About your host Eda
About your host Eda Hallinan
One of the original inhabitants of Beachwood Canyon, Eda knows everything there is to know about the Canyon. Her ancestors extend back to the Pleistocene era when saber toothed tigers regularly walked up and down Beachwood Drive on their way to the tar pits, from which sadly, they would never escape.
Having lived in this Hollywood neighborhood since she was ten years-old, she knows all it's secrets... from the easiest way to get to the Sign to the quickest way to the beach. She is always happy to share and recommend places to see and to eat... depending on what interests you! Don't hesitate to ask!
We have our own small village two blocks from the apartment which has a historic and lovely mid sized market - good wine selection, a wonderful cafe - called The Beachwood Cafe open for all meals.... delish and healthy. There is a sweet neighborhood flower shop and a dry cleaners.
The History of Hollywoodland
by Gregory Williams
From the moment of its inception, Hollywoodland defined the lifestyle known as "living in the Hollywood Hills." With a steady stream of publicity, it acquired and retained the adjective "famed."
A lot of this is due to the huge metal sign crowning the tract, the neighborhood landmark. Originally it read "Hollywoodland," but missing its last four letters, what started as a real estate promotional stunt has become the international symbol for the Hollywood film industry. On any day, tourists stand smack in the middle of Beachwood Drive, having their pictures taken with it.
It's hard to figure a giant flashing electric sign as a classy touch, but in the twenties, the developers attracted the sophisticated and artistic crowd they intended. "Hollywoodland, one of the show places of the world" is how they saw their 500 acre subdivision. To their credit, they sensitively laid out Hollywoodland. A charming small town feeling has presided for close to seventy years.
The draw of the place? A lot has to do with location. Longtime resident Irene Wyman remembers these hills and canyons back to 1915, before Hollywoodland appeared. "It was so lovely with the oak trees, holly bushes, greasewood, and poppies. Ferns grew under the trees and by the little stream beds. Up in Ledgewood Canyon, we found two natural springs with overhanging rocks. We would crawl back to the small basins where the springs dripped down to pools and drink the cool water."
For all of us kids growing up here in the fifties and sixties, the undeveloped area of Hollywoodland opened our imaginations. We explored the canyons like real frontier, building forts on unfinished tract roads and mining for quartz in a canyon filled with rocks spilled over from the grading of Mt. Lee.
Jannette K. Mathewson, living here as a little girl in 1924, loved the foxes" and their almost nightly playtime on our porch. The great cowboy artist, Charles M. Russell, was also enthralled watching them." Coyotes and cottontails, deer, squirrels, possums, raccoons, lizards, tarantulas still make their homes with us. Unfortunately, the foxes have disappeared. According to some natural scientists, the coyotes ate them. No wild animal living here can escape this area with Mt. Lee and neighboring Griffith Park now completely surrounded by city and freeways.
Much has changed as new houses have appeared in the neighborhood over the decades. Architectural restrictions were lifted when the developers bowed out in the forties and since then, people build houses to suit their own tastes. Some houses are great, some are awful. When land was cheap in the sixties, platform homes perched on steel stilts became the architectural rage. It was an inexpensive way of construction which is no longer allowed by the Los Angeles building code. The eighties trend of "mansionization," building large homes that fill their lots, seems like a half-hearted attempt to recapture some of Hollywoodland's past glory. As the new houses go up, the spaciousness that marked the development disappears.
Still a sense of community remains. The commitment from seventy-five years of homeowners blesses the neighborhood with its own vitality and character. The future is secure as people discover charms originally voiced by the developers in 1923. As Los Angeles congests, the uniqueness of this area becomes more pronounced, where you can still hear the hooting owl or the howling coyote, where you can step outside your door and witness a beautiful sunset.
Flora and Fauna
Before the development of Hollywoodland, the hillsides of Beachwood Canyon had very few trees. Sparse oaks, holly bushes, greasewood, sage and poppies dotted the landscape. Today, you’ll spot nonnative plants and trees like eucalypti (introduced in 1865) and palms.
The Hollywood Hills come alive each spring, starting with verdant grasses and indigenous wildflowers. By May each year, the upper hills dry out, creating a golden glow that continues throughout the hot, dry summer and fall seasons.
Even though Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States, Beachwood Canyon never lets you forget its wild roots. You’ll see solo coyotes on hikes and hear packs of them at night, fiercely engaged in initiation rituals, their high-pitched barks echoing throughout the canyon. This is not place to leave domesticated pets outside on their own.
Summer nights in the canyon are the best. You’ll hear crickets produce their soft, droning soundtrack to the shimmering city lights. Birds here are really active at night, singing to one another, punctuating the rest of the nighttime reverberations
Beachwood Canyon abuts Griffith Park,
the nation’s largest urban wilderness park. You’ll always see hikers, but you may also see or hear several critters, including:
- Spiders – including everyone’s creepy favorite, tarantulas
- Mountain Lion – there’s a cougar, tagged and tracked (named “P-22”) known to occasionally migrate throughout the Santa Monica Mountains
Photo of coyote courtesy Under the Hollywood Sign blog.
P22 is one of Hollywood's most famous residents. Since 2002, the National Park Service has studied over 50 mountain lions in and around Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Each one has their own unique story that has helped our researchers understand how these large carnivores survive in an increasingly fragmented and urbanized environment by evaluating their distribution, movement patterns, behavior, and survivorship.
There’s more to this male mountain lion than living around the Hollywood Sign (That National Geographic photo was pretty cool, though). What makes P-22 especially unique is that he somehow made his way into Griffith Park, the eastern flank of the Santa Monica Mountains, from the western side, where he was born to P-1 and an unknown female lion. That meant he likely crossed two major Los Angeles freeways, the 405 and 101, something other lions have died trying. His presence was first documented in early 2012 by a camera trap set up by the Friends of Griffith Park. His safe passage into and life in the park is a testament to the wild spaces remaining in Los Angeles, but his story isn’t one of total success. Griffith Park so far has proved just as much of an island of habitat as the rest of the Santa Monicas, if not more. Hemmed in by freeways and urban sprawl on all sides, it is difficult for lions to disperse and define their own territory and eventually mate. The eight square miles of Griffith Park may be P-22’s territory, but it is sorely too small -- by a factor of about 31! -- for an adult male. And as an isolated patch of habitat, it’s hard to imagine a female lion joining him any time soon.
P-22 first graced the front page of the Los Angeles Times in August of 2012, shortly after he was first discovered. He has since become a sort of ambassador for urban wildlife. In January of 2017, he landed on the front page again, this time with a "week in the life" feature story that shed insight into his movements and diet.
He's also made headlines across the city and country a few other times. In 2014, he developed a case of mange, which was successfully treated by our researchers. In 2015, his presence under a home in Los Feliz, a Los Angeles neighborhood adjacent to Griffith Park, became a live news event as local officials tried to get him to leave. When the commotion died down, he left on his own in the early dark hours of the morning. And in 2016, he was suspected of killing a koala at the L.A. Zoo.