Sunset Strip looking east, 1950.
This photo, taken in 1950, may be a still from the opening credits of the Mickey Rooney movie, “Sunset Strip,” and was probably shot from the roof of the Sunset Tower. The Chateau Marmont is in view, center right. At the extreme center left is Mt. Kalmia, Hersee Carson’s castle, which is now hidden by a stand of bamboo that was installed by Johnny Depp when he owned the house a few years ago. The vacant lot below it on Sunset was later the setting for the scene in “Annie Hall” in which the Woody Allen character wrecks his rental car trying to leave the health food restaurant after Annie breaks up with him. It’s still an empty lot today.
Former Ziegfeld Follies dancer “Queen” Patricia Noblesse Hogan had been leasing Mt. Kalmia, a 16-room mansion above the Sunset Strip that she had re-purposed into a rooming house, for six years when, on January 24, 1947, she and her boarders were abruptly evicted and the mansion was sold for unpaid taxes. Via the 1947 Project:
Two days after Eviction Day at the fabulous Mount Kalmia Castle, fancy flophouse at 8311 Sunset Blvd., the 38 hapless lodgers of ex-Follies star “Queen” Patricia Noblesse Hogan continue to hustle for new homes. Back in February, the grand, turreted residence overlooking the Sunset Strip was sold to dentist Manuel H. Haig at auction for $83,000, but Her Majesty had nimbly ignored every order to quit the premises.
Until four days ago, that is, when the Sheriff arrived with a twelve-hour notice to vacate, which was the first any of the tenants — from the $300 a month suite men to the gals who shared the basement barracks for $85/per — heard about the sale. Twenty-nine hours after the deadline, moving vans still crawled up and down the hill like ants, bearing away segments of the Queen’s $300,000 trousseau, while the tenants sat glumly on hastily-packed trunks awaiting taxi cabs to who-knew-where. And on the driveway, Tootsie Berry, Hogan’s daughter, tried to calm her boxers Major and Colonel. Tootsie wasn’t worried; the Queen would always land on her feet.
Mt. Kalmia was built in 1932 by Hersee Carson, who, because of her charity toward poor children was referred to as the “Fairy Lady.” Its address today is 1486 N. Sweetzer Ave.