Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

Lucy in Chatsworth: What Happened to the Arnaz Home?

For years, Lucyfans have wondered what happened to house that Lucy and Desi owned in the San Fernando Valley... Sadly, we can now report -- with a great certainty -- that the structure was destroyed by housing developers in the fall of 1976.

The fate of the house was discovered yesterday by songwriter/producer Jack Kugell, who spent much of the past few weeks researching the Arnazes' valley property. Jack and I visited the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office on Monday, and found most of the official papers associated with the Arnaz home -- including the 1976 permit to have the house destroyed.

The property -- a 4.415 acre "ranchette" on the corner of Devonshire Street and Corbin Avenue in the community of Chatsworth -- and a similar piece of property next door -- were combined and turned into a multi-dwelling housing development in the spring of 1977. All remnants of the Arnaz property were demolished.

For years, fans have thought a house located on nearby Oso Avenue might be the Arnaz home. Indeed, the property was listed as such when it was offered for sale a decade ago. One ad called it "Lucy and Desi's Love Nest," while another said, "Wow! Lucy and Desi's magnificent Chatsworth estate, redone to perfection, is now for sale!" Unfortunately, public records reveal that this home was first built in 1950 -- 9 years after the Arnazes moved into their real home on Corbin. Rick Carl and I visited this Oso structure when it was shown in an "open house," and we found it to be very similar in style to surviving photographs of the Corbin house and to Lucy and Desi's home in Beverly Hills. Obviously, this was a case of "close, but no cigar!"

The Arnazes purchased the property at 19700 Devonshire in the spring of 1941, and lived there until the summer of 1956, when they moved to Beverly Hills. They sold the ranchette to actress Jane Withers, who lived there a few years before selling it to yet a third party...

We have received many requests over the years for a special gallery of photographs of Lucy and Desi in their Chatsworth home -- so we will be creating such a page on this web site within the next few weeks.


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