collection.
Complaints about the parties are few, neighbors say. It may help that the owner of the house, Jamie Kabler, is president of the Neighborhood Organization. But more likely, says Jay Jones, a self-taught interior decorator who designs those parties, it's "because all the neighbors are here, too."
• Las Palmas boundaries: Chino on south, Stevens on north, Palm Cyn on east, Rose on West. Monte Vista divides Vista Las Palmas from Old Las Palmas.
Photos: Barry Sturgill, John Eng, Diane Bronstein, Dave Weinstein