view all images ( of 1 shown)

Female, US, born 1889-06-12, died 1938-12-22

Associated with the firms network

Requa and Jackson, Architects; Rice and Chadeayne, Architects; Rice, Lilian Jeannette, Architect

Professional History


Teacher in Mathematics, National School District, National City, CA, c. 1911.

Draftswoman, Hazel Wood Waterman, San Diego, CA, c. 1911-1913; Rice worked on Waterman's Wednesday Club (San Diego, CA, 1913), among other commissions. Rice met Hazel Waterman through her daughter, Helen, a fellow UCB alumna, who rowed on the same crew at the ZLAC Rowing Club. (See Diane Y. Welch, Lilian J. Rice, Architect of Rancho Santa Fe, California, [Arglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Company, 2010], p. 30).

Draftswoman, Requa and Jackson, Architects, San Diego, CA, 1921-1923.

Supervising Architect, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, 1923- . Working for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF), Rice laid out and designed key buildings for the company's residential sub-division, Rancho Santa Fe. (In 1906, the ATSF had bought almost the entire Rancho San Dieguito Rancho, subsequently renamed "Rancho Santa Fe," land on which to raise 3 million eucalyptus trees for future use as railroad ties. By 1922, real estate development was seen as a more profitable way to use the land than tree farming.) According to architectural historian and Rice expert Diane Y. Welch, "...Rice became its supervisory resident architect in 1923 and was largely responsible for much of the layout of the Civic Center, its commercial buildings and over 60 residential projects." (Email from Ms. Welch to the author, 03/24/2014. Thank you to her for spotting and correcting errors in this entry.)

Principal, Lilian Rice, Architect, 1928-1935, Rancho Santa Fe, CA. Rice passed the CA Architectural Registration Exam in 1927.

An earlier iteration of PCAD indicated that Rice had a partnership with her employee Olive Chaydeane between 1935 and 1937. According to Ms. Welch: "Olive Chadeayne was not a partner in Rice's practice. She was a draftswoman, who later took over the practice, overseeing partially completed projects on Rice's death in 1938. Chadeayne then took over the practice but was unable to sustain it, closing the doors shortly afterward." (See email from Diane Welch to the author, 09/15/2018. Thank you to her for her clarifications and corrections.)


Rice taught architecture and mechanical drawing periodically at schools in and around San Diego, including the San Diego State Teachers College (later renamed San Diego State University).

Part-time Teacher in Geometric Drawing, San Diego High School, San Diego, CA, c. 1918-1921.

Instructor, San Diego State Teachers College, San Diego, CA, 1922.

Professional Activities

Head, Art Jury of Rancho Sante Fe, Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA), San Diego Chapter, 1931-1938.

Professional Awards

Rice won American Institute of Architects, San Diego Chapter, awards for the Arnberg House, La Jolla, CA, the ZLAC Rowing Club Building, Pacific Beach, CA, and the La Valenciana Apartments, Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

The popular homes magazine,House Beautiful, awarded her a prize for the Wohlford House, Escondido, CA.



B.L., University of California, Berkeley (UCB), School of Social Sciences, 1906-1910; Rice majored in architecture, one of the first women to graduate with this major. Julia Morgan (1872-1957) was the first female architecture graduate at UCB, mentored by Bernard R. Maybeck (1862-1957).

While at the UCB in 1910, Rice was on the art staff of the student periodical, California Occident. (See University of California, Berkeley, Blue and Gold Yearbook, vol. 37, 1910, p. 204.)

Rice spent one year completing a one-year curriculum in art education, at the UCB, Berkeley, CA, 1910-06/1911.

Summer school program, Marine engineering and naval architecture, UCB, Berkeley, CA, 1918; World War I ended before Rice could find design work in the shipyards of Vallejo, San Pedro or Long Beach, as other women had.



According to the US Census of 1910, Lillian lived with her parents in National City, CA; at that time, the household included Julius, Laura, Lillian and Walter C. Foss, who was listed as a "step son." (He could not have been a step-son as Julius and Laura had only married once, as per the census.)

Rice attended college at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), in 1901-1910.

After college, Lillian became a drawing instructor in a nearby high school and, subsequently, a teacher of mechanical drawing at the San Diego State Teachers College. She worked with Hazel Wood Waterman (1864-1928) c. 1911-1913, and did freelance architectural design and drafting at various local.

In 1932, the San Diego City Directory (p. 1185) indicated that she had an office in Rancho Santa Fe, 35 miles north of San Diego.

She died in 1938 of ovarian cancer, just before her 50th birthday.


Her parents were Julius A. Rice (b. 1853 in VT-1933 in CA) and and Laura Steele Rice (1854 in NY-1939 in CA). Julius grew up in Stockbridge, VT (c. 1860), and Charleston, IL (c. 1870); by 1880, both he and Laura had moved to the San Diego area. The US Censuses indicated that Julius had done various jobs between 1880-1910. In 1880, he had assisted his father-in-law, John B. Steele (born c. 1824 in VT) on his National City farm, been a teacher in 1900, and a real estate agent in 1910. (An 1894 San Diego County Voter Register indicated that he worked as a teacher.) Laura Steele Rice spent her youth in Randolph, VT, before moving to San Diego County before 1880, where she married and became a homemaker. The US Censuses also differed about their age. The 1900 edition indicated that Julius had been born in VT in 11/1854, while that of 1910 gave a date of c. 1859; the 1900 said that Laura, too, had been born in 11/1854, while the 1910 document said c. 1851 in NY. Laura's parents were John B. Steele and Lucina B. Steele (1823-1910). The 1900 Census indicated that Julius and Laura had been married 21 years, making their wedding day sometime in 1879, or so. The 1900 census also stated that Lillian's brother, John C. Rice, was born 09/1880 in CA. Her parents remained living at 740 East 2nd Street in National City, CA, during the 1910s-1920s.

Laura and Julius had had three children, two of whom were alive according to the 1910 US Census.

Biographical Notes

Between 1922-1928, Rice served as the Supervising Architect for the development of Rancho Santa Fe, a housing tract financed by the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company, the real estate branch of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Rice traveled to Hawaii aboard the S.S. City of Los Angeles from Los Angeles, CA, to Honolulu, HI, between 04/21/1923-04/29/1923.

Associated Locations

  • National City, CA (Architect's Birth)
    National City, CA

    OpenStreetMap (new tab)
    Google Map (new tab)
    click to view google map

PCAD id: 1669