The Wattles MansionCA Special Jewel For Hollywood

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					                                                                                                 The publication of Hollywood
                                                                                                 Heritage, a private, non-profit
                                                                                                 organization dedicated to
                                                                                                 preservation of the historic built
                                                                                                 environment in Hollywood
                                                                                                 and education about the role of
                                                                                                 the early flim industry and its
                                                                                                 pioneers in shaping Hollywood’s
Winter 2002                       Volume 21, Number 4         history

The Wattles Mansion–A                                                                     New Board
                                                                                          Members Elected
Special Jewel For Hollywood                                                               at Annual Meeting
T                                                                                         T
    his special issue of the Hollywood          the Getty Grant report compiled by            he Annual Meeting of Hollywood
    Heritage Newsletter is devoted to           Historic Resources Group. We wish             Heritage was held at the
Wattles Mansion. This spring it will            to thank Hollywood Heritage Board         Hollywood Heritage Museum in the
be 20 years since Hollywood Heritage            members Natalie Shivers and Fran          Lasky-DeMille Barn on December 10,
took over stewardship of this historic          Offenhauser who devoted countless         2002. After a delightful social time
1907 Hollywood landmark. In 2002,               hours to this project. We also wish to    with light refreshments and a chance
                                                                                          to mingle, the meeting got down to
       Special Wattles Mansion Report                                                     the main business of the evening,
                                                                                          the election of 1/2 of the Hollywood
 On the occasion of the upcoming 20th anniversary of Hollywood                            Heritage Board of Directors. Aaron
 Heritage’s stewardship of the Wattles Mansion, we are dedicating                         Epstein, representing the nominating
 this issue of the Hollywood Heritage Newsletter to the history and                       committee, presented the nominees,
 importance of our organization’s headquarters.                                           which included: Tyler Cassity, John
                                                                                          Clifford, Phil Dockter, Steven Osborn,
Hollywood Heritage presented a report           thank the consultants, and all the oth-   Arnold Schwartzman, Libby Simon,
on the historic gardens and landscap-           ers who made this report possible.        and Kay Tornborg current Board
ing to the Getty Foundation, the result            THE PURPOSE OF THE RE-                 members whose first 2-year terms had
of a special grant for the purpose of           PORT. The purpose of this report          expired. In addition, two new board
creating said report.                           is to document the history, existing      member nominees were presented:
  The following is excerpted from               conditions, significance, and integ-      Julian “Bud” Lesser, retired producer
                                                rity of Wattles Gardens as a cultural     and long-time Hollywood Heritage
                                                landscape and to propose appropriate      supportter, and Jeffrey Rouze, devel-
                                                treatments for the continued mainte-      oper, who most recently purchased
                                                nance and rehabilitation of the prop-     the Hillview Apartment Building on
                                                erty. The report has been funded by a     Hollywood Boulevard, which he is in
                                                Preserve L.A. grant from the J. Paul      the process of restoring to it’s former
                                                Getty Trust to Hollywood Heritage,        grandeur.
                                                Inc. (HHI).                                  There were no additional nomina-
                                                   Wattles Gardens is an historic,        tions from the floor, and the nominees
                                                forty-nine-acre estate in Hollywood,      were elected by unanimous consent.
                                                California. The property was origi-       Hollywood Heritage welcomes back
                                                nally developed as a winter home at       the re-elected board members and
                                                the turn of the twentieth century when    looks forward to working with our two
                                                Hollywood was primarily agricultural,     new members.
                                                long before its transformation into an      THE HISTORIC SIGNIFI-
                                                international film capital. Today, Wat-   CANCE OF THE WATTLES
                                                tles Gardens is the only extant winter-   PROPERTIES. Wattles Gardens is
                                                ing estate remaining in Hollywood, a      the only remaining intact example of
                                                unique Southern California cultural       a Hollywood estate from the period
Omaha businessman Gurdon Wattles sitting
                                                landscape from the turn of the century    before the area became associated
on the steps of the Formal Gardens at Wattles   under public stewardship.                 with the film industry. Wattles Man-
sion and its surrounding historic land-           place he named Jualita. Jualita became            At the time of Wattles’s arrival, Hol-
scape is also one of the largest historic         famous throughout Southern California           lywood was a growing suburb of Los
turn-of-the-twentieth-century estates             for its elaborate design, which featured        Angeles with approximately 1,600
in Southern California today. Predating           formal gardens and naturalistic land-           residents. The City of Hollywood had
the era of motion picture production,             scapes with an abundance of flowers in          been incorporated in 1903 and had es-
for which Hollywood is best known, it             a beautiful mountain setting.                   tablished a major hotel, a high school,
is representative of the initial develop-            Wattles was attracted to the Hol-            and a library. Several small newspapers
ment of the community as a summer                 lywood site by its proximity to the             served the town and transportation to
and winter home for wealthy families              mountains, its natural beauty, the views        Los Angeles was possible via street-
escaping from harsher climates in the             it offered, and the Southern California         car. Gardens were already a part of the
East and Midwest. The estate embodies             climate. The chaparral-covered Santa            city’s image. Artist Paul De Longpre
the unique integration of architecture,           Monica Mountains dominated the land-            had purchased three adjacent parcels
natural landscape, and gardens that               scape. On a clear day one could see the         of land at Hollywood Boulevard and
became Southern California’s distinc-             ocean from the Wattles property and             Cahuenga Avenue in 1902 and con-
tive regional style in the hands of archi-        much of the Los Angeles basin. Lo-              structed a grand residence surrounded
tects like Hunt and Grey. The Mission             cated on the western edge of the newly          by a profusion of flowers and vine-cov-
Revival Mansion remains intact and                incorporated town of Hollywood and a            ered arbors. Edmund D. Sturtevant’s
the various sections of the landscape             mile west of its small town center, Wat-        Cahuenga Water Gardens, which fea-
continue to evoke the designed land-              tles’s new property was nestled against         tured tropical water lilies, were nearly
scape principles popular during the era.          the mountains and surrounded by small           as famous as De Longpre’s flower gar-
                                                                                                  dens. While tourists were beginning to
                                                                                                  visit De Longpre’s mansion in greater
                                                                                                  numbers, local business leaders were
                                                                                                  encouraging the further development
                                                                                                  and subdivision of the land, promoting
                                                                                                  Hollywood as a beautiful new suburb.
                                                                                                  Estates surrounded by lemon orchards
                                                                                                  dotted the landscape.
                                                                                                    Gurdon Wattles, who was one of the
                                                                                                  wealthiest men in Southern California
                                                                                                  in 1905, began his career as a teacher.
