view all images ( of 1 shown)

Female, born 1909-09-21, died 2006-11-03

Associated with the firms network

Cornell, Ralph D., Landscape Architect; Shellhorn, Ruth P., Landscape Architect; Yoch, Florence, Landscape Architect

Professional History


Draftswoman, Florence Yoch, Landscape Architect, Los Angeles, CA.

Designer, Ralph D. Cornell, Landscape Architect, Los Angeles, CA.

Principal, Ruth Shellhorn, Landscape Architect, Redondo Beach, CA.

Landscape Architect, Bullock's Department Stores, Southern CA, 1945-1978. Her obituary in Landscape said of her experience with Bullock's: "Shellhorn was hired by Bullock's in 1945 as consulting landscape architect for the Pasadena store, designed by prominent Los Angeles architect Welton Becket. Collaborating with Beckett, a succession of Bullock's department stores followed, including Bullock's Wilshire, Bullock's Palm Springs, Bullock's Lakewood, a remodel of Bullock's Westwood and the Fashion Square Malls in Santa Ana, Sherman Oaks, Del Amo, and La Habra. These were modernist landscape designs, evoking a sun-soaked, leisurely lifestyle, and came to epitomize the "Southern California Look." Company executives, anxious to lure post-World War II, middle-class disposable income to the stores, allowed Shellhorn to work directly with site planners and architects from the beginning of each project. She recognized that the shopping experience began the moment a customer pulled into the parking lot and she designed those areas with a generous number of trees and bursts of exuberant color. Especially on the Fashion Square projects, where different architects designed each of the stores, Shellhorn's goal was to create a harmonious transition between buildings with various architectural styles. She composed beautiful, courtyard-like settings, designed to attract customers who were, or wished to be, well-educated, traveled, cultured. In these park-like settings, Shellhorn's designs redefined shopping as a relaxing and enjoyable activity." (See Landscape, "Shellhorn: Groundbreaking Woman for Disneyland," published 2006.)

Landscape Architect, WED Enterprises, Anaheim, CA, 1955- . Her obituary stated: "Becket, who worked with Shellhorn on several of those projects, recommended her to Walt Disney in 1955, only a few months before his new amusement park was to open in Anaheim. Disney was looking for a liaison between chief landscape architects Jack and Bill Evans and the other designers." (See Landscape, "Shellhorn: Groundbreaking Woman for Disneyland," published 2006.)

Shellhorn retired in 1990, a year before her husband passed away.


Shellhorn's papers were deposited at the UCLA Library's Special Collections Department.


High School/College

Graduate, South Pasadena High School. South Pasadena, CA, 1927.

Landscape architecture coursework, Oregon State College, Corvallis, OR;

Landscape architecture coursework, Cornell University, College of Architecture, Ithaca, NY, 1933; she left Cornell four credits short of her bachelor's degree. In 2005, "Cornell reviewed its records and belatedly awarded her two degrees, a bachelor's in landscape architecture and a bachelor's in architecture." (See Landscape, "Shellhorn: Groundbreaking Woman for Disneyland," published 2006.) Cornell presented her with the degrees during a ceremony on 06/04/2005 in Los Angeles.



Shellhorn died of complications from a stroke at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, Torrance, CA, at the age of 97.


Her husband died in 1991.

Shellhorn worked on small-scale residential projects, many in Pasadena, CA, as well as huge institutional commissions, most notably Disneyland, Anaheim, CA. She consulted on the landscape architecture at Disneyland during its construction in 1954-1955; Shellhorn worked with the Santa Monica-based horticulturalists Morgan (1910-2002) and Jack Evans on knitting together their landscaping of Disneyland's separate themed areas called "lands." The Bullock's Department Store chain retained her to design grounds surrounding at least 7 of its outlets across Southern CA.

Associated Locations

  • Torrance, CA (Architect's Death)
    Torrance, CA

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

PCAD id: 6310