Hello everyone! This is a friendly reminder that any of these fun places we may visit, we are a guest at. Please treat both businesses and trails with the utmost respect. We here at Hidden San Diego follow the 'Leave no Trace' mantra, meaning whatever you bring with you comes back with you. If you see trash on a trail, please do your part to help remove it. Remember, we are not picking up trash from another person but instead cleaning up for Mother Nature. Happy adventures!
How the legend of the Munchkin House goes is that back in the 1930’s a group of munchkins who had acted in the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ moved into a group of tiny homes on Mt. Soledad. I have been hearing these rumors since high school. My friend’s uncle was supposedly chased off of one of their properties with a broom one night.
We would spend hours driving on the windy roads of the mountain, oohing and ahhing over the gorgeous mansions. Never once did any home’s size stand out to us as being miniature. It wasn’t until a decade later that I found an article online giving directions to the last remaining “munchkin house”, built by famed architect Cliff May.
Smith is quoted as saying, “The houses do indeed have smallish features, accentuated by an optical illusion. The steep road that passes them makes them seem even smaller than they actually are.” It appears there were once four of these cottages, but three have been torn down and replaced with more common-to-this-area mansions.
There are a lot of locals that insist that munchkins did indeed live out there though. Check out some of these comments on a thread:
“My Grandma was born here in 1919 she said in high school they would drive to la jolla and there was just a couple roads that went up Mt Soledad and a bridge but you couldnt go past a certain point because the residents of Munchkin land would chase you off the property and throw rocks at people.
Then it became a place people actually hiked up the mountain to see them.. I’ve heard MULTIPLE stories like this from so many different people in my life.”
“Munchkinland is true. My girlfriend and I found it be accident one night driving around in La Jolla back in 1973. We did not believe what we saw to be true so we went back in the daylight and discovered it was absolutely true.
I walked up to a house and knocked on the door pretending to be looking for someone The door was chin-high . The woman who answered the door was a midget and was really quite nice, amused by my curiosity.”
I remember I guy I used to work with telling me that his uncle passed out on one of the lawns back in the 70’s or 80’s and was chased off by a munchkin as well. So, people have seen them.
Right off the bat, it is a very confusing finding this home. First we made a left onto Hillside dr. We were following the addresses in the 7800’s and all of a sudden the addresses were in the 1000’s! We were about to just give up, but decided to continue venturing up the hill. Sure enough, the address #’s went back into the 7000’s after a block or so.
After a steep incline and many twists and turns, we finally ended up at the house. As expected, the house is abnormally small and incredibly cute. Nothing too spectacular though. I was far more impressed with the castle-esque home next door and the beautiful view of La Jolla & the ocean. While you’re out here, try to find the Troll Bridges!
Update: I had a reader write me that her parents lived in this house from 1938-1942 and were indeed not munchkins. Their names are H.P. and Louise Parker. The Wizard of Oz came out in 1939 so although it was around the same time, this couple lived in there when the movie came out.
Look at my friend, who is 5’2″ next to the mailbox:
37 years ago my future huaband and I met in a bar. I had just that day been searching ofr “Munchkin Land in La Jolla” I asked him if he had ever heard of it–but he hadn’t. But that conversation was the beginning of our romance and we later married and had two beautiful daughters. Sdly the marriage ended but we had a lot of fun while it lasted. And I have yet to set eyes on the “Lttle House in LaJolla”
April 15, 2013
When I was about 8 years old my father took me to see the “Munchkin” houses. It was one interesting experience being 8 and you’re about as tall as the houses it seemed. I’m glad to say that I will be sharing the experience with my new wife, and 7 year old daughter! Hope they love it..
May 12, 2013
October 30, 2013
this is a pretty house u got
September 6, 2015
My dad painted this house! The owner of this house is supposedly the same guy who voiced Charlie Brown in Peanuts.
March 7, 2016
The Spanos family (the family that owns the San Diego Chargers) live in the house to the left of this one.
August 15, 2016
I’ve seen the little houses when I was a teenager 30 years ago, and years ago, I read the newspaper article of the last “munchkin” who passed away that used to live in one of the houses. The little houses were torn down and replaced by multi-million dollar homes except for the one in the picture. To verify this information please visit the La Jolla Historical Society 🙂
October 17, 2016
the house didnt look very small
April 20, 2017
I know what you mean about the castle house. It has a draw bridge or something.
July 14, 2017
House it was not that small !!!
July 23, 2017
In high school I wrote an article on this for the school paper. My mother, who had gone to school in La Jolla and was familiar with the lore, took me exploring to try to find the home. After a bit of difficulty locating it, we got very bold and looked through windows (in the name of research and journalism, of course). People aren’t impressed by the size of the actual home, but they would be if the interior. Tiny little fireplace, itty bitty little tub in the bathroom. Invade some privacy and check it out yourselves!
October 4, 2017
January 11, 2019
I’ve been inside this house and have a few pictures from when I was house shopping around 2003. Everything inside is normal size, of course, and there are some really great views from inside. It’s actually next door to where Dean Spanos lives, which is one of several reasons I did not buy it…
February 5, 2019
When I was in daycare (a million years ago) they used to take us up there to see the houses. It was so fun and we loved it!! There was more than one back then. Thanks for sharing and bringing back the memories.
April 28, 2019
Found the houses in 1975 or 76. I was also chased off by a small women in here hands
January 14, 2020
Why did all the munchkins live together?? Were they related?
December 24, 2020
My parents were not munchkins. They’ were Cafe Society of the long weekend between the wars. My sister was born here and the 3 of them lived here from 1938 until 1942. I have one great photo of my parents in front of the house 1938.
February 11, 2021
I love walking by this house and the Troll bridges. There’s a hike I take that circles Mt Soledad and has a secret path along Via Capri and goes past this Gem of La Jolla History. I think there are similar houses in the neighborhood near Our Lady of Peace High School.
February 28, 2021