Early Views of Beverly Hills

 
(ca. 1925)^^ – View showing the world famous lily pond and Beverly Hills sign pictured in its original form.  It is now part of the landmark Beverly Gardens Park.  

 

Historical Background

In 1838, the Mexican governor of California deeded the land grant El Rodeo de las Aguas to Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the Afro Latina widow of a Spanish soldier. Maria Rita, an early California feminist icon, built an adobe ranch house near the intersection of present day Sunset Boulevard and Alpine Drive. She employed a vast posse of cowboys and proceeded to raise cattle and horses.

As was the custom of a time, Maria Rita permitted her livestock to wander freely, but once a year a festive roundup, another kind of rodeo, was held beneath a huge eucalyptus tree at the corner of Pico and Robertson boulevards.

In 1852, three Native Americans ambushed Maria Rita's rancho. A shoot-out and siege followed in a grove of walnut trees at Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase Drive. Maria Rita survived, but the battle may have influenced her decision just two years later to sell the ranch to Benjamin D. Wilson and Henry Hancock for $4000. However, the legendary waters deserted the new owners; a drought decimated their crops and their cattle died in parched stream beds. However, their names live on today in nearby Mt. Wilson and Hancock Park.

After the Civil War wildcatters and roughnecks drilled oil wells. Cattle gave way to herds of sheep. Edward Preuss bought the ranch in 1868 with the intention of establishing a colony for German immigrant farmers. Preuss dubbed his civic speculation the "City of Santa Maria." He subdivided the soil into five-acre lots and put them up for sale for $10 a parcel. Another drought ruined these plans and the land reverted to sheep and cattle ranching.+++

 

 

 
(ca. 1900)^^ – View looking south showing a bean field on the Hammel and Denker ranch in an area that would become the city of Beverly Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

Shortly after the drought, the rancho passed into the hands of two Los Angeles hoteliers who proceeded to grow lima beans on the property. Their first land purchase was made in 1881, and was later added to parcel by parcel. Henry Hammel and Charles Denker, managers of the U.S. Hotel in Los Angeles, proposed their own townsite, to be called Morocco, for the area. Morocco was subdivided in 1888 during the big land boom of 1887-88, the era which saw the start of so many Southern California communities, both successful and unsuccessful. Hammel and Denker’s settlement was centered around the train station at the then junction of Burton Way and Santa Monica Boulevard (in the vicinity of Canon and Beverly Drives today) on the Santa Monica-Los Angeles line, which ran along Santa Monica Boulevard, which had also been named Morocco.

Plans for Morocco were never realized, and the next activities on the ranch centered around a syndicate of investors, known as the Amalgamated Oil Company. *^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1905)^^ – View showing a herd of dairy cows on the Hammel and Denker ranch, Beverly Hills.  Three men are in the corral with one milking a cow. Additional corrals and ranch buildings are visible in the background as well as stretches of wide open land.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1900, Burton E. Green, Charles A. Canfield, Max Whittier, Frank H. Buck, Henry E. Huntington, William G. Kerckhoff, William F. Herrin, W.S. Porter, and Frank H. Balch, formed the Amalgamated Oil Company, bought the Hammel and Denker ranch, and began looking for oil. However, they did not find enough to exploit commercially by the standards of the time.*^ 

 

 

 
(ca. 1905)^^ - View showing three men standing in front of the creamery on the Hammel and Denker ranch.  Trellis planting boxes surround each of the wooden posts of the covered porch of the wooden creamery. A directional wind vane in the shape of a cow is on the top of the roof. A water tower is visible behind the building. Another ranch building is visible in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1906, Burton Green and the Amalgamated Oil Company reorganized as the Rodeo Land and Water Company, renamed the property "Beverly Hills," subdivided it, and began selling lots.  The development was named "Beverly Hills" after Beverly Farms in Beverly, Massachusetts and because of the hills in the area.  The first house in the subdivision was built in 1907, although sales remained slow.*^

 

 

 

 
(1913)^ - Panoramic view showing the Beverly Hills countryside with just a few homes and dirt roads.  

 

 

Beverly Hills' 1st Train Station

 
(ca. 1910)##++ - Before being incorporated, before the Beverly Hills Hotel, before there was even "Hills," it was called just "Beverly."  The above view shows Beverly Hill’s first train station located where the historic post office still stands on the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Cañon Drive.    

 

Historical Notes

The elite northern portion of the new city was divided from the southern portion by the railroad tracks and a commercial triangle between Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards. This triangle was originally known as “Beverly” while the rest of the City, located north of Santa Monica Boulevard, was known as “Beverly Hills.” *^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1918)^^ - View of Beverly Hills looking south showing a Pacific Electric Station. An oasis-style fountain stands in the foreground surrounded by trees, a sidewalk lining it in front. Behind this, the Pacific Electric station can be seen with a departing streetcar at left, on the corner of Beverly Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 
(1915)^ - View looking east on an unpaved Santa Monica Boulevard at Canon Drive with the Hollywood Hills in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1920)*^#^ - A panoramic view of Beverly Gardens Park at the corner of Beverly and Santa Monica. The park has wide, flat lawns with a few flower beds, paths, and young trees. On the right a large sign reading "Beverly Hills" stands behind a wide, shallow pool. Both the sign and the house on Beverly on the right are still there. Most of the land beyond the park is undeveloped.  

 

Historical Notes

The area was created as a real estate attraction, hoping to entice people traveling from Los Angeles to buy parcels of land for development, and could be seen from passer byers on the train that came through town on Santa Monica Boulevard, or as it was once known, as Railway Avenue. ##++

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)*^#^ – View looking northeast near the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and N. Beverly Drive showing Beverly Hill’s iconic Tudor Revival Park Way house (upper-leftr) and famous lily pond in Beverly Gardens Park with its original electrified Beverly Hills sign.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^ – Closer view showing the lily pond in Beverly Gardens Park, located at Santa Monica Boulevard and N. Beverly Drive. The large home in the background (right) is located at 1309 Park Way.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1913)^ - Panoramic view looking southwest showing a mostly empty Beverly Hills. The 1912-constructed Beverly Hills Hotel appears at center-right.  

 

Historical Notes

As in so many of the boom towns of the 1880s, Beverly Hills needed a large resort hotel to give it prominence and establish its reputation. It got that hotel in 1911, when the Rodeo Land and Water Company, in conjunction with Margaret J. Anderson, commissioned Elmer Grey to build his Craftsman/Mission Revival design. *^*

 

 

Beverly Hills Hotel

 
(1912)^#^ - View of looking southwest across Lexington and Crescent Drives.  The Beverly Hills Hotel and the still undeveloped surrounding area can be seen in the background. Sunset Boulevard is beyond the hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

In September, 1911, Burton Green began construction on The Beverly Hills Hotel. It was opened on May 12, 1912 by Margaret J. Anderson and her son, Stanley S. Anderson, who had been managing the Hollywood Hotel.  The visitors drawn by the hotel were inclined to purchase land in Beverly Hills, and by 1914 the subdivision had a high enough population to incorporate as an independent city.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1912)** – View looking northeast showing the Beverly Hills Hotel.  A horse-drawn water wagon his heading east on Sunset Boulevard with an early model car parked by the side of the road.  In the foreground, a horse appears to be tied to a power pole.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1914, the Rodeo Land and Water Company decided to separate its water business from its real estate business. The Beverly Hills Utility Commission was split off from the land company and incorporated in September, 1914, buying all of the utilities-related assets from the Rodeo Land and Water Company.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1915)^ - View looking west across the front lawn of the Beverly Hills Hotel to the open space beyond. At left can be seen the new Pacific Electric station on Sunset Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1915)#^*^ - View looking northwest on N. Crescent Drive from Lomitas Avenue. A large mansion can be seen on the right and the recently completed Beverly Hills Hotel is in the upper left.  

 

Historical Notes

Green hired the landscape architect Wilbur D. Cook who, influenced by landscape designer Frederick Law Olmstead, created wide curving streets that hugged the hills. The City's first streets: Rodeo, Canon, Crescent, Carmelita, Elevado and Lomitas were constructed in 1907. Cook also created an emerald necklace for his garden city, with a three-block greensward called Santa Monica Park.+++

Some of Cook’s other Southern California projects include Exposition Park, the Palos Verdes Estates, Los Angeles Civic Center, and portions of Griffith Park. 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1918)^ - Aerial view of Beverly Hills early on in real estate development. Seven roads meet just before the Beverly Hills Hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1919, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford bought land on Summit Drive and built a mansion, finished in 1921 and nicknamed "Pickfair" by the press. The glamor associated with Fairbanks and Pickford as well as other movie stars who built mansions in the city contributed to its growing appeal.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1918)^^ -  Aerial view of Beverly Hills showing the new Beverly Hills Hotel. The hotel is visible at center, its t-shaped main building surrounded by trees. There are two tennis courts and several smaller buildings on the hotel grounds as well. In front of the hotel is a triangular park that would later become Will Rogers Memorial Park, after the first mayor of Beverly Hills. The streets in this neighborhood curve irregularly and there are three six-way intersections visible, one at each of the corners of the park.  

 

Historical Notes

Beverly Hills was one of many all-white planned communities started in the Los Angeles area around this time.  Restrictive covenants prohibited non-whites from owning or renting property unless they were employed as servants by white residents. It was also forbidden to sell or rent property to Jews in Beverly Hills.*^

 

 

Sunset Park (Will Rogers Memorial Park)

 
(ca. 1918)^^ - View looking north showing Sunset Park (later Will Rogers Memorial Park) in front of the Beverly Hills Hotel, designed by Elmer Grey. Neither has mature landscaping at this time. Note the streetcar on Sunset Boulevard (center-left).  

