For my last stairwalk of 2012, I took my niece on her first stairwalk. I chose Beachwood Canyon, walk #34, from the book “Secret Stairs” by Charles Fleming, because this is one of the most beautiful staircases I’ve seen. I also love the neighborhood with the different architectural styles of the homes and the stunning views of Hollywood, Griffith Park Observatory and downtown Los Angeles.
One of the first things my niece noticed was the homes were all different styles, and not made from one cookie cutter design. I told her that is one of the main reasons I like these stairwalks. One of the famous homes on this walk was previously owned by Debbie Reynolds. Next to that house is a trail that leads to Hollywood Reservoir.
The 148 step staircase is cut from the same granite stone the Hollywoodland arches are made from. Beautiful planters and benches line the middle of the stairs. At one time a stream ran down the middle.
Located at Beachwood and Woodshire drive, this is a cultural-historical landmark. A plaque at the bottom dates its construction as 1928.
Hollywoodland was intended to be a gated community with a swimming pool, tennis courts, and riding stables. Residences were to include Bugsy Siegel, Humphrey Bogart, and Bela Lagosi. The stone arch that was to be the entrance to Hollywoodland still stands. From here you can see the famous Hollywood sign. The sign was erected in 1923 to advertise Hollywoodland. 4,000 light bulbs were embedded in the sign that spelled out “HOLLYWOODLAND” and flashed “HOLLY” then “WOOD” then “LAND” repeatedly. In the late 1940’s efforts were made to repair the sign. The Department of parks removed the “LAND” portion and the light bulbs because the electricity would have been too costly. Since then the sign has undergone several renovations with letters being replaced and repainted. Celebrities including Hugh Hefner, Alice Cooper, and Gene Autry are a few of the celebrities who have donated money to save the sign.
Oh how I wish I could have seen the sign with its flashing bulbs back in its heyday.