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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 Lookout Mountain where they built the Lookout Mountain Inn. It wasn't long before the Lookout Mountain Inn, in Laurel Canyon, whose specialty was chicken dinners, became a popular Hollywood attraction in Laurel Canyon. Because of the steep grade of the twisting road and the lack of engine power of automobiles, guests were forced to spend at least 30 to 45 minutes driving up the canyon to the in. However, when they finally arrived, the fine food and breathtaking view seem to make the long, tedious trip all worthwhile.



At about the same time the Lookout Mountain was built a real estate subdivision, known as Bungalowland was established at what is now Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Lookout Mountain Avenue. Several lots were graded and sold to buyers who built bungalows and cottages primarily for use during weekends and summer vacations in Laurel Canyon.

In 1912, as a stimulus to bungalow land, Mr. Charles Mann, a real estate operator, established a trackless trolley service between the Sunset Boulevard terminus of the Pacific electric trolley line at Laurel Avenue, and the Tavern at the junction of Laurel Canyon Road and Lookout Mountain Road. The car had two trolleys, one to a positive and one to a ground overhead wire, and was able to sway to either side of the street. For five or six years, the trackless trolley traveled up and down Laurel Canyon to meet the half hour schedule to Los Angeles. It was mechanically satisfactory, but insufficiently patronized. It was discontinued when the Pacific electric cease to run cars between Gardner Street and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, the Realty interest failed to support it.


Laurel Canyon Fires 

On October 26, 1918, disaster struck the Lookout Mountain and Laurel Canyon area when a fire, fanned by strong winds, burned about 200 acres and totally destroyed the famous Lookout Mountain Inn. For a time, when the great billows of fire and smoke were rolling high and fast, many Laurel Canyon residents began preparations to evacuate. Several trucks loaded with furniture and personal belongings made trips down the road, which was covered with fragments of personal belongings that were dropped from the trucks as they rattled down the mountain road. The damage estimated to be $15,000, and suffered mostly by the Lookout Mountain Inn was held down by the heroic work of more than 200 volunteer workers and 50 trained firefighters. Miraculously, nobody was seriously hurt.


Four years fire has plagued the Laurel Canyon area. Several times during the 20th century major fires have broken out in Laurel Canyon. One of the worst occurred in the 1960s when a fire consumed many residences and caused great damage to the surrounding vegetation. Regardless of the potential danger of fires in Laurel Canyon, the area continues to attract many new residences, including celebrities of the day.

Laurel Canyon Photos

The largest collection of Hollywood photos can be found on the website. This collection of vintage Hollywood photographs contains more than 12,000 photos, of which 8000 are on the website. There are more than 90 subject


categories, including, photos of the Hollywood sign, Hollywood canteen, Hollywood restaurants and movie studios. All photos on the Hollywood website are available for purchase.

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