 

Historical Notes

Originally belonging to the Beverly Hills Hotel, this five acre park adjoining the property across Sunset Boulevard was donated to the City of Beverly Hills by owners Margaret and Stanley Anderson. ##++

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)##++ - Postcard view showing Sunset Municipal Park (later Will Rogers Memorial Park) with the Beverly Hills Hotel in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Sunset Municipal Park opened in 1915 as the first municipal park in the Beverly Hills. In 1926, entertainer Will Rogers was appointed first "Honorary Mayor" of Beverly Hills and, in 1952, the City renamed the Park, Will Rogers Memorial Park.***^^

 

 

 
(n.d.)^ - View of a fountain in a lily pond in Will Rogers Memorial Park, located at 9650 W. Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills.  

 

 

 

Beverly Hills Hotel

 
(ca. 1918)#+++ - Close-up view of the Beverly Hills Hotel with its own trolley station on Sunset Boulevard seen in the foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

A one-trolley car system known as the “Dinky” conveyed guests from a Pacific Electric station at the southwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Canon Drive up Rodeo Drive to the Hotel. *^*

 

 

 

 
(1921)^ - Looking south from a vantage just above the Beverly Hills Hotel. Click HERE to see more early views of the Beverly Hills Hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

By the early 1920s the population of Beverly Hills had grown enough to make the water supply a political issue. In 1923 the usual solution, annexation to the city of Los Angeles, was proposed. There was considerable opposition to annexation among such famous residents as Mary Pickford, Will Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks, and Rudolph Valentino. The Beverly Hills Utility Commission, opposed to annexation as well, managed to force the city into a special election and the plan was defeated 507 to 337.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1919)^ - View of Beverly Hills looking north over Wilshire Boulevard. Some of the street names have been marked on the photo including Wilshire, Santa Monica, Sunset, and Crescent Drive.  

 

 

Beverly Hills Speedway

 
(1919)^ - Aerial photo of the Beverly Hills Speedway located at Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards.  

 

Historical Notes

The Beverly Hills Speedway (also called the Los Angeles Speedway) was a 1.25-mile wooden board track for automobile and motorcycle racing in Beverly Hills. It was built in 1919 on 275 acres of land that includes the site of today's Beverly Wilshire Hotel, just outside of the "Golden Triangle". The site was bounded by Wilshire Boulevard, South Beverly Drive, Olympic Boulevard and Lasky Drive.*^

 

 

 
(1919)^ - Aerial photograph of the Beverly Hills Speedway, located at Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.  West Hollywood can be seen in the distance at upper-right.  Note the oil wells in the left foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

The new Speedway was built by Jack Prince and Art Pillsbury and was financed by a group of racers and businessmen that called itself the Beverly Hills Speedway Association. The track was the first in the United States to be designed with banked turns incorporating an engineering solution known as a spiral easement.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1919)##++ - Closer view of the Beverly HIlls Speedway located just south of Wilshire Boulevard near where it intersects with Santa Monica Boulevard (aka "Golden Triangle").  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1919)^ - Early race cars are lined up at the Beverly Hills Racetrack.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1919)^ - View showing race cars racing on the steep bank of the track at the Beverly Hills Racetrack.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1919)^^ - Panoramic view showing an automobile race at the Beverly Hills Racetrack. The early racecars are all open topped and the drivers are wearing leather helmets and goggles.  The grandstand is packed with spectators.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1919)^ - View of two race cars racing past the finish line at the Beverly Hills Racetrack.  

 

Historical Notes

At the time, the wooden racetrack was ranked second in race quality only to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.^*^*

 

 

 

 
(1922)^**^ - Durant Racing team, Beverly Hills Raceway . . . Harry Miller Designed and built. Cliff Durant was William Durant's son (General Motors President). He had the most highly funded team of the day with the best drivers.  

 

Historical Notes

Many race cars had paint jobs that read Durant Racing on the sides. Durant was an American race car driver, the son of William C. Durant, a founder of General Motors who was also the co-owner and president of the Beverly Hills Speedway.

Durant Drive in the City of Beverly HIlls was named after these Durants.^*^*

 

 

 

 
(1922)##++ – Aerial view looking down at the Beverly Hills Speedway showing a full house at a racing event. Note the number of cars in the parking lot.  Photo: Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives  

 

Historical Notes

The Speedway was a great success, not only for racing but also for events. In fact, sometimes the space was so well attended, the parking lots overflowed with cars.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1919)##++ - View showing a filled to capacity parking lot at the Beverly Hills Speedway.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1919)^ - View of the spectator stands from outside the Beverly Hills Racetrack on Pico Boulevard, near Rodeo Drive.  

 

Historical Notes

The Speedway operated for four years and attracted many historically significant competitors including Ralph DePalma, Jimmy Murphy, and Tommy Milton. It was also the site of a racing accident that killed National Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Gaston Chevrolet in 1920.*^

Gaston Chevrolet was the younger brother of Louis Chevrolet, who in 1911 co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Company.^*^*

 

 

 

 
(1919)##++ – View looking northeast showing cast and crew of the 1919 silent film “The Roaring Road” posing for the camera on the Beverly Hills Speedway track.  

 

Historical Notes

The gigantic eucalyptus trees in the distance ran the length of what today would be Charleville Blvd., a street named for developer Walter G. McCarty's Irish roots. The trees created a natural wind and sound barrier for residential neighborhood north of Wilshire Boulevard, which within five years, would start to become the city's commercial triangle. ##++

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1921)^**^ - Motorcycles line up and wait for the starting gun to go off.  

 

Historical Notes

Motorcycle board track racing took place at the short lived Beverly Hills Speedway between 1920 and 1924.^^^^

 

 

 

 
(1921)#^ - A group of men are standing next to several motorcycles on the inside of the banked track of the Beverly Hills Speedway. At the time, this wooden racetrack was ranked second in race quality only to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  

 

Historical Notes

There is no doubt that board track racing was an incredibly exciting event to witness.  The motorcycles were capable of speeds over 100 mph and represented all the marques of the day.  Manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson, Indian and Excelsior all had factory racing teams with custom built factory race bikes.

 

 

 

 
(1920s)*#* - View showing motorcycle racers rounding the embanked curve a the speedway.  

 

Historical Notes

Because the turns were severely banked, it allowed riders to reach speeds of more than 100 miles an hour. Crashes were frequent and horrific—riders who went down faced being impaled by splinters—and often fatal.

 

 

 
(1921)^**^ - Aerial view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard from where Santa Monica Boulevard intersects it. Vast open fields can be seen between the Beverly Hills Speedway and the City of Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

By the mid-‘20s, the sport began to lose its appeal. Perhaps the novelty wore off; certainly the carnage was appalling. Newspapers began referring to motordromes as “murderdromes,” and local governments closed some tracks. Race officials and the motorcycle manufacturers that sponsored racing teams tried to implement measures to slow down the bikes, but that went nowhere. By the early 1930s, board-track motorcycle racing had become a footnote in motorsport history. *#*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1921)^ - Aerial view looking northwest showing the Beverly Hills Speedway during an event. Note all the open, undeveloped land surrounding the speedway.  

 

Historical Notes

It would soon become apparent that the racetrack wasn't as valuable as the land it was on.  By the mid-twenties the track was dismantled to make way for new developments.

 

 

 

Beverly Hills' Bridle Paths

 
(1921)^ -  A view of Beverly Hills looking north from Santa Monica Boulevard, between Rodeo Drive and Beverly Boulevard.  Note the bridle path down the center of Rodeo Drive on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

From the early 1920s through the 1960s, pathways dedicated to horse travel ran down the center of several Beverly Hills streets. One stretched from the city's eastern to western boundary, meandering through town down the center of Sunset Boulevard. Another occupied the median of Rodeo Drive, where it replaced an abandoned Pacific Electric trolley line that once connected Santa Monica Boulevard with the Beverly Hills Hotel. Two more snaked their way up Coldwater and Benedict canyons.

The bridle paths served several purposes. They satisfied the recreational urges of the city's many equine enthusiasts. They reinforced the image of Beverly Hills as a place of wealth and privilege. They preserved the rustic feel of a city that was fervently carving itself out of the open countryside of Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas. And lastly, though saddle horses were never as common on city streets as draft horses, they nostalgically recalled that dying breed -- the urban horse. ^*^

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^# – Close-up view showing three horseback riders making their way down one of the bridle paths in Beverly Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

For a time, Beverly Hills' bridle paths teemed with horseback riders and the occasional tally-ho. A grand pageant marked the completion of the city's bridle path network on January 10, 1925. The Bridle Path Association placed signs at the paths' entrances proclaiming that they led from "Beverly Hills to the Sea and the Mountains" -- a reference to the organization's ambitious plans to lace the Santa Monica Mountains with equestrian trails. ^*^

 

 

 
(1920s)^ - A sign over the entrances to the bridle paths read: 'Ye Bridle Path - from Beverly Hills to Sea and Mountains'.  

 

Historical Notes

The city's enthusiasm for horses soon waned and eventually its bridle paths fell into disuse. Another recreational craze briefly gave the paths new life in 1938, when, in the midst of a nationwide bicycle fever, the city opened them up to bicycles -- transforming the old bridle paths into some of the region's finest cycling infrastructure. But after World War II brought an abrupt end to the nation's obsession with biking, the city slowly dismantled the aging paths. By 1965, grassy medians occupied the space where horses once trod. ^*^

 

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New Development

 
(ca. 1921)#+ – Aerial photo showing the Beverly Hills Speedway annotated to show the major streets.  

