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Old Posted Mar 21, 2014, 4:46 PM
Martin Pal Martin Pal is offline
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Originally Posted by tovangar2 View Post
We've recently seen Country Club Manor and Chateau Elysee (page 591) but a search didn't turn up La Fontaine, on Crescent Heights at Fountain, another grande dame, so here it is…

Designed and built in 1930 of rose-colored brick by the prolific Leland Bryant, (based on one he'd seen in his European travels) who did the Afton Arms, The Trianon and the Sunset Tower Hotel among others. Signature expansive, gracious apartments with many built-ins, dressing rooms, etc plus huge individual storage rooms in the basement. And I do like a house or building up on a plinth (in this case thanks to the semi-underground parking):

I wish I had some good stories to go with it. […] Something must have happened there.
Entire post with additional photos is here:

This is the only post I’ve seen about La Fontaine. I don’t know any good stories about it, but among its share of Hollywood residents were Bette Midler and Steve Martin, according to Roy Rogers Oldenkamp, who’s done walking tours of the area.

I do know that you can see this building in the Judy Garland version of A STAR IS BORN. I believe it was included in the version that was restored with footage excised from the roadshow version. There is a scene where James Mason comes to visit Judy Garland in her apartment on Crescent Heights across the street from the La Fontaine. As he exits her building he gets into his roadster parked on Crescent Heights and drives up the street. You can clearly see the La Fontaine as he drives by, through the intersection of Crescent Heights and Fountain and then up Crescent Heights toward Sunset Blvd.

I’ve been searching for something else in this area. During World War II a woman named Anne Lehr lived at 1284 N. Crescent Heights in what used to be the home of silent film star Dustin Farnham. She began to notice that servicemen were spending the nights in parks or bus benches and the like, either because of a lack of available rooms or they couldn’t afford them. There were places that catered to servicemen, but not places that were available to sleep/spend the night. With that in mind, she converted her place into the Hollywood Guild & Canteen, a place where servicemen could get a free meal and a clean bed and it opened in May of 1942. (Not to be confused with the Hollywood Canteen.) Servicemen called the place “Mom Lehr’s.” On average about 800 servicemen spent the night there and up to 1200 on the weekends. (It’s said the scenes where Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra spend the night in Hollywood in the film Anchors Aweigh were based on this place.

I first heard of this place in the book Hollywood: The First Hundred Years by Bruce Torrence. The only photos I’ve found of it are from his sources. There’s a vague “entrance” photo and some interior shots, dated 1943. Here are two of them.

I wondered exactly where this location is. Currently there is no 1284 address. Google maps indicates 1284 would be at the southeast corner of Crescent Heights and Fountain Ave. which is now addressed 1274 and that’s the probable location. The northeast corner across the street is a parking lot, at present, that by its appearance looks to have been built where another structure/building used to be.

The corner address (1274) is currently occupied by an apartment complex called The Crescent which is listed as built in 1985. It’s the same location as the Oleander Arms, where Judy Garland lived in the film, A Star is Born, that I mentioned above. I recall around the time the film had been restored and shown again (in 1983) that people were trying to save this building because of this significance. The Crescent was subsequently built here, but I recall that the Oleander Arms was not demolished, but “moved” to another location.

So far, I have not been able to find anything written about that “move” online. I also cannot find any source that tells me the Oleander Arms was built on the site of Mom Lehr’s/Dustin Farnham’s mansion. (Not to be confused with another Oleander Arms that was located in Hollywood.) The Bruce Torrence book, from 1978, indicates that the then current site of the mansion was occupied by a singles apartment building (Oleander Arms?).

Since I walk by this area often enough, I always keep wondering exactly where this was. My guess is that it’s the southeast corner of Crescent Heights and Fountain, but not sure that it isn’t across the street at the northeast corner.

I haven’t discovered any aerials of this area, which is a block or two below Sunset and Crescent Heights which is where the Garden of Allah and Schwab’s Drugstore are located. The postcard photo I found recently of Dustin Farnham’s mansion (from the 1920’s) doesn’t give me a clue as to which side of the street it was on, but if you compare it to the entrance photo of the Hollywood Guild and Canteen, above, you can see the sidewalks line up perfectly.


Link about Dustin Farnham:
Link to Bruce Torrence’s photo site:
Link to a short article about a West Hollywood walking tour with one or two dozen notable buildings in the area I’ve been talking about:

Last edited by Martin Pal; Jun 11, 2016 at 5:26 PM.
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