While his name isn’t too well-known outside of his adopted hometown — La Cañada Flintridge — architect Jack Simison made a considerable impact on the Verdugo foothills community where he lived and worked for over half a century.
Born in Ohio in 1922, Simison began his career as an aeronautical engineer at Northrop, working on the Flying Wing, an early precursor to the B-17 Stealth Bomber. In 1942, he volunteered for the Army air corps, but was instead assigned to be a tank gunner with the 13th armored division, which was deployed to France. There, he suffered a head injury that deafened him and damaged his eyesight. Despite his injuries, after the war, a determined Simison began architectural training at the University of Cincinnati’s prestigious College of Arts and Sciences, before moving with his wife, Sylvia, to Pasadena and receiving his architecture degree from U.S.C.
Launching his own practice in 1955, Simison produced numerous residential and commercial projects throughout the Crescenta Valley, including the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club, featured in the March 1964 issue of Architectural Digest, the La Crescenta Water Company, Hill St. Cafe, and Montrose’s quaint Main Street. But prior to all that, Simison designed his own family residence, which is now on the market for the very first time.
Located about a mile and a half north of Descanso Gardens, the 1948 post-and-beam wears its strong Frank Lloyd Wright influence proudly on its proverbial sleeve. Rising gradually from its site, the single-story home disperses four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, a formal dining room, an eat-in kitchen, an office, and laundry room between its 2,557 square feet. In accordance with Wrightian/California Modernist ideals, it’s constructed from organic materials — wood, stone, glass — that enable continuous connection to nature. Outstanding features include beamed ceilings, wrap-around ribbon windows, a stacked-stone fireplace, flagstone flooring, built-in furniture, cedar-lined closets, skylights, and soffit lighting.
The home’s outdoor areas are as natty and well-kept as the insides, and include spacious covered brick patios, mature shade trees, and drought-tolerant landscaping.