 

Historical Notes

The last race on the track was held in 1924; it wasn't as valuable as the land it was on, and was shuttered and dismantled to make way for new developments, like the 1928 Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which was erected on part of the former racetrack property.

The Speedway was relocated just a few miles away to Culver City (1924), near the intersection of Culver and Overland boulevards (across the street from MGM Studios).

Click HERE see more on the Culver City Speedway.

 

 

 

 
(1925)^^ – View looking north showing the excavation of land south of where the Beverly Hills Speedway once stood. The new development, Beverly Hills Heights, is centered on South Beverly Drive and runs from where Olympic Boulevard is today up to Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1923, the 193 acres known as the Beverly Hills Speedway tract owned by Silsby Spalding, Cliff Durant, and Jake Dansinger was sold to Walter G. McCarty at about $10,000 per acre.  By 1924, the entire Speedway property bounded by Wilshire Boulevard, South Beverly Drive, Olympic Boulevard, and Lasky Drive was developed into a proposed residential and business district. #*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ - Aerial view of Beverly Hills showing new development where the Speedway used to be (center-left).  

 

 

 

 

Before and After

 
 
(1919 vs. 1925)^ - Aerial view of Beverly Hills showing how much growth and development took place in a relatively short span of time.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1925)*^#^ - A view of Beverly Hills Heights, a development by Frank Meline, shown at the start of the subdivision. A man stands near a parked automobile on a wide, unpaved S. Beverly Drive near what is today Olympic Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

At the time of this photo 10th Street (now Olympic Boulevard) had not yet been cut through to the west. It was originally named 10th Street, but was renamed Olympic Boulevard for the 1932 Summer Olympics, as that was the occasion of the tenth modern event.^*

 

 

 

 
(1925)*^#^– Panoramic view of a completely undeveloped South Beverly Drive looking north to the Beverly Theater at Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

There are still giant eucalyptus trees that once lined the boundaries of the Beverly Hills Speedway to the north behind the Walter McCarty retail development. Those trees would soon be cut down to make way for Charleville Blvd. To the left you can see El Camino Drive is beginning to make its way south and in the upper left hand corner of the photo you will find the "Beverly Crest" real estate sign on the mountain, very much like its sister sign, "Hollywoodland" only a handful of miles away. The area from where the photo was taken was known as Beverly Heights. ##++

 

 

 

 
(1929)^ - Aerial view of Beverly Hills looking north.  The large white building at center of photo is the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, completed in 1928.  

 

 

 

 

Before and After

 
 
(1925 vs. 1929)^ - Aerial view of Beverly Hills showing how much growth and development took place in a relatively short span of time.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1925)*^#^ - A Pacific Electric bus parked along the side of the road near a sign for the Beverly Hills Heights development. Two men are standing outside the bus, one about to board, and a few people are already seated on the bus. The land that is visible is covered in fields.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^^ - View showing a car on an unpaved Sunset Boulevard between Carolwood and Delfern Drives in Beverly Hills, with three palm trees in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Sunset Boulevard stretches from Figueroa Street in Downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Coast Highway at the Pacific Ocean in the Pacific Palisades. Approximately 22 miles in length, the famous boulevard roughly mimics the arc of the mountains that form the northern boundary of the Los Angeles Basin, following the path of a 1780s cattle trail from the Pueblo de Los Angeles to the ocean.

The portion of Sunset Boulevard that passes through Beverly Hills was once named Beverly Boulevard.^*

 

 

 
(n.d.)+# – Life Magazine photo showing rural-looking Beverly Hills at city limits with signs reminding motorists that “Bridal path crossing – Saddle horses have right of way.”  

 

 

Beverly Hills City Hall

 
(1926)##++ - Honorary Mayor Will Rogers demonstrates the city's brand new Elgin Street Sweeper in front of Beverly Hills’ original City Hall at the terminus of N Crescent Drive and Burton Way.  

 

Historical Notes

William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers, in addition to being a cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, newspaper columnist, social commentator, and stage and motion picture actor, was the honorary Mayor of Beverly Hills (1926 – 1928). After the city was incorporated it was run by an appointed city manager. The "mayor's office" was merely a ceremonial one that enabled Will to make more jokes about do-nothing politicians such as himself.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1928)##++ – View showing Honorary Mayor Will Rogers and the Beverly Hills Fire Department standing outside the city's first City Hall and fire station.  

 

Historical Notes

The first City Hall building faced south at the end of Crescent Drive, right before Santa Monica Boulevard. It was demolished when the new City Hall was erected in 1932 and its demise made way for South Santa Monica Boulevard to the east and west and Crescent Drive to go all the way through to the South. ##++

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)^ - Looking northeast from the Beverly Hills business district showing Beverly Hills City Hall (built in 1932) and the Beverly Hills Civic Center. The Pacific Electric streetcar tracks of the Beverly Hills line that run down Santa Monica Boulevard are seen in the center. Between the tracks and City Hall is the Beverly Hills Post Office. In the far distance (upper-right) you can make out the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1930, land was purchased from the Pacific Electric to build the new city hall. Construction lasted from 1931 to 1932.  The building was designed by architects William J. Gage and Harry G. Koerner in the Spanish Revival architectural style (though sometimes also characterized Churrigueresque). When the city hall opened in 1932, it was called by The Los Angeles Times the "largest and most expensive City Hall of any municipality its size in the country." *^

 

 

 
(1933)^ - Panoramic view of Beverly Hills City Hall and surrounding area, looking east. City Hall was built in 1932 on Crescent Drive at Santa Monica Blvd.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^ - Close-up view looking east showing the Spanish Colonial Revival-style Beverly Hills City Hall.  

Historical Notes

Beverly Hills City Hall is surrounded by North Santa Monica Boulevard, North Rexford Drive, South Santa Monica Boulevard, and North Crescent Drive.  Its main entrance is at 455 North Rexford Drive.

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Beverly Hills City Hall.

 

 

Beverly Hills Post Office

 
(1934)^ - View looking west showing the Beverly Hills Post Office located at 325 N. Maple Drive as seen from City Hall. This was the location of Beverly Hills' 1st Train Station.  

 

Historical Notes

Architects Ralph C. Flewellin and Allison and Allison built the Beverly Hills Post Office in 1932-1933 in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, with building in terra cotta and brick.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1934)##++ – Close-up view of the Italianate-style Beverly Hills Post Office located on Maple Drive between Canon Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The Beverly Hills Post Office (also known as the Crescent Drive Post Office) was part of the original civic center built for the growing young city. Legendary humorist and honorary mayor Will Rogers was credited with securing funding for the building from the federal government, after sending a typically folksy-yet-biting letter to Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon.

Ralph C. Flewelling designed the building with consulting architects Allison and Allison. The building’s stately Italian Renaissance Revival exterior leads into a double-height, marble-clad grand lobby. Artist Charles Kassler adorned the upper walls of the lobby with eight WPA fresco murals depicting the creation of the mail service and views of modern life during the Depression. +++

 

 

 
(2014)*^ -  View showing the restored Post Office portion of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, as seen from the corner of South Santa Monica Boulevard and Canon Drive. Photo by Waliy Sherpa  

 

Historical Notes

When the U.S. Postal Service’s needs outgrew the building, USPS declared it as “surplus property” and offered it for sale to federal, state, and local governments. The nonprofit Beverly Hills Cultural Center Foundation was formed to find a new use for the building as a cultural venue, and the City of Beverly Hills bought the building in 1999.

To transform the site for use as a performing arts center, the project team restored historic elements of the post office building and added a modern annex, connected via tunnel, to house the main 500-seat theatre. The original building received a meticulous repair and restoration, from re-roofing, to restoring the WPA murals, to refurbishing all historic features inside and out. +++

 

 

 

 
(2015)^^– View showing the 1933-built Beverly Hills Post Office, now part of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by John Edward Linden  

 

Historical Notes

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts includes a new 500-seat state-of-the-art theater adjacent to the landmark Italian Renaissance Revival building, and three classrooms, a 150-seat flexible studio space, a donor lounge, production support services and administrative offices within the historic post office building itself.^^

 

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Beverly Hills Pacific Electric Station

 
(1940)##++ – Scan of a picture that was in the Spring 2008 issue of "Classic Trains" magazine. The picture was taken by Harold Stewart, a Pacific Electric motorman, in July 1940, just before passenger service on the Los Angeles-Beverly Hills-Santa Monica line was discontinued.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1943)#^ - View of the Beverly Hills Pacific Electric Station looking east showing a PE Red Car adjacent to three buses all lined up. City Hall can be seen in the background.  

 

 

 

Beverly Hills Fire Department

 
(1938)^^ – View showing the Beverly Hills Fire Department at Rexford Drive at Santa Monica Boulevard with City Hall in the background.  

 

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Beverly Wilshire Hotel

 
(1926)##++ – View showing steel framing for the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Photo: Marc Wanamaker  

 

Historical Notes

One of the most significant buildings on Wilshire Boulevard in the 1920s was that of Walter G. McCarty's Beverly Wilshire Hotel and Apartment Homes. Designed by the prestigious Los Angeles architectural firm of Walker and Eisen in the Renaissance Revival style, it became the city's second large-scale hotel in 1928. McCarty and his investment syndicate were equally as committed to the promotion and growth of the city as the Rodeo Land and Water Company had been, and the hotel was a fitting anchor to their residential developments south of Wilshire Boulevard. ##++

 

 

 
(ca. 1927)##++ – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard showing a group of men, including Walter G. McCarty, surveying the street and posing for the camera. The Beverly Wilshire Hotel is under construction as part of McCarty's developing landscape that once included the Beverly Hills Speedway tract of land. In the distance, the white building with the arched front doorway would soon become the Brown Derby Restaurant.  

