From just about any vantage point in Hollywood, California, you only have to look up to spot the property fondly referred to by Angelinos as “Tara.” Like the great estate in “Gone with the Wind,” this towering Southern Antebellum Colonial home high atop the hills in the shadow of the Hollywood sign makes you long for a mint julep. While it’s not part of notorious history yet, Tara is an extraordinary estate with over 10,000 square feet of living space, which boasts iconic columns, beautiful wrap-around verandas, and a cozy chapel where visitors can atone for their sins.
Developing the Dell: from small, hillside community to best-known properties in LA County
A little-known hillside community, much like its sister neighborhood, Hollywoodland, the Hollywood Dell was developed in 1910 after avocado and orange farmers gave up and sold their orchards to real estate developers, who primarily filled the neighborhood with similar Mediterranean and European-style homes, similar to those found in Hollywoodland. One exception to Tara was The Roy Rogers Ranch, which expands across more than two acres of land contains with stables, a riding ring, and generous guest quarters, spacious even by Hollywood standards. The Roy Rogers Ranch stood from the 1920s up until a fire in 2000 burned its last remaining structures. Today, plans for a new McMansion on the Roy Rogers plot are underway. The Dell, as it was originally known, was named after an active brook that ran from what is now the Lake Hollywood Reservoir to the end of Franklin and the Cahuenga Pass. The Dell Brook, which is more like a stream now, still exists on a much smaller scale, and travels through a house on Holly and San Marcos that was once owned by actress Brooke Adams.
Welcome to the Hollywood Dell! Hollywood Dell Real Estate
As with many LA County neighborhoods on hillsides, the privacy afforded by the secluded location of the Dell appealed greatly to celebrities looking to retreat from the public eye, as well as many bootleggers, gamblers, and even a few gangsters that at one time or another made the Dell their hideout. The looming Mediterranean home straddling the hill on the upper corner near the dam was known as a brothel and speakeasy during Prohibition in the 1920s and 1930s.
Lido Apartments, Mary Astor and George S. Kaufman romance in San Marcos, California
Just a few blocks from the Vine Hills near Franklin are the Lido Apartments — home to the protagonist of “The Day of the Locusts,” — Nathaniel West’s classic tale of destruction and disillusionment in Hollywood. A four-story Mediterranean castle on San Marcos was purported to be Mary Astor’s Hollywood home and the site of her affair with married playwright George S. Kaufman. She was brought to trial in the divorce proceedings by Kaufman’s estranged wife, where letters and a journal dubbed “The Purple Diary” uncovered their affair. Every detail was dragged through the press and it almost cost Astor her career.
History of the castle after Mary Astor
The castle on San Marcos has since had a laundry list of other famous owners, including Marshall Chess, who was at one time the manager of the Rolling Stones. When Charlie Watts was producing his first album, he would have a running limousine waiting day and night, so he could be whisked away to the studio at a moment’s notice.
That’s just some of the rich history enjoyed by those who love Hollywood stories and trivia, but if you take a closer look at the Hollywood Hills Homes for sale, you can write your own Hollywood story, just as Mary Astor and so many other famous celebrities from all walks of life did.