                                                                                                  Born in Richford, New York in 1855,
                                                                                                  Wattles and his family lived on a farm
                                                                                                  in New York. The family moved to
                                                                                                  Iowa when he was a young man. After
                                                                                                  attending Iowa State College, Wattles
                                                                                                  worked as a teacher, a school principal,
Construction begins on what will become the Wattles Estate in a hillside canyon above Hollywood   and a school superintendent. He stud-
Boulevard                                                                                         ied law briefly, sold school furniture,
                                                                                                  and worked in a small law office. After
It is also a rare example of an historic          farms and orchards.                             a few months, Wattles’s boss decided to
estate, with residence and site intact,             In April 1905, Wattles paid $3,000 to         organize a bank and offered him a loan
under public stewardship.                         William Holler and Mrs. E. A. Moore             to become a partner in the new busi-
   Wattles Gardens is eligible for list-          for the ninety acres. The property              ness. Wattles accepted. Over the next
ing in the National Register of Historic          purchased by Wattles was divided                decade, Wattles made a series of very
Places as an estate, a particular type of         into two basic parts: a vast expanse of         profitable investments and became a
historic designed landscape defined by            mountainous area (eighty acres) and             successful banker. He was named Vice
the National Park Service.                        a long, narrow strip of land descend-           President of Union National Bank and
   GURDON WATTLES AND THE                         ing from the mountains south to Hol-            later President of United States Nation-
HISTORY OF THE WATTLES                            lywood Boulevard (ten acres). The               al Bank. He served as Chairman of the
PROPERTIES. Enchanted with                        upper part of the property was divided          Board of Directors of the Omaha Street
Southern California and planning to               into two equal-sized, adjacent forty-           Railway, President of the Trans-Mis-
build a retirement home, Gurdon W.                acre squares. The lower portion of the          sissippi and International Exposition
Wattles, a wealthy banker and railway             property was bounded by Hollywood               in Omaha in 1898, Nebraska Commis-
company president from Omaha, Ne-                 Boulevard on the south, Curson Av-              sioner at the Saint Louis Exposition in
braska, purchased ninety acres of prop-           enue on the west, Sierra Bonita Avenue          1904, and a delegate to the 1904 Re-
erty in Hollywood, California in 1905.            on the east. From the south end of the          publican National Convention.
Soon thereafter Wattles developed the             property to the foothills at the north            Wattles first came to Hollywood dur-
property into one of the most impres-             end, the property rose nearly 1,000 feet        ing a visit to California with his wife,
sive estates in Southern California, a            in elevation.                                   Jennie Leete Wattles, sometime around
2                                                                          Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002
1904. In his autobiography, Wattles          home and orchard were located south          Spier families in Pasadena and the
describes his first (and unfavorable)        of Prospect Avenue (now Hollywood            Cochran family in Los Angeles prior
impression of California:                    Boulevard). Edwin O. Palmer describes        to their project for Wattles. Drawing
   “One spring Mrs. Wattles visited her      Grey’s first years in Hollywood.             upon their earlier work and taking
parents, who had removed from Iowa to          “In 1901, Col. Robert Northam,             advantage of the characteristics of the
Santa Barbara, California, where their       a wealthy, middle-aged, robust city          site, Hunt and Grey designed a two-
son, Charles N. Leete, resided, and was      horse fancier and liveryman, bought          story Mission Revival house with a
charmed with all she saw. Later her          the block south of Prospect Avenue           formal, terraced garden surrounded
niece, Carolyn Leete, who was born in        between Vine Street and Ivar Avenue          by open space. Working together with
Santa Barbara, visited us, and, like all     and built in the center of its beautiful     Gurdon Wattles, the architects sited
true Californians, she praised her na-       orange grove a large residence of the        the residence to face south at a location
tive State in the highest terms. The fol-    Spanish type with a spacious patio. He       approximately halfway between Hol-
lowing spring I went with my wife to         lined his broad curved driveway with         lywood Boulevard and the foothills.
visit this charming country with which       date palms… This for many years was          They created a dramatic perspective of
she had been so fascinated; but on this      one of Hollywood’s show places. He           the house with mountains behind from
first visit it had rained nearly every day   brought to town a beautiful young wife,      Hollywood Boulevard. The house was
for two weeks, as I had never seen it        some fast trotting horses, and one mag-      set back at an elevation that allowed for
rain before, and I came home quite dis-      nificent saddle horse. He advertised for     views of Los Angeles to the south and,
gusted with California.”                     a farmhand who could handle horses           on a clear day, the Pacific Ocean to the
   A subsequent visit a year later, how-     and in response employed a pale, thin,       southwest. The formal gardens behind
ever, changed his mind.                      neurotic young man who had chosen            the house framed a view of the moun-
   “The next spring we went back; this       physical outdoor labor as an antidote        tains to the north.
time we found the usual sunshine and         for inside mental work. The callow              Hunt and Grey’s design for the house
soft air, and were so charmed that I         youth in overalls exercised horses and       incorporated a low-pitched tile roof,
determined to buy and improve a place,       irrigated the orchard by day and danced      stucco-covered walls, projecting beams
so when the time came for me to quit         at the hotel in a tuxedo at night. This      at the second level, and three large
work I would have a home for rest and        was not satisfactory to the esthetic taste   archways on the south elevation. The
relaxation. I had always remembered          of some of the guests. The young man         design was typical of Hunt and Grey’s
the high hill and creek flowing down         improved rapidly and became better           attempts to merge traditional planning
through a depression, making a series        known as the architect, Elmer Grey…”         and design with regional style, creating
of waterfalls, which was behind my             Grey had come to California from           a new architecture for Southern Cali-
childhood home at Padlock, New York.         Milwaukee where he had been a suc-           fornia. Regarding this blend of styles,
Many years spent on the prairies of          cessful architect, a well-regarded           Grey wrote:
the Middle West had brought a desire         painter, and a published author. He had         “All around Pasadena and Los
to live again near the mountains. With       designed several prominent homes in          Angeles much of the architecture is
the help of a friend, I selected and pur-    Wisconsin and, in 1898 while employed        beautiful by reason of its having a
chased ninety acres in Hollywood, a          by the firm of Ferry and Clas, designed      character of its own. The local archi-
suburb of Los Angeles.”                      the Milwaukee Public Library. In 1899,       tects have frequently considered the
   After Wattles’s purchase of the site      Grey was awarded first prize in a com-
in 1905, he contracted with two well-        petition sponsored by the Engineering
known architects in Southern Califor-        and Building Record for a water tower
nia, Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey, to           and pumping station. An accomplished
plan and design his winter estate.           artist, his watercolors were purchased
   INITIAL DEVELOPMENT,                      as part of the permanent collection of
1905–1910. Myron Hunt (1868–1952)            the Chicago Art Institute.
and Elmer Grey (1871–1963) designed            Within a few years of his arrival,
large houses for many of Southern Cal-       Grey had formed a partnership with
ifornia’s most prominent families. The       Myron Hunt. Hunt was born in 1868 in
architects, both of whom had relocated       Boston and began his architectural ca-
to California from the Midwest, were         reer there. In 1895, Hunt moved to Chi-
becoming well-known for their blend of       cago where he worked in the office of
Spanish, Italian, and other architectural    Frank Lloyd Wright. After designing a        The Wattles Mansion “Jualita” as it appeared
styles into a new Southern California        number of prominent residences in the        in 1912.
architecture.                                Chicago area, Hunt moved to Pasadena         oaks in designing their building; and
   Elmer Grey, who moved to South-           in 1903. Hunt and Grey quickly built a       in many instances have built a porch,
ern California in order to recuperate        clientele for their work, and by October     pergola, or balustrade around a spread-
from an illness, worked on the nearby        1906 their work was highlighted in Ar-       ing tree, forming a patio or terrace of
farm and orchard of Colonel Robert           chitectural Record.                          unusual beauty. A number have also
Northam in Hollywood when he first             Hunt and Grey designed distin-             succeeded in instilling into their work
arrived in the late 1890s. Northam’s         guished residences for the Gillis and                                continued on page 
Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002                                                                                          
Date Set For                                   Any one interested in supplying
                                             goods or services for our 20th Anni-
                                                                                         little pool. Nothing adds more to the
                                                                                         joy of a home than does such an envi-
Restoration                                  versary Restoration Celebration or for
                                             additional information please contact
                                                                                         ronment, whereby one may look out
                                                                                         day by day upon the shrubs, the lawn,
Celebration                                  Steve Sylvester at 323/874-4005.            or the flowers of one’s choosing and
                                                                                         care. Garden adjuncts such as pools,

T    he date of Saturday, May 10th,          WATTLES                  continued from 3   balustrades, and the like are much more
     2003 has been chosen for the 20th       a suggestion of the architecture of the     easily obtainable in California than
Anniversary of Hollywood Heritage            Mediterranean countries; and whether        elsewhere, for the water in the pipes
Inc.’s restoration efforts at the Wattles    because of the similar climate, or of the   that feed the pools does not freeze, and
Mansion and Gardens. Since 1983,             Spanish influence of the missions and       the foundations of balustrades do not
Hollywood Heritage has restored,             near-by Mexico, at any rate, the result     have to go down six feet below ground
maintained and funded this Los               harmonizes exceedingly well with the        to escape frost.”