 

Historical Notes

The Beverly Wilshire Hotel was constructed by real estate developer Walter G. McCarty on the site of the former Beverly Hills Speedway. It was completed in 1928 (when the city had fewer than 18,000 residents), and was then known as the "Beverly Wilshire Apartment Hotel".  *^

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*^#^ – Postcard view looking southwest showing the Beverly Wilshire Hotel as seen from the east side of N. Beverly Drive. The Brown Derby Restaurant sign can be seen at far right.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)+# – View showing a 1937 Oldsmobile parked on Beverly Drive with the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in the background. Parking doesn't seem to be an issue.  

 

 

 

 
(1937)^ - Closer view of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel located on the southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and S. El Camino Dr.  

 

Historical Notes

Originally named the "Beverly Wilshire Apartment Hotel” when opened (1928), it was renamed the Beverly Wilshire Hotel by its new owners in the 1940s when it was renovated with a ballroom to accommodate the popular big bands of the day. An Olympic-sized swimming pool was built and championship tennis courts were added, with tennis champion Pancho Gonzalez as tennis director.*^

 

 

 
(1939)^ - View showing the Beverly Wilshire Hotel at 9500 Wilshire Boulevard as seen from the northwest corner of Wilshire and Rodeo Drive.  Sign at lower right reads: “Boulevard Stop”.  

 

Historical Notes

The E-shaped structure is built of a Tuscan stone and Carrara marble in the Italian Renaissance architecture style.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)##++ – View showing the front entrance to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel with a beautiful awning under which to arrive in style and bronze plaque bearing the name of the proud establishment. Photo: Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives  

 

Historical Notes

Today, you will still find the diamond shaped sidewalk when you arrive and individual awning on the tops of each window at the front and the sides of the hotel. ##++

 

 

 

 
(1929)##++ – View showing the elegant lobby of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Photo: Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives  

 

Historical Notes

Four of the six columns are still there today but are just covered up. The ceiling was dropped. Unfortunately that beautiful ornate balcony cover is gone. ##++

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ – View of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel as seen from the center of Rodeo Drive.  

 

Historical Notes

Commissioned by Walker G. McCarty, it was designed by Walker and Eisen and built in the Italian Renaissance revival style. The photo shows the arcade work on the street level. ^

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ -  View of S. Rodeo Drive looking south from Wilshire showing a luxury car (1937 Cord Convertible) parked next to the diamond patterned sidewalk of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Across the street are the Art Deco windows of the W. & J. Sloane furniture store.  

 

Historical Notes

Cord was the brand name of an American automobile company from Connersville, Indiana, manufactured by the Auburn Automobile Company from 1929 through 1932 and again in 1936 and 1937.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - Numerous cars are parked outside businesses on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. In the distance is the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, located at 9500 Wilshire Boulevard.  Photo by Herman J. Schultheis  

 

 

 

 

 
(1932)+# – View looking south down Rodeo Drive from Santa Monica Boulevard toward the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1938)##++ - Aerial view looking southeast over the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive showing the historic Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Note all the empty land south of the hotel. Photo: Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives  

 

Historical Notes

The Beverly Wilshire Hotel changed hands in 1958 and again in 1961, when it was purchased by a group of investors headed by Hernando Courtright.

The singer Elvis Presley and later the actor Warren Beatty lived several years in the hotel. It was also the home of John Lennon, when he was separated for several months from his wife Yoko Ono. The American socialite and Woolworth department store heiress Barbara Hutton spent her last years in near poverty and poor health in the hotel and died there in May 1979.

Acquired by Regent International Hotels in 1985, the 395-room luxury hotel has been managed by the Four Seasons Hotel since 1992.*^

 

 

 

 
(1937)##++ – Aerial view of Beverly Hills looking northeast.  The intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Drive is at center-left where the Moorish-style Beverly Theater stands at the corner. The Beverly Wilshire Hotel is seen at lower-left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)^#^– – View looking north from the top of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel showing Beverly Hills City Hall in upper-left and the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance.  Victor Hugo Restaurant is seen at center-right. Source: Life Magazine  

 

Historical Notes

Victor Hugo Restaurant was located at 233 N. Beverly Drive near Wilshire Blvd. It originally was a downtown LA landmark located at 619 S. Grand Avenue until moving to Beverly Hills in 1934.  At the time it was considered to the finest restaurant in Beverly Hills where movie stars would dine on a regular basis.  The glamorous Mayfair Ball was held there in the 1930s. +#

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)^#^– – Panoramic night view looking northeast from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel showing the city lit up.  Beverly Hills City Hall stands tall in upper-left, with a portion of West Hollywood seen in the distance at upper-right. Source: Life Magazine  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)^#^– Night view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard as seen from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  The intersection of Wilshire and Beverly is at center of photo.  Also seen from left to right are the:  Bekins Storage Building, Beverly Theater, and California Bank Building.  Source:  Life Magazine  

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

Beverly Theatre

 
(1930s)^ – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard at Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. Seen are, left to right, the Beverly Theater, the California Bank Building, and the Warner Theatre.  

 

 

 

 
(1951)##++ – Close-up view showing the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and N. Beverly Drive showing three buildings with uniquely distinctive architectural styles: the Mughal Revival Beverly Theatre, the Mesoamerican Revival California Bank Building, and the Hollywood Regency style structure connecting them that became Reingold Jewelers.  Photo: Marc Wanamaker  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^ - Three women stand on a street corner opposite the Beverly Theater in Beverly Hills. The marquee includes "Fred MacMurray Exclusive."  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by L.A. Smith, this was the first vaudeville and movie theater to be built in Beverly Hills.^

 

 

 

 
(1945)##++ - A bird's-eye view from the California Bank Building (Sterling Plaza) of north Beverly Drive with the Beverly Theater directly below shortly after its dome received a fresh coat of paint.  

 

Historical Notes

The first building on the west side of the road (left) began as the Victor Hugo Restaurant. It was next occupied by the salon of Adrian (as pictured), the movie costumer and designer of couture gowns for the discerning (and very wealthy) woman. It later became a Lane Bryant store. The building was eventually razed. The parking lot is where the Chase Bank building (originally Bank of America) now stands. The Adrian lot is the site of an office building where MGM is headquartered. ##++

 

 

 

 
(1978)* - Close-up view showing the dome of the old Beverly Theatre, at time of photo a bank.  

 

Historical Notes

After many years of housing a bank, the Beverly Theater was sadly demolished in August of 2005 to make way for new development. ^^^*

The onion dome ... brings to mind Beverly Hills' temporary original name, "Morocco".

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the Beverly Theatre.

 

* * * * *

 

California Bank Building

 
(ca. 1930s)##++ – View showing the top of the California Bank Building located 9441 Wilshire Boulevard.  Today, the building is known as Sterling Plaza.  

 

Historical Notes

Completed in 1929, just before the stock market crash, the California Bank Building stands seven stories tall and was designed by the Los Angeles Father/Son architect team of John and Donald Parkinson. Its classic Art Deco era stair-step design is quintessentially Mesoamerican Revival in style and retains most of its architectural integrity from its period of significance. The bottom portion of the building's façade was changed around 1951 to create a modernized, uniform appearance with the small corner building to the west. Around the same time, head of MGM Louis B. Mayer acquired the property and it's rumored there's a theatre on the top floor building. In the 90s, real estate investor/developer Donald Sterling purchased the property and renamed it Sterling Plaza. ##++

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)^^ – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard and Dayton Drive.  From right to left can be seen:  J.J. Haggarty, Beverly Wilshire Hotel, California Bank, the dome of the Beverly Theater and the top hat sign of the famous Brown Derby Restaurant.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1937)^ - View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills on September 22, 1937.  Some of the prominent signs are:  The Brown Derby, California Bank, Warner Bros. Theatre, and the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)##^* –  Postcard view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  The Brown Derby Restaurant is on the left (sign above the palm trees) with the Beverly Theater and California Bank Building in the distance. On the right can be seen the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel, W & J Sloane and J. J. Haggarty's Department Stores.  

 

 

 

Brown Derby (Beverly Hills)

 
(1942)*^#^ – Postcard view showing the Brown Derby Restaurant, with hat-shaped sign, and automobiles parked on the street at 9537 Wilshire Boulevard on the corner of Wilshire and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  Various business signs read "Artaglia Bros. Tailors est. 1907" and "Sterling" a spare tire cover on an automobile at right has lettering that reads "RPM motor oil first choice." The Beverly Wilshire Market can be seen, at far left, at 9570 Wilshire Boulevard. Printing on the curb reads "Rodeo Dr. 200 Blk. N."  

 

Historical Notes

The Original Brown Derby on Wilshire and the Hollywood Brown Derby on Vine Street got most of the attention but there were two others. This one opened in 1931 at 9537 Wilshire at the corner of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Apparently it was busiest on Thursday nights because that was the traditional maid’s night off. +#

 

 

 

 
(1940s)+# – View showing the Brown Derby Restaurant on the corner of Wilshire and Rodeo Drive as seen from the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel.  Today, Louis Vuitton sits on this corner.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - A car is parked in front of a walkway leading to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (9500 Wilshire Boulevard) in this image looking west towards the Brown Derby, located at 9537 Wilshire Boulevard, on the northwest corner of Wilshire and Rodeo Drive.  

 

 

 

 
(1950s)+## – View showing a woman crossing the street on Rodeo Drive with the The Brown Derby Restaurant behind her.  Wilshire Boulevard is out of view on the left. After the building was occupied by the third Brown Derby from 1931 to 1982, it was demolished and replaced with a new commercial structure designed for high-end retail.  

