Magic Castle (aka Lane Residence, Holly Chateau)

(1909)^.^ - View looking northwest from a rooftop near the Hollywood Hotel showing the Rollin Lane house (aka Holly Chateau) under construction in the foothills just above Franklin Avenue. Orchid Avenue, with early model car on it, is seen at lower right.  


Historical Notes

The Chateau-style residence was built in 1909 by banker, real estate developer and philanthropist, Rollin B. Lane. The house was designed by architects Lyman Farwell and Oliver Dennis and constructed as a near duplicate of the 1897 Kimberly Crest House and Gardens in Redlands, California that the architects had designed over a decade earlier.^




(1909)* – Close-up view showing the Lane Residence under construction. Note how barren the hills are behind it.  


Historical Notes

The Gothic Renaissance chateau (also referred to as “Holly Chateau”) sits in the middle of what is now historic Hollywood and was originally the personal residence of a wealthy banker, Rollin B. Lane.




(ca. 1910s)^x^ - View showing the 'Holly Chateau' built by Rollin Lane in 1909. This house became the Magic Castle in 1963.  


Historical Notes

Rollin Lane was a very successful lawyer, banker and real estate investor who helped build Hollywood through property development and participation on the historic Hollywood Board of Trade. He also invested heavily in the early development of the nearby San Fernando Valley and in California’s San Joaquin Valley. ^




(1920)* – A woman and a child stand on the stairs leading up to the Lane Residence. The house in the background on top of the hill is the famous Bernheimer Estate and Gardens (currently Yamashiro Restaurant).  Note the early model car in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

Katherine Lane (Rollin's wife) was a college graduate, published author, teacher and lecturer who worked to improve the quality of life in Hollywood through various community service organizations, even serving a term as president of the Woman’s Club of Hollywood. Later, working with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and supported by a small army of volunteers, she promoted the planting of the landmark palm trees that line Wilshire Blvd., as well as hundreds of Japanese cherry trees in and around Griffith Park. ^




(1936)^x^ – View showing a man walking down the front stairs of the Lane residence (aka Holly Chateau) built by Rollin B. Lane. Now home of the Academy of Magical Arts and the Magic Castle.  


Historical Notes

Ownership of the building remained in the Lane family until 1955 when it was sold to Thomas O. Glover, whose family still owns the property.




(Early 1900s)^x^ – Close-up view of the Victorian-style Rollin B. Lane residence (aka Holly Chateau) located at 7001 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

The Lanes named their home “Holly Chateau” and for thirty years, it was one of the most recognized addresses in Hollywood and a popular location for the area’s social elite. Hundreds of newspaper articles attest to the elegant and elaborate luncheons, teas and musicales held for artists, orphans, community leaders or world travelers, or to raise funds for one of Katherine’s many civic projects. ^




(ca. 1915)^* – View looking north on Orange Drive showing the Rollin Lane residence (later Magic Castle) at the T-intersection with Franklin Avenue.  The Bernheimer Estate and Gardens (built in 1914) is seen at the top of the hill in the background.  


Historical Notes

The 1914 hilltop estate seen behind and above the Lane Residence was built to house the Bernheimers' priceless collection of Asian treasures. In order to have an authentic Japanese design, hundreds of skilled craftsmen were brought from Asia to recreate an exact replica of a palace located in the Yamashiro mountains near Kyoto, Japan. The original Bernheimer structure included a 10-room teak and cedar mansion, where carved rafters were lacquered in gold and tipped with bronze dragons.




(ca. 1924)* - Aerial view looking north on Orange Drive toward Franklin Avenue.  The Rollin B. Lane Estate (now Magic Castle) is seen on the north side of Franklin at the end of the T-intersection (center of photo).  Hollywood Boulevard runs horizontal in the foreground.  The white building at lower-left is the Garden Court Apartments.  The building at the top of the hill behind the Lane Estate is the Japanese estate and gardens of brothers Charles and Adolph Bernheimer (Bernheimer Estate and Gardens).  





(1962)* - Ground level view looking north on Orange Drive toward Franklin Avenue and the Lane Residence. Photo courtesy of Don Pugh  


Historical Notes

After the Lanes passed away in the 1940’s, the house was divided into a multi-family home. It then became a home for the elderly and was finally transformed into a maze of small apartments. By 1960, the fate of the building was uncertain. Then Milt Larsen met the owner, Thomas O. Glover.

Milt was a writer on the NBC-TV show Truth or Consequences. His office was on the ninth floor of a Hollywood office building that overlooked the Lane residence. Milt’s late father, William W. Larsen Sr., was a renowned magician and had long dreamed of building an elegant private clubhouse for magicians.

The Lane residence would become that club.^




(1962)* - Renovations for the Magic Castle begin. Photo courtesy of Academy of Magical Arts  


Historical Notes

In September 1961, Milt, his brother Bill (an accomplished magician, publisher of Genii Magazine and the Academy’s first President), Irene (Bill’s wife) and a crew of friends and volunteers began the task of returning this run-down apartment building to its glorious past. After months of scraping and sanding, the rich Victorian elegance began to resurface.  The Magic Castle opened its doors on January 2, 1963. ^




(1981))* – View looking up from Franklin Avenue showing the Victorian-style "French Chateau" building known as Magic Castle, after expansion and renovation. LAPL  


Historical Notes

The Magic Castle was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 406 in 1989.




(1920 vs. 1981) - Before and after expansion and renovaton of the Lane Residnence (later Magic Castle).The roofline of Yamshiro Restaurant can be seen in upper-left.  






(2020)^.^ – Close-up view of Magic Castle showing a line of well-dressed patrons waiting to get in. Photo courtesy of Academy of Magical Arts  






(ca. 2020)* - Drone shot looking down at the Magic Castle. Photo courtesy of Larry Eff  





(2019)* – Close-up view of Magic Castle showing entrance at lower-right. Photo by Adam Amengual  





(2007)^* - View showing the driveway entrance to the Magic Castle located at 7001 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood. Photo: Minnaert / Wikipedia  


Historical Notes

Since 1963, the Magic Castle has been a nightclub for magicians and magic enthusiasts, as well as the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts. It bills itself as "the most unusual private club in the world."



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