Early Views of Beverly Hills

Historical Photos of Beverly Hills
 
(1928)^ - Aerial view, looking west, showing where Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards intersect (aka 'The Point'). Beverly Hills High School can be seen at center-left. The Good Shepherd Catholic Church is at lower center-right. The Beverly Hills Electric Color Fountain (N/E corner) will not go in for another three years while the Beverly Hilton Hotel would not be built until 1954.  

 

 

 

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.  

 

 

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.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - A group of four girls practice their archery skills while other students move a target at Beverly Hills High School. Oil wells can be seen on a hill in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(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.*^

 

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(ca. 1926)^^ – Aerial view looking north showing La Cienega Boulevard (left) running away from the camera.  Pico Boulevard runs horizontally near center of photo with Olympic Boulevard further north.  At upper-left is La Cienega Park (circular plot of land) and across the street is the Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant.  The large white building at upper-right is the Carthay Circle Theatre (built in 1926).  

 

 

La Cienega Park

 
(1930)^^ – Aerial view looking east above La Cienega Boulevard (runs horizontal at bottom of photo).  The intersection of Wilshire and San Vicente is at upper left and Olympic Boulevard runs away from the camera at right.  The triangular piece of land with oval-shaped field in center is La Cienega Park.  The La Cienega Municipal Pool sits at the SE corner of La Cienega and Gregory Way, adjacent to the oval-shaped field.  Across the street, at lower right, is the Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant and reservoir. The large white building at top of photo is the Carthay Circle Theatre.  

 

Historical Notes

The 10-acre La Cienega Park was established in 1928.  It included a baseball diamond, tennis courts, lawn bowling, croquet, horseshoe pitch, gymnasium bars, golf-putting green, children’s swings, and a swimming pavilion that was added in 1929. #*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)##++ – Aerial view looking northwest showing a baseball diamond within the oval-shaped field of La Cienega Park. Part of the La Cienega Municipal Pool is visible on the right.  Across the street can be seen the Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant No. 1 and reservoir.  “Beverly Hills” is written on top of the covered reservoir in large letters.  

 

 

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.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1928)^ – Close-up view showing the entrance to the City of Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant No. 1.  Seen are an arch, with a rose window above, and double bronze doors with wrought iron screens, flanked by spiral Romanesque columns below.  

 

 

 

 
(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.^^^

 

 

 
(1934)^#^ – View looking north showing an attendant pumping gas at a Union 76 service station located on the southeast corner of La Cienega and Olympic Blvds.  The Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant No. 1 is seen in the background. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of LA Gas Stations.  

 

 

 

Municipal Tennis Courts

 
(1938)#* - View showing the Municipal Tennis Courts located on the SW corner of La Cienega and Gregory Way, adjacent to the Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant No. 1.  

 

Historical Notes

The tennis courts were known as the “Reservoir Courts” because they were built over one of the City’s water reservoirs adjacent to the Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant.  After the reservoir and tennis courts were removed, a parking structure was built and the tennis courts were returned to their original site. #*

 

 

La Cienega Municipal Pool

 
(1930)* - View looking at the La Cienega Municipal Swimming Pool, located at 300 S. La Cienega Boulevard at Gregory Way, across the street from the Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant.  

 

Historical Notes

Opened in 1929, the pool was one of the best swimming facilities in the Los Angeles area.

 

 

 

 

(1930)* - Close-up view showing the entrance to La Cienega Municipal Swimming Pool with its Italian Renaissance design.

     

 

 

 

 
(1930)* – View looking northwest showing swimmers at the La Cienega Municipal Swimming Pool with the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

With it's Italian Renaissance design, the swim pavilion was 150 by 45 feet and was a landmark in the city until it was demolished in the 1970s. #*

 

 

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.  

 

 

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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.   

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)##++ – View looking south on N. Canon Drive as seen from South Santa Monica Boulevard (then Burton Way).  Warner Beverly Theatre can be seen in the far distance on Wilshire Boulevard.  The Bekins Building sign can also be seen.  

 

Historical Notes

At the beginning of the 1930s in Beverly Hills, Canon Drive was becoming a commercial street between Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards. The Bekins Storage building, one of the first major commercial spaces on the block, was followed by the Cadillac and Auburn-Cord dealerships and several furniture showrooms. At the end of the block at Wilshire Boulevard, stood the new Warner Beverly Hills Theater that opened in May 1931, beginning a new business boom for the city. However, due to the Depression, most business and real estate development was stalled until the end of the 1930s.^

 

 

 

 
(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.  

 

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(1930s)^ - View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard at La Cienega showing the Fox Wilshire Theatre in the distance. Closer in is 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!

