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looking east to rodeo drive - 1937 by Marc WanamakerBison Archives

Wilshire Boulevard looking east to Rodeo Drive – 1937 by Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

Beverly Hills

Surrounded by Los Angeles but never an official part of it, Beverly Hills spans from San Vicente Blvd. to Whittier Dr., and has long been the epicenter of wealth and glamour in Southern California.

It rose from a former rancho named El Rodeo de las Aguas ( Gathering of the Waters), once the site of legendary streams. Developer Burton Green opened the subdivision of Beverly Hills in 1907; the City of Beverly Hills was incorporated in 1914. Actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks launched the migration of movie stars from Hollywood when they built their legendary home, Pickfair, in 1919.

Beverly Hills growth exploded in the 1920s, with a population boom of more than 2,000 percent. It was the site of a speedway, and later a hub of theater activity. It now boasts excellent examples of modern commercial architecture.

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“The Grove”, Miracle Mile and Hancock Park are true Los Angeles.  The Farmer’s Market on the corner of 3rd and Fairfax is a classic and timeless venue to stroll, whether or not you are a tourist or local, everyone feels at home.

In July 1934 a contingent of farmers pulled their trucks onto an expanse of empty land at the property known as Gilmore Island at the corner of Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles. They displayed their produce on the tailgates of their vehicles, to their delight, customers quickly arrived and parked their cars on a hastily created dirt parking lot in spaces designated with chalk. They strolled among the trucks purchasing fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The atmosphere was casual, the open air commerce enticing, the goods fresh, and the result remarkable. Farmers Market became an instant institution.

With a partner, Arthur Fremont Gilmore purchased two ranches in the Los Angeles vicinity. The purchase inaugurated a string of serendipitous events which not even the far-sighted Gilmore could predict. When Gilmore and his partner elected to dissolve their arrangement, they drew straws – Gilmore’s straw secured 256 acres on which he created a successful dairy farm. A.F. Gilmore had no plans for a world-renowned institution when he moved to Los Angeles from Illinois in 1870. Rather, he was seeking a better life on the promising West Coast. When he married Mary Elizabeth Bell in 1882, the small adobe on the property became the new home for his family.

At the turn of the century, while drilling for water for his herd of dairy cows, A.F. Gilmore hit oil. By 1905, the dairy was gone and the Gilmore Oil Company born.

Right next door to the Historic Farmer’s Market  is the newly built Grove, an outdoor fancy mall with all the usual fare, including theatres, restaurants and hi-quality chain stores and Nordstrom.

There are lovely apartments across the street on 3rd called Palazzo and Palazzo East.  They were built by renowned local builder Alan Casdan and feature free gym, pool, concierge service, highest security and a lovely spa complete with massage, facials, etc.  Its like a 4 Seasons resort.  Many actors stay here while filming TV pilots only to buy a home when their show gets picked up.

3rd Street, from Cedar Sinai Medical Center all the way to LaBrea, is a fashion and style mecca.  Find such stores as “Jones on 3rd Gourmet” and local fashion talent such as Ethel and Bed Head Pajamas.   And, don’t forget the famous “little Door” and sidekick, “Little Door Next Door”.

This is my office!

Phew…. messy….


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