Search results: "hayvenhurst"

1918: Alla Nazmova, ‘Tremendously Happy’

Alla Nazimova

In 1918, Alla Nazimova, the famed Broadway actress, was lured to Hollywood by Metro Pictures, one of the studios that later became MGM. A few years earlier, Nazimova had had such a successful run on Broadway for the Shubert Organization — sales of tickets to her sold-out performances had generated $4 million ($400 million today) in revenue over three years–that the Shuberts named one of their Broadway houses “the Alla Nazimova 39th Street Theatre.” So it was not surprising that under her contract with Metro, Nazimova became the highest paid actress in Hollywood, receiving a weekly salary of $13,000 a week, equivalent to $20,500 today.

Nazimova chose as her home, Hayvenhurst, a luxurious estate that occupied 2.5 park-like acres at 8152 Sunset Blvd. [map showing approximate location], at what is today the eastern border of the Sunset Strip. At the time, it was so remote that the Sunset Boulevard trolley from Hollywood made its last stop where the pavement ended, just at the estate’s northeastern corner. The extension of Sunset Boulevard west toward Beverly Hills was a gravel road.

Today, the property stands at the eastern gateway to the Sunset Strip, and the neighborhoods around it are some of the most densely populated in the West. Then, however, the area was quite rustic, its rolling hills covered in melon farms, poinsettias fields and avocado and orange groves.

Nazimova leased the estate from real-estate developer, William H. Hay, who had built it as his private residence in 1913 only to vacate it for an even larger house down the street a few years later. Immediately after she moved in, Nazimova commissioned what would become its defining feature: a swimming pool, 65 feet by 45 feet. After living in the estate for a year, Nazimova purchased it outright for $65,000, which would be just $1 million today–a steal, it seems–perhaps because the remote house had been on the market for a while.

Then and Now: Proposed Towers on Garden of Allah Site on the Sunset Strip, 1930 Vs. Today

Left: rendering of the Garden of Allah Hotel tower by architects Gilbert-Stanley Underwood & Co. Inc. proposed in 1930; right: proposed mixed-use building for the same property today; (A) Intersection of Crescent Heights Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. looking southwest

Plans were unveiled this week for redeveloping the former Garden of Allah Hotel property on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. The plans show a couple of high-rise buildings, including a 16 story tower. Here’s the project description from the developer’s website:

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Video: Tiles Under Site of Garden of Allah May Be All That’s Left of Long-Gone Sunset Strip Hotel

From CurbedLA.

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Alla Nazimova’s Launch Party for Garden of Allah Hotel

The Garden of Allah Hotel campus, viewed looking southeast. Photo is undated but probably late 1930s. High-rise in upper right is the Colonial Apartments on Havenhurst, which is still standing

Los Angeles came late to the historic preservation movement. The landmarks that have fallen to the wrecking balls is nothing less than tragic. The Sunset Strip has been luckier. Chateau Marmont and the Sunset Tower are standing and in fine fettle. Low-rise apartment building where notables like Marilyn Monroe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dorothy Dandridge lived are still in use. The building made world-famous as Ciro’s night club in the 1940s was repurposed decades ago as the Comedy Store. Even the one-time home of Cafe Gala, Judy Garland’s favorite gay bar, on Horn Avenue north of the Strip, is still standing, although it has dark since Spago’s vacated the building and moved to Beverly Hills location.

The razing of the Garden was thought to have inspired the line “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” in Joni Mitchell’s song, “Big Yellow Taxi.” Mitchell, who moved to Los Angeles well after the shopping center was built, has said she was writing about a trip to Hawaii.

One significant loss, however, was the Garden of Allah, the most legendary and notorious of all the Strip hotels, which was razed in 1959 to make way for the bank building that is there now.

The Garden of Allah was originally an estate called Hayvenhurst, built in 1913, at 8150 Sunset Blvd. [map], at the northwest corner of Crescent Heights and Sunset — at the western terminus of the Sunset trolley line — it occupied a 2.5-acre park-like campus of villas built around an enormous swimming pool and the main house, which housed the restaurant and bar.

The buildings were torn down, the landscaping ripped out and a concrete parking lot was poured on top of the once-magical grounds — an event that was thought to have inspired the line “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” in Joni Mitchell’s song, “Big Yellow Taxi.” Mitchell, who moved to Los Angeles well after the shopping center was built, has said she was writing about a trip to Hawaii.

In January 1927, the opening of the hotel was celebrated in typical Hollywood style, as described in the Los Angeles Times many years later:

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1918: Tremendously Happy

Alla Nazimova

In 1918, Alla Nazimova, the famed Broadway actress, was lured to Hollywood by Metro Pictures, one of the studios that later became MGM. A few years earlier, Nazimova had had such a successful run on Broadway for the Shubert Organization — sales of tickets to her sold-out performances had generated $4 million ($400 million today) in revenue over three years–that the Shuberts named one of their Broadway houses “the Alla Nazimova 39th Street Theatre.” So it was not surprising that under her contract with Metro, Nazimova became the highest paid actress in Hollywood, receiving a weekly salary of $13,000 a week, equivalent to $20,500 today.

Nazimova chose as her home, Hayvenhurst, a luxurious estate that occupied 2.5 park-like acres at 8152 Sunset Blvd. [map showing approximate location], at what is today the eastern border of the Sunset Strip. At the time, it was so remote that the Sunset Boulevard trolley from Hollywood made its last stop where the pavement ended, just at the estate’s northeastern corner. The extension of Sunset Boulevard west toward Beverly Hills was a gravel road.

Today, the property stands at the eastern gateway to the Sunset Strip, and the neighborhoods around it are some of the most densely populated in the West. Then, however, the area was quite rustic, its rolling hills covered in melon farms, poinsettias fields and avocado and orange groves.

Nazimova leased the estate from real-estate developer, William H. Hay, who had built it as his private residence in 1913 only to vacate it for an even larger house down the street a few years later. Immediately after she moved in, Nazimova commissioned what would become its defining feature: a swimming pool, 65 feet by 45 feet. After living in the estate for a year, Nazimova purchased it outright for $65,000, which would be just $1 million today–a steal, it seems–perhaps because the remote house had been on the market for a while.

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