 

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. ^##

 

 

 
(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 looking southwest showing the Fox Wilshire Theatre as seen from the north side of Wilshire Boulevard.  Banners hang from the side of the theatre building and from the streetlight posts in preparation for the grand opening.  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^*# - Spotlights sweep across the front of Fox Wilshire Theatre during its Grand Opening night.  

 

 

 

 
(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. ^##

 

 

 
(1953)^^+ - “How to Marry a Millionaire” starring Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall,  plays the Fox Wilshire Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, November 4, 1953  

 

Historical Notes

The theatre was always a premier first run venue for Fox West Coast Theatres and its successor National General. Later it was operated by Mann Theatres after they took over the remnants of the Fox Circuit on the west coast. For the second film released in Cinemascope, "How to Marry a Millionaire," 20th Century Fox took it to the Fox Wilshire.^

 

 

 
(1956)+# – View showing the world premiere of "Trapeze" at the Fox Wilshire Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd. The super bright searchlight trained directly on the entrance must have been blinding, and that shaft of light reaching straight up into the night sky would have been visible for miles around.  

 

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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.

 

 

Dolores Drive-in (previously Carpenter's)

 
(1957)^.^ - Dolores Drive-in located on the NE corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Le Doux Rd, previously Carpenter's Drive-in Restaurant.  

 

Historical Notes

Dolores was founded by Amanda and Ralph Stevens, who after owning various restaurants in different states moved to Los Angeles in 1944 and opened the Dolores Drive-in Restaurant in West Hollywood..

There were many drive-in restaurants in Los Angeles during the mid 1940's and Dolores fit right in. Then, in 1956 the Stevens' son Robert and his wife Lucille moved to Los Angeles to help manage the newly leased Dolores Restaurant on Wilshire Blvd. and Le Doux Rd near La Cienega. The restaurant was a hit with the local teenagers in the 40's and 50's with its carhops, Suzie Q's and JJ Burgers became a staple in the community for the next thirty years.^

 

 

 

 
(1978)* - Looking northeast across Wilshire Boulevard towards Dolores Drive-in Restaurant.  Le Doux Road is on the left and La Cienega Boulevard is out of view to the right. Compare to previous photo to see how the once prominent tower above the structure has now been cut.  

 

 

 

 
(1978)* - Looking east across Le Doux Road towards Dolores Restaurant, a dining spot with car-hop service at 8531 Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1981 Dolores Drive-in was forced to close down to make room for a high rise office building. The last of the remaining Dolores Restaurants was located at 11407 Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles, which recently closed down.

 

 

 
(1980)++# - Dolores Drive-in on Wilshire Boulevard near La Cienega, Beverly Hills.  LA Times Collection  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1946, Dolores would become the last restaurant of its kind to be seen in Beverly Hills thanks to a city ordinance prohibiting drive-ins.

In 1981, KNBC TV interviewed loyal customers who flocked to Dolores's, the popular drive-in restaurant at Wilshire and La Cienega Blvd. for one last meal before it was torn down. Click HERE to see short video.

Today, an office building stands where Dolores Drive-in once served hamburgers and fries. Click HERE for contemporary view.

 

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.*

Southern California was the principal center for the development of drive-in markets between the mid-1910s to the early 1940s. Other notable early drive-in markets included: Mandarin Market (Hollywood), Plaza Market (LA), Sunset Clock Market (Beverly Hills), and the Aurora Market (Glendale)

 

 

 
(1931)^ - View showing the El Dorado Market “mini mall”, located at 8963 Wilshire Boulevard, 2 blocks east of S. Doheny Drive. Note the large Ice Cream Cone sign at right. It was *Currie's Ice Cream Parlor".  

 

Historical Notes

Currie’s was a popular ice cream chain known for its “mile-high cone” whose replica was often displayed billboard-style on roofs.  There was at least one more Currie's Ice Cream Store in Beverly Hills, located on the NW corner of Gale Drive and Wilshire Boulevard.

Today, a multi-story office building stands where El Dorako Market used to be located. Click HERE for contemporary view.

 

 

 

Wilshire and Doheny

 
(ca. 1935)^*# – Postcard view showing the Streamline-Moderne Wilshirmart located on the southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Doheny Drive.  Caption reads: "Wilshirmart - Corner Wilshire Blvd. and Doheny Drive, Los Angeles...is Noted for its Excellent Produce Markets,"  

 

 

 

 

 
(1935)*^#^ – Time-lapse photograph showing a well-lit Wilshirmart, without the ‘e’, located at Wilshire Boulevard and Doheny Drive. Today an office building occupies that space, just north of the Writers Guild Theater.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)^ – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard toward Doheny Drive as seen from above Wetherly Drive. Note the empty lots along the north side of Wislhire in the distance. Wilshirmart is seen on the southwest corner of Wilshire and Doheny. A gas station is seen in lower-right (NW corner of Wilshire and Wetherly Drive).  

