Sunday, August 3, 2008

sunday drive: beachwood canyon

Beachwood Drive was paved in 1923, as part of a land development by S. H. Woodruff. His goal was to create a custom housing development of stately homes with unmatched views. A village center was created, complete with stone gates, a market, a coffee shop, and a land sales office in a whimsical Hansel and Gretel style. To advertise the development, he created a sign on the hillside with the tract name spelled out in 50 foot letters, illuminated by incandescent bulbs. It proudly announced "Hollywoodland" to the world.

Yes, the unmistakable Hollywood sign. Actually the second replacement, from 1978. Now protected by motion detectors that warn of any intruder within 50 yards. No longer an advertisement for a land tract, it stands now as an icon of the Hollywood lifestyle.

The original development was from the Village north up to the sign. Many stately homes were built there in the 20's and 30's, and a high percentage survive. The influx of Mid-Century modern homes, many cantilevered from the hillside itself, create a juxtaposition of contrasting styles. This uppermost area is nicknamed the "Swish Alps" for its high percentage of successful gay households.

The neighborhood then grew southward toward Franklin with more modest homes and apartments. There is again a contrast of styles as the thirties through the sixties live in alternating harmony. Most of the properties are in well preserved original condition, with a couple of stunning recent restorations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for your pleasure, Beachwood Canyon:

More photos here


Doralong said...

I've always wondered who erected, or more precisely why, the big Hollywood sign was there..

Miss Janey said...

Great pictures of a lovely area. Miss J remembers getting high at teh Hollywood sign the year she arrived in LA. In the days before motion detectors.

BigAssBelle said...

wow! gorgeous!! and that black and white gate photo, along with the pink hat lamp shade awning picture . . . puts me in mind of the grand Ms. Dorothy Draper and her inimitable style.

Willym said...

I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday than on one of your drives. And I want to live at the Olivia... something about those awnings.

sageweb said...

Miss Janey just cracked me up.
Willym was talking about you so I thought I would stop by. It is all good.
Love the pictures. On a clear day (rare) from my office window I can see the Hollywood sign..all the way in Long Beach.

Rich said...

man, i wish i had your eye! what awesome shots. I was there that same day you were, going up to Bronson Canyon. I could've been that guy who cut you off on Franklin ave