Thursday, November 25, 2010

Beverly Hills

You can't afford it - the shops on Rodeo Drive (above)

Beverly Hills
, almost completely surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, was formerly the vast Hammel and Denker ranch, a fertile stretch of land on which the owners grew lima beans. Around the turn of the 20th century a syndicate purchased the ranch and marketed lots, naming their development Beverly Hills, after Beverly Farms in Beverly, Massachusetts. The investment company promoted Beverly Hills as “between the city and the sea,” a reference to its location between ocean-front Santa Monica to the west and Los Angeles city to the east.

In September, 1911, work began on the Beverly Hills Hotel. The Los Angeles Times called it a “monster hostelry,”" since it cost in excess of $300,000; it remains a fashionable, expensive hostelry serving the world’s glamorous elite. In 1919, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford bought land on Summit Drive and built their landmark home, Pickfair, completed in 1921. A land boom followed, and prominent members of the film industry built lavish homes in the hills north of Sunset Boulevard. In ten years the population grew from 674 (1920) to 17,429 (1930). The Beverly Hills City Hall, built in 1931 in Italian Renaissance style, was featured prominently in the “Beverly Hills Cop” films (photo below). Approximately 35,000 affluent residents live in Beverly Hills today.

Beverly Hills contains some of the largest homes in the nation. In recent years Beverly Hills was listed as the most expensive housing market in the United States, with a median home price of over $2.2 million (note: averaged in to that price are the many small duplex rental units and detached homes of less than 2,000 sq. ft., all located south of Sunset Boulevard).

While the rich are sleeping: A little known fact is that underneath the city lies the large and still-productive Beverly Hills Oil Field, serviced by four urban drilling islands which drill diagonally into the earth underground.

Major east-west thoroughfares in Beverly Hills include Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard, and Sunset Boulevard, all of which lead west directly to the Pacific Ocean. The homes in the hills north of Sunset Boulevard have a much higher value than average homes in the rest of Beverly Hills. High end shopping is prevalent along Beverly Drive and world-famous Rodeo Drive.

In 2009, a group of Beverly Hills residents created an online blog which details their lives growing up and living in Beverly Hills. Called “The Daily Truffle,” the name pokes fun at the luxury lifestyle of its residents.

At home in Beverly Hills:

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