It was twenty years ago today… Actually, it was only four years ago today that your Sightseeing Examiner became your Sightseeing Examiner. While normally these articles are not to be written in the first person, I am going to do a little rule breaking for this anniversary article. I ask your indulgence as I begin this article with the following:
- I am very thankful for the opportunity to write for this online publication, ventwing.com.
- I like to think I offer a fresh perspective in that the information I share is one of someone experiencing Los Angeles (L.A.) sights as if for the first time (and sometimes it is the first time) and as a fan of adventure and sightseeing in L.A. and in life wherever that happens to be.
- I am very thankful for the excuse this gig provides to continue to enjoy and explore more sights in L.A. on a regular basis.
Anniversaries tend to be a good opportunity to look back fondly. They tend to either inspire a best of list or an opportunity to pick a favorite. One of my favorite things I’ve written about is the Hollywood Highland Street Hike series of articles I published.
In the four years since beginning the sightseeing gig, ventwing.com has made changes and updated what is possible for examiner writers to create with our articles. One of those updates has been the “list” articles. So…I am seizing the opportunity provided by my anniversary and the list capability to combine those street hike articles into one more user friendly article.
All the articles began with:
There is only one place in the world where you can see the stars on the Walk of Fame. That place is Hollywood, which attracts over ten million tourists a year. The heart of the Walk of Fame is an area known as Hollywood and Highland. On its own there is much to sightsee at this famous intersection, which is easily accessible by L. A.’s only only true subway, the Metro red line.
What may not be common knowledge is that there are many interesting sightseeing opportunities in a one mile radius of Hollywood and Highland. The Hollywood/Highland adjacent sights series is about sharing some of these sights with you. So…if you are willing, put on your walking shoes and travel along on a Hollywood street hike adventure.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Freeman House
From Hollywood and Highland, you walk north on Highland, take a left onto Franklin, turn right on Hillcrest, walk up the hill and then turn right on Glencoe Way. The Samuel Freeman House, located at 1962 Glencoe Way, was built in 1923 and designed by architect, Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) using concrete blocks for much of the house’s outer material. While the use of concrete block may seem uninspired, many of the blocks used were created with a recurring pattern containing a peephole, such as the one in the photo, which afforded a spectacular view of Hollywood. The Samuel Freeman House was added as item #247 to LA’s Historical Cultural Monument List on November 25, 1981. Due to unrepaired earthquake damage, only viewing of the outside is currently permitted.
Traveling back on Glencoe Way to Hillcrest Road, turn right onto Paramount Drive (don’t turn left onto Camrose), follow Paramount which curves to the right ending at the Paramount stairway. The stairway has been referred to as the “secret stairway” and one of Hollywood’s hidden staircases (click here to be linked to Google map of this area). The hike to the stairs is an uphill one. The view of Hollywood at the top of the stairs: priceless.
At the bottom of the secret stairs is Hightower Drive. Go left (your only choice) and follow Hightower Drive to Camrose Drive, which brings you to the intersection shown in the photo. This area is known as the Hollywood Heights neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills of L.A. The Hightower Elevator was designed by architect, Carl Kay (1892 – 1973) in the Bolognese style and built in 1920. According to an article featuring the Hightower Elevator in the October, 1924 issue of Popular Mechanics, the elevator is about 100 feet in height (about the same height as a nine story building) and cost approximately $50,000 to build (about $584,692 today using a CPI inflation calculator). For reference, in 1870 the first office to have an elevator was New York City’s Equitable Life Assurance Building. The elevator was built as another option for residents. Initially anyone could ride the elevator. These days only those with a key have access. This site has been a location mentioned in books and movies.
Highland Camrose Park
Travel east on Camrose and take a left on Highland to Highland Camrose Park, 2101 North Highland Avenue. Before reaching the park as you travel on Camrose, you will note to your left Highland-Camrose Bungalow Village. It’s not officially listed on this walk because it is not open to the public. It is of note as it is #291 on the Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments list, added April 23, 1985. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Traveling on Highland, you’ll notice the majority of the park is enclosed by an ivy covered glass block and cement block fence. Of the many entrances into the park, most are locked. The entrance closest to the Hollywood Bowl is usually open during park hours. This park is clean, serene and includes many trees making its shade a welcome respite from the sun during warm sunny days. The park is often used as a place to picnic before Hollywood Bowl events. Edmund D. Edelman’s name was added to the park in 1994 as tribute to his many years of service to the city and county of L.A.