Angeles Historic Cultural Landmark           California landscape. The buildings            The application of these ideas is evi-
and Hollywood treasure. Not all preser-      are not Spanish in style, nor are they      dent in Hunt and Grey’s design for the
vation organizations take on the major       Italian; they are distinctly Californian,   formal garden behind the Wattles Man-
task of restoration themselves; many         but the foreign influence pervades them     sion. Later known as the Spanish Gar-
know the near monumental challenge           and lends an additional charm. A sug-       den, it features concrete terraces and
that awaits them. Yet despite these ob-      gestion of the architecture of Japan has    brick pathways arranged in an axial
stacles, Hollywood Heritage has had          also been used with good effect, and        configuration. The rectangular shape of
the fortitude to rise to the challenge and   the two adaptations go far toward giv-      the garden, which is longer from north
succeed in saving two historic struc-        ing Southern California a distinctive       to south than it is from east to west,
tures ourselves (the other being our         architectural style.”                       reflects the shape of the lot and empha-
beloved Hollywood Heritage Museum).            The interrelationship of architecture,    sizes the view towards the mountains.
As a preservation advocacy group,            natural landscape, and gardens was an       The exterior walls, made of concrete
this success makes our involvement in        integral part of Hunt and Grey’s design     and covered with stucco, were topped
Hollywood preservation even more le-         philosophy. They argued that the South-     with clay tiles, matching the Mansion
gitimate because as an organization we       ern California house must be integrated     roof.
“talk the talk and walk the walk”.           with its site. Grey wrote in The Archi-        A brick pathway and stairs ascend
   May 10th 2003 will be the oppor-          tect and Engineer (December 1916):          from the house through the garden to a
tunity to celebrate our major accom-           “The greatest joy of home making          semi-circular pond and fountain. Using
plishments at the Wattles Mansion            and home living in California is how-       architectural elements such as balus-
and Gardens. On display will be photo        ever, derived from its gardens. Here        trades and archways, Hunt and Grey
documentation of all the numerous            the climate bestows its most winsome        juxtaposed a formal garden and a natu-
restoration projects performed on the        smile; here man is highly favored by        ral mountain setting to create a striking
property. Also included will be Hol-         the elements instead of battling against    effect.
lywood Heritage’s extensive historic         them; here, indeed, he finds what a            The plantings in the formal garden
photo collection of the Wattles Mansion      home in the Far West really means.          included lawn, palm trees, Century
and Gardens in the teens and 1920’s.           “In the East begonias, fuchsia, rub-      plants, and flowering vines and bushes.
A display of original postcards and          ber plants and the like are grown in        Using these plant materials, Hunt and
Gurdon Wattle’s artifacts will be pre-       hothouses, or carefully nurtured in         Grey further emphasized the contrast
sented as well. For entertainment, Dean      pots during the summer so they can be       between formal and naturalistic ele-
Mora’s Modern Rhythmists, a 1920s            taken indoors over winter. In California    ments. Describing his work at Wattles
Jazz/1930s Swing Orchestra will keep         many of the Eastern houseplants grow        in an article in Scribner’s Magazine in
things hopping. Classic cars from the        wild, begonias and fuchsias assume          July 1912, Grey wrote:
last century will grace the sloping front    proportions of immense tropical-look-          “From Los Angeles to the ocean, a
lawn. Scott Tessler of Silver Spoons ca-     ing growth, while rubber plants be-         distance of about twenty miles, a mag-
tering will supply the delicious refresh-    come enormous wide-spreading trees.         nificent boulevard skirts the foothills,
ments. A silent auction will feature           “Every up-to-date house in Califor-       connecting several suburbs on the way.
prizes from Hollywood’s finest estab-        nia is planned with its garden related      The first of these is Hollywood, a dis-
lishments. The event will be topped off      thereto. The principal rooms face the       trict recently annexed to Los Angeles.
by an outdoor movie screening in the         garden and are made easily accessible       It has beautifully shaded streets, but
formal Spanish garden supplied by the        to it. What in the East is the ‘back-       is conspicuous in a more unusual way
Silent Society of Hollywood Heritage.        yard’ is here a lovely garden, hedged       for the manner in which the sides of its
All attendees are encouraged to dress        in from prying eyes by a border of tall     hills and canyons have been utilized
in period attire. The event will start at    shrubbery usually, while between this       for building purposes. Out of two of
4 pm. and last until 10 pm. Additional       background and the house are stretches      these hills and an intervening canyon,
information about this event will be in      of lawn, masses of gorgeous bloom, or       which at one time may have seemed to
the next newsletter. Plan to attend and      perhaps in a shady corner, ferns and        many like almost worthless property,
don’t miss out on all the fun!               semi-aquatic plants nodding over some       was made one of the showplaces of
4                                                                 Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002
California. It consists of an extensive
terraced garden backing upward into
                                             cooks, maids, gardeners, and a chauf-
                                             feur. The family would stay for three
                                                                                          Budd Schulberg
the canyon. The lower portions around        months each winter before returning to       Welcomed For An
the house are surrounded by walls and
connected to the upper levels by many
                                             Omaha. In 1913, for example, they oc-
                                             cupied the estate during the months of
                                                                                          Evening At The Barn
flights of balustraded steps. Originally     February, March, and April. They seem
the property was bare save a covering        to have made great use of the gardens
of sagebrush; now it is an ensemble          for strolling, picking flowers, enter-
of luxuriant semi-tropical foliage and       taining relatives and guests, and other
flowers, half-hidden architectural fea-      activities.
tures, mirrored water effects and beau-         In 1909, Wattles began to develop the
tiful foothill background.”                  south end of the site as an agricultural
   The mansion was completed in 1909.        area. It is not known what role, if any,
In addition to the residence and the for-    Hunt and/or Grey may have had in its
mal garden, three service drives were        development. Two large eucalyptus
platted, paths up into the mountains         trees were retained. The remainder of        Betsy Schulberg, Nick Beck, Betty Lasky, and
were cleared, a perimeter fence was in-      the land was cleared and fruit trees         Budd Schulberg
stalled around the lower portion of the
property, and a variety of trees, bushes,
and flowers were planted, including an
                                             and row crops were planted. Flowering
                                             vines were planted along the west pe-
                                             rimeter fence. Flowering bushes were
                                                                                          B     efore he even arrived at the Barn
                                                                                                on Saturday, December 14th, a
                                                                                          list had grown up of ‘Schulberg con-
orange orchard.                              planted at the edge of the east-west         nections’: 1) Hollywood Heritage
   Between the orchard, which covered        service drive. Wattles was following a       member and Barn docent Nick Beck
the southernmost portion of the estate,      pattern already well-established in Hol-     last year published a “bio-bibliogra-
and the mansion was the front lawn.          lywood, which was well-known for its         phy” of Schulberg (Scarecrow Press,
The front lawn was an open grassy            temperate climate zone.                      $40); 2) Budd Schulberg’s father,
area formed into a series of gently slop-       A variety of crops was grown in and       B.P. Schulberg, was, in 1925, head
ing terraces. It served as a dramatic        around Hollywood, but the area was           of Paramount-Famous Players-Lasky
foreground to the mansion, allowing an       most famous for its lemons. A lemon-         Corp., of which the Barn was the home;
unobstructed view of the front eleva-        packing house had been constructed           3) Budd’s mother, Adeline (“Ad”),
tion. The original design called for a       by local growers who formed an orga-         founded the Hollywood Progressive
retaining wall to create a larger area of    nization known as the Cahuenga Val-          School where the Barn now stands;
flat ground in front of the house, but       ley Lemon Association. In the quarter        4) New Hollywood Heritage board
this concept was apparently rejected in      century prior to Wattles’s arrival, Hol-     member Bud Lesser was a childhood
favor of the uninterrupted sloping lawn.     lywood also had become known as an           chum of Budd Schulberg’s and a photo
At the lower, south end of the lawn, a       area of agricultural experimentation,        of them at Bud Lesser’s 8th birthday
curved east-west service drive flanked       with new fruits being grown for the          party is part of the Barn exhibit.
