It was in the swimming pool at San Clemente's La Casa Pacifica, also known as the Western White House, that Richard Nixon asked Henry Kissinger to become the secretary of state. At least, that's what the current owner—Allergan CEO Gavin Herbert—says he heard from Kissinger. Yes, this is the very pool where American foreign policy turned toward the realpolitiky, with all the horror that entailed (bombing Cambodia! Chilean death squads!). Nixon added the pool during the two decades that he owned the enormous property, reports the Wall Street Journal; the enormous oceanfront estate was designed in the 1920s for a wealthy local who took inspiration from Spanish architecture, which explains the house's red tile roof, arched doorways, and elaborate tile floors. The original grounds included a vast 26 acres of land. Today it can all be yours assuming you have $75 million.
Nixon "and some business partners" bought the residence shortly into his presidency, in 1969, for $1.4 million; he used to host parties there, as well as meetings with officials and heads of state, including former Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev; Ronald Reagan came to visit during his tenure as governor of California.
In 1980, Nixon sold the massive property to a group of investors that included Herbert, his volunteer head gardener and finance chairman of his OC reelection campaign in 1968. (He had founded the Allergan pharmaceutical company decades before.) The new owners divvied up the 26-acre property, building 14 smaller houses on the land and turning the whole thing into a gated community. The La Casa Pacifica property now sits on 5.5 acres with 450 feet of ocean frontage, with a main house, guest house, and staff housing together totaling more than 15,000 square feet. The main house has been recently remodeled; the master bedroom was expanded and the house now has a basement. Herbert is selling for $75 million.
· Nixon's Western White House Is Listed for $75 Million [WSJ]
· La Casa Pacifica [Rob Giem]