Walkable WeHo: Architecture & Golden Era Walk

December 22, 2016 | by Maribel Munoz

Stroll through WeHo’s architectural golden era with this planned walking tour from the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance.

In the 1920s, West Hollywood (WeHo) was the center of lavish apartment living for captivating Hollywood stars, writers and decked-out-in-diamonds socialites. Architects of the day created ornate masterpieces that still stand tall among a 4-block radius. Bookmark this page to follow along:

1. Tara House, 1343 N Laurel Ave

Begin your journey at Tara, the historic landmark building named after Tara from Gone with the Wind. Built in 1914 with Nickelodeon money (no, not the TV network), owner Elsie Weisman hosted star-studded parties with brilliant thinkers like Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s rumored that Gandhi himself was once a dinner guest. Imagine that dinner table conversation!

Right next door (heading north) is…

2. Villa D’Este, 1355 N Laurel Ave

Marvel at the striking Romanesque villa, built and designed in the 1920s by brothers Walter and Pierpont, the founding fathers of the LA Courtyard. This house was featured in the 1963 film “Under the Yum Yum Tree” (we haven’t seen that movie either).

Keep strolling north...

3. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Apartment, 1403 N Laurel Ave

Imagine the “Great Gatsby” writer working on his final book, “The Last Tycoon” in this very spot. His girlfriend, gossip columnist Sheila Graham, lived on the next street over (N Hayworth Ave) where he collapsed and died in her arms on December 21, 1940. 

As you reach Sunset Blvd (The Sunset Strip), turn left and head west. For a sec you’re not in WeHo anymore. (What?) WeHo borders are as quirky as the city itself. Approach the corner of Crescent Heights and Sunset, and take a look to your left to see where famed Schwab’s Drugstore once stood (8000 Sunset). 

Continue west and the strip mall you pass is where The Garden of Allah, one of the most famous hotels in Hollywood’s golden era, once stood.  

When you reach Havenhurst Dr, you’re back in WeHo. Turn left and walk south...

4. Andalusia, 1471 Havenhurst Dr

Now you’re in Hollywood circa 1920s. Built in 1926, these Spanish Colonial Style apartments were designed by Arthur and Nina Zwebell. 

5. The Colonial House, 1416 Havenhurst Dr

Gaze at these fascinating French Colonial Revival Style apartments, designed by ubiquitous WeHo architect, Leland Bryant. Boogie down—70s funk queen Betty Davis lived here!

6.  “Ship’s Bow” Apartment Building, 1415 Havenhurst Dr

Edward Fickett, a famous WeHo architect from the 50s and 60s, was known for creating structures with openness, light, functionality and a gentle footprint on the Mid-Century Modern design landscape. This offbeat apartment building looks like a ship’s bow ready to set sail—do you see it?

7. La Ronda. 1400 Havenhurst Dr

Take a gandor at Spanish Colonial Revival, built in 1928—the Marx brothers lived here.

Continue south to Fountain, turn right going west...

As you approach N Harper Ave cross into the famed Harper Historic district.

First look across Fountain Ave on the southwest corner...

8. The Four Gables on the Corner of N Harper and Fountain, 8250 Fountain Ave

Built in 1927, this Chateau-esque design is called “The Gables” because of its 4 pillar-like structures around the building.

Turn right and go north on N Harper Ave. The lovely apartment buildings lining this street were all erected in the early 1900s. Halfway up the street, sitting quietly among the apartment buildings, is one of WeHo’s oldest structure residents, built in 1914. Can you find it?

9. The Villa Primavera, 1300 N Harper Ave

This Spanish Colonial Revival architecture is part of the Courtyard Thematic District built in 1923.

10. The Romanesque Villas, 1301. N Harper Ave

Catch your breath admiring this Spanish Revival building, constructed in 1926. It’s as breathtaking on the inside as it is on the outside (but please don’t try to sneak in). Yes, Marilyn Monroe did live here—she lived in several WeHo apartments, actually. 

11. El Pasadero, 1330 N Harper Ave

This Spanish Colonial Revival Style apartment building built in 1931 proudly shows off the red-clay tile roofs, arched entrances and windows that are so abundant in WeHo architecture.

12. The Villa Sevilla, 1338 N Harper Ave

Built in 1931, this is a Monterey Revival style villa with recessed balconies.

13. The Harper House, 1334 N Harper Ave

Built in 1929 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.

As you turn around and walk back down Harper to Fountain, turn left going east. You’ll see a sign, “Open House.” Check it out!

14. The Patio Del Moro, 8225 Fountain Ave

Listen to the soothing sounds of the fountain outside this Spanish Colonial Revival built in 1926. Imagine yourself in a quaint Spanish town along the Mediterranean Sea.  

Walk up the steps to see a few Spanish-style apartments up close and personal. Or recognize anyone from the big (or little) screen? Actors, directors and producers use these apartments while working on movie projects.

15. The La Fontaine, 1285 N Crescent Heights Blvd

You’re now standing at the foot of one of WeHo’s most iconic apartment buildings, built in the 1930s by architect Leland Bryant. It’s had its share of famous residents, including the uber-talented Bette Midler and funny guy Steve Martin.

Tired yet? You’re in luck – tour’s over

It's time. Come visit.

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