 

 

 

Then and Now

 
(2014)++^ - The Brown Derby is gone, but the Louis Vuitton building gives a subtle nod to the past with its brown, hat-like dome. Location: 9537 Wilshire Bouelvard, Beverly Hills  

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

The Point - Intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards

 
(1928)^ - Aerial view, looking west, showing where Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards intersect. Beverly Hills High School can be seen at center-left. The Good Shepherd Catholic Church is at lower center-right.  

 

 

Beverly Hills High School

 
(1927)^ – Early view of Beverly Hills High School when it was still under construction.  

 

Historical Notes

Beverly Hills High School was founded in 1927. The original buildings were designed by Robert D. Farquhar in the French Normandy style.

Beverly Hills High School was originally in the Los Angeles City High School District.  On March 23, 1936, the Beverly Hills Elementary School District left the Los Angeles City High School District and formed the Beverly Hills High School District; by operation of law this became the Beverly Hills Unified School District.*^

 

 

 
(1928)^ - Aerial view showing Beverly Hills High School located at 241 Moreno Drive.  Note the oil derrick adjacent to the track field.  

 

Historical Notes

Beverly Hills High School is located on 19.5 acres on the west side of Beverly Hills. The land was previously part of the Beverly Hills Speedway board track, which was torn down in 1924.

The school also receives its funding from its on-campus oil tower.

Today, a cluster of 19 oil wells in a single "drilling island" on Beverly's campus, owned by Venoco, Inc., can easily be seen by drivers heading west on Olympic Boulevard toward Century City. The oil wells have pumped much of the oil from under Beverly's campus, and many have been slant drilling into productive regions of the western part of the Beverly Hills Oil Field under many homes and apartment buildings in Beverly Hills for decades.

As of May 2006, the Beverly Hills High School wells were pumping out 400 barrels to 500 barrels a day, earning the school approximately $300,000 a year in royalties.*^

 

 

 

 
(1944)^#^ – Panoramic view showing Beverly Hills High School and surrounding area.  Note the oil well on the other side of the school.  

 

 

 

 

 

(1966)## - Beverly Hills High School Coat of Arms

Team name:  Normans
Newspaper: Highlights
Yearbook:  Watchtower
Motto:  “Today well lived”

 

 

Historical Notes

The school motto, “Today well lived”, is part of a Sanskrit Proverb: "Yesterday is a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore to this day." ##

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - Students gather next to a lamppost on the walkway that leads to the main building of Beverly Hills High School, while others walk to class. Two people are raising the flag. Photo by Herman Schultheis  

 

Historical Notes

Architect Robert D. Farquhar designed the 1927 Beverly Hills High School, located at 241 Moreno Drive. In 1936-1937, the main building was renovated due to damage done by the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. The Swim-Gym, designed by Stiles O. Clement, was built in 1939-1940. Major additions designed by Rowland H. Crawford occurred from 1967-1970 (North Wing to the Main Building, 5 story building with classrooms and two level parking garage). The Science and Technology Center, designed by LPA, architects, was built in 2005-2007.^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)##++ - Close-up view showing Beverly Hills High School, a treasured architectural icon.  

 

Historical Notes

Beverly Hills High School has been featured in many films and TV shows, either as part of the plot or a filming location. Many movies, including Clueless, Real Women Have Curves, Whatever It Takes, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, and It's a Wonderful Life, featured a scene in Beverly's unique "Swim Gym," perhaps the only gymnasium that has a basketball court that can split open to reveal a recreational-sized, 25-yard swimming pool.*^

 

 

Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant No. 1

 
(ca. 1927)^ - View looking northwest showing the City of Beverly Hills' Water Treatment Plant No. 1, located at 333 South La Cienega Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by Los Angeles architects: Salisbury, Bradshaw and Arthur Taylor and built in 1927, the building was affectionately called the "Public Water Cathedral" because of its monumental Spanish Romanesque style.^

 

 

 
(1931)*^#^ - View looking across La Cienega Boulevard showing early model cars parked in front of the water treatment plant building.  

 

 

 

 
(late 1930s)^ - Closer view of Water Treatment Plant No. 1 on La Cienega Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The Spanish-Romanesque building fell into disuse in 1976 when Beverly Hills began to purchase water from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District. In 1988, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences proposed restoring the building to house a library and film archive and the center opened in 1991. In 2002, the film archive moved to Hollywood. The building was designed along a traditional hacienda layout. Its distinctive high tower is actually a disguised chimney which was originally used to burn off the sulfur in the water at a level high enough to keep it from the noses of nearby residents.^^^

 

 

Myer Siegel Department Store

 
(ca. 1937)^ - View looking at the northeast corner of N. Roxbury Drive and S. Santa Monica Boulevard showing the Streamline Moderne Myer Siegel department store (9697 S. Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills). The crosses and golden domes of the Church of the Good Shepard (501 North Bedford Drive) are visible behind the building on the far left.  

 

 

Church of the Good Shepherd

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - A path winds through the cactus gardens at Beverly Gardens Park, and the Church of the Good Shepherd can be seen in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

The Church of the Good Shepherd parish was founded in 1923. J.J. Donnellan designed the Mission Revival style church and rectory, which opened in 1925.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)*^#^ – Postcard view looking northwest showing the Church of the Good Shepherd with twin bell towers and frontispiece. Railroad tracks and a bench which reads "Eastern" can be seen in the foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

Over the years, this house of worship has been the local parish church for most of the Catholic movie stars who live in Beverly Hills, from Rudolph Valentino to Bing Crosby (who both attended Sunday Mass here).  It has seen numerous celebrity weddings and funerals. Celebrity weddings have included Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad "Nicky" Hilton, Loretta Young and Tom Lewis, Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter, and Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham, Carmen Miranda and David Sebastian. Celebrity funerals have included Rudolph Valentino (1926), Carmen Miranda (1955), Gary Cooper (1961), William Frawley (1966), Pier Angeli (1971), Jack Haley (1979), Alfred Hitchcock (1980), Vincente Minnelli (1986), Rita Hayworth (1987), Danny Thomas (1991), Eva Gabor (1995), Mary Frann (1998), Frank Sinatra (1998), Don Adams (2005), and Merv Griffin (2007).*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - Exterior of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, located at 501 North Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - This view of the entrance to the Church of the Good Shepherd features the arched doors and windows, bell towers, stained glass windows, churrigueresque and Spanish tile roof.  

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

N. Beverly Drive

 
(1925)##++ – View looking south on N. Beverly Drive from Little Santa Monica Boulevard or what was then Burton Way.  The Spanish Revival building on the left hand corner would soon become Hazel's Grill and eventually cycle through many drug store incarnations. Today that location is a brown glass box "building," which contains a Bank of America.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1928)** – View looking north on N. Beverly Drive toward Santa Monica Boulevard showing traffic congestion.  

 

Historical Notes

Traffic jams in Beverly Hills were common through the boom of the 1920s, resulting in new traffic laws and intersection lights to ease traffic and auto accidents.  Some of the stores shown on the eastside of the street include Piggle Wiggly Market and the Beverly Mode Shop. #*

 

 

 
(1929)+# – Night view of north Beverly Drive showing four spot lights for what appears to be a new store opening which was so typical of the 20s and 30.  At lower right there is a bike casually dropped in the doorway of a hardware store (Beverly Hardware Co.).  

 

 

 

N. Canon Drive

 
(ca. 1936)^#^ – Life Magazine photo showing the opening of Premier Market located at 425 N. Canon Drive. Note the Streamline Modern Art Deco Design of the building.  

 

Historical Notes

Spot lights were commonly used for grand openings of stores in the 1930s.

 

 

 
(ca. 1936))^#^ – ‘Premier of Premier Market’  - A man holds on to two spot lights as he sits in chair in front of Premier Market during its Grand Opening.   

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^^ – View looking south on N. Canon Drive showing an Auburn Cord Dealership (left), the Bekins Storage Building (right), and the Warner Bros. Beverly Hills Theater at the end on Wilshire Boulevard  

 

Historical Notes

Cord was the brand name of an American automobile company from Connersville, Indiana, manufactured by the Auburn Automobile Company from 1929 through 1932 and again in 1936 and 1937.*^

 

Warner Beverly Theatre

 
(1931)^ – View looking southwest showing the newly built Warner Beverly Theatre located at 9404 Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca in 1930, the Warner Beverly was a medium sized theater, designed after its sisters in Huntington Park and San Pedro. The building was an outstanding example of Art Deco style and was considered "The Pride of Beverly Hills" on the southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Cañon Drive in 1931.##++

 

 

 
(1935)^ - View looking southeast showing the Warner Bros. Beverly Hills Theatre. The marquee features "Traveling Saleslady" with Joan Blondell, and "Death Flies Easy" with Conrad Nagel.  

 

Historical Notes

The theater's large scale and elaborate Art Deco design made it a prominent feature in the landscape of Beverly Hills, distinguished especially by its tall neon-lit tower sign.^

 

 

 
(1937)^ - View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard in the Beverly Hills business district. On the left is the Warner Bros. Beverly Hills Theatre, located at 9404 Wilshire Blvd; the marquee promotes "Virginia City" with Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins, Randolph Scott, and Humphrey Bogart. Also seen are the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, further west on the boulevard, and the offices of California Bank on the right.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^*# – Close up front view of the Warner Theatre showing the intricate Art Deco designs on the face of the building and its tower.  