by flowering bushes connected the            first time in Southern California, includ-      Thanks to Nick Beck, Mr. Schulberg
main driveway with the driveway to the       ing cherimoyas, several varieties of avo-    agreed to talk to Hollywood Heritage
kitchen entrance.                            cado, even pineapples. Jacob Miller, a       members and friends about “Growing
   The hillside to the east of the mansion   neighbor whose ranch was located west        Up in Hollywood in the 1920’s.” Set-
and the mountainous area to the north        of Wattles’s estate in Nichols Canyon,       ting the scene was an entertaining slide
were left largely undeveloped, save for      had been experimenting with growing          presentation by Bud Lesser. Then Mr.
a few dirt pathways leading up into          a variety of types of crops since the late   Schulberg charmed the near-capacity
the mountains. A modest wood frame           1800s. Water was provided by a series        crowd with fascinating insights into
house appears to have been located           of wells and a small, local water ser-       “old” Hollywood and the ‘players’ that
northwest of the mansion in the western      vice based in the small town of Sher-        made it fabled.
canyon. This house, no longer a part of      man (later known as West Hollywood).            Following a Q&A session, moderated
the property, may have served as stables     Oranges were less prevalent than lem-        by Nick Beck, Mr. Schulberg moved
or a garage for the Wattles estate.          ons. Mr. Curson, after whom Curson           to the ‘book-signing table’ in the front
   The Wattles family stayed in the          Avenue is named, was reported to have        room and graciously proceeded to sign
house for the first time in the spring       one of the largest orange orchards in        myriad copies of The Harder They
of 1909. Wattles arrived with his fam-       Hollywood.                                   Fall, What Makes Sammy Run?, On
ily including his wife, Jennie Leete            Around 1909, Mr. Wattles also ap-         the Waterfront and others.
Wattles, and their two young daugh-          pears to have begun planting an exten-          Before and after the program the
ters, Margaret and Mary. The Wattles         sive rose garden north of the formal         audience enjoyed a new feature at the
had adopted the two girls from an            garden designed by Hunt and Grey. It         Barn: wine. Selected, poured (and do-
orphanage in Omaha around 1905. As           is not known whether Hunt and Grey           nated) by Hollywood Heritage member
many as fifteen to twenty service staff      were involved in the plans for this gar-     and wine writer Joel Fisher, the wine
employees may have worked at Wattles         den. A small garden of flowering bush-       helped make the line for signed books
Mansion at any given time, including         es and pathways was also established         go a little faster.
Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002                                                                                                
                                            porating the rose plantings already in
MEMBERSHIP UPDATE                           place, Grey added an extension of the
   We would like to thank the following     brick pathways and clay tile-covered
new and renewing members who have           retaining walls, two pergolas, and a
made generous contributions at the $100
                                            circular reflecting pond. The extension
level and above (as of 12/2002). Category
titles are names of historic Hollywood      of the gardens was described in detail
movie studios.                              in the Real Estate and Finance section
                                            of the October 1, 1911, edition of the
MAJESTIC ($2,500+)                          Los Angeles Examiner. The headline
Marian Gibbons                              read: “Omaha’s Street Railway Mag-
                                            nate Spending Thousands of Dollars in
KEYSTONE ($1,000+)                          Beautifying Grounds of Winter Home.
The Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation             “To the beautiful gardens at the home
                                            of G. W. Wattles, in Hollywood, is just
BISON ($500+)                               being completed an addition that adds
Timothy Christopher Ware                    materially to the artistic appearance of     The American Garden
   Getty Foundation                         the place. The addition, or rather, the
Christy & Steve McAvoy                                                                   association with classical forms. Much
                                            walled extension of these gardens, is        like Hunt and Grey’s architectural style
KALEM ($250+)                               on higher elevations than the original       drew upon classical Mediterranean
Alice & Leonard Maltin                      gardens, and is reached by steps on          forms, their designs for the Spanish
Steven Richard Osborn                       each side….The original cost of the          and Italian Gardens borrowed classical
Andrew Reich                                walled gardens at Mr. Wattles home           landscape elements and adapted them
                                            was $20,000 and the new addition will        to a new context.
TRIANGLE ($100+)                            be more extensive than the original             At the same time that Wattles was
Claire Baldwin                              gardens. The plans for the original gar-     working with Grey to design and
Bruce Carroll                               dens were prepared by Architects El-         construct the extension to the formal
Gregory Davis                               mer Grey and Myron Hunt, who were            garden, Wattles developed an elaborate
Anne & Aaron Epstein                        partners in the work at that time. The       plan for a Japanese garden in the east
Barbara & Douglas Hadsell                   plans for the addition to the gardens
Janet L. Hoffmann                                                                        canyon. In October 1911, the Los An-
                                            were drawn by Mr. Grey. Mr. Grey has         geles Examiner wrote: “The Japanese
Don Hunt
Linda & Sam Monroe                          taken much care in planning the addi-        tea gardens he is planning for one of
James W. Rollins                            tion to the gardens, and its beauty is       the canyons back of his home will be,
Earl R. Shively                             considered by those that have seen it        it is believed, very expensive, and one
   We extend hearty appreciation to         to be indicative of the architect’s skill    of the most novel and attractive spots in
all of our members who made gener-          and artistic nature. The addition to the     California.”
ous contributions to the year-end 2002      gardens is 165 feet in length and 106           Wattles made his first visit to Japan
Preservation Action Fund! A complete        feet in width. It is nine feet above the     in 1908 as part of a trip around the
list acknowledging these individuals        original gardens, where it connects          world on the yacht Siberia. He and his
will be included in the next issue of the   with them, and as it extends back into       wife, along with niece Carolyn Leete,
newsletter…Thank You!                       the hills it reaches an altitude of from     spent two months there, visiting Yo-
                                            ten to fifteen feet higher than the origi-   kohama, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kobe. In
                                            nal gardens.”                                Yokohama, Wattles reported, the group
west of the formal garden and north of         The Italian Garden design repeated        visited “shops, parks, temples, and gar-
the driveway.                               many of the same hardscape features of       dens, including the private gardens of a
  THE ITALIAN, JAPANESE, AND                the original formal garden, including        wealthy merchant.”
