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From Canyon To Cove:

A visit to Hangover House

March 05, 2010|By Cindy Frazier

The concrete is crumbling a bit and the rebar is rusting around the edges, but the Hangover House is still sitting pretty in its perch high atop a hill off of Ceanothus Drive, where it has stood since 1937.

The man who built it only enjoyed its spectacular views and ocean breezes for two years before he was lost at sea at age 39 while pursuing his profession and passion as an “adventure journalist.”

Today, after some 70 years in the hands of another family, the house that Richard Halliburton built still has the classic modern lines and feel of “futuristic” 1930s architecture — inside and out.

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The 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom home was built from poured concrete that still has the impression of the wooden molds and other original detailing, including the “Hangover House” moniker impressed into the concrete at the entry.

The original bronze front door opens heavily to a living room with huge windows providing unobstructed views of the ocean. From the rear gallery area, the Saddleback Mountains loom to the east, and the Aliso Creek Golf Course lies below.

New Yorker covers

One of the bedroom closets is still papered with New Yorker covers dating from 1929 to 1936. Although rusted, a steel spiral staircase still leads to a sun-drenched rooftop pad, perfect for sunbathing or partying. A dumbwaiter links the lower garage area to the rooftop party pad.

The living room wall of raw concrete still has a faded cartoon that likely shows Halliburton himself scaling the heights to his house — named not only for its cliff-hanging site but for the hard partying that went on there.

Residents in the house, along with the famed travel writer, were his partner, and some say, ghost writer, Paul Mooney, and the architect who designed the home, William Alexander Levy.

Mooney was with Halliburton on the Chinese Junk that was lost near Midway Island in the Pacific during a typhoon in March 1939. Ironically, this was the same area where famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart went missing in 1937, and Earhart was reportedly a friend of Halliburton’s.

Levy, the survivor of the trio, went on to become a successful architect and philanthropist, but by all accounts he never matched the triumph of Hangover House.

Bought for $9,000

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