 

 

 

 
(1987)^ - Photograph caption reads: "Shattered crystal of the Beverly Theater's tower ... resembles a chunk of Superman's kryptonite". Photograph dated August 17, 1987. ~ Herald-Examiner Collection  

 

Historical Notes

The final owner of the Warner Beverly Theatre, Columbia Savings and Loan Association, had the facility torn down in 1989 because they didn't want to spend the money, reportedly $12 million, to seismically upgrade the Art Deco movie palace, even though it was in fine cosmetic condition. ##++

 

 

Signal Service Station

 
(1931)^^ – Attendant pumping gas at a Signal Purr-Pull service station with Art Deco tower, located in Beverly Hills. Click HERE to see more in Early LA Gas Stations.  

 

 

 

Wilshire Links Miniature Golf

 
(1930s)^*# – Night view looking west showing the Wilshire Links miniature golf course located on the southeast corner of Wilshire and La Cienega in Beverly Hills. View is from the top of Fox Wilshire Theatre (built in 1930).  

 

Historical Notes

Mary Pickford's Wilshire Links, a miniature golf course, was located on the corner of Wilshire Blvd and La Cienega. Pickford owned the property and with the miniature golf craze in full swing, she hired artisans from the United Artist Studio to build a course in a "French modernistic style." It featured imitation palms, a lake and wandering streams as well as lighting effects.*^#

 

 

 
(1930s)^^# - Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks inaugurate the Wilshire Links mini-golf course on Wilshire and La Cienega. It was an Art Deco paradise.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^*# – View looking at the S/E corner of Wilshire and La Cienega showing the Wilshire Links Miniature Golf entrance, through which can be seen a soda fountain with bar stools. An early model car is parked along the curb on the west side of La Cienega.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^*# - Closer view showing the Wilshire Links soda fountain with its Art Deco designs.  

 

 

Fox Wilshire Theatre

 
(1934)##++ – View looking toward the southeast corner of Wilshire and La Cienega with the Wilshire Links entrance gate on the corner.  The Fox Wilshire Theatre can be seen in the background.  Note that there’s an auto accident near the middle of the intersection. Click HERE to see contemporary view.   

 

Historical Notes

At the eastern edge of Beverly Hills sits the elaborate Spanish Art Deco style Fox Wilshire Theatre. Designed by noted theatre architect Simeon Charles Lee, this was his 3rd theatre design, after the Tower Theatre and the Los Angeles Theatre, both in downtown Los Angeles. The Fox Wilshire Theatre was also the first of many he designed in an Art Deco style. It was built for and operated by the Fox West Coast Theatres circuit, and opened on September 19, 1930, with seating for 2,296 in orchestra and balcony levels. ^##

 

 

 
(1930s)^ - View looking east on Wilshire at La Cienega showing a Sontag Drug Store where Wilshire Links Miniature Golf once stood. Berk's Restaurant is seen across the street on the right. Note the 20 mile speed limit painted on Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The Sontag Drug Store contained a soda fountain, grill and coffee shop and was built in the Streamline Moderne style. It was one of the largest drug stores in America when constructed. Berk's is advertising theater specials from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at popular prices!

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)** – Closer view showing the Fox Wilshire Theatre located on the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hamilton Drive. A gas station is seen across the street at lower-right. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

Historical Notes

Dominating the exterior of the Fox Wilshire building was a 6-story corner tower, containing luxurious apartments on the top two floors. It was originally topped by a huge rotating sky sign spelling out the name ‘FOX’ in large vertically placed letters. The exterior of the building was originally painted in a buff color and had black vertical stripes running up the tower and Deco style decorations painted in silver. ^##

 

 

 
(1930)^ - View of the proscenium and organ screen of the Fox Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills. Built 1928-30. Architect: S. Charles Lee.  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^ - View of the lobby from the balcony; looking towards the main entrance of the Fox Wilshire Theatre.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)^ – View of box office and foyer with a 1932 Packard 'Eight Deluxe' parked under the marquee of the Fox Wilshire Theater (today the Saban Theatre).  

 

Historical Notes

During the early years in the 1930’s, the Fox Wilshire was a popular meeting place for lunchtime foyer concerts and occasional midnight matinees which would be attended by film stars who lived in the locality of Beverley Hills. The open lobby on the street front was modernized over the years, losing its street ticket booth and gaining a new marquee, while the exterior of the building was painted plain white, which diminishes the original Spanish Art Deco style of the building. ^##

 

 

 

Wilshire Coffee Pot Restaurant

 
(ca. 1925)#*#^ - View showing a car in the parking lot of the Wilshire Coffee Pot restaurant. The restaurant and coffee shop was located at 8601 Wilshire Boulevard, on the northwest corner of Stanley Drive and Wilshire Blvd, 2 blocks west of La Cienega Boulevard. A giant coffee pot sits on top of the building. Ben-Hur Coffee is featured.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1920s, as the automobile was becoming the default way to get around Southern California, buildings and structures in the area became more unique, often resembling the merchandise or services they hawked.  These “hey-you-can’t miss-me!” buildings (referred to as Novelty or Programmatic Architecture) were made to pull automobile drivers right off the road.

Click HERE to see more examples of Programmatic Architecture.

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - Close-up view of the Wilshire Coffee Pot restaurant, located at 8601 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  The building has a coffee pot on the roof with advertisement for: Ben-Hur Delicious Drip Coffee. This is a classic example of Programmatic Architecture found in Los Aneles and surrounding areas in th 1920s and 1930s.  

 

 

Carpenter's Sandwiches Drive-in

 
(1932)^^+ - View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard at Le Doux Rd. showing Carpenter's Drive-in Restaurant on the SE corner. In the distance, on the right, is the Fox Wilshire Theatre.  

 

Historical Notes

Harry B. Carpenter founded the Carpenter's chain with his brother Charles and operated many locations in the Los Angeles area including: Sunset and Vine, Wilshire and Western, Wilshire and Le Doux, Wilshire and Vine, Pico and Vermont, Silver Lake and Glendale and Sunset and Virgil.^

 

 

 

 
(1932)##++ - Before it was "Dolores" Drive-In, it was Carpenter's Sandwiches on the NE corner of Wilshire Blvd at Le Doux Rd.  For 30 cents you could enjoy a hamburger and wash it down with a cup of beer while sitting behind the wheel of your car (5 cents more for the premium beer). The tower of Sunset Clock Market can be seen in the distance on the right (N/E corner of Wilshire and Hamilton)  

 

Historical Notes

In 1936, after separating from his brother, Charles E. Carpenter opened three Carpenter's Cafes. A transitional project Carpenter's Village (606 E. Colorado) combined a Rite Spot Cafe and Carpenter's drive-in. Next he opened the Rite Spot Cafe in Pasadena, located at 1500 West Colorado Street (now considered Eagle Rock) and the Santa Anitan Cafe at Huntington and Colorado.^

Click HERE to see more Early Views of LA Drive-in Restaurants.

 

 

 

El Dorado Market

 
(1931)^ - Corner view showing one of the early “mini malls” in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills located on the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Almont Drive.  

 

Historical Notes

The Spanish-style shopping center of the El Dorado Market was arranged around the parking lot and service station and featured easy access from Wilshire Blvd. It included a grocery store, bakery, delicatessen, Dutch ice cream shop, and real estate office.

 

 

 

 
(1931)^ - View showing the El Dorado Market “mini mall”, located at 8963 Wilshire Boulevard, 2 blocks east of S. Doheny Drive.  

 

 

 

Wilshire and Doheny

 
(1935)*^#^ – Time-lapse photograph showing a well-lit Wilshirmart, without the ‘e’, located at Wilshire Boulevard and Doheny Drive.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)^ – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard as seen from above Doheny Drive. Note the empty lots along the north side of Wislhire in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

Wilshire Boulevard got its name from millionaire socialist Henry Gaylord Wilshire, who in 1895 began developing 35 acres stretching westward from Westlake Park for an elite residential subdivision. Wilshire donated to the city (LA) a strip of land 120 feet wide by 1,200 feet long for a boulevard, on the conditions that it would be named for him and that railroad lines and commercial or industrial trucking would be banned.  As the city developed westward, so did Wilshire. +++

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)^ – Birds-eye view of Beverly Hills looking northwest from the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Doheny Drive with gas station in the foreground.  Beverly Hills City Hall can be seen in the distance (upper center-left).  

 

Historical Notes

Doheny Drive is a major north–south thoroughfare mostly through Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.  It is named for Edward L. Doheny, an early 20th century oil tycoon based in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills. *^

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^ - Street view showing Beacon Laundry, a laundry and dry cleaning business located one block west of Doheny Drive at 9134 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. This structure, attached to a small strip mall (left), includes an Art Deco-style tower.   

 

* * * * *

 

 

Wilshire Boulevard

 
(ca. 1936)##++ – View showing Harrold’s Steakhouse located at the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Bedford Drive.  The Art Deco steakhouse was an eccentric blend of Streamline Moderne and Moorish Revival styles.  Saks Fifth Avenue would open across the street in 1938.  Photo: Mark Wanamaker/Bison Archives  

 

Historical Notes

Harrold’s Steakhouse was named for its owner Harold Feldman, a transplant from Illinois.  Harold and his wife Gwendoline lived only blocks away in a multi-family dwelling at the corner of Reeves Drive and Gregory Way. The building was partially designed (the Streamline westernmost portion) by the architectural firm of Schwartz and Fiel and survived until the early 60s at which time it was demolished to make way for an unobtrusive mid-century, Security First National Bank building. In 1971, that building was demolished for a more lucrative, high-rise, glass-box. ##++

Click HERE to see contemporary view of intersection.

 

 

 
(1944)^^* – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard from S. Camden Drive. From right to left can be seen J.J. Haggarty's, W & J Sloane, Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Californian Bank, and the Brown Derby Restaurant.  

