Whitley Heights - Authentic Mediterranean with a Storied Past
Affectionately called “The Hill” by local residents, Whitley Heights takes its name from Hobart Johnstone Whitley, aka “The Father of Hollywood”. When he commissioned the building of this Mediterranean style community in 1918, it quickly became the first celebrity village in Hollywood.
Whitley Heights is bordered by Highland Avenue to the west and Cahuenga to the east and north. Franklin Avenue delineates the southern border. The neighborhood was bisected in 1948 by the 101 Freeway, also known as the Hollywood Freeway. The famous former homes of Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino, along with 40 others, were destroyed to make room for the transportation project.
An example of the Mediterranean architecture you'll find in Whitley Heights
You’ll love living in Whitley Heights if:
- You have thing for Old Hollywood – Few other neighborhoods in Los Angeles can rival the glamorous history of Whitley Heights. Of the 163 homes in the neighborhood, almost all have been occupied by Hollywood royalty at one time or another. Tales of who lived where and when are easily accessible on the internet. Icons such as Marlene Dietrich, Rudolph Valentino and Judy Garland were all Whitley Heights residents.
- You don’t mind being told what you can and can’t do to your property – Whitley Heights is an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ). In order to maintain the historic integrity of structures in an HPOZ, residents must go through a rigorous approval process before making any exterior alterations.
- You want an authentic taste of the Mediterranean – HJ Whitley sent his architect, A.A. Barnes, to Italy and Spain for an intense study of Tuscan hillside homes and the stucco, clay tile and ornate iron detailing of Spanish villas. This purist Mediterranean style, while now widespread throughout Los Angeles, first appeared here in Whitley Heights.
Hollywood Heritage Museum (2100 N. Highland Ave)
– Located inside the Lasky-Demille Barn (c. 1895), the Museum exhibits memorabilia from the silent film era, such as archival photographs and movie props. The museum also displays historic photos and postcards featuring the surrounding Whitley Heights neighborhood.
Whitley Heights Real Estate Tip
Given the high demand for this neighborhood, there are sometimes only one or two homes on the market at any given time. While almost every single home has a commanding view of the city or the Hollywood Bowl, many houses have small rooms and lack amenities like laundry rooms and extra storage, features not typical of construction at the time.
Whitley Heights’ Super Secret Find
Secret Stairs are hidden throughout the Hollywood Hills and Whitley Heights has a couple sets that allow an up close and personal view of many historic homes and their lush gardens. Look for the stairs leading up from Milner Road. Also, there are stairs that lead from the Hollywood Heritage Museum under the 101 Freeway where you can then traverse the smaller, northern section of Whitely Heights.
The #1 Most Interesting Fact About Whitley Heights
Whitley Heights is the gated community that almost was. In 1991, the Whitley Heights Civic Association received a permit from the City of Los Angeles to install gates that would transform the neighborhood into a private enclave. Construction was nearly completed when “Citizens Against Gated Enclaves” sued the Association and successfully stopped the project, allowing the charming streets to remain open to all visitors anytime. If you are looking for a gated community, check out the exclusive Laughlin Park neighborhood
Photo Credit: By Los Angeles (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons