John B Chudzikowski

The former site of John Chudzikowski’s house and the remaining windmill after the house was demolished in 1999

John Bronislaw Chudzikowski came to the U.S. from either Poland or Czechoslovakia as a young man. The home he built in La Sierra was located on property that was once part of Rancho La Sierra Sepulveda, most of which was acquired in 1909 by Willits Hole and became Hole Ranch.

Chudzikowski is said to have worked for Hole, but the profession listed on his death certificate was “set designer for motion pictures.” His neighbors, however, as well as the 1951 census list him as a farmer. His property tells a more complex story, that of a home that was completely self-contained with concrete lined reservoir, windmills to pump water from two wells, terraced gardens of fruit and ornamental trees, and an extensive garden which not only provided his food, but also generated income from sales. He was liked by his neighbors and often made the local children baskets of eucalyptus twigs and leaves which he filled with fruits and nuts he had grown.

Chudzokowski’s home was approached through a monumental arched gate in the same Mission Revival vernacular style as the house he built. Rock-quartz stonework, walls, planters, plazas, and steps joined the house to other buildings and the gardens.

Chudzikowski’s ideas of self-sufficiency and sustainability seemed, perhaps, more eccentric in the early 20th century than they do today. That impression was likely reinforced by the veiled beekeeper’s hat he wore to protect his hypersensitive skin from the sun. The house was eventually sold, then unfortunately abandoned, and the deteriorated structures were demolished in 1999.