Today the story of Villa Rockledge, a Victorian Arts & Crafts style estate, continues, as current owner Roger W. Jones’ tale begins.
The story of how Jones came to acquire Villa Rockledge carries on the theme of love that was as much a part of the building’s foundation as its walls and floors. Frank and Marion Miller hosted guests at the Victorian Arts & Crafts estate until Frank’s passing in 1935. In the years since, the property has seen several owners; however, for the past 30 years there has been only one:Jones, a native Californian.
Jones recounts his early attraction to the area. “As far back as I can remember, I have had a deep love and appreciation for the ocean and its beaches. The natural beauty and charm of Laguna Beach have appealed to me since visiting here as a teenager in the mid 1950s,” he recalls. “Talking with older residents who lived in Laguna from the 1920s, I was captivated by their experiences and the early history they viewed firsthand.”
Fate seemed to lay the groundwork early for Jones to connect with Villa Rockledge later in life. “I had been going to the Mission Inn since I was five to visit my uncle, who was a dentist and had an office in the rotunda there,” he recalls. “I had an appreciation for the Mission Inn, which was built by Frank Miller, the builder of Villa Rockledge.” That feeling stayed with him through adulthood.
As it happened, good timing and a bit of serendipitous luck figured into Jones’ acquisition of Villa Rockledge. “A classified ad in a local newspaper advertised an oceanfront studio in an old Mediterranean villa with a pool on the beach. Responding to the ad, I was immediately struck by spaciousness of the property, the numerous trees and its Old World charm,” he explains. “In June 1968, I leased an apartment in Villa Rockledge for $125 a month. Unknowingly, I had stepped onto the path of a lifelong project, dragging my wife with me.”
Within a few years, Jones chose to take his residency there to the next level. “In November 1972…I decided to make a run at buying Villa Rockledge, realizing it was a tremendous undertaking and could be my undoing,” he says. The risk was rewarded, with Jones taking possession of Villa Rockledge in February 1973.
Learn how Jones restored the Victorian Arts & Crafts property in our next post!
By Meryl Schoenbaum
Photography by Mark Tanner