AMERICAN GARDENS, 1911–1912.                concrete balustrades and steps, brick           Having seen the exotic landscapes
In 1911, Mr. Wattles hired Elmer Grey       pathways, and stucco retaining walls         of Japan firsthand, Wattles was eager
(this time without Hunt) to design an       on either side. Like the Spanish Garden      to incorporate them into his own es-
extension to the formal gardens on the      to the south, the Italian Garden also        tate. The Japanese Garden included a
north side of the residence, terracing      featured a water element: a large cir-       teahouse, a waterfall, a bridge, a well,
up the hillside. By 1911, Hunt and Grey     cular reflecting pond at the north end.      a series of ponds, bamboo fences,
had ended their partnership. They had       It is probably around this time that the     lush plantings, stone walls, statuary, a
worked together seven years and de-         original formal garden adjacent to the       thatch-roofed pavilion, and a shrine. It
signed many private residences, includ-     house became known as the Spanish            could be reached via a series of paths
ing the Henry E. Huntington Mansion         Garden and the extension known as the        leading from the formal gardens. Fi-
in San Marino.                              Italian Garden.                              nancial records maintained by Wattles
  In the area of the rose garden, Grey         The names Spanish Garden and Ital-        (the banker) show orders for an enor-
designed a second formal garden north       ian Garden, following the fashion of         mous number and variety of plant
of the Mansion that would later become      day, were used by Wattles to differenti-     materials as well as stones and bamboo
known as the Italian Garden. Incor-         ate between them and to suggest their        stakes. He also imported statuary and
                                                                Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002
other materials. Organized around the        build the garden, he hired a Japanese       lower central area of the garden. A gaz-
waterfall, a stream, and many small,         landscape designer named Fugio and          ing ball and a bench were placed south
interconnected ponds, the garden was a       purchased materials and services from       of the palm trees. A parterre garden
lush, aquatic oasis set between the dry      the Australian G. T. Marsh, the Yoko-       and an azalea garden were also planted.
hillsides of the canyon. The contrast        hama Nursery Company, and many                The American and Japanese Gardens
must have been quite striking to visi-       others. With its waterfall, ponds, and      were opened to the public perhaps as
tors. Soon after completion, various         bridges, Wattles’s Japanese Garden had      early as 1912. At the top of Curson Av-
views of the Japanese Garden were re-        the characteristics of an Edo-period        enue hung a small sign welcoming visi-
produced on color postcards. Wattles’s       “tsukiyama-sansui,” or hill and water       tors. The sign read:
Japanese Garden quickly became a             garden, an established type at the time                  NOTICE
famous place to visit.                       and one featured in Conder’s Land-
   When Wattles constructed it in 1911,      scape Gardening in Japan.                      VISITORS will be admitted
the garden was one of the first of its                                                      to these grounds on Tuesdays
kind in Southern California, developed                                                      from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
during the same period as Henry Hun-
tington’s and the Bernheimer brothers’                                                      NONRESIDENTS              may
Japanese Gardens (1912 and 1913, re-                                                        secure admittance other
spectively). The style had become pop-                                                      days by procuring special
ular around the turn of century, in part                                                    permission from gardener or
due to the elaborate landscapes built in                                                    owner. None admitted in the
conjunction with the Japanese pavil-                                                        enclosed gardens except when
ions at the Columbian World Exposi-
tion in 1893 in Chicago, the California                                                     accompanied by gardener or
Midwinter International Exposition in                                                       owner. VISITORS must not
1894 in San Francisco, and the Louisi-                                                      pick the flowers nor walk on
ana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis                                                        other than the regular paths.
in 1904. Wealthy travelers had also
toured the country itself. In addition                                                     Visits to the Wattles Gardens were
to the expositions, John Luther Long’s                                                   quite common and the site was con-
novel Madame Butterfly (published in                                                     sidered one of the popular Hollywood
                                             The Japanese Garden
1895, turned into a play in 1900, and                                                    tourist destinations.
adapted into an opera in 1903) served          Although the landscape forms and            Surrounding the elaborate gardens
to popularize romantic views of Japan        plant materials used at Jualita and else-   were the undeveloped mountain hill-
in American culture. Manuals, such           where were often identical to gardens       sides. The east hillside, which reached
as Landscape Gardening in Japan by           in Japan, Japanese gardens in the Unit-     the farthest south, extended nearly
Josiah Conder (1893), explained the          ed States had a specific cultural con-      to the east side of the residence and
principles of Japanese garden design to      notation, reflecting American attitudes     the service drive to the kitchen. Parts
an American audience.                        about the country. Kendall Brown, an        of the east hillside were planted with
   In California, the development of         art history professor who has studied       groves of palm trees and yuccas. Paths
Japanese-style gardens was strongly          the history of Japanese-style gardens       were developed that led up into the
influenced by George Turner Marsh, an        on the West Coast, writes, “In the early    hillsides and towards the American and
Australian and an oriental antiquities       twentieth century, when Victorian           Japanese Gardens. With the exception
dealer who constructed the Japanese          ideas were ascendant, Japanese gardens      of the palms and yuccas, the vegetation
Village at the 1894 Exposition in San        often represented quaintness and ro-        in this area appears to have comprised
Francisco. He also constructed the first     mance, the picturesque assemblage of        primarily low mountain scrub brush.
Japanese-style landscapes in South-          materials for maximum decorative ef-          To implement his visions for the gar-
ern California: a small tea garden at        fect and moral edification.”                dens at Jualita, Gurdon Wattles hired
the Hotel Green in Pasadena in 1896            Between the Italian and Japanese          a head gardener who oversaw a crew
and a three-acre garden in 1903 (later       Gardens, Wattles developed a series         of laborers that constructed and main-
purchased by Henry Huntington and            of “connecting gardens” (later called       tained the grounds. His name was Al-
re-constructed at his estate in 1911). The   the American Garden). These gardens         exander Urquhart and Wattles felt great
development of these gardens and others      were located in the lower portion of the    affection towards him for his care and
around the state earned Marsh the title      east canyon, framed by steep hillsides      upkeep of the gardens. Wattles wrote:
“King of the Commercial Tea Garden.”         on the east and west, and consisted of        “The development of ‘Jualita’ could
   Wattles’s decision to build the Japa-     a series of long promenades covered         not have been accomplished by any less
nese Garden seems to have been influ-        by wood arbors with flowering vines.        able superintendent than Alexander
enced by his memories of a waterfall         Areas not devoted to paths were land-       Urquhart, who was born and served
near his childhood home, his travels in      scaped with lawn, flowering bushes,         his apprenticeship in Scotland. After
Japan, and his role as a commissioner        trees, and a parterre garden. Palm trees    having spent ten years in Southern
at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. To         were also planted along the paths in the    California, he entered my employ, and
Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002                                                                                     
with great care, economy, and integrity,      initial completion of the gardens, in       25, 1916. After Jennie’s death, Gurdon
he has supervised nearly all of the work      1914 Wattles and his family began liv-      Wattles sent his daughters to board-
done in developing and beautifying the        ing at Jualita six months a year, during    ing school at Dana Hall in Wellesley,
gardens. His plans have been practi-          the summer and winter months. Now           Massachusetts. Lonely, he immersed
cal, his selection and care of the plants     age fifty-nine, Gurdon Wattles had          himself in his business and, after a pe-
and shrubs intelligent, and his disci-        discovered that the summer climate in       riod of months, resolved to find a new
pline over the laborers excellent. He         Hollywood, cooled by breezes from           companion. Writing about that period
has always performed more labor than          the Pacific Ocean, was more comfort-        in his life, Wattles stated:
any of the men under him, and at the          able than the summer climate in humid          “One spring my niece, Carolyn, and
same time has directed the work along         Omaha.                                      her family joined me for three weeks at
systematic lines. His wife has taken an         As Wattles began to spend more time       my California home; and then I spent a
equal interest in all the affairs of “Jual-   at his new California estate, he began      day and a night there alone. I wandered
ita” and in my family. She has supplied       another round of improvements. Rather       through the gardens and among the
the place of her husband occasionally         than adding new areas, he focused on        flowers, but I could not appreciate their
and, when required, has opened and            improving the four show gardens he          beauty. The following day I started for
closed the house and attended to every        had created. The American Garden, in        Omaha…”
detail of its operation.”                     particular, saw a number of enhance-           A few years later, Wattles was ap-
   Urquhart played a major role in the        ments in or around 1915 and 1916,           pointed Federal Food Administrator for
design, development, and maintenance          including the construction of a long,       Nebraska and, during his service, met
of the landscape at the estate. It is         formal arbor with stucco-covered con-       the director of home economics, Julia
likely that he collaborated with Elmer        crete posts designed by Elmer Grey.         Vance, at the University of Nebraska.
