Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

H. J. Whitley: Father of Hollywood

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Hobart Johnstone Whitley was born in Toronto, Canada on October 7, 1847, of Scottish-English parentage. As a child he moved to Flint, Michigan, where he was educated in the public schools and later at Toronto Business College. 

Whitley engaged in banking and land development in Kansas City and Minneapolis, establishing banks and townsites along the Northern Pacific Railroad, and for a time managed the H. J. Whitley Land and Mortgage Company. He platted the towns and built brick and stone business buildings in Oklahoma City, El Reno, Chickasha, Enid, Medfore, and other cities on the Rock Island Railroad.

In 1887 he married Margaret Virginia Ross and had two children, Grace Virginia and Ross Emmet. Because of bad health, Whitley came to California in 1893 and the following year established the H. J. Whitley Jewelry Store, for many years the largest in the city. In 1900 he bought the Hurd property north of Hollywood Boulevard, between Wilcox and Whitley, south of Yucca Street, which he later subdivided into what became known as Whitley Home Tract. As a result of the success of this subdivision, one of the first in Hollywood, Whitley became known as the “Father of Hollywood.”

In 1905, Whitley and a group of Los Angeles investors undertook the development of 47,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley and carried through a similar project involving nearly 50,000 acres in the San Fernando Valley.

(click image to enlarge)

Whitley continued his activities in Southern California property until 1922, when he completed the development of Whitley Heights, which was one of the first hillside subdivisions in Hollywood. The opening of the tract in 1920 was the scene of a public barbeque, with city officials and business men of the city as guests. Whitley Heights would become the first celebrity neighborhood and home to such film stars as Francis X. Bushman, Eugene O’Brien, Barbara La Marr and Rudolph Valentino.

In addition to his real estate development, Whitley was one of the founders of the Home Savings Bank and was identified with the organization of the First National Bank of Hollywood, the First National Bank of Van Nuys and State banks in Canoga Park, Reseda and Corcoran.

On June 3, 1931, while staying as a guest of his son at the Whitley Park Country Club in Van Nuys, H. J. Whitley died in his sleep at the age of 83. Whitley was survived by his wife Margaret, his daughter Grace, son Ross and three grandchildren. Funeral services were conducted at the Strother Funeral Chapel at 6240 Hollywood Boulevard with interment at Hollywood Cemetery.

Jim Morrison’s former home damaged in arson fire

Friday, December 30th, 2011


Jim Morrison’s Laurel Canyon home damaged in arson attack



Los Angeles City firefighter Dane Jackson investigates the scene where fire caused damage to a home once occupied by Doors frontman Jim Morrison . An arsonist torched car after car early Friday, sending firefighters scrambling to put out more than a dozen blazes in Hollywood and neighboring West Hollywood Photo: AP / RINGO CHIU


Kurt Orzeck
December 30, 2011


LOS ANGELES ( – A Laurel Canyon home once inhabited by Jim Morrison was damaged in one of the 19 overnight arson attacks that plagued Hollywood and West Hollywood early Friday morning, according to the Los Angeles Times.


The fire — at 8021 Rothdell Trail in Hollywood — broke out at 1:20 a.m. in a nearby car, then spread to the house.


Morrison lived in the 1922 Hollywood home with his girlfriend Pamela Courson. It’s where he wrote the Doors album “Waiting for the Sun” and portions of “The Soft Parade.”


The Laurel Canyon street on which it’s located also was the inspiration for the Doors song “Love Street,” which played during the closing credits of a season two episode of “Entourage.”


According to the Times, 56 firefighters responded to the blaze, which took 35 minutes to contain. One of the firefighters was injured in a fall from a ladder on the ground. He is in stable condition at a local hospital.


Most of the 19 fires were apparently started in cars or carports. Earlier this week, police arrested two individuals in connection with three other arson incidents Thursday morning on Sunset Boulevard. Police and fire officials have not released a suspect description pertaining to the fires that happened overnight.


A city of Los Angeles Fire Department official did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.



