Coming of age in Hollywoodland

In December of 1971 my parents and I moved from our two-bedroom apartment across from Centinela Park in Inglewood to a stilt home in Beachwood Canyon.  It was a culture shock on many levels – trading slower-paced Inglewood for fast-lane Hollywood, and urban apartment for plenty of open space in the hills.

I’m reminded of that major childhood move by the excellent new book, Hollywoodland.  Written by Mary Mallory and Hollywood Heritage, the book is part of Arcadia Publishing’s hyper-localized “Images of America” historical series.

Hollywoodland is loaded with wonderful photos of the 1920s era development beneath the Hollywood sign.  In fact, the sign originally read “Hollywoodland,” and was erected by the project’s developers as a come-on for sales.  Unlike other developments, Hollywoodland allowed buyers to build homes of their choice.  As a result, there’s architectural variety, with four styles originally allowed -- Mediterranean, Spanish, French Normandy, and English Tudor.  Later homes, like my parents', were typically modern.

The book provides background on the history of the development, its link with the nearby studios and filmmakers, and mention of some of the famous residents of the canyon.

If you live, or lived, in Beachwood Canyon, please share your thoughts about this gem of a community.  I have wonderful memories of spending my junior high and high school years there.  Though it’s more developed and congested than when I was there in the 1970s, it still offers one of the Southland’s most beautiful and historically interesting places to live.

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