Grey, Fugio, and others. Financial            The new arbor, which Wattles referred       In 1918, they were married. Julia was
records indicate that Urquhart had sig-       to as a pergola, replaced the original      thirty-five; Gurdon was sixty-three.
nificant financial responsibility as well,    wood post arbor along the path closest         PERMANENT RESIDENCE,
signing purchase orders and making            to the east hillside and stretched from     1920–1932. In 1920, Julia gave birth
agreements with a wide variety of nurs-       the north end of the Italian Garden to      to a son, Gurdon Wattles Jr., at Jualita.
eries and other vendors.                      the entrance to the Japanese Garden. A      Wattles, his bride, and their infant son
   While Wattles was developing his           retaining wall was constructed along        moved to Hollywood permanently the
estate, the area around him was also          the east hillside. Recessed into the wall   same year. Wattles established an office
changing. Within three years of the           were several niches with built-in bench-    in downtown Los Angeles.
completion of Wattles Mansion, the            es facing the path as it ascended to the       Wattles again began to take plea-
Wattles were joined by two other hous-        Japanese Garden and the mountains.          sure in the gardens and several small
es on the block. In 1910, a residence         Flowering shrubs, vines, and ferns were
was constructed due west of the Wat-          planted next to the retaining wall.
tles residence at 1825 Curson Avenue.           It was also during this period that
The property was owned by George              a large neo-classical pavilion was in-
F. Bidwell, a successful railroad man.        stalled in the American garden. Circu-
Further south, towards Hollywood              lar in plan, it featured classical stone
Boulevard, another house designed by          columns and a round dome. The pavil-
Elmer Grey was constructed in 1912.           ion was installed in an area of grassy
   By 1912, Wattles could boast of a          lawn in the lower part of the American
stylish residence, a beautiful moun-          Garden. It was soon covered in flower-
tain setting, an orchard and small            ing vines.
farm, a temperate climate, and, most            An arbor was added to the Italian
impressive of all, a collection of hill-      Garden in 1916. Constructed of metal
side gardens in the Spanish, Italian,         pipe and covered with flowering vines,      Gurdon Wattles with his son, Gurden Wattles, Jr.
American, and Japanese styles. The            the arbor covered the garden’s central      changes were made. The Spanish
estate received a great deal of atten-        north-south path and framed a view of       Garden, which was originally planted
tion in architectural and other journals.     a large urn at the north end.               with yuccas, palms, and lawn, took on
Articles, sketches, and/or photographs          During these years, Wattles con-          a new character. Some of the original
were published in Arena (September            tinued to work in Omaha six or more         plantings thrived, growing larger and
1908), Inland Architect and News Re-          months out of the year and retreat to       changing dimension. These plantings
cord (November 1908), Southwest Con-          California in the winter and summer.        were trimmed and pruned into rounded
tractor and Manufacturer (April 1911),        Margaret and Mary Wattles were teen-        shapes. Other plantings were replaced
and Scribner’s Magazine (July 1912).          agers by this time, spending part of        over time, either due to a failure to grow
Jualita was becoming famous. All the          each year in each place. In 1916, Mrs.      or changing tastes. The result of natural
while, the estate remained a part-time        Jennie Leete Wattles, who had been          plant growth, trimming and pruning,
residence.                                    sick for many years, traveled to Chi-       and new plantings was a manicured,
   ADAPTATIONS AND IMPROVE-                   cago for an operation. She died at Pres-    formal appearance. Tall Italian Cypress
MENTS, 1913–1919. Soon after the              byterian Hospital in Chicago on May         trees came to dominate the western
                                                                  Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002
edge and north end of the garden.           Development” section of the Los Ange-
   Adaptations were made to the             les Times described the new subdivi-
residence as well. An entry and porte-      sion at the top of Curson Avenue:
cochere were added at the driveway             “A hillside area that provides an
entrance, making the entrance more          exclusive feature by the handiwork of
formal.                                     Nature is Wattles Park, a residential
   THE SURROUNDING AREA.                    development one block north of Hol-
By the 1920s, Hollywood had changed         lywood Boulevard and fronting on an
dramatically. An article in Hollywood       extension of Curson Avenue. By an             BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Daily Citizen documented the change         advantageous sloping of the hills, the
in 1922, displaying two photographs         tract is so situated that it forms a little   Kay Tornborg
taken from the north side of the Wattles    community all of its own. Although            President
property showing the Mansion in the         commanding a view of the entire Hol-
foreground. The first, taken in 1909,       lywood and Los Angeles district, the          Fran Offenhauser
                                                                                          Vice President
shows Hollywood as an agricultural          development is protected from objec-
area with a few farmhouses. The sec-        tionable encroachments of business and        Robert S. Birchard
ond, taken in 1922, shows the same          industry by a hillside of verdure.”           Treasurer
area transformed into a suburban               The article goes on to describe the
neighborhood with hundreds of single-       changes to Curson Avenue and the              John Clifford
family residences lining a grid pattern     proximity to Wattles Gardens:
of streets. Hollywood had become fa-           “From Hollywood [Boulevard] to             Robert W. Nudelman
mous as the movie capital of the world.     the property there has been extensive         Director For Preservation Issues
A few miles to the east of the Wattles      development, especially along Curson
property, Hollywood Boulevard was           Avenue. All approaches to the tract are       Randy Haberkamp
                                                                                          Silent Society Director
developing into a major urban area, a       through boulevards and streets lined
secondary downtown. Theatrical en-          with attractive residences and beautiful      Kent Adamson
trepreneur Sid Grauman constructed          lawns, shrubbery, and gardens. Adjoin-        Tyler Cassity
a lavish new movie theater, the Egyp-       ing the property is Wattles Gardens, a        Phil Dockter
tian, on Hollywood Boulevard in 1922.       showplace of international reputation.        Anne Epstein
Three skyscrapers were constructed at       Here Mr. Wattles has created around his       Julian “Bud” Lesser
the corner of Hollywood and Vine in         home an example of foothill landscaping       Steven Richard Osborn
1923, 1927, and 1929 respectively. Sev-     that is seldom seen in Southern Cali-         Marvin Paige
eral new subdivisions, one called Hol-      fornia. With terraces, rolling slopes and     Bill Roschen
lywoodland, opened in 1923.                 Japanese water gardens, he has gained a       Jeffrey Rouze
   The hills and canyons would soon be      considerable fame as a beautifier.”           Arnold Schwartzman
developed as well. Curson Avenue was           Wattles Estate was soon surrounded         Natalie Shivers
subdivided into more than 30 differ-        by residential development. Wattles           Libby Simon
ent lots. In 1924 Wattles constructed a     personally benefited from the subdivi-        Barbara Smith
home and garage at 1859 Curson Av-          sion process, selling his land at a profit.   Delmar Watson
enue for Alexander Urquhart, his head       But he was not so fortunate when the
                                                                                          Stephen Sylvester
gardener. During the 1920s, houses          Stock Market crashed in 1929. Wattles         Executive Director Jualita/Wattles Mansion
were built across Curson Avenue from        had purchased municipal bonds for the         The Wattles Mansion
the Wattles’s home at 1737 Curson           development of the new city of San            1824 N. Curson Ave., Hollywood, CA 90046
(1921), 1743 Curson (1921), and 1753        Clemente in Orange County and, when
                                                                                          Mary Sullivan
Curson (designed by noted architects        the city went bankrupt, he lost a con-        Director of Membership Development
Morgan, Walls, and Morgan, 1923).           siderable amount.