Hollywood Bowl Museum
Just north of Highland Camrose Park is the Hollywood Bowl. The Hollywood Bowl encompasses 88 acres of land, which includes the actual amphitheater or what most would think of as THE Hollywood Bowl. Yet, there is more to “the bowl” than that. As you walk into the Hollywood Bowl area, one of your first sites to the left is the Hollywood Bowl museum. The museum opened for the bowl’s 65th season in 1986. A remodel doubled the museum’s size in July 1996. Admission is FREE year around. The museum offers a self-guided walking tour. Click here for dates and times when the museum is open.
The entire Hollywood Bowl venue encompasses 88 acres of land (a football field is 300-feet by 160-feet, which is equivalent to 1.1 acres).
Although people often think the name Hollywood Bowl refers to the dome-shaped band shell on the stage, it is actually a reference to the natural bowl shape area surrounded by the Hollywood Hills formerly known as the Daisy Dell.
The 59-acre Bolton Canyon site was originally purchased in 1919 by the Theatre Arts Alliance Inc. for $47,500 to build a community park and art center. They originally called it ‘The Park.’
The above two paragraphs are quoted from the Water and Power Associates early views of the Hollywood Bowl page. If you are interested in reading more, please click here. Using a CPI Inflation Calculator, we find (at this writing) that $47,500 today would be $642,147. In the original article this section is culled from, much more information about the bowl is included. For the sake of room, if you are interested please click here to be linked to that article.
Hollywood Bowl Muse
North of the street entrance to the Hollywood Bowl is 22-feet by 200-feet wide fountain/sculpture known as the Hollywood Bowl Muse, which includes a 15-feet high Muse of Music who is kneeling while playing the harp and two smaller 10-feet high muses representing dance and drama. The fountain structure is built with concrete and covered with decorative granite. In 1927 a sculptor, George Stanley (1903-1970) was commissioned to design the fountain. Stanley was the sculptor of the original Academy Award’s Oscar statue. On March 29, 1939 the streamline moderne-style statue was moved into place.
Over the last twenty to thirty years of the 20th century, the use fountain became increasingly neglected. As with any neglected beauty, the fountain fell into decay and disrepair. In June, 2006 in time for a new bowl season to begin, the renovated muse was revealed.
The Finale Part 1
The last leg of the street hike offers a choice. You can either stay on the west side of Highland Avenue and walk back to Hollywood/Highland. Doing so you will walk past the American Legion Post 43, 2035 North Highland Avenue, which is #462 on the LA Historic Cultural Monuments list, added November 3, 1989. You will also walk past the First United Methodist Church of Hollywood, 6817 Franklin Avenue. The building was designed by Thomas P. Barber. Building construction began in 1927 and completed March 30, 1930. The building is #248 on the LA Historic Cultural Monuments list, added December 4, 1981.In 1985 a film crew used a portion of this historic building as the location for the “Enchantment under the Sea” dance scene for a well-known movie, Back to the Future. This site has also been used as a location for numerous other movies, enough to warrant this site its own IMDb (Internet Movie Database) page.
The Finale Part 2
Otherwise, you can choose to use the stairs (as shown in the photo of the previous list item) which takes you through a tunnel and out to the other side (the east side) of Highland Avenue without having to cross the actual street, which is usually very full with traffic. The east side is where you find yourself at the parking lot/picnic area/Hollywood Heritage Museum in the Lasky-DeMille Barn, 2100 North Highland Avenue. This site was designated as California State Historic Landmark No. 554 on December 27, 1956. Click here for hours and admission fees. The Hollywood Heritage Museum was part of the celebration of Hollywood’s 125th birthday on Feb. 1, 2012. It was on that day in 1887 that Harvey Wilcox registered his acreage as “Hollywood”. Once you past this landmark, continue to walk Highland Avenue until you reach Hollywood Boulevard. And with that, borrowing heavily from the catchphrase on the banner shown at the end of Looney Tunes’ cartoons, “That’s all Folks.”