 

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. +++

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. 1939)^ – Birds-eye view of Beverly Hills looking northwest from the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Wetherly Drive. A Shell Gas Station is seen in the foreground on the northwest corner.  Beverly Hills City Hall can be seen in the distance (upper center-left).  

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)##++ – Full service at the Shell Service Station located on the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Wetherly Drive, in Beverly Hills. Click HERE for more Early Views of LA Gas Stations.  

 

 

 

 

 
(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.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 
(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.

 

 

 

Beverly Drive (1940s +)

 
(1940s)+++ – View of Beverly Drive showing a variety of commercial business from hardware stores to liquor stores.  Note the young palm trees that line the street.  

 

Historical Notes

The development of Beverly Hills in the 1920s, 30s and 40s gave witness to an eclectic mix of architectural styles that defined the unique and glamorous look the city still enjoys today.

 

 

 
(1947)^x^ – View showing Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen located at 414 N. Beverly Drive, in Beverly Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

Nate 'n Al opened its doors in 1945.  The deli was started by two long term friends and partners, Al Mendelson and Nate Rimer.  It began to grow big in name especially when silver screen starlets, directors, producers and writers made Nate 'n Al a Hollywood hangout.

Nate would eventually leave the business, however, the deli would continue to be run by Al and family, including his wife Terry, sons Barry and Sandy, and grandsons Mark and David who still operate Nate ‘n Al today.^

 

 

 

 
(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.  

 

 

 

 
(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).  

 

 

 

 

 
(late 1950s)+# – View looking west on Wilshire Boulevard at Rodeo Drive.  The Brown Derby Restauran can be seen on the northwest corner.  

 

 

Robinson's Department Store

 
(1952)^.^ - Artist rendition of Robinson’s Department Store on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1952, Robinson’s unveiled its first major branch store in Beverly Hills, designed by Charles Luckman and William Pereira, with interiors by Raymond Loewy.  The mid-century modern store, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on a “California Patio” had adjacent parking and a rooftop restaurant, and was noted by the Los Angeles Times for its "striking architecture and sophisticated smartness."

 

 

 

 
(1952)^^* – View looking across Wilshire Boulevard showing Robinson's Beverly Hills. Designed by William Pereira & Charles Luckman with Charles Matcham.  

 

 

 

 
(1952)^^* - Robinson's Beverly Hills, pedestrian entrance and valet ramp.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1952)^^ - View showing the lower and upper parking levels from service drive of J.W. Robinson's Department Store, 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

The store opened in 1952 and closed in 2006. It was 200,000 square feet large with 1,100 parking spaces when it opened; cost was $6 million. Architect-engineers were Charles O. Matcham, Charles Luckman and William Pereira (of San Francisco Transamerica Pyramid and Irvine city planning fame). Raymond Loewy and Associates designed the interior.^

 

 

 

 
(1952)^^* - Robinson's Beverly Hills, Wilshire-West entrance. Left to right, '48 Pontiac torpedo, '50 Buick fastback, '50 Pontiac two-door coupe, and a '39 Oldsmobile.  

 

Historical Notes

As decades passed, revenues of the Beverly Hills Robinson's store declined in part due to the prevalence of newly-constructed regional shopping malls throughout the country. Whereas department stores originally succeeded as standalone buildings, new department stores were being positioned as anchors within regional shopping malls where they benefited from the synergy and traffic provided by a complementary mix of dozens of retail clothing stores. More specifically, the Robinson's Department Store's business was directly challenged by the 1964 opening of the nearby 900,000 SF Century Square Shopping Center, now known as Westfield Century City. The 900,000 SF Century Square Shopping Center would eventually include two department stores, which have now been rebranded as Bloomingdales and Macy's. As a result of this major shift in the department store industry, Robinson's would find its sales and traffic steadily decreasing until the early 2000s. ^

In 2016, the Robinson's slong with its parking structure was demolished to make room for two high rise, mixed used housing buildings.

 

Beverly Hilton Hotel

 
(1954)##++ – Aerial view looking east on Wilshire Boulevard where it intersect Santa Monica Boulevard showing the construction of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with the Robinson's Department Store (1952) seen at bottom.  

 

Historical Notes

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

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1955)^^ - View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard from Whittier Drive showing the Beverly Hilton and Robinson's with the Santa Monica Boulevard crossing in the distance.  

 

 

 

 

 
(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.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1947)##^^ – Texaco Service Station at Wilshire Boulevard and Willaman Drive providing ‘1 Stop Service’:  Gas, Body & Fender Repair, and a 10 Minute Carwash.  

