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Old Posted Nov 19, 2011, 3:39 AM
3940dxer 3940dxer is offline
You can call me David
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Burbank
Posts: 271
(Continuing my post about Runyon Canyon on Page 263...)

Southward, down the hill, is narrow but mostly paved Runyon Canyon Road. This road once linked Mulholland to North Vista St. but is gated now -- walkers only.

Partway up the Canyon was a mansion called San Patrizio built in the 30's with tennis courts, a swimming pool, and various guest facilities. Supposedly, Hollywood stars rented the mansion. The few historical accounts are fuzzy, but I believe that the main house was demolished in the late 70's. The tennis court remains, along with a swimming pool filled with dirt. Here's a photo of the tennis court, with Hollywood and Sunset Blvds. in the background (me). The tennis court overlooks Fuller Avenue, which is 3 blocks west of La Brea. (Sorry for the fuzzy image - it was getting dark!)

Stories of San Patrizio's creation and end differ, but according to Wikipedia, tenor John McCormack bought the property from Carman Runyon in 1930:

"McCormack toured frequently and in his absence the mansion was often rented out to such celebrities as Janet Gaynor and Charles Boyer. The McCormacks made many friends in Hollywood, among them Will Rogers, John Barrymore, Basil Rathbone, C. E. Toberman and the Dohenys. After his farewell tour of America in 1937, the McCormacks deeded the estate back to Carman Runyon, expecting to return at a later date. World War II intervened, however, and, McCormack's health was broken by a wartime concert tour. McCormack died in 1945. In the meantime, Huntington Hartford, heir to the A&P Grocery fortune and patron of the arts, purchased the property in 1942, moving into the mansion and renaming the estate "The Pines". He commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright and his son Lloyd Wright, who had offices in Hollywood, to draft ambitious plans for developing the estate. These included a "cottage hotel" lower canyon and a futuristic "play resort" country club on the ridge. When neighborhood opposition to the design put the project on hold, Hartford had Lloyd Wright design and build a pool pavilion on the crest of the hill at Inspiration Point, facing Hollywood.

Schemes were later proposed for galleries in the canyon, but after 1955, Hartford began to spend more time in New York where his Gallery of Modern Art was eventually built. In the mid '40s, Hartford wrote an adaptation of "Jane Eyre" called "Master of Thornfield," which ran for two weeks in Cincinnati and starred Errol Flynn as Mr. Rochester. This partnership led to Flynn staying in the pool-house briefly in 1957-58, and is the origin of a legend that "The Pines" was Flynn's estate.

In 1964, Hartford offered the property as a gift to the city, but this was turned down by Mayor Sam Yorty. As Lloyd Wright recalled in 1977, "Here was this very wealthy man and he wanted to give something very stunning to Hollywood. The Chambers of Commerce, the hotel owners and the various businesses were jealous of the park, and with the help of the City officials, the City refused to give us permits. Hunt was so angry that he wanted to get out immediately and sold the property at a low price to [Jules] Berman, who then destroyed the mansion and let the place run down." Jules Berman, who had made a fortune importing the well-known Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur KahlĂșa, saw the estate potentially as a "Tiffany development, a beautiful subdivision of 157 luxury homes." After purchasing the canyon, he razed Son Patrizio and the guest houses to avoid paying taxes on the deteriorating structures. His "Huntington Hartford Estates" development, trading on the name of its famous former owner, encountered resistance led by Daniel deJonghe, a park activist. The project was stopped in 1978 before building could begin. The Lloyd Wright pool-house remained standing until 1972 when a fire in the canyon destroyed all but its natural stone foundations

I can't find any original images of San Patrizio. Anybody?

Slightly southwest, nearer the bottom of the hill, is Wattles Mansion:

"In 1907, the Wattles family commissioned noted architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey, whose portfolio also included the Beverly Hills Hotel, Huntington Library, and Pasadena's Rose Bowl. The team of Hunt and Grey designed this Mission Revival residence with extensive grounds that featured a Japanese Garden, an Italian Rose Garden, a Formal Spanish Garden, Palm Court, and orchards, as well as boasting exotic plants from around the world. In the early days of this century, the Wattles Mansion and its gardens, along with the estate of painter Paul De Longpre and the Sturtevant family's giant lily pads, generated nationwide interest, and soon became Hollywood's first tourist attractions."

Looking northeast:

Looking southwest:


The Japanese Garden, most of which remains:


Wattles Mansion is maintained by the Hollywood Heritage organization. The grounds of are open to the public but the interior is only open for special events. I think Wattles may have been used for some scenes in Chinatown - anybody know?

Wattles Mansion today:

Last edited by 3940dxer; Nov 19, 2011 at 4:44 AM.
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