La Casa Pacifica (Spanish for "The Pacific House"; translated also as "The House of Peace") is a classic California beachfront mansion located in the gated community of Cottons Point Estates/Cypress Shores in the casual South Orange County beach town of San Clemente, California, and overlooks the Pacific Ocean from its blufftop position. This estate is also known as President Richard Nixon's Western White House, used while living and working outside of the official presidential residence, the White House in Washington D.C.
The large Spanish-style California Mission Revival Style mansion was modeled after a country home in San Sebastian, Spain and was designed by architect Carl Lindbom. It was built in 1926 for Hamilton H. Cotton, one of the founding financiers of the city of San Clemente, and a Democratic Party backer who entertained party luminaries, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as guests in his home.
Around the time Nixon took office in 1969 he asked a young campaign aide, Fred Divel, to search the coast of Southern California for a presidential hideaway. Divel found the Cotton estate at the southernmost end of the then-sleepy San Clemente and immediately adjacent to the northern border of the massive Camp Pendleton Marine Base (USMC). Nixon bought the estate in 1969 from Cotton's widow, and dubbed the home "La Casa Pacifica". It was soon nicknamed "The Western White House" by the press, and the name was favored by Nixon himself; the latter became the term of subsequent similar presidential homes.
After purchasing the estate Nixon made a number of alterations to the original home, done for both personal preferences and for the needs of the Secret Service. The tennis court was replaced with a swimming pool and much of the estate was wrapped by a 1500-foot C-shaped wall.
Today the almost six-acre estate includes about 9,000 square feet of living space, with tile and hardwood flooring, arched doorways and detailed groin-vaulted ceilings. Among its key features is the ocean-view office used by Nixon, an entertainer’s pavilion, and a master suite with an expanded bathroom and closet area. Formal living spaces open to a classic hacienda-style patio courtyard with a hand-painted tile fountain in its center. The missing tennis court has since been replaced with a modern one.
During Nixon's tenure as chief executive, the home was visited by such VIP guests as Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, Henry Kissinger, and Bebe Rebozo.
It is an interesting historical footnote that U.S. Coast Guard LORAN Station San Mateo Point (located in southernmost San Clemente) would play a part in the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, which ultimately led to the resignation of President Nixon (ostensibly to avoid impeachment). According to the US Government Printing Office Web Site:
In May 1975, the Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF) decided that it was necessary to question former President Richard M. Nixon in connection with various investigations being conducted by the WSPF. Mr. Nixon was questioned over the period of two days, June 23 and June 24, 1975, and the testimony was taken as part of various investigations being conducted by the January 7, 1974, Grand Jury for the District of Columbia (the third Watergate Grand Jury). Chief Judge George Hart signed an order authorizing that the sworn deposition of Mr. Nixon be taken at the Coast Guard Station in San Mateo, California with two members of the grand jury present.
Following the president's resignation, both he and his wife retired to the San Clemente estate, where Nixon composed his memoirs. During those years many in the local community still displayed their loyalty to the embattled former president despite the public embarrassment of the collapse of his political career. The Frost/Nixon interviews were originally planned for La Casa Pacifica, but radio signals from the Coast Guard's neighboring navigational-aid transmitters interfered with the TV gear and the interview had to be moved to a nearby home of a Nixon supporter.
By the late 1980s the Nixons had moved to Park Ridge, New Jersey, and sold their home to Allergan founder Gavin S. Herbert and his business partners. A strong Republican donor, Herbert kept the home as his own while developing the area around it into an enclave of individual luxury mansions.
The home has remained a private residence and was closed to the public; however, its legacy as a presidential retreat is still used as a calling card for the city of San Clemente. The road adjacent to Interstate 5 in the area is called Avenida del Presidente (Avenue of the President).
The estate sits just north of some of the West Coast's best and most well known surfing spots, which cover four miles from San Onofre State Park through Lower and Upper Trestles and ending at Cotton's Point, itself one of the best big summer wave spots along the entire coast.
In December 2009, the city of San Clemente passed a "Historical Property Preservation Agreement" to restore, improve, and preserve this historical building.
