On a recent Los Angeles visit, I stopped by some of my favorite locations from Yours in a Hurry. Some buildings still stand; others are gone. But all are early California icons. I’ve added quotes from the book to explain why.
The Hollywood Hotel
“Anna could see why the Hollywood Hotel was Ida’s favorite place to lunch. Small, round white-clothed covered tables filled the room. Ferns hung from the ceiling along with round, globed chandeliers. Rather modern, she thought. Windows at two levels, some showing the street, and smaller ones near the ceiling disseminated light throughout the rooms. A fresh flower bouquet adorned each table.”
The Hollywood Hotel opened in December 1902. It was built along the electric trolley route on the west side of Highland Avenue. The elegant Mission Revival style building fronted on unpaved Prospect Avenue. The hotel sat among lemon groves at the base of the Hollywood Hills. Prospect Avenue was renamed Hollywood Boulevard in in 1910.
In 1906 the heiress to the famous chocolate company, Almira Hershey, took a buggy ride to see the hotel that was being advertised. She was so impressed that she bought it. Soon the hotel expanded from 16 rooms to 250 and became well known. Beginning in the 1910's, legends and stars of the early movie industry stayed at the hotel, dined there, and congregated on the broad verandas. In 1922, Almira lost a breach of contract dispute with an employee and sold the hotel.
The Hollywood Hotel had fallen to disrepair by 1956 and was razed and replaced by a twelve-story office building for a bank, a shopping center, and parking lots. In 2001 those were demolished, and a shopping and entertainment complex was built on the site. including the Dolby Theater, the current home of the Academy Awards ceremony.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
“The grand opening of the Beverly Hills Hotel is the event of the season!” Ida said.
Anna, Ida and Philo attend the opening of the Beverly Hills Hotel in May of 1912. Opening invitations announced the property as situated “halfway between Los Angeles and the sea.”
Before Beverly Hills was a city, developer Burton Green bought land once owned by the Mexican government in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. He built a sprawling hotel in Mission Revival style on 12 acres, with white stucco exterior and terra cotta-colored roof tiles, and named it after Beverly Farms, his home in Massachusetts.
By 1914, Beverly Hills had attracted enough residents to incorporate as a city, and movie stars began building homes there, transforming the bean fields surrounding The Beverly Hills Hotel into prime real estate.
In 1995 the completely renovated Beverly Hills Hotel reopened. It’s still prime property—rooms start at $595 per night.
"Aren't you glad you chose a bungalow?" Ida continued. "It's Frank Lloyd Wright's influence—such a wonderful blend of Oriental and the simple Arts and Crafts. It's a common dwelling in India, the Bangala, as the British call it.”
If you travel Los Angeles neighborhoods, you can still see many of the early bungalows. What’s a bungalow? The Hindi term literally means “of Bengal.” It refers to a one-storied house, usually surrounded by a veranda which, in warmer climates, allows a refreshing breeze. The Craftsman house type became popular in the United States during the first quarter of the 20th century, and Americans adapted it to their own tastes. Here it usually has one and a half stories, a widely- bracketed gable roof, and a multi-windowed dormer and a front porch.
Examples like the photo (right) can be seen throughout Los Angeles in places like the Highland-Camrose Bungalow Village or in the Historic District, South Los Angeles.
I still love the friendly look of a bungalow and am glad that in the 21st century it is becoming a popular style for cluster home developments.
The next time you visit Los Angeles and its Hollywood and Beverly Hills suburbs, think about the life Anna and the other Yours in a Hurry characters experienced there.