With Halloween just a day away, I thought I would share with you the “Witch’s House” and other so-called “Storybook Houses” in the Los Angeles area. This style was popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Whimsical in form, they conjure up another world filled with fantasy and magic. This style of home was built around the time of Walt Disney’s new animation studio and may have been the inspiration for his fairytale like stories. So off we go to Neverland!
The Witch’s House 516 Walden Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210
The Witch’s House was never intended to be a home. It was built for Willat Studios in 1920 and functioned as a set for silent films such as “Hansel and Gretel” and was used for offices. When Ward Lascelle, one of the producers for the Willat’s learned that it was to be destroyed, Lascelle bought the structure and moved it to its current location on a lot that he owned in Beverly Hills. Allowed to fall into disrepair, it’s current owner, Michael J. Libow purchased the home and has lovingly restored it to its current splendor.
Halloween is when the house comes alive. Generations of families have made this a must stop on their night of haunting the neighborhood and they all get a treat! All three to four thousand of them! Streets are cordoned off and security keeps everyone safe on this special night.
Here is a link to see some of the inside! http://bit.ly/1whWi5z
The Hobbit House 3819 Dunn Drive, Culver City, CA 90232
Within a stones throw of Sony Studios, the Hobbit House was created by Disney artist Joseph Lawrence. He worked on the collection of cottages for 24 years! It was designated in 1996 as a Historic Cultural Monument #624 by the City of Los Angeles.
Charlie Chaplin Cottages 1330 N. Formosa Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
Built in 1923 by Arthur and Nina Zwebell, these four cottages were commissioned by the silent film actor Charlie Chaplin located two blocks from his studio on La Brea. Many famous people called this home, Judy Garland, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, John Barrymore and even Chaplin himself. Imagine the parties that happened here!
When I pulled up to the property, I was a little sad because it was behind a tall gate and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to see anything but there was a gentleman standing there and he invited me in. Lucky me! It was a magical place inhabited by artists in “the industry” who decorate it for Halloween and Christmas. He said that hoards of goblins come calling on Halloween and he invited me back to enjoy the show. I asked him what were some of the challenges with living in a place like this. His answer was that it has its own eco-system. It is home to all kinds of creatures, rats, possums and raccoons along with an occasional coyote. The wood is rotting in some places and there is a very large tree that covers the cottages. It is so large that a notch in one of roofs has been carved out to accommodate its growth.
The Snow White Cottages 2900 block Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Finally, I visited the Snow White Cottages. These were built in 1931 by architect Ben Sherwood. Walt Disney’s Studio was a few blocks away and the animators lived in these eight cottages. Rumor has it that these cottages were used as inspiration for the dwarves cottages in the film. It is still used today as a location for film and TV. When I visited, I saw a production notice for the filming of “Silk.”
All in all, it was a super fun day in Los Angeles. This city always amazes me and I love it when I discover something new! Happy Halloween everyone! Till next time!