Arsonist in Hollywood

Friday, December 30th, 2011


Hollywood arson rampage: Residents fear culprit may strike again



Los Angeles Times
December 30, 2011


With at least one -– and possibly multiple -– serial arsonists on the loose after a rash of fires in West Hollywood and Hollywood, some residents were wondering where to park their cars Friday night.


At least 17 fires were set early Friday morning. Most targeted cars directly. Others were set in carports or underground parking structures.


At a carport in the 7700 block of Romaine Street where a fire broke out early Friday, Lillian and Rick Nothem said they hadn’t decided whether to park in their nearby apartment complex’s nearly identical carport.


“It’s freaking me out,” Lillian Nothem said. “What’s triggering this?”


In the 1800 block of North Vine Street, a BMW parked in the back carport of an apartment complex was destroyed and much of it had melted. A Volkswagen next to it was also damaged.


MAP: Hollywood arson fires


Musician Zach Smith lives in the complex and said his neighbor owns the BMW and knocked fiercely on his and other tenants’ doors early Friday to wake them up.


Smith said he walked out to see flames coming from the BMW’s hood and engine. Neighbors tried to move the Volkswagen before the fire spread to it but were unsuccessful, he said.


“Straight fire,” Smith said. “The whole hood in straight flames.”


Lucas Dick, a comedian who lives nearby, said he is not particularly worried about an arsonist striking his car because “the trick is you’ve got to buy a cheap car.”


He opined that if his old Toyota Avalon that he purchased for $900 “was set on fire, it would probably be an improvement.”


The person or people responsible for Friday morning’s string of fires in Hollywood and West Hollywood may have chosen cars because they’re easy targets, one fire expert said.


“They’re a quick source of fuel,” said Robert Rowe, a fire investigator in Long Beach with nearly 30 years of experience. “You break a window, you throw some type of object inside and it burns quite vigorously with the plastic, the upholstery and the gasoline.”



Today in LA

Sunday, February 20th, 2011


Snow covered peaks near Hollywood and Glendale



If you were out-and-about today in Los Angeles, you may have seen the beautiful snow capped mountians that are currently surrounding the city thanks to the recent rains and snows in the higher elevations. Enjoy!






 (Photos by Allan R. Ellenberger)



Early Hollywood real estate

Friday, April 30th, 2010


 Hollywood real estate in the early days




By Allan R. Ellenberger


The above real estate ad appeared in the Los Angeles Times on December 21, 1902. Some of the street names have changed since then — Prospect Avenue is now Hollywood Boulevard and Hartford Avenue is now Bronson and Warner Avenue was renamed Van Ness.


The property in that area was once part of the G. W. Warner estate. Van Ness was at one time Warner Avenue and Carlton and Harold Ways were named for Warner’s two sons; those two street names still survive.


The prices ranged from $800 to $1,575 per lot. The latter price was asked for the corners of Van Ness and Hollywood Boulevard. The corner of Sunset and Wilton Place (then Lemona Avenue) sold for $1,300 as did the corner of  Bronson and Hollywood.


Just 25 years later, the value climbed to where one foot in the vicinity, on Hollywood Boulevard, was then worth five times as much as the entire seventy-five foot lot was in 1902.



Parking confusion

Sunday, February 28th, 2010


To park or not to park…?



Parking has always been a problem in Hollywood, but these two conflicting signs seen this morning on Highland just south of the Boulevard, makes it more confusing



Hollywood – in the beginning

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009


Hollywood, the magnificent foothill town!



An early Hollywood street, circa 1890s (LAPL)


Below is an ad that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on November 13, 1888 to advertise the sale of property in the new community of Hollywood – an interesting read. The seller is H.H. Wilcox, the founder of Hollywood.








Hollywood Memorabilia…

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Last act for Hollywood memorabilia


Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times
Movie magazines, including a 1918 edition of Motion Picture with silent film star Norma Talmadge on the cover, are part of a 3-million-piece collection of memorabilia at the Collector’s Book Store in Hollywood that are moving to storage in Newbury Park before being auctioned six months from now


The 3-million piece collection of movie posters, magazines, photos and other items will be stored in Newbury Park and auctioned off in December.


