History of Holmby Hills

When people think of glamour and landmark southern California luxury, there’s a good chance the images conjured up hail from the Los Angeles neighborhood of Holmby Hills.

The location of such world-famous real estate as the iconic Playboy Mansion and Aaron Spelling’s famous former property, countless other world-famous stars have called this area home at some point: Marilyn Monroe, Sonny and Cher, Barbra Streisand, Nat King Cole, Michael Jackson, Elvis and dozens of current Hollywood stars.

Long before the first classic street light was erected in 1920, the land in this area was home to the Tongva-Gabrieliño Native Americans for over 8,000 years. Over time, ownership exchanged hands between the first European settlers, Mexican landowners, and eventually passed to William Wolfskill, who constructed a ranch near the present-day Mormon Los Angeles Temple in 1884.

Englishman Arthur S. Letts purchased 100 acres from Wolfskill and set to work on his vision of a neighborhood filled with grand estates. When Letts died suddenly in 1923, development slowed, but his son-in-law, Harold Janss soon took the reigns, overseeing the design and development of an elaborate, Tudor Revival home for Letts’s son and namesake. The result was one of the world’s most famous estates, the Playboy Mansion.

Today, many of the original 1920s estates have been restored to their original condition, offering homebuyers an opportunity to own a piece of American history in an enviable, secluded location only moments from Rodeo Drive. Holmby Hills residents enjoy lush, expansive settings, convenient access to Van Nuys airport, the Los Angeles Country Club, and a fabulous, walkable neighborhood filled with architectural masterworks.

 

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