Hollywood Facelift: The Newly Restored Villa Carlotta

Nestled in the heart of Franklin Village rests the Villa Carlotta, a majestic piece of Hollywood history that only a few years ago was a mere shadow of its former self. Built in 1926, the Villa Carlotta began as only a Hollywood story could. Legendary silent film producer and “Father of the Western” Thomas Ince mysteriously died following a party aboard newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst’s USS Oneida. Rumors circulated attributing Ince’s death to murder by the hands of Hearst himself. Two years later, Hearst helped finance construction of the Villa Carlotta, owned by Ince’s widow, Elinor, and home to Hollywood’s creatives. From Marion Davies and Montgomery Clift to renowned gossip columnist Louella Parsons and the Doors front-man Jim Morrison in the 1960’s, the Villa Carlotta evolved into a community that attracted countless people from the entertainment industry. Decades later, CGI purchased the Villa Carlotta and began the challenging task of restoring the nearly century old building. Over the span of 2 years, the Old Hollywood gem, with a history as rich in creativity and diversity as the very city it inhabits, was restored to its former glory.

Hollywood's Art Center School: A Creative Oasis

Tucked away between the American Legion Building and the Best Western Motel is Hollywood’s best kept secret, a profound and relatively unknown three-acre piece of Hollywood history. Located at 2025-2027 North Highland Avenue, the Hollywood Art Center School was a hidden oasis in the middle of Hollywood that encouraged creativity and inspired artistic expression. Founded in 1912 by influential artist, interior designer, and educator Henry Lovins, the Hollywood Art Center School was LA’s first independent art school. Originally located on the second floor of what later on became the May Company Building on Broadway, by 1914 the school moved to Hollywood where it had several different locations and became a staple of the community and film industry. In 1930, Henry Lovins and his wife, Mona Lue Lovins, expanded the school and purchased a craftsman style house from silent- film era icon and Hollywood mogul Douglas Fairbanks Sr. In 1947, the Lovins’ purchased 2025-2027 North Highland Avenue, which became the sole location of the Hollywood Art Center School from 1960 until 2000. Henry Lovins, alongside his wife, offered a unique yet disciplined curriculum greatly influenced by his teacher and longtime friend, prolific artist Robert Henri. After Henry Lovins passed away in 1960, Mona Lue Lovins continued teaching classes at the school until her death in 2000.
Keldine Hull

A Brentwood Home With a Story to Tell

Houses tell stories. The house at 430 South Bundy Drive in Brentwood was built in 1916 and originally owned by architect and developer Sidney Hawks Woodruff, most notably known for his successful Dana Point and Hollywoodland developments during the 1920s. Years later, the Ullman’s took over as owners of the house. Jane Ullman was a talented sculptor and her husband, Harold Percy Ullman, was a world-renowned artist representative.

Women’s History Month in Venice

From gondolas and canals to skateboarding and punk rock, Abbot Kinney’s vision for Venice evolved throughout the decades as the culture around it changed. It was the birthplace of modern skateboarding, the Doors, and thrash metal legends Suicidal Tendencies. With millions of visitors each year, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern California. During the early 1900s, some of the most influential silver screen sirens passed through Venice. They were the rule breakers of their time who took Hollywood by storm, challenged societal norms, and set the stage for other female entertainers after them, and in honor of Women’s History Month, we look back on a few of these special women.

Trailblazing SM Women in History

Powerful women all over the world have been trailblazing their way through history, and Santa Monica is no exception. From librarians to movie stars, and everything else in between, women who dared to challenge societal norms made influential contributions to the city of Santa Monica that withstood the test of time generations after them. In honor of Women’s History Month, we take a look back at the iconic women who left their indelible mark on Santa Monica. With her curly hair, megawatt smile

100 Years of History at Ocean Park Library

By the early 1900s, as Santa Monica evolved into the city it is today, it was apparent that the Santa Monica Public Library had outgrown its quarters. In 1906, the Clapp Brothers Drug Store on Pacific Avenue established a book exchange where patrons of the public library went to pick up and return books. Elfie Mosse, the City Librarian, requested funding to build Santa Monica’s first branch library, and on February 15, 1918, after a $12,500 grant from Andrew Carnegie, the Ocean Park Branch Library opened its doors to the public.

“Three’s Company” and Santa Monica

“Three’s Company”, the American sitcom that aired for eight seasons on ABC from 1977 to 1984 has generated many avid fans over the years. The hit comedy series circled around the zany mishaps of Jack Tripper (John Ritter), Crissy Snow (Suzanne Somers) and Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) as they maneuvered adult life in Santa Monica. It also starred the Ropers, played by Norman Fell and Audra Lindley, as well as Mr. Furley (Don Knotts), Cindy Snow (Jenilee Harrison) and Terri Alden (Priscilla Barnes).

A New Historic District

January 22 marked a momentous day for the numerous people involved in the designation of the 11th Street Bungalows as a historic district, including members and supporters of Friends of 11th Street. After hearing both sides of the proposal, City Council voted to designate the 11th Street Bungalows as a historic cluster, preserving its legacy for generations to come. While the majority of those in attendance supported the council’s decision, there were many Santa Monica residents who argued that

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium’s Illustrious History

The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was packed to the brim with legions of screaming teenagers for the Teenage Awards Music International. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had recently passed, and the roster was the stuff rock and roll dreams are made of. West Coast staples Jan and Dean emceed, and Chuck Berry took the stage to open the show, performing chart toppers “Maybellene” and the 1958 classic “Johnny B. Goode.” Both songs would go on to become two of the most important songs in rock and roll history.

Santa Monica’s Magical Camera Obscura

120 years of optic wonder at this hidden gem. In a tower overlooking the pier rests a unique and rare piece of Santa Monica history. Mayor Robert F. Jones created the Camera Obscura in 1898 as a means to attract more people to the growing yet new city of Santa Monica. What began as a tourist attraction grew to become a sacred gem in Santa Monica’s link to its colorful past. 120 years later, located at 1450 Ocean, the Camera Obscura remains in use as part of the Camera Obscura Art Lab, a cultural center that provides a safe place for artistic expression within the community.

11th St. Bungalows Approved by Commission as Historic Landmark

For Susan Suntree, Co-Chair of Friends of 11th Street, and the other dedicated people involved in the historic preservation of Santa Monica’s 11th Street Bungalows, their years of hard work finally paid off. Following the December 10 hearing at City Hall to the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission meeting, in which they presented their case supporting that the 11th Street Bungalows be designated as a historic landmark, the commissioners voted unanimously in favor 5-0.

Preserving 100-year old SM Bungalows

As Santa Monica continues to develop and evolve, rare pieces of its history become even more relevant in maintaining a connection between the past and the future. The 11th Street Bungalows, built in the early 1900’s, were the building blocks of Santa Monica. On Monday, November 12th at 7 p.m., the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission will decide on designating the 11th Street Bungalows to become the City’s fourth historic district. In attendance will be members of the community, including Co-Chairs of Friends of 11th Street Susan Suntree and Diane Miller, who passionately stand behind the preservation of Santa Monica’s rich history.
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