By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 26, 2008


They are packing up Old Hollywood and moving it to Newbury Park.


That’s where about 3 million film studio publicity stills, 50,000 original movie posters and 20,000 vintage fan magazines will be stored until they are auctioned off six months from now.  READ MORE



Celebrity Homes…Anita Stewart

Friday, May 16th, 2008


Anita Stewart

Then & Now



Stewarts home as it looks today 
(click on images to enlarge)


7425 Franklin Avenue

Hollywood, California


 Anita Stewart


NOTE: The former home of silent film actress, Anita Stewart has been empty and in this condition for several years. The porch roof is missing and the grounds are unkempt. Hopefully, someone will restore the home and property before it is lost forever.



Early Hollywood Days

Monday, May 12th, 2008


Remembrances of Hollywood Pioneer and Leader who Tells Origin of the Name “Hollywood”




Philo Judson Beveridge (1851-1921) was the son of Illinois governor, John L. Beveridge and the second husband of Hollywood co-founder, Daieda Hartell Wilcox (1861-1914).

By Philo J. Beveridge
Holly Leaves
Saturday, January 15, 1921

“In 1893, when I came to Hollywood, the name Hollywood legally covered only a sub-division of 160 acres bounded by Franklin Avenue, Sunset Boulevard, Gower Street and Whitley Avenue culminating in a population of about thirty people. The larger territory lying north of Santa Monica Boulevard, west of Vermont and east of Laurel Canyon, was, however, frequently designated as Hollywood. The sub-division of 160 acres was recorded as “Hollywood,” a name selected by my late wife, Ida Wilcox Beveridge, because it was the name of a country estate of a friend in Ohio. 



“The larger territory had a population of nearly one-hundred people. It was known as the “Frostless Belt of the Cahuenga Valley.” The late E. C. Hurd and Edward Baker were the pioneers in the growing of lemons and oranges, and Mr. Rapp, Jacob Miller and others had suceessfully grown winter vegetables and semi-tropical fruits. Wells were the only source of water supply. Such roads as had been dedicated were upgraded and improved. A four-foot cement sidewalk on the west side of Cahuenga Avenue from Franklin to Hollywood Boulevard and westward to Whitley Avenue, installed in 1888 by the late H. H. Wilcox, was for many years the sole evidence of a desire for better things. The pepper trees within the virginal sub-division were all planted by my wife. Within the larger territory there was one church, and a single school house of one room was located on Sunset east of Gower Street.


 Photograph of early Hollywood in 1910. Location of streets are noted.


“The Cahuenga Valley Railroad, built in the late eighties by Mr. MacLaughlin, a son-in-law of Senator Cole, ran from Whitley and Hollywood Boulevard to a connection with a cable line at the western end of Temple Street. One engine and a combination passenger and freight car comprised its equipment. It was supposed to make five round trips a day, but frequently discontinued all service for days and weeks at a time. It had two regular passengers, E. C. Allen and Harve Friend, both deceased, and these two with H. D. Sackett who had a general store at southwest corner of Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard, represented the active business interests of Hollywood.


“The story of the long months of persistent efforts by a number of loyal citizens to secure better streets, a water system, sewer outlet, gas, electricity and a direct electric railway system, would be of interest to the older inhabitants but can not be covered in detail with the limits at my disposal.


“The Hollywood Board of Trade, organized about twenty years ago, has accomplished much for Hollywood, and deserves our united support.


“To me it is a source of constant satisfaction that while in early days we disagreed amongst ourselves on many matters of public policy no enmities were formed, and the opponents of the past are the friends of today. To the oldtimers and to the strangers within our gates let me recall old Rip’s toast: “Here’s to you and your family. May they all live long and prosper.”



Philo J. Beveridge’s grave at Hollywood Forever Cemetery


The preceeding was reprinted from the Holly Leaves, an early Hollywood newspaper.