 

 

 

 

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

 
(1930s)^* – View showing what appears to be the Grand Opening of Currie’s Ice Cream Parlor on the NW corner of Wilshire Blvd and Gale Drive in Beverly Hills.  

 

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. *##

 

 

 

 
(1930s)*^#* – 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. The Sunset Clock Market can be seen on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

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. Other notable early drive-in markets included: Mandarin Market (Hollywood), Plaza Market (LA), El Dorado Market (Beverly Hills), and the Aurora Market (Glendale).

 

 

 
(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.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1960s)^.^ – I’ll have the Diamond Jim Brady Cut!  

 

Historical Notes

Born in 1856 to Irish immigrants in New York City, James B. Brady was a self-made millionaire, railroad tycoon, and philanthropist. His love of flashy jewelry, which he affectionately called “my pets” and wore on everything – even down to his underwear – earned him his nickname.

Prominent man-about-town, Broadway theatergoer, tireless dancer and owner of the city’s first automobile, Diamond Jim was a true celebrity in his day.

His superhuman appetite established him as the “greatest eater” of the late 19th century America’s Gilded Age. It was said that in one sitting he could put away enough food to feed ten people. A midday snack alone might include three dozen oysters, six lobsters, turtle soup, a steak and two pounds of bonbons for dessert.

His reputation, built on press coverage during his life, grew into the next century. In the depths of the Depression, people’s fascination with this outsized character was heightened by the publication of a biography in 1934 and the release of Preston Sturges’ 1935 movie “Diamond Jim.”

By the time the first Prime Rib opened in 1938, Diamond Jim Brady, who had passed away twenty-one years before, was legendary. Any restaurant guest would have immediately recognized his name as a symbol of the biggest and the best.^

 

 

 

 
(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.*^

 

* * * * *

 

 

Santa Monica Boulevard

 
(1940s)^x^ – View looking west on Santa Monica Boulevard at Doheny Drive, at the Beverly Hills City Limit.  Note the ornate streetlights running along Santa Monica Blvd. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 

 

(1981)* - Close-up view of an acorn style street light located on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  Some of these are still standing including one at the NW corner of Santa Monica and Oakhurst.

 

Click HERE to see more in Early LA Streetlights.

     

 

 

Little Santa Monica Boulevard (aka South Santa Monica Boulevard also Burton Way)

 
(1947)^x^ - View looking east on South Santa Monica Boulevard towards Canon Drive (South Santa Monica Boulevard was an extension of Burton Way). On the right where the drugstore is located was the original shopping building of Beverly Hills, established in the early 1920s.  Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

Historical Notes

The south roadway of Santa Monica Boulevard, often called Little Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, runs parallel to the state highway (north) roadway of Santa Monica Boulevard from the city's west limit to Rexford Drive. After Rexford Drive, Little Santa Monica turns east, becoming Burton Way. Burton Way merges into San Vicente Boulevard at its intersection with La Cienega Boulevard.*^

The whole stretch of Little Santa Monica was known in the city’s early years as Burton Way, named after Beverly Hills cofounder Burton E. Green.

 

 

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)  

 

 

* * * * *

 

Beverly Hills Federal Savings

 
(1961)##++ – Night view showing Beverly Hills Federal Savings on the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Reeves Drive.  Photo:  Julius Shulman  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by the architectural firm of Stiles and Robert Clements, this building still stands today but has been substantially modified along the way. Stiles O. Clements was a key architect during the Art Deco Era and designed such notable structures as the El Capitan, Mayan, and Wiltern Theatres, Chapman Market, the Adamson House in Malibu, the beloved Richfield Tower in downtown Los Angeles and SO many other iconic structures including our the Swim Gym at Beverly High. His son Robert joined the firm in 1955 and by 1965 Stiles retired and died in 1966. Collectively, their designs had a tremendous impact on the development of Wilshire Boulevard in the 20th century. Today, this building is occupied by the ROLEX Corporation.

Click HERE for contemporary view.

 

 

 
(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.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1958)^ - View showing the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive, with the Brown Derby Restaurant standing on the N/W corner.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1986)^#* - Christmas shoppers shuttling between Beverly Hills and Westwood clog Wilshire Blvd. at Santa Monica Blvd. Overhead hang new City of Beverly Hills Christmas decorations.  Photo date:  December 14, 2016.  

 

 

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)^x^ – View showing Beverly Hills City Hall with the Santa Monica Mountains in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(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: SoCal Historic Architecture

+# Facebook.com: Garden of Allah Novels

#+ Vimeo.com: Beverly Hills

#* Early Beverly Hills - Marc Wanamaker

** 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

^#*Framework.LATimes.com

+++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

^x^My Love of Old Hollywood - A Quick Tour of Beverly Hills

+##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

++# UCLA Digital Archive

^++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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