Gavin Herbert publicly listed La Casa Pacifica for sale in April 2015, with an asking price of $75 million. He removed the property from the market in September. He relisted the property for $69 million in April 2016 and again received no offers, withdrawing it from the market in October. In 2017, Herbert again offered the property at a reduced price of $63.5 million.
Another Nice Mess is a 1972 comedy film written and directed by Bob Einstein, a former writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The film starred Rich Little as Richard Nixon and Herb Voland as Spiro Agnew.Birthplace of Richard Nixon
The Richard Nixon Birthplace is the birthplace and early childhood home of Richard Nixon (1913-1994), the 37th President of the United States. It is located on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum at 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard in Yorba Linda, California, and now serves as a historic house museum. Built in 1912 on family ranchland, it was home to the Nixon family until 1922. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973, and is also a California Historical Landmark.Christopher Nixon Cox
Christopher Nixon Cox (born March 14, 1979) is an American lawyer based in New York. He is the son of Tricia Nixon Cox and Edward F. Cox and grandson of Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States and Pat Nixon, First Lady of the United States.Donald Nixon
Francis Donald Nixon (November 23, 1914 – June 27, 1987) was a
younger brother of United States President Richard Nixon.Edward Nixon
Edward Calvert Nixon (May 3, 1930 – February 27, 2019) was an American entrepreneur and the youngest brother of United States President Richard Nixon. He coauthored his memoir, The Nixons: A Family Portrait, with Karen L. Olson. The book was published in 2009.Frost/Nixon (film)
Frost/Nixon is a 2008 British-American historical drama film based on the 2006 play of the same name by Peter Morgan, who also adapted the screenplay. The film tells the story behind the Frost/Nixon interviews of 1977. The film was directed by Ron Howard and produced for Universal Pictures by Howard, Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment and Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films, and received five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
The film reunites its original two stars from the West End and Broadway productions of the play: Michael Sheen as British television broadcaster David Frost and Frank Langella as former United States President Richard Nixon. It was released in the United States on December 5, 2008, and in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2009.Jack Brennan
John Vincent Brennan (born August 16, 1937) is a retired United States Marine Corps officer and former political aide. He is best known as being U.S. President Richard Nixon's post-resignation chief of staff.Jennie Eisenhower
Jennie Elizabeth Eisenhower (born August 15, 1978) is an American actress. She has performed in a number of theater productions and had minor roles in some feature films. She is the great-grandchild and grandchild of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, respectively.List of residences of Presidents of the United States
Official residences (such as, the White House, Camp David, or the former President's House in Philadelphia) are not the only residences of Presidents of the United States. Listed below are the private residences of the various Presidents of the United States.Manolo Sanchez (Nixon staff member)
Manuel "Manolo" Sanchez (born 1930) is the former long-time valet to Richard Nixon, known for his unfailing loyalty and fierce devotion to the former United States president. Sanchez was born in Spain and immigrated to Cuba at a young age. There, he worked as a dishwasher and laborer before moving to the United States. He was employed by Richard Nixon from 1962 to about 1980. The famously reserved Nixon developed a close relationship with Sanchez and once described him as a member of his family.Master list of Nixon's political opponents
A master list of Nixon political opponents was compiled to supplement the original Nixon's Enemies List of 20 key people considered opponents of President Richard Nixon. The master list was compiled by Charles Colson's office and sent in memorandum form to John Dean. Dean later provided to the Senate Watergate Committee this updated "master list" of political opponents. The original list split out "Black Congressmen", listing "all of the Black congressmen [and congresswomen]".Millhouse (film)
Millhouse: A White Comedy is a 1971 documentary by Emile de Antonio following Richard Nixon's political career from his election to the House of Representatives in 1946 to his election as President of the United States in 1968. It begins with Nixon's "last press conference" in 1962 after his loss in the race for Governor of California in which he famously said, "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore." Then a collage of videos show Nixon's trajectory from his House campaign to his involvement in the Alger Hiss case, election the Senate in 1950, election as Vice President in 1952 including the full Checkers speech, campaign for the presidency in 1960, campaign for Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, and his triumphant election as President in 1968 as the "New Nixon". The film featured interviews but no voice-over.
