Wednesday, May 2, 2007

No. 20 - Two Stone Gates

Two Stone Gates

Two Stone Gates
c. 1923
Beachwood Drive at Belden Drive – map
Declared: 5/24/63

These two stone monuments form the entryway to what was the snazzy, 500-acre real estate development known as Hollywoodland.

The original plan in the early 1920s had the development staked out on part of the rancho owned by brothers-in-law E.P. Clark and General M.H. Sherman (the Sherman of Sherman Oaks), bought at the start of the century and situated on the southern slope of Mt Lee. It was to cover “a mile square at the head of Beachwood Drive, between Western avenue and Vine street, and extending to the crest of the range.” Its main corridor would be Beachwood Drive. (1929’s stock market crash would later scale back those plans more than a little.)

Two Stone Gates

The development of the development was overseen by the Title Insurance and Trust Company, a syndicate of five men: Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler; developers Sydney Woodruff and Tracy E. Shoults; and Sherman and Clark.

According to a Los Angeles Times article from April 1, 1923, published after subdivison plans were already completed and work had recently begun, the “engineering work is in charge of the Engineering Service Company, and the construction work will be done by the Western Construction Company”.

Two Stone Gates

Woodruff and Shoults hired John DeLario as lead architect. Sticking to four approved architectural styles (French Normandy, English-Tudor, Mediterranean Revival, and Spanish Revival), he wound up designing a bunch of homes for the community, including Castillo de Lago, in which Bugsy Siegel later speakeasied and Madonna later vogued.

Poor Shoults never got to see Hollywoodland beyond its initial stages – he dropped dead in his office on July 6, 1923.

Two Stone Gates
Vehicleless pictures of the gates are hard to capture. There was a steady convoy of SUVs that passed by when I was there. This is looking south towards the back of the gates.

Oh. Getting back to the monuments. Stonemakers from Europe – probably Italy – built several things for Hollywoodland besides these landmark gates, including retaining walls and stairways around Beachwood Canyon. The original plan had Hollywoodland a gated community, with a guard on duty for twelve hours beginning at 6:30 p.m., but that never materialized.

Two Stone Gates

Two Stone Gates

By the way, as L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument No. 111, the Hollywoodland/Hollywood sign gets its own post.

You can find lots of information about Hollywoodland on the web, like here and here. However, the real definitive history, at least pictorially, is Greg Williams’s out-of-print The Story of Hollywoodland, published in 1992 by Papavasilopoulos Press and pictured below. See if you can find it.

Two Stone Gates

Up next: Drum Barracks and Officers Quarters


Rays of Violet said...

I am the Granddaughter of John DeLario the lead architect of the
Two Stone Gates and Castillo de Lago.
I am very interested in finding more information on John DeLario. I do remember someone in my past saying there was a street named after him somewhere in the Valley. I would also like to see some photos of some of his other homes he designed. Can someone help me?

Frank said...

My name is Frank Gordon Ray jr.
i spent a summer at Castillo del Lago it the erly 70s.
my father wes a builder in the area and only worked only for move stars like Frank S, Elvis P. He took me to work every day in the summer one summer at del Lago.
I am 43 years old know, and i am a design builder. i worked on del Lago for Tim a friend of Maddonas when i got to the drive of del Logo it , came back to me or should i say up.... the drive got me car sick when i was a kid.. any how i got to stay at the house for two weeks living in del Lago studding the work.. returning home i found files of my fathers with some photos of the house and other jobs by your granddad. i will see if i can get them for you ..sorry out of time i have a meeting.
frank gordon ray jr

Luigi said...

Im very intrested in Mr. De Lario's work. So much in the particular case of Castillo del Lago that i would like to build an exact replica of it in Dominican Republic, my hometown. Im in love with the castle. Ive researched all over the net for information about, hisctorical sites, you nmae it. I would very much like youre input if possible. Please contact me
Thanks in advance

Luigi said...

I've been gathering up information regarding this particular landmark with little luck. All I've had so far is pictures from the exterior and some of the interior. I've been contacting organizations, Sotheby's a previous designer who worked in it but I've come up with basically nothing. I would like blue prints, sketches and faccades of the house, or at least a written description of the house with images or anything that can help me guide me through it. It is my goal to build an exact replica of Castillo Del Lago in the Dominican Republic, my hometown right down to almost every detail possible. Please contact me with any information about this piece. I'd gladly appreciate.

thxdave said...

You can see these stone arches in an old "Highway Patrol" episode called "Mother's March" (Season 3, Episode 15) from 1958 period.