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^#^ - View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills showing I. Magnin at right and Saks Fifth Avenue at center-left.  In front of Saks Fifth Avenue is an attractive little building housing Nobby Knit Shops. In the background is Haggarty's, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, a Bank of America and the Warner Beverly Hills Theater.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

Beverly Hills Electric Color Fountain

 
(1935)^^ – View looking north at the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards showing the Beverly Hills legendary Electric Color Fountain.  Note the Greyhound Bus making a right turn from Santa Monica unto Wilshire. Also, note all the empty land in the background. Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

Historical Notes

Conceived in the late 20’s and inaugurated in 1931, built on land donated by the Rodeo Land and Water Company and funded by the Beverly Hills Woman’s Club, the Electric Fountain was designed by the architect Ralph Carlin Flewelling with the frieze and sculpture at the top being designed by sculptor/artist Robert Merrell Gage.***

 

 

 
(1930s)^ – Close-up view of the "Electric Fountain" installed near the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards in Beverly Gardens Park, Beverly Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

The “Electric Fountain” includes water-jets and multi-hued lights, which allow for 60 different combined effects every 8 minutes at night. Atop the fountain is a figure of a Native American male, modeled after Gradin Newsom, kneeling in prayer.^

 

 

 
(n.d.)^^ - Night view showing the “Electric Fountain” with lit beams of water extended into the air from its relief sculptured pedestal, while other lights project from the bottom of the pedestal into the pool.  

 

Historical Notes

The fountain's intricate hydraulic system stopped working in the mid 1970's prompting a partially successful restoration attempt in the 1980's. Then the lighting stopped working around 1990. In 2000 there was a complete authentic restoration of the elaborate 69-year-old landmark utilizing new water jets and light fixtures.

On December 13, 2000, the switch was thrown once again on the nation's first electric water fountain, restarting the spectacular water and light show.***

 

 

 

 
(1930s)##++ - Located at Wilshire at Santa Monica Boulevards in Beverly Hills, the Electric fountain is said to have stopped traffic for hours when unveiled and dedicated in 1931.  

 

Historical Notes

The iconic Beverly Hills Electric Color Fountain was once again restored and the dedication ceremony held on April 5, 2016. The restoration cost $1.5 million, with the city matching private contributions raised by the Friends of Beverly Gardens Park, which also is working to restore the rest of the 1.9-mile linear series of gardens and paths that runs along the northern side of Santa Monica Boulevard and separates the business of the famous city from its homes. In keeping with the city’s conservation efforts, the lights that change color are now LED and the water recirculates.^+

 

 

 

 
(1940)^^ – View looking northeast showing an Associated “Flying A” Service Station located on the S/W corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.  Across the street in the distance (right-center) can be seen the iconic Beverly Hills Electric Color Fountain. Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

Historical Notes

Associated Oil Company was an American oil and gas company once headquartered in San Francisco and served much of the Pacific West Coast, including Hawaii, as well as the Orient and merged with the Tidewater Oil Company in 1938.*^

 

 

 

 
(1940)^^ – Closer view showing the pumps at the "Flying A" Associated service station with Cafe in background, corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica.  Gas prices: 15¢ - 17¢ - 20¢ per-gallon. Note the signal bell hose in the foreground. Click HERE to see more Early Gas Stations.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1944)##++ – Panoramic view looking southeast on Wilshire Boulevard as seen from Crescent Drive.  Today Wells Fargo and FedEx/Kinkos stand where the Streamline Moderne designed Ford dealer once stood.  In the distance can be seen a Cadillac dealtership.  Photo: Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1944)##++ - A shot of Wilshire Boulevard looking southeast at Rexford Drive. A group of walkers in their Sunday best head north, presumably coming from the First Church of Christ Scientist, right, down the street (out of view).   The second home of Hillcrest Cadillac is seen here, adjacent to a bowling alley and billiard hall, in a building which originally housed Maddux Lincoln Automobiles. Today, both of these buildings are home to Jim Falk Lexus Beverly Hills (and don't look a THING like this anymore).  Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1949)#** - View looking northeast across the intersection of Wilshire Blvd and Crescent Drive showing Ralphs Market with its Art Deco tower standing tall on the N/E corner.  

 

Historical Notes

The Ralphs grocery store chain made their way through the Southern California architectural landscape in the early 20th century building stunning structures uniquely suited for individual neighborhoods. Beverly Hills was no exception with its stately Art Deco Streamline Moderne Ralphs on the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Crescent Drive. ##++

The corner where Raplhs once stood is now occupied by a 3-story office building. Click HERE to see contemporary view.

Ralphs Grocery Company was founded in 1873 by George Albert Ralphs. The original store was located at Sixth and Spring Streets. Click HERE to see the original store.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1949)^^* – View looking south showing the east side of Beverly Drive with the California Bank sign seen in the distance, located on Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The development of Beverly Hills in the 1920s and 30s gave witness to an eclectic mix of architectural styles that defined the unique and glamorous look the city still enjoys today.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)##++ – View looking north on S. Beverly Drive toward Wilshire Boulevard with the Beverly Theater and California Bank Building seen in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

In the above photo, the mingling of exceptional architectural styles is clearly evident, from the Beaux Arts Walter G. McCarty development on the southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Drive to the Mughal Revival Beverly Theatre on N. Beverly Drive and the stair-step design Art Deco Era California Bank building now known as Sterling Plaza. The heart of the commercial district was distinct and recognizable as definitively Beverly Hills. ##++

 

 

 

 
(1959)##++ – View looking north on South Beverly Drive toward Wilshire Boulevard.  A Studebaker is parked next to a ragtop Buick (foreground). In the distance can be seen the Union Bank building still under construction, S/W corner of Wilshire and Beverly. On the N/E corner stands the Beverly Theatre.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1955)+# – View showing at least 8 young adults/kids packed into a mid-50s MG “TF” model as it heads north on South Rodeo Drive toward Wilshire Boulevard.  The Brown Derby Restaurant is seen in the background (N/W corner of Wilshire and Rodeo).  

 

 

 

 

 
(1954)##++ – Aerial view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard where it intersect Santa Monica Boulevard showing the construction of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

Conrad Hilton opened the Beverly Hilton in 1954. Architect Welton Becket designed the hotel as a showpiece with 582 rooms.^*

 

 

 

 
(1950s)*^#^ - View of the Beverly Hilton Hotel located at 9876 Wilshire Boulevard. Sign on the edge of the parking lot reads: "Minute Man Service"   

 

Historical Notes

Since 1961, the hotel's International Ballroom has hosted the Golden Globe Award ceremony, presented annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.^*

 

 

 
(1957)+# – View of Wilshire Boulevard showing the side of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and Wilson's House of Suede anchoring the line of stores to the east of the hotel on the corner of El Camino.  

 

 

 

 
(1959)^ – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard showing the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(1950)**^ – View showing a Red Car on the Hollywood Line rolling past Beverly Hills City Hall.  

 

Historical Notes

Until the early 1970s it was commonplace to see a train travel down Santa Monica Boulevard along the business triangle through the city. Today those tracks have been replaced by parking structures but you can still see the Pacific Electric right-of-way fenced off on parts of what used to be known as Railroad Avenue.

 

 

 

 
(1950s)##++ - View looking west near the intersection of Beverly Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard showing a streetcar heading east toward Hollywood. Sign on streetcar reads: HOLLYWOOD - BEVERLY HILLS  

 

Historical Notes

The Pacific Electric streetcar lines ran along Santa Monica Boulevard through Beverly Hills until 1965.

 

 

 

Wilshire and Robertson

 
(ca. 1937)^ - Cars park in front of the Spanish Colonial Revival style Creswell Drug Store, located at 8801 Wilshire Boulevard at Robertson, which has since been demolished. A Sparkletts billboard can be seen in the background.  

 

 

 

Van de Kamp's Bakery

 
(1940)^ - The Van de Kamp's Bakery in Beverly Hills, located on the Southeast corner of Wilshire Blvd and Tower Drive, as seen through the lens of Ansel Adams. Two workmen are seen making repairs to the bakery's Dutch-style windmill, which is being held up by scaffolding. A portion of this building still stands and is currently occupied by Coffee Bean.  

 

Historical Notes

Theodore J. Van de Kamp and brother-in-law Lawrence L. Frank were the owners and originators of the Van de Kamp Bakeries. Fondly known as the "Taj Mahal of all bakeries". Van de Kamp and Frank also founded both the Tam O'Shanter's (1922) and Lawry's Prime Rib (1938) restaurants.

The bakery was sold by the Van de Kamp family and acquired by General Baking Co. in 1956. The company was sold to private investors in 1979, and closed in bankruptcy in 1990.

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney John Van de Kamp is a grandson of the baker's founder. *^

Click HERE to see Van de Kamp's 1st Windmill Bakery Shop.

 

 

 
(ca. 1951)^^ – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard from near San Vicente, showing the Beverly Hills City boundary sign.  The windmill of the Van de Kamp's Bakery can be seen in the distance (Wilshire Blvd. and Tower Dr.) behind the Beverly Hills sign.  

 

 

 

Then and Now

 
 
(2015)^** - View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard from San Vicente. Almost the same view as previous photo but 64 years later.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

Currie's Ice Cream

 
(1935)*^#^ – View looking at a well-lit Currie's Ice Cream located at the northwest corner of Gale Drive and Wilshire Boulevard.  Apparently, their 10 cent jumbo malts were the big thing—they mention it on all three sides of the building!  Currie's was also known for its "Mile-High Cones". Click HERE to see contemporary view showing the same building.  

