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Sunday, January 31, 2010

HISTORY LESSON: FUN FACTS ABOUT EARLY HOLLYWOOD II

In continuation of a former post I wrote regarding the progress of Hollywood from a small town to a booming movie metropolis, I have prepared a few more interesting facts:



Former Hollywood resident, Mary Moll, lived in a farmhouse that bordered a strawberry orchard while she taught at the Pass school on Sunset Blvd. When her husband died, she decided to subdivide her property and build a commercial block at Hollywood and Highland. She also built herself a new home where the Roosevelt Hotel (above) now stands. Her donation of land and contribution to development made the now famous Highland Avenue an official street!


The first celebrity in Hollywood, before the invasion of moviestars was another type of artist: a painter. Paul de Longpre was known as the "King of Flowers." A Frenchman who began painting when he was twelve, he found much success and in 1889 settled with his wife and three children in Los Angeles. He met Daeida Wilcox Beveridge, who had remarried after Harvey Wilcox's death, and she offered him her own home in order to get him to move to the Hollywood area. The site of his home consisted of 36 lots at Cahuenga and Prospect Ave (below). He was always seen bicycling around the area, looking for the rarest flowers, and became even more famous for his beautiful garden. Because of this, his home became one of the biggest tourist attractions. There is now a street named for him just above Sunset.




Before the scandals and cover ups of the studio era, which was filled with rumors of drugs, prostitution, and murder, Hollywood was a fairly quiet little town. Not to mention a dry one! Surprisingly, Hollywood was a bit prudish in its formative years, with many a church and nary a bar. The small population also limited the amount of criminal behavior that occurred. For this reason, policing the area was not a heavy task. The first police station consisted of one room and one cell, and was situated at Cahuenga and Hollywood behind a rose arbor-- not very intimidating. Two policemen were hired, first surveying the town on horseback and then on bicycles. The only real criminal behavior was speeding on the traffic absent Sunset Blvd. Many times, one of the officers took a snooze at Hollywood and Vine and awoke to children throwing lemons at him! That was probably the closet he ever came to dealing with a gang.


The first "country club" or space for social gathering appeared at Wilcox Hall. Daeida Beveridge turned the upstairs into a space that would become known as The Hollywood Club. It was composed of a dance floor and billiard room, and also became the first real theater space where people could come to watch the latest plays, though they were certainly amateur productions. The first of its shows was a minstrel production. It also served as a space for educational programs, but mostly was an area for hardworking people to come and have a smoke or enjoy a game of cards after a long day.

7 comments:

  1. Very interesting! Great post!

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  2. Fascinating. I love Hollywood history

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  3. great post! funny it used to have such a puritanical history. :)

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  4. Glad you all enjoyed it. I'm always afraid that I am boring every one!!! Haha.

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  5. you are never boring and do not stop writing or I will throw lemons at you. Thanks

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  6. I agree with Billy, don't you dare stop writing miss :) Love this post! Such interesting facts about Hollywood. Now it all makes sense, no wonder there are so many churches on Wilshire Blvd! Ha! ;)

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