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