The title is a pun on Nixon's middle name, Milhous.Moscow Summit (1972)
The Moscow Summit of 1972 was a summit meeting between President Richard M. Nixon of the United States and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was held May 22–30, 1972. It featured the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), and the U.S.–Soviet Incidents at Sea agreement. The summit is considered one of the hallmarks of the détente at the time between the two Cold War antagonists.Nixon interviews
The Nixon interviews were a series of interviews of former U.S. President Richard Nixon conducted by British journalist David Frost, and produced by John Birt. They were recorded and broadcast on television and radio in four programs in 1977. The interviews became the central subject of Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon in 2006.Pardon of Richard Nixon
The pardon of Richard Nixon (Proclamation 4311 ) on September 8, 1974, by President Gerald Ford granted Nixon, Ford's predecessor as president, a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he might have committed against the United States while president. In particular, the pardon covered Nixon's actions during the Watergate scandal. In a televised broadcast to the nation, Ford, who had succeeded to the presidency upon Nixon's resignation, explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country and that the Nixon family's situation was "a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must."After Ford left the White House in 1977, he privately justified his pardon of Nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of Burdick v. United States, a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court decision that suggests that a pardon carries an imputation of guilt and that acceptance carries a confession of guilt.Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act
The Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (Pub.L. 93–526, 88 Stat. 1695, enacted December 19, 1974, codified at 44 U.S.C. § 2111, note) is an act of Congress enacted in the wake of the August 1974 resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. It placed Nixon's presidential records into federal custody to prevent their destruction. The legislative action was intended to reduce secrecy, while allowing historians to fulfill their responsibilities.Saturday Night Massacre
The Saturday Night Massacre is the name popularly applied to the series of events that took place in the United States on the evening of Saturday, October 20, 1973, during the Watergate scandal. U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox; Richardson refused and resigned effective immediately. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; Ruckelshaus refused, and also resigned. Nixon then ordered the third-most-senior official at the Justice Department, Solicitor General Robert Bork, to fire Cox. Bork considered resigning, but did as Nixon asked. The political and public reactions to Nixon's actions were negative and highly damaging to the president. A new special counsel was appointed eleven days later on November 1, 1973, and on November 14, 1973, a court ruled that the dismissal had been illegal.Shafer Commission
The Shafer Commission, formally known as the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, was appointed by U.S. President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s. Its chairman was former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer. The commission issued a report on its findings in 1972 that called for the decriminalization of marijuana possession in the United States. The report was ignored by the White House, but is an important document against prohibition.
While the Controlled Substances Act was being drafted in a House committee in 1970, Assistant Secretary of Health Roger O. Egeberg had recommended that marijuana temporarily be placed in Schedule I, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending the Commission's report. On March 22, 1972, the Commission's chairman, Raymond P. Shafer, presented a report to Congress and the public entitled "Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding," which favored ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use.
The Commission's report said that while public sentiment tended to view marijuana users as dangerous, they actually found users to be more timid, drowsy and passive. It concluded that cannabis did not cause widespread danger to society. It recommended using social measures other than criminalization to discourage use. It compared the situation of cannabis to that of alcohol.The Commission's proposed decriminalization of marijuana possession was opposed, in 1974, by the recommendations of a congressional subcommittee chaired by Senator James Eastland.The Nixon administration did not implement the recommendations from The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. However, the report has frequently been cited by individuals supporting removal of cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.Trestles
Trestles is a collection of surfing spots at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County, California. Trestles consists of, from north to south, Upper Trestles (Uppers), Lower Trestles (Lowers), and Middle Trestles (Middles). North of Upper Trestles is the surf spot called Cottons. South of Middles is the surf spot called The Church. It is named after Trestles Bridge, a wooden trestle bridge that surfers must walk under to reach the beach, replaced in 2012 by a concrete viaduct.Lower Trestles consistently has the best waves of the group. For many years there was an WSL World Tour surfing competition held at Lowers every year, as well as the NSSA Nationals. Uppers is less consistent, but it has the potential to be a good wave with a long ride. North of Uppers is Cotton's Point, the location of former President Richard Nixon's home, La Casa Pacifica, aka "The Western White House", and the associated surfing spot of Cottons.