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Old Posted Aug 24, 2013, 7:12 PM
Tourmaline Tourmaline is offline
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Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by Lorendoc View Post
e_r wrote: I have a question about the 'speakeasy' you mention in your post # 1 of the series. Would this have been at the same location
as the earlier Laurel Tavern? (if I remember correctly, you mention a curve in the road or something)

Laurel Tavern

The Lookout Mountain Inn burned in 1918. The Volstead Act (national prohibition) didn't start until January, 1920. So no speakeasy was needed up at the LMI, and none was needed after prohibition started, because the well-heeled locals had their own private supplies and likely discovered unexpected wine-making skills of their own.

I think the Laurel Tavern was where "Tavern Trail" is today, near the Country Store. It was associated with the Laurelwood Tract. This property ran up the east side of Laurel Canyon from Kirkwood almost all the way to Lookout Mountain Avenue.

Judging from the signage on the first picture, e_r, it seems like the Tavern doubled as a real estate office for the Laurelwood Tract and Mr. Alvaro A. Pratt would be just as happy to serve you a drink as he would sell you a lot from his Tract, finding one might just lead to the other.

The LAT says that Pratt, late of Salt Lake City, bought a lot in Laurelwood in 1910. Pratt is an old LDS name, and maybe he was only too happy to get out of bone-dry Utah and run a saloon. (Pure speculation on my part )

Have enjoyed your posts and thank your for the research behind them. That goes for 3940dxer, too.(e.g., )

Regarding prohibition, I have gleaned from this thread that enforcement was, at best, irregular, even in the populated areas. I do not know who might have had jurisdiction over the Laurel area, but it is commonly understood that the Sheriff was too undermanned to handle the entire county and consequently, the nearby Sunset Strip was notorious for its disregard of Volstead. With all of the train traffic coming and going around the nearby Sherman/West LA area, there was probably a constant flow of forbidden juice, for anyone unable to make their own in the Laurel area.

With your extensive background maybe you can tackle a few more questions about the area.

I don't pretend to grasp Laurel's history and geography (having only visited a long long time age), so my questions may be a mis-mash of misdirection and ignorance.

You observed that most myths may contain a grain of truth. The Laurel Canyon Association's history of the area says: "A popular myth is that the grounds around the Inn were stocked with exotic animals for hunting, but this has not been verified. The Inn burned down in the 1923, and the site was rebuilt with a home for actor Lew Ayres - the original Dr. Kildare." Forgetting about the unconfirmed lions and tigers hiding in the area, and what might have been a second secret fire (1918 vs 1923), is there any possibility that the Lew Ayres' "spread" was large enough to include the same or similar location as the Lookout MI, even though the two places might have been treated as separate parcels? You seem to have debunked the notion that Lookout M Inn was at 8782 Appian Way, and instead located at 2355 Sunset Plaza Drive, but I am wondering is it possible that Ayres or another owner of the property upon which Ayres' estate was built also owned the property you have identified as the former Lookout Inn?

Looking at the surveyor's marker, did the one pictured below possibly replace an earlier marker? Or mismarker? As reliable as surveyors may be, wonder what might have happened if the prior surveyor got things wrong? (If you don't believe mistakes can happen, just ask Mayor Shaw. ) I also wonder if certain well-heeled property owners couldn't have made significant improvements that they neglected to report. After all, the area has been called "Wonderland"?

Marker date is '52 or '32?

I've read that Doheny's Franklin Canyon reservoir supplied the DWP with water. I assume it was also supplying electricity to Charley Mann's 1913 Trackless Trolley? And, how do we know this was the first Trackless Trolley in America?

It has also been said that those street cars only ran for 5 years to a tavern on Lookout Mountain Avenue. Because this would have been prior to the date of the fire, it makes me wonder if the there weren't several unaccounted for makeshift taverns or inns, or one or two being confused with each other. This might also include confusing an Inn with a Tavern, or even a stand. I am aware that the same tavern on Lookout M Ave., was either rebuilt or transformed into Tom Mix's Rancho d'logs, but I can't help think that some of the stories will never be fully known. I say this, having reread the 1946 newspaper article that mentions prior owners, Actress Bessie Love and C.J. Milliron. Curiously there is no mention of Mix. And, while you probably can't judge a book by its cover, or a department store owner by the design of his Fifth Street Store, it is hard to picture CK Milliron homesteading in a rustic log cabin. Of course, there are log cabins and there are log cabins that go by the name of Ponderosa.

Your posted tavern photo looks to be of wooden construction, but not necessarily of hewn-logs. Is the term "log cabin" merely a misnomer or a synonym for unfinished wood?

From 3940dexer's prior post on the subject

Lew Ayres at his unidentified "home-garden."

Lew Ayres at Grauman's premier of Grand Hotel.

Lew in later life, long after looking out for Laurel?

Undated photo (probably late 40s) of Milliron's Fifth street Store.

Last edited by Tourmaline; Aug 24, 2013 at 8:43 PM.
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