By Steven Treffers, Intern Architectural Historian, Page & Turnbull
What a first couple of months! While other members of the Page & Turnbull team traversed the foothills of Sunland and Tujunga, I spent the majority of my time in the Hollywood Flats (emphasis on the flat), helping to survey every property between Hollywood Boulevard and Melrose Avenue. As in the case of Sunland/Tujunga, we followed a process that included reconnaissance survey, documentation, and research, recording a diverse number of properties in a relatively small area.
We looked at a lot of great buildings during this time and uncovered a number of surprises. I was expecting to find the requisite nightclubs and movie studios; however, I also found a built environment that depicted a “Hollywood Story” that I was much less familiar with. Some of the highlights include:
- A number of resources dating to the pre-annexation of Hollywood to the City of Los Angeles, which occurred in 1910. These buildings have particular significance because they characterize the earliest development in the area.
- The streetcar suburb surrounding the intersection of Gardner Street and Sunset Boulevard. Once known as “Gardner Junction,” this corner was a streetcar turnaround in the early twentieth century (looking at a present day aerial map, you can still make out the rail tracks that cut through the neighborhood!). The Craftsman style homes in the surrounding neighborhood developed along the streetcar route and still maintain a high degree of historic integrity.
- Buildings associated with the entertainment industry. In the area near Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue, there is a large concentration of buildings that portray this history from its humble beginnings, including a number of residential properties that housed everyone from aspiring to established actors.
- A great collection of Mid-Century Modern buildings. We found extraordinary examples of commercial and residential properties from the post-war era (including my personal favorite, the dingbat apartment!). Like the pre-annexation properties, these buildings tell the story of a unique time in Hollywood’s development.
Surveying both Sunland/Tujunga and Hollywood, we saw firsthand how diverse (and big) Los Angeles’ built environment truly is. Each neighborhood of the city has its own unique history, and the buildings that remain are a clear reflection of this. With SurveyLA, we’ve been able to explore the context of significant properties in both their individual neighborhoods and the city as a whole. Hopefully, in recording and cataloging these exceptional buildings, we’ve contributed to the ongoing telling of the Los Angeles story.