Hollywoodland Real Estate
Not the iconic movie but actually the Hollywood Hills neighborhood, Hollywoodland, or Upper Beachwood Canyon, sits just below the famous Hollywood Sign and contains nearly 570 residences. Interestingly, the sign was originally constructed to advertise the subdivision. The beautiful homes range from about 1000 to 7800 square feet in size, averaging about 2400 square feet overall. A typical property in Hollywoodland consists of three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The neighborhood dates back to 1924 when the first homes were constructed.
Woodruff and Shoults, the real estate developers, gave the name "Hollywoodland" to their development, marketing it as an affordable yet excellent living option on the Hollywood side of the hills. Initially, the sign was lit up, and it remained illuminated for roughly ten years. However, the new owners eventually found the maintenance cost to be too high, and they discontinued the lighting of the sign.
The History of Hollywoodland's Storybook Homes
Right in the heart of Los Angeles lies an early example of the Storybook Style enclave. Hollywoodland, the neighborhood, was established in 1923 by two developers who acquired 500 acres of land at the base of Mt. Lee, just above Hollywood. At that time, the hillside was unpopulated, covered only with oak trees, holly bushes, greasewood, and poppies. Ferns grew under the trees, and there were natural springs that visitors could access for water. The developers designed winding streets with steep hillside lots, ranging in price from $2,500 to $55,000. It is hard to imagine purchasing such a lot at those prices today! The developers had planned to create a gated community of homes for the "movie people" who were just starting to rise to fame.
The Hollywood sign was erected as a promotional tool for the housing development. Originally, the sign contained an additional four letters spelling out "L-A-N-D," which aimed to attract potential buyers to the area. To ensure maximum visibility and garner interest in the real estate development, the 13 letters were illuminated at night by 4,000 incandescent bulbs. The brightness was so intense that it could be seen from all over Los Angeles, below the hillside where the sign was erected. Today, the Hollywood sign has become an iconic symbol of Los Angeles and its entertainment industry.
The fate of the final four letters of the Hollywood sign has long been a topic of curiosity. According to LA legend, a landslide in the late 1940s wiped out the L-A-N-D letters. However, this is simply a myth, and only one letter had collapsed by the 1940s, the H. As the sign was no longer being used for advertising, it had fallen into disrepair, and in January 1949, the city's Recreation and Parks Commission ordered its demolition. Despite this, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stepped in and offered to restore the H if the L-A-N-D letters could be removed. While the appearance of the sign has evolved over time, its fundamental message of aspiration and hope has remained consistent.
The Hollywoodland Storybook Homes Then and Now
Homes in Hollywoodland were mandated to be constructed in specific styles such as French Normandy, Tudor English, Mediterranean, and Spanish. Although there were no restrictions on the authenticity of these styles, many of them were designed in the Storybook Style genre. While this style can be found in other areas, Hollywoodland is considered by many to be the epicenter of this type of architecture.
The primary attraction of Hollywoodland lies in the original homes that were built in the area. These homes range from charming vine-covered cottages, reminiscent of the house of the seven dwarves, to grand Normandy castles suitable for royalty. These homes were thoughtfully designed by artistic individuals who aimed to create a beautiful environment rather than typical, cookie-cutter housing. Another draw to Hollywoodland is the "freedom of the hills" that it offers. Residents lucky enough to live and work within the canyon can find solace for their artistic pursuits while remaining in close proximity to the rest of the world, as everything is within walking distance. Despite the flashy and assertive nature of the Hollywood sign, the developers managed to create a small-town ambiance with the layout of the homes.
Hollywoodland has been a magnet for celebrities both past and present, who have been lured by its scenic beauty, serene seclusion, stunning vistas, and prime location. The neighborhood's close proximity to major studios is a major selling point. Hollywoodland boasts an enchanting atmosphere with homes that range from fantastical castles, ivy-laden cottages, Tudor-style abodes, to sleek mid-century modern structures, and Spanish-style homes. The residences located at higher elevations offer breathtaking views of the canyon, cityscape, and even the ocean. Hollywoodland, along with Beachwood Canyon and other areas of Los Feliz, enjoys a devoted and passionate group of homeowners who have preserved the community's historical significance and its iconic sign that rests upon its hills.
Former Residents of Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland has been home to Bela Lugosi, Humphrey Bogart, and Gloria Swanson. Plus the gangster Bugsy Siegel! Today, these folks have homes in and around Hollywoodland: Adele, Ellen Degeneres, Jack Nicholson, Kay Perry, Jessica Alba, Leonardo DiCaprio and John Legend.
Storybook-style homes have a playful and whimsical approach to architecture, but they are not just Hollywood sets. These homes are designed to be lived in, enjoyed, and cherished for generations to come. As the homes approach their 100-year centennial, it is clear that they were built to last. If this sounds like your perfect Fairy Tale, browse the current Hollywoodland real estate listings below or contact me at any time to learn more.