Hacienda Park and the Origins of the Sunset Strip: The ‘Strange Men’ Murder

Monday – March 25, 2019 by Jon Ponder

Known as the Piazza del Sol now, it was the Hacienda Park Apartments when Paul Wharton was murdered there in 1935. Arrow points to a kitchen window from which a young man jumped minutes after Wharton was killed.

The evening of Thursday, April 25, 1935, began quietly for Ada Wharton, a wealthy widow in her mid-fifties, who lived as an invalid in her elegant flat at the Hacienda Park Apartments – a building on the Sunset Strip known today as the Piazza del Sol.… Read the rest

Hacienda Park and the Origins of the Sunset Strip: An All-American Tragedy

Monday – March 18, 2019 by Jon Ponder

Picture postcard view of the back of silent-film star Wallace Reid’s home at De Longpre and Sweetzer avenues in Hacienda Park — as seen from tourist buses on Sunset

At the end of 1919 the developers of Hacienda Park scored a major coup. As a capper after 14 successful years selling lots in their new high-end neighborhood along Sunset Boulevard in what is today West Hollywood, they could finally announce that two of the biggest stars in Hollywood had purchased prime lots side-by-side in the neighborhood.… Read the rest

The Sunset Strip Was Once a Gamblers’ Playground. Could Its Future Be a Return to the Past?

Wednesday – July 11, 2018 by Jon Ponder

sunset boulevard
With a slew of new upscale hotels coming to the Sunset Strip and the number of visitors to the boulevard set to rise, the challenge for the Strip’s hospitality businesses is to ensure that these affluent new visitors find the sort of nightlife they seek on the Strip, rather than driving off to restaurants and nightclubs in Hollywood or Beverly Hills. One solution is to revive the business for which the Strip became world famous nearly in 1930s – a lucrative form of entertainment that could generate millions in new tax revenue every year: Gambling.… Read the rest

Ever Wonder Why So Many English Tudor Buildings Line the Sunset Strip?

Monday – August 26, 2013 by Gustave Heully,

The Strip, that portion of Sunset Boulevard running through West Hollywood, is lined with hip hotels, grungy rock clubs, upscale restaurants and expensive boutiques. But, unlike the Spanish and Art Deco buildings of Hollywood proper, much of this stretch, including notable establishments like the Rainbow Bar and Grill and The Roxy, was built in the Tudor revival style. Made to look like an English village.

Ever wonder how the English Tudor style came to West Hollywood?… Read the rest

North Kings Road: Actors, Architects, Novelists and Their Ghosts

Monday – August 10, 2015 by Bob Bishop

With North Kings Road development issues in the news (again), let’s take a few minutes for a refresher course on lesser-known events in the street’s history. These tend to lurk in the background of larger stories but they still contribute to what residents call the neighborhood’s atmosphere. The news, at least, can never be demolished regardless of the outcome of current density debates.

Planners Nearly Ground Space Architecture
Everyone knows that maverick architect Rudolph Schindler built his now-iconic house at 835 N.Read the rest

The French Market’s Story

Tuesday – January 12, 2016 by Bob Bishop

A presentation Wednesday evening by the firm that plans to redevelop the French Market Place at 7985 Santa Monica Blvd. is expected to formally open a public discussion over the West Hollywood fixture’s historical and architectural significance. The neighborhood meeting with Faring Capital representatives is scheduled to get underway at 6 p.m. in City Hall’s Community Conference Room, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer. Here’s a quick look at the property’s status and  history.

Current Status

The French Market Place is best known for the French Quarter restaurant, the primary tenant that opened for business there in 1973.… Read the rest

Normandie Village: WeHo’s Other Hidden Hollywood Community

Tuesday – February 16, 2016

The former Garden of Allah Hotel on the Sunset Strip has been immortalized in rock songs, books, movies and even in a comic strip as the place where show business stars took up residence for extended periods. Just down the street was Normandie Village, a similar but lesser known home to many Hollywood celebrities who got their starts in early motion pictures.

This cluster of French provincial-style apartments once stood at 8474 Sunset Blvd., a vacant hillside lot today that seems a most unlikely place for the histories of movies and West Hollywood to cross paths.… Read the rest

Charlie Chaplin’s Courtyard Cottages Leave Their Mark on West Hollywood

Monday – February 29, 2016 by Bob Bishop

California’s population boom of the 1920s saw an influx of more than two million new residents attracted by bustling businesses in oil, agriculture and entertainment. More than half of those transplants settled in the Los Angeles area, doubling the number of people living here in just a few years.

The new arrivals in turn fueled a boom in housing construction, primarily for single-family homes that they preferred. Suburbs sprouted in vast open tracts of land on the fringes, leaving most newbies to endure long commutes to and from work on an ever-expanding electric streetcar system.… Read the rest

Mutant Beauty On The Sunset Strip: Breasts, Brazilians and Beats

Thursday – March 24, 2016 by Gustave Heully

It’s 1984, the band Devo has put out three albums since its breakout 1980 Freedom of Choice and its hit song “Whip It” is still everywhere.

Front man Mark Mothersbaugh, with more money in his pocket than he has ever seen in his life, decides to stop staying on Iggy Pop’s couch at the beach and buys a house in the hills above Sunset Plaza.

David Bowie and Brian Eno had brought Devo out to L.A.… Read the rest

West Hollywood Doggedly Pursued Hart Park

Friday – April 8, 2016 by Bob Bishop

Dog parks usually don’t come with a long-running family mystery and a healthy dollop of Hollywood intrigue, but then again, nearly everything about how West Hollywood came to operate – but not own – William S. Hart Park is out of the ordinary.

The one-acre dog park at 8341 De Longpre Ave. is named after silent film’s original cowboy, who was among the biggest box office stars of the 1920s. Hart owned the estate and lived in its two-story ranch house from 1919 to 1927.… Read the rest