The Cahuenga Valley, Circa 1915

That’s Mt. Lee, future home of the Hollywood Sign, in the distance. U.S.C. Digital Library

This photo, taken around 1915, shows what the terrain around the Sunset Strip looked like before it was developed. It shows ranchland owned by E.A. Melrose in what was then called the Cahuenga Valley, which today is southeast Hollywood. The view looks north toward what were known then as the Cahuenga Mountains but are now called the Hollywood Hills. That mountain to the right is Mt. Lee, home today of the Hollywood sign.

In the 19th century, locals referred to the gently sloping plain along the southern foot of the Cahuenga Mountains as the Caheunga Valley. They probably stopped referring to it as a “valley” in the 20th century because, well, it isn’t a valley, which by definition is a geographic region between two mountain ranges. There is no mountain range south of the Cahuengas/Hollywood Hills — the gentle slope continues its tilt to the southwest toward the ocean. That large sloping plain is now called the Los Angeles Basin.

The footprint of the Melrose ranch today is Western Blvd. to the east, Wilton Blvd. to the west, Melrose Blvd. to the north and Santa Monica Blvd. to the south. And, yes, it’s where the tony Hollywood street Melrose Blvd. got its name.

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  1. From LinkedIn GroupsGroup: Senior Housing ForumDiscussion: I find myself wdieornng how often senior housing communities find themselves in conflict with their neighbors. What is your experience?With regard to the initial development or “set up” of a facility, the NIMBY (Not in my back yard)—as it is often referred to—problem is a relevant concern. Truth is, for senior housing there is less stigma than “half-way” or “re-entry” or “troubled teens” homes. There is a whole body of law that is fascinating around the “discrimination” of such community reactions. Often, developers and operators will retain counsel if planning commissions unjustifiably block these facilities, and end up negotiating with the building authorities. We actually did that for one of our communities, appealing a Planning Commission “no” vote to have it overturned by the city counsel. Ironically, today, the neighborhood and the city enjoys the fact that we are there. The successful argument is these seniors have lived in our community, and thus deserve to continue to live in the heart of our community and not be “banished” to the more commercial/industrial parts of town. The protection of this right is so ingrained in California, for example, that no city or county jurisdiction can prohibit a small 6-bed “community care” facility from being open, AS LONG AS IT IS WITHIN the building codes and regulations. The minute you ask the planning authority for a “variance”, then the operator opens themselves up for a “neighborhood” meeting, and potentially disapproval. Fascinating public policy stuff, thanks for raising the question Steve. Posted by Mark Cimino

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