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As the West commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridgeits symbolic gateway to modernity
it also recognizes the catalytic effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor just five years after the bridge was built. Thatact transformed the relatively isolated West Coast into an armed frontier with bunkers ready for war. New suburbs for soldiers on the coast rapidly replaced farmland and orchards, and by the end of World War II, California, Oregon and Washington, as well as their neighboring states, emerged as a thriving, modern international frontier between east and west with clusters of ranch-style homes.
Among them, Cliff May’s typical ranch-style designs evolved from his San Diego family’s Hispano-Moresque courtyard home and his own European, Spanish Colonial and Mexican roots. Built with only some discernible Mediterranean and North African Moorish features to interrupt wood-framed stucco walls, large expanses of glass, lowslung roofs and broad verandahs, May’s light-filled courtyard ranch houses shaped for modern open-plan indoor/outdoor living still resonate as new.