Wattles may have been involved in one          Over the years, the garden was used        John Clifford
or more of these transactions in the        for numerous special events. Notable          Newsletter and Web Site Editor
1920s as he is listed as the owner of the   among them was the wedding cer-               Web site donated and maintained by GTS INNOVA,
Bidwell property at 1825 Curson Av-         emony of Mary Wattles and Wilson    
enue in 1926.                               Bryans of Omaha in June 1930. Gurdon
                                                                                          Printed by Nonstop Printing,
   In the mid-1920s, Wattles became         lived at Jualita and remained active in       6140 Hollywood Blvd.,
personally and financially involved in      its affairs and the care of the gardens       Hollywood, CA 90028
the development of the Hollywood Hills      until his death in January 1932. He was       Hollywood Heritage Newsletter is published
when he began the process of subdivid-      76 years old when he died, survived by        quarterly by Hollywood Heritage, Inc.,
ing and selling the northwest 40 acres      his wife Julia, age forty-nine, daughters     P.O. Box 2586, Hollywood, CA 90078,
of his property. The land was cleared,      Mary and Margaret, both in their twen-        (323) 874-4005.
Curson Avenue extended, streets plat-       ties, and son, Gurdon Jr., age eleven.
ted, and lots established. On February         WATTLES ESTATE, 1932–1968.
22, 1925, an article in the “Community      After Gurdon Wattles’s death in 1932,
Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002                                                                                              
Julia and Gurdon Jr. continued to live        outstanding attraction for our citizens      in 1968, however, the plans had been
at Jualita. During World War II, Gur-         to enjoy.” Having reached an agreement       revised. The massive re-grading and
don Jr. served as a Japanese language         with Gurdon Wattles Jr. that the ap-         road creation project was eliminated
officer. After leaving the Navy in 1946,      praised value was acceptable, the City       in favor of a plan that would create a
he attended Harvard Law School, grad-         of Los Angeles purchased the property        “lower park” and an “upper park.” The
uating in 1949. He taught at Harvard          on June 7, 1968.                             “lower park” would be developed in the
for two years and then took a position          Regarding this period, Gurdon              Orchard and include new paths leading
with the United Nations Secretariat in        Wattles Jr. stated, “As for Jualita, the     up towards the Mansion and a parking
the fall of 1950, working as an interna-      costs of maintenance and the taxes rose      lot near Sierra Bonita and Franklin.
tional lawyer, his career for more than       far beyond what my mother and I could        The “upper park” would be developed
twenty-five years.                            afford, so we sold the place to the City     with hiking trails and observation areas
   Julia continued to live at Jualita after   in 1968, as a public park, but the City      with another parking lot at the top of
Gurdon Jr. left to pursue his educa-          allowed my mother to stay on in the          the mountain, probably accessed via
tion and a career. It is not known if         house for the rest of her life. My moth-     Mulholland Drive. The Japanese Gar-
Alexander Urquhart stayed on to man-          er kept pretty well until she was eighty-    den was not included in the plan.
age and care for the gardens. Later,          eight, continuing to drive her own car,        Based on these plans, the City made
Ralph Brown, husband of Julia Vance           doing gardening work, etc., but in Janu-     significant alterations to the American
Wattles’s sister Mildred, took care of        ary 1972 she had the first of a series of    Garden, eliminating the parterre gar-
the estate. By 1965, Julia Wattles was        strokes… she died in November 1977,          den, re-grading the slope, and planting
eighty-two years old and the fate of          at the age ninety-four. We then gave up      grass to create a large area of lawn.
Jualita was unclear. Maintaining the          the house at Jualita.”                       The wood beams were removed from
residence and gardens had become                City records show that the escrow          the concrete posts of the arbor due to
quite a burden. Gurdon Wattles Jr.                                                         deterioration. In the lower portion of
began to negotiate a sale or transfer to                                                   the American Garden, near the public
the City of Los Angeles, which was                                                         entrance, a new Japanese tea garden
interested in developing a park in the                                                     was constructed around a teahouse
Hollywood Hills.                                                                           donated by Mayor Suito of Nagoya,
   On March 4, 1965, the City of Los                                                       Japan, to the City of Los Angeles. The
Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks                                                      lower portion of the American Gar-
Commission adopted Resolution 5135                                                         den, near the north end of the Italian
designating the Wattles estate as an                                                       Garden, was re-designed in a Japanese
acquisition area. Funds in the amount                                                      style. A ranger station was planned for
of $1,440,000 were requested from             The Wattles Mansion as it appeared in 1957   the area just north of the new plantings
the State Beach, Parks, Recreation,                                                        and sidewalks, but was never con-
                                              agreement stipulated that the name
and Historical Facilities Bond Act of                                                      structed.
                                              “Wattles Gardens” would be kept by
1964. A little more than one year later,                                                     Concrete flood control structures
                                              the City of Los Angeles as the “official
in May 1966, the City of Los Angeles                                                       were installed in the American Garden.
                                              name of the facility.” No other stipula-
and the State of California entered a                                                      At the north end, a channel with steel
                                              tions about the future use of the prop-
contract to purchase the property. That                                                    grating was built. At the south end, a
                                              erty were made.
agreement stipulated that the property                                                     concrete, underground storm drainage
                                                 CITY OF LOS ANGELES
be developed for “multiple recreation                                                      system was constructed.
                                              OWNERSHIP, 1968–1979. Prior to
uses,” that specific measures be taken if                                                    The City also rebuilt the original
                                              purchase, the City had developed pre-
the property were condemned, and that                                                      Japanese Garden in 1970-71 based on
                                              liminary plans for Wattles Gardens.
the funds be used by June 30, 1968, or                                                     plans developed by Koichi Kawana,
                                              The first plans, dated March 3, 1965,
returned to the state.                                                                     design consultant, and Yoshiro Befu,
                                              show the Orchard as “park area” with
   In December 1967, the City requested                                                    landscape architect, for the firm of
                                              “trees, lawn, seating, congregation,
an additional $600,000 from the United                                                     Peterson and Befu. Using these plans,
                                              amphitheater.” The Mansion is labeled
States Department of Housing and                                                           the City reconstructed the wood bridge,
                                              “park center, museum.” Behind the
Urban Development (HUD). An inde-                                                          removed the shade pavilion with the
                                              Mansion, a new road is shown lead-
pendent appraisal had valued the land                                                      thatched roof, cleared brush, left exist-
                                              ing from the driveway to the northeast
at $1,971,000 and more funds were                                                          ing trees in place, repaired stone walls,
                                              where it connects with several other
required. The City’s request was ap-                                                       raked paths, and removed dirt and
                                              paved roads leading up into the moun-
proved in May 1968. Upon receiving                                                         debris from waterways and stonework.
                                              tains. None of the gardens are shown in
the funds, Mayor Sam Yorty declared,                                                       The plan also called for the removal
                                              the drawing; presumably, they were to
“This is the last area available in the                                                    of the teahouse, but the teahouse may
                                              be demolished. Massive sections of the
scenic Hollywood Hills that could                                                          have burned before this occurred.
