Have you ever walked down Hollywood Boulevard, tourist bustle and cacophony surrounding you? Did you wonder what the street looked like one hundred years ago? You probably didn't know that the cofounder and heart of Hollywood was a woman, who is responsible for the first sidewalk in the city in front of her home at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Prospect Street. She happens to be a distant cousin of the Hartle siblings, and Anna fortunately finds her when she moves to Los Angeles.
A Girl from Ohio
Daeida ‘Ida’ Hartell Wilcox Beveridge was born near Hicksville, Ohio in 1862, and her first occupation was milliner. She had excellent taste in husbands. Her first, Harvey Henderson Wilcox, an older, wealthy widower, was already successful in Kansas real estate when they married in 1883. Ida was good at real estate and an equal partner when they moved to California in 1886.
The couple purchased a large tract of land west of Los Angeles for $150 per acre. Harvey's plan to be a farmer didn't last long, and they soon began subdividing the land and selling lots for $1,000 each. The area was known as Nopalera (named after a local Mexican cactus species), but on a train ride back from visiting Ohio, Ida met a woman who called her summer home outside Chicago “Hollywood.” Ida liked the sound.
By 1887, their respective families joined them, and Ida's mother adopted a variation of the family name, changing it to Hartell. Rumor had it that Amelia thought it looked more refined for their new circumstances.
After Harvey died in 1891, Ida chose wisely again. New in town, businessman Philo Beveridge was blonde, 6'2", and outgoing in contrast to prohibitionist Harvey. They worked well together and had a huge impact on Hollywood.
Ida gave back to the Hollywood community, donating land, founding organizations, and influencing others to move there and succeed. She never took “no” for an answer! She donated land for the first schools, three churches, post office, and police and fire stations. She and Philo built Wilcox Hall where, on the second floor meeting room, leaders met and made decisions affecting the growing suburb.
Ida (my second cousin, three times removed) died in 1914 at age 52. If you want to visit Ida's resting place in the Cathedral Mausoleum in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, simply look on the map for Rudolph Valentino—Ida's just around the corner.
Hartle Heritage, Richard Hartle, MD, Lancaster, Ohio
The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History, Gregory Paul Williams
Hollywood Heritage Museum
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2062 Photo of Daeida Hartell Wilcox Beveridge is used from this website with permission of the contributor.
Map of Hollywood- Los Angeles Public Library Collection, History Department (public domain)
Next Time: Learn what Addison and Purl were reading in 1910.