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Laurel Canyon

Laurel Canyon History and Photos

Laurel Canyon 

Shortly after Hollywood was annexed to the city of Los Angeles in 1910, the Laurel Canyon area began to experience some popularity because of its natural scenic beauty. Hundreds of visitors a week traveled up the canyon on 82 mile long, braided dirt road, later named Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Built by unemployed workers in 19 seven at a cost of $10,000, the road ran up the canyon where it divided at what is now look out mountain road. The left road twisted its way up to the summit of Lookout Mountain, while the other continued to the top of the Santa Monica Mountains and down to the San Fernando valley.

In 1908, the Lookout Mountain Park and and Water company was formed to purchase 280 acres on Lookout Mountain, just west of Laurel Canyon. A large portion of the acreage was subdivided into bungalow lots, most of which had beautiful panoramic views of the city. Two years later, the company widened the winding dirt road to the top of...

Laurel Canyon Pictures

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In the early part of the 19th century, Laurel Canyon was a rough and rustic area made up of just a few cabins—some used as hunting lodges. The hillside region was first developed by Charles Spencer Mann, an engineer and investor.  His first  development was the Lookout Mountain Inn which was quickly followed by a project called Bungalow Land. In an effort to get prospective up to this development, he built the nation’s first trackless trolley in 1913. The creation of Hollywood’s film industry also attracted residents like Errol Flynn...

View the Best Hollywood Laurel Canyon Photos from

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The very best collection of Laurel Canyon photos can be found on the web site.  The collection was started, by Bruce Torrence in 1970, and today there are over 12,000 photographs of which there are more than 7,000 images on the web site.  These wonderful photos of Laurel Canyon show the development of the area from when it was a dirt road to the way it is now.  Some of the early photos show the Lookout Mountain Inn during the teens, the first house in the canyon and the old Laurel Tavern.  There are also photos of the trackless...


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With the end of World War II, another wave of development took place  Laurel Canyon was no exception.  . As in previous growth spurts, this phase was driven by a population shift to the Sun Belt and the emergence of new industries, including steel production and aeronautics. The style was definitely modern with many homes built on previously unbuildable lots, including homes built on stilts on steep hillsides – a radical concept for the time. 

All around our neighborhood, hillsides were graded and suburban-style tract homes were built. It is a wonder that the shady, country-like atmosphere has survived at all.

The Fifties postwar period also produced The Beat Generation, and Los Angeles supported a lively coffee...

Early Laurel Canyon History and Photos

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In the early days, Laurel Canyon was a secluded valley that supplied water to farms at the base of the canyon and some hillside grazing to sheep ranchers. One of the earliest farming estates was owned by Charles F. Harper, and it dominated the entrance to Laurel Canyon. Harper was a Civil War veteran who immigrated to California and made his fortune in the hardware business. He retired in 1895 and moved to Hollywood, where he 'enjoyed the evening of his days' on his 480-acre estate in Laurel Canyon.  Visit of see photos of Charles Harper’s home and orchards.


Early Laurel Canyon History and Photographs

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Laurel Canyon and Lookout Mountain Inn

Shortly after Hollywood was annexed to the city of Lo Angeles in 1910, the Laurel. Canyon area began to experience some popularity because of its natural scenic beauty. Hundreds of visitors a week travelled up the canyon on a two-mile long, graded dirt road, later named Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Built by unemployed workers in 1907 at a cost of $10,000, the road ran up the canyon where it divided at what is now Lookout Mountain Avenue. The left road twisted its way up to ...