                                              hillside were to be graded and filled to
be used as a recreation and park site.                                                       The entrance to the historic Japanese
                                              create large flat recreation spaces and
We are happy now that we can move                                                          Garden was re-designed. The last ar-
                                              paved roads.
ahead with purchase of the estate and                                                      bor pillar at the top of the American
                                                 By the time of the City’s purchase
preliminary plans to develop it into an                                                    Garden was removed and several new
10                                                                    Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002
retaining walls were constructed. The       an observation point in trhe upper hill-   lywood’s historic built environment. Its
old water pump was replaced and areas       side. The plan was never implemented.      proposal for Wattles Mansion and the
around the pump were re-graded. A              During this period, the City of Los     formal gardens stated that Hollywood
new decorative Japanese-style fence         Angeles, like many other California cit-   Heritage would pursue three goals: (1)
and gate were constructed.                  ies, experienced a significant decrease    to halt deterioration to the house and
   Vandalism at the park and in the         in funds available for park develop-       gardens; (2) to create a research and ar-
Japanese Garden soon became a major         ment, maintenance, or rehabilitation.      chival center for local history; and (3) to
problem. By the mid-1970s, park em-         A declining economy combined with          provide a high quality hospitality house
ployees, visitors, and neighbors became     the anti-property tax ballot measure       and meeting center for Hollywood.
concerned that the Japanese Garden          Proposition 13, passed in 1978, resulted      From as early as 1977 until October
would be destroyed altogether. Among        in disinvestment in city parks across      1983, a City of Los Angeles Recre-
others, French actress Corrine Calvet       California.                                ation and Parks Departments ranger
made a special appeal to save the Japa-        Wattles Gardens were in a serious       had lived in the mansion. Hollywood
nese Garden. Her photo appeared in the      state of deterioration by the late 1970s   Heritage soon arranged for a live-in
Los Angeles Herald Examiner in 1975         and early 1980s. In 1979, granite stones   caretaker to move onto the site. Urgent
next to the vandalized shrine in the        marking the paths of the American          maintenance problems, such as holes in
Japanese garden.                            Garden leading to the Japanese Garden      the roof, were addressed first and, over
   The gardens continued to deterio-        were removed, a new catch basin was        time, other improvements were made.
rate. One major cause was the lack          constructed, and electrical panels were    A small library was established and
of funds available to the Department        relocated in the American Garden. In       several upstairs rooms were converted
of Recreation and Parks to maintain         the winter of 1979-80, the rehabilitated   to offices.
the property. Secondary causes were         Japanese Garden was destroyed by              The volunteers of Hollywood Heri-
the high level of use the property was      storms that caused a mudslide burying      tage halted the deterioration of the
receiving and an economic decline in        the ponds in more than four feet of sed-   site, raised funds, and rehabilitated the
Los Angeles that particularly impacted      iment. By 1980, the teahouse donated       mansion and formal gardens. In 1985-
Hollywood.                                  by the City of Nagoya and the garden       86, the exterior of the mansion was
   By the 1970s, most of the major stu-     around it in the lower part of the park    re-painted and in 1986-87 restoration
dios had left Hollywood for Burbank,        had been so vandalized that the City       work began on the interior of the Man-
Culver City, or elsewhere. Movie pre-       constructed a tall fence around the area   sion. Funds to continue this restoration
mieres were more likely to be held in       to protect it.                             work were awarded in a grant from the
Westwood than Hollywood. Upper and             The continuing deterioration of the     State of California in 1989. Using these
middle-class homeowners were moving         Mansion and Gardens elicited concern       funds, an historic survey was commis-
out of the area. Grocery stores, depart-    from local residents and park visitors.    sioned, the roof of the mansion was
ment stores, and other neighborhood         In 1979, students at Cal Poly Pomona       repaired, disabled access to the gardens
businesses and services were leaving,       drafted a plan to restore the gardens      and mansion was improved, an ADA
too. The area suffered from neglect and     and submitted a proposal to the Los        accessible bathroom was installed, and
disinvestment. Hollywood began to ex-       Angeles Bicentennial Committee. One        electrical and plumbing systems were
perience the social problems common to      graduate student, Ronald Ganzfried,        upgraded. In 1990, volunteer work on
many central cities: widespread poverty,    conducted extensive research and wrote     the Italian Garden produced a rehabili-
unemployment, homelessness, prostitu-       his Master’s Thesis in Landscape Ar-       tated and inviting space.
tion, vandalism, and street crime.          chitecture on Wattles Gardens. His            The City of Los Angeles invested
   Wattles Park could not escape the de-    work was shared with a growing group       funds in the development of the site
cline of Hollywood. Homeless people         of neighborhood advocates interested       during this period, as well, working
and runaways began living in the area       in the history of Hollywood and land-      together with Hollywood Heritage Inc.
of the Japanese Garden and the hills. At    scape architecture. Students from the      and Wattles Farms. In 1984, the City
the same time, prostitution, drug deal-     University of California Los Angeles       re-graded the area between the front
ing, and violence began to haunt the        were also involved in plans.               lawn and the kitchen service drive and
grounds.                                       NEW PARTNER: HOLLYWOOD                  installed a decomposed granite parking
   Between 1974 and 1976 the City de-       HERITAGE INC., 1979–PRESENT.               lot. In 2000, the northern portion of the
veloped a new master plan for Wattles       In 1981-82, the City of Los Angeles        west wall along Curson Avenue from
Gardens and hired the firm of Richard       re-planted the Spanish Garden and          the service drive to the park entrance
Bigler and Associates. The plan, pub-       installed a sprinkler system. It also      was reconstructed and minor drainage
lished in September 1976, called for        distributed a Request for Proposals to     improvements were made.
redevelopment of the site including re-     organizations interested in leasing Wat-      As the century ended, continued re-
grading of the orchard, erection of “an     tles Mansion and the formal gardens. In    habilitation and maintenance remained
iron bandstand reminiscent of late 1800     February of 1983, LADRP staff recom-       a concern of all stakeholders Our next
Spanish architecture,” restoration of the   mended that Hollywood Heritage, Inc.       issue will highlight some of the pres-
formal gardens, addition of a parking       be awarded the lease.                      ervation work at Wattles Mansion and
lot, planting of additional palms in the       Hollywood Heritage was founded in       Gardens past and on-going. ###
American Garden, and construction of        1980 with the goal of preserving Hol-
Hollywood Heritage Newsletter/Winter 2002                                                                                     11
                 P.O Box 2586
             Hollywood, CA 90078

      Mark Your Calendar
    Wed., Jan. 22: Bruce Torrence, author of
 Hollywood: The First 100 Years, will pres-
 ent a slide show from his extensive collec-
 tion. 7:30 at the Barn
    Wed. Feb. 12: Ray Zone, Book Reviewer
 for American Cinematographer and collec-
 tor of 3-D slides will share his amazing col-
 lection with us. 7:30 at the Barn
    Wed. March 12: Paul Zollo, author of
 Hollywood Remembered, will talk about his
 book and sign copies afterwards 7:30 at the
    Wed., May 21st: Reading of four short
 one-act plays, Encounter With Orson, The
 Trouble With Harry Cohn, Mary Pickford
 and Me and Ida Lupino’s Mother, written
 by Malvin Wald, directed by John McDon-
 ald, with a cast from First Stage. 7:30 at the

                           • Wattles Mansion and Gardens • Hollywood Heritage Museum/Lasky-DeMille Barn •
           • Silent Society: Motion Picture History and Preservation • Architectural Preservation, Advocacy, and Education •

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**Join at the $100 Triangle level or above, and receive a 24”x36” collectable
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