 

Historical Notes

People still fondly remember the Currie’s chain and its “mile-high cone” whose replica was often displayed billboard-style on roofs. The chain was started in 1927 by three brothers named Kuhns. After WWII they sold it to the Good Humor Company who later sold it to Lipton in the 1960s. In 1964 the chain opened its 87th store, in North Hollywood. Although Currie’s anticipated launching units in every community in Southern California, only three outlets were listed in the 1967 Los Angeles phone book and the chain had disappeared by the 1980s. *##

Most of the buildings that housed Currie's Ice Cream had the larger than life cone on top of the building. These “hey-you-can’t miss-me!” buildings (referred to as Novelty or Programmatic Architecture) were made to pull automobile drivers right off the road.

Click HERE to see more examples of Programmatic Architecture.

 

* * * * *

 

 

Sunset Clock Market

 
(ca. 1930)**^# - View of the Sunset Clock Market at the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hamilton Drive, one block east of La Cienega Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1929, this C. W. Wilson and Sons designed L-shaped structure once housed a mom-and-pop market and one apartment. This last remaining example of a Wilshire drive-up market currently (2015) serves as a Porsche-Audi dealership.*^^#

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^*# - Close-up view showing the clock tower above Sunset Clock Drive-up Market.  

 

Historical Notes

Southern California was the principal center for the development of drive-in markets between the mid-1910s to the early 1940s.

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^*# - Street view showing the gas station at the Sunset Clock Drive-up Market.  

 

Historical Notes

Click HERE to see more Views of Early Gas Stations.

 

 

 
(1932)#^ – View looking north showing the Sunset Clock Market on the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hamilton Drive. Note the new signboard on top of the clock tower.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)**^# - The Sunset Clock Market at 8423 Wilshire Boulevard at Hamilton Drive, in it's first incarnation as a Plymouth car dealership. Click HERE to see contemporary (2016) view.  

 

* * * * *

 

Lawry's Prime Rib Restaurant

 
(1938)*^#^ – Night view showing Lawry’s - The Prime Rib Restaurant shortly after it opened, located on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1922 Lawrence L. "Lawry" Frank and Walter Van de Kamp founded the Lawry's company and created the Tam O'Shanter Inn restaurant in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles, which claims to be the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles still operated by the same family in the same location. Frank created a special seasoned salt for use at Tam O'Shanter, which was available only to customers.

In 1938 the two opened Lawry's The Prime Rib on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The same year, Lawry's began marketing its signature seasoned salt in retail stores. This was the beginning of a food products empire under the Lawry's name that today sells a wide range of seasonings and flavorings. The line was sold to Lipton/Unilever in 1979, which in turn sold it to McCormick & Company in 2008.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1947)*^#^ – View of Lawry’s Restaurant at its second location at 55 N. La Cienega Boulevard (Today's location of the Stinking Rose Restaurant).  

 

Historical Notes

In 1947 Lawry's restaurant moved from its original location on La Cienega across the street and a few blocks further south to a larger, mostly windowless, strikingly modernistic building designed by Wayne McAllister.

In 1956, just prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game between the Oregon State Beavers and the Iowa Hawkeyes, Lawry's entertained the two competing teams. The Beavers were fed a prime rib dinner at the Beverly Hills restaurant and the Hawkeyes the same on the Pasadena City College football field following their practice. This started an annual tradition of hosting both Rose Bowl-bound teams, although following the inaugural event with Iowa the Big Ten teams were served outside Rose Bowl Stadium from 1957-1962. By 1963, when Illinois and Washington both dined at the restaurant on separate nights prior to the 1964 Rose Bowl Game, the two team events had become known as "Lawry's Beef Bowl." The Beef Bowl has expanded to the Dallas, Texas, location for the two Cotton Bowl participants.*^

 

 

 
(2007)*^ – View of Lawry’s Prime Rib Restaurant located at 100 N. La Cienega Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1993 Lawry’s moved again to a new building located on the original site. McAllister's building is now occupied by The Stinking Rose, a well-known garlic-themed Italian restaurant.

In 1974, Lawry's opened a satellite in Chicago's River North district, followed by restaurants in Dallas in 1983 and Las Vegas in 1997. Internationally, Lawry's opened in Jakarta in 1996, Singapore 1999, Tokyo 2001, Taipei 2002, Hong Kong 2006, Shanghai & Osaka in 2008, and Seoul in 2013.*^

 

* * * * *

 

 

Pokey's Restaurant

 
(1955)*^#^ – Pokey’s Restaurant located on the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills.  

 

 

 

 
(1955)*^#^ – Interior view of Pokey’s Coffee Shop showing a fine selection of pies.  

 

 

 

 
(1955)*^#^ - Pokey’s Restaurant looking at the N/W corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Beverly Dr. as seen from across the street.  

 

 

 

 
(1955)*^#^ – Night view showing Pokey’s Restaurant located at Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Drive.  Photo by Joseph Fadler (SCE)  

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1962)^^* - Looking west on Wilshire Boulevard showing from left to right:  Beverly Hills Federal Savings, Bank of America, Union Bank, Beverly Wilshire Hotel, California Bank, and Thrifty Drug Store.  

 

 

 

 
(1970)^ - Aerial view of Beverly Hills in 1970. The row of taller (high-rise) buildings seen across the middle of the picture are along Wilshire Blvd.  

 

 

 

Beverly Hills (Before and After)

 
Aerial view of Beverly Hills, circa 1919   Aerial view of Beverly HIlls, 1970

 

 

 

Then and Now

 
(ca. 1921)#+ – Aerial view of Beverly Hills as it appeared in 1921.  
 
(2015)#+ - Aerial view of Beverly Hills as it appears today.  

 

 

 

Rodeo Drive

 
(1993)*^ - View showing street sign post at the corner of N. Rodeo Dr. and Via Rodeo Dr. Photo by Torsten Bolten  

 

Historical Notes

Rodeo Drive is a two-mile long street, primarily in Beverly Hills. Its northern terminus is its intersection with Sunset Boulevard and its southern is its intersection with Beverwil Drive in the city of Los Angeles. The name is most commonly used to refer to a three block stretch of the street north of Wilshire Boulevard and south of Little Santa Monica Boulevard, which is known for its luxury-goods stores. The larger business district surrounding Rodeo, known as the "Golden Triangle," which extends from Wilshire Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard, is both a shopping district and a major tourist attraction.*^

 

 

 
(2012)*^ - Beverly Hills at the corner of Rodeo Drive, Dayton Way, and Via Rodeo.  Photo by John O'Neill  

 

Historical Notes

Two Rodeo Drive is an outdoor shopping center that was built in 1990. It initially housed, amongst other stores, Christian Dior and Valentino.   The original developer, Douglas Stitzel, sold the property for about $200 million immediately after its completion. The shopping center was hard-hit by the early 1990s recession, with occupancy rates dropping to as low as 60%, and the buyers sold it at an almost $70 million loss in 2000.  By 2007 the property was financially stable again and was sold to a group of Irish investors for $275 million. It resembles a “faux-European shopping alley” and features a cobblestone street. Some architects have claimed that Two Rodeo Drive is similar to a "theme park in the manner of Disneyland." *^

 

 

 
(2007)*^ - Closer view showing the European-style buildings on Two Rodeo Drive. Photo by Kjetil Ree  

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(1980)* - Panoramic view of Beverly Hills at dusk. The dome of the Beverly Hills City Hall is jutting up amid tall palm trees and lights shine from buildings on the hills afar.  Photo by Carol Westwood  

 

 

 

 

 
(2016)+++ - The Beverly Hills city limit sign, featuring the official seal of Beverly Hills.  

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

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References and Credits

^ LA Public Library Image Archive

^^ USC Digital Library

#^California Historical Society Digital Archive

+# Facebook.com: Garden of Allah Novels

#+ Vimeo.com: Beverly Hills

#* Early Beverly Hills

** Beverly HIlls HIstorical Society

*^ Wikipedia.org

^* The Valley Observed: Street Name Origins

^# Beverly Hills Library Historical Collection

** Pinterest.com: Beverly Hills Centennial (1914-2014)

++ Travelingaround.tumblr.com: Beverly Hills

^+Beverly Hills Renovated Electric Fountain

^^MattConstruction.com: Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

## Beverly Hills High School Home Page

***Fountains in LA: Beverly Hills Electric Fountain

*^*City of Beverly Hills: Historic Resource Report

*#*Riding Vintage: The Motordrome

^**Google Street View

**^Pinterest.com

^*^KCET: The Lost Bridle Paths of Beverly Hills

^*#California State Library Image Archive

+++BeverlyHills.org: History of Beverly Hills; Sign and Logo

*^#^Huntington Digital Library Archive

^^*Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

^^+MartinTurnbull.com

^^#Flickr.com: jericl cat

^^^Rodeo Realty

^#^Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com

+##MartinTurnbull.com: Fairfax and Wilshire

*##Restaurant-ing Through History: Ice Cream Parlors

*^#Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles

#**Hemmings Classic Cars: Ralphs Market

++^Mentalfloss.com: 12 Postcard Locations Then and Now

^++Cinema Treasures: Fox Wilshire Theatre (Saban Theatre)

+++Los Angeles Conservancy: Birth of the Boulevard; Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

**^#Vintage Los Angeles: Facebook.com

*^^#Curating the City: Sunset Clock Market

#^*^Pinterest.com: Old Hollywood

#+++Yahoo.com: Beverly Hills Hotel

##^*Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

##++Facebook.com - Beverly Hills Heritage

#*#^Flickr.com: Wilshire Boulevard History

^^^^Beverly Hills Board Track Racing

^*^*Beverly HIlls Patch: The Beverly Hills Speedway

^**^Pinterest: Splinters n Speed; Cars - Bertrand Lacheze; Beverly Boards Motorcycle Racing

***^^Will Rogers Memorial Park

 

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