Designed in 1914 and constructed in 1916, the Walter L. Dodge House blended Modern and Spanish Mission styles and was considered one of West Hollywood’s first architecturally significant residences. Located at 950 North Kings Road, the estate occupied the full width of the block to Sweetzer Avenue. It was the retirement home of Walter Dodge, the millionaire inventor of a foot treatment called Tiz. He sold it in 1924 to T. Morrison McKenna who owned it until 1939 when the Los Angeles Board of Education unilaterally condemned it, forcing McKenna to sell it.… Read the rest
In 1857 the Army sent a herd of about 35 camels overland from Texas to Los Angeles in what was its first-ever field test of new “equipment.” The camels were auction off during the Civil War, and about six of them were bought by Major Henry Hancock. They lived briefly at an abode cabin near present-day Melrose Place in West Hollywood.
Henry Hancock, a New Hampshire-born, Harvard-trained lawyer and surveyor, arrived in Los Angeles in 1852, two years after California was admitted into the union. In 1860, Hancock acquired Rancho La Brea, a 650-acre tract whose footprint included the future city of West Hollywood and city of Los Angeles districts of Hollywood, Hancock Park, Museum Row and the world-famous La Brea Tar Pits.
When “Greek George” Caralambo – Georgias (or Yiorgos) Xaralampo – a native of Turkey, and a small herd of camels moved to an adobe cabin near present-day Melrose Place, he was likely the first non-native resident of future West Hollywood.
In May 1874, a sheriff’s posse descended on a remote, rough-hewn adobe cabin in Rancho La Brea, six miles west of Los Angeles, and captured the West’s most-wanted bandit, Tiburcio Vasquez, in a hail of bullets. News of the famous gang leader’s arrest became the first national story reported out of the future Sunset Strip.
In the eighteen-nineties, Victor Ponet, a wealthy, a Belgian immigrant built an estate on two-hundred-and-eighty acres in the hills above Sherman. Many years later his heirs, the Montgomery family, built Sunset Plaza, a high-end shopping center at the heart of the Sunset Strip that the family still owns and operates today.
Built in the late 19th century by Charles F. Harper, a Mississippian who moved to Los Angeles after the Civil War and made a fortune selling hardware, Cioela Vista stood above Sunset Boulevard near Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
In 1919, not long after Metro Pictures had put Russian-born Broadway phenomenon Alla Nazimova under contract, she moved into an estate called Hayvenhurst at Sunset and Crescent Heights Boulevard. Initially she recreated her success on the stage in film, but after a series of career stumbles she was facing bankruptcy and converted the estate into a hotel. Later owners named it the Garden of Allah.
On the cusp of fame — and immortality — Rudolph Valentino married, in successions, two protegees of Alla Nazimova — Jean Acker and Natacha Rambova. He also appeared opposite Nazimova in her production of “Camille.”