Beverly Hills is known throughout the world as a destination for glamour, luxury, and prestige. Countless celebrities and industry leaders have called this gorgeous area home for decades, and fashion-conscious consumers around the globe consider Rodeo Drive a designer mecca. It’s hard to believe it’s been less than a century since the fertile land under Beverly Hills was mostly farmland and wilderness, but it’s true. As the film industry took off in the early part of the 20th century, so did the real estate market surrounding Los Angeles.
It all started with residences like the Pickfair Estate in 1924. One of Hollywood’s earliest power couples, silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, wanted to establish a residence outside the bustle of Los Angeles, but still convenient to the movie studios. The home grew to become one of the most celebrated examples of the celebrity lifestyle in Hollywood history. An invitation to an event at Pickfair was extended only to the most renowned, A-list stars.
Fairbanks purchased the hunting lodge in the San Ysidro Canyon that would later become Pickfair as a wedding gift for Pickford in 1919. The couple spent 5 years working with architect Wallace Neff to renovate the lodge into a 4-story, 42-room estate complete with stables, tennis courts, servant quarters, multiple garages, and a lengthy list of features for their guests, who would number in the hundreds over the next few decades. One key feature was a swimming pool, believed to be the first private residential pool in the Los Angeles area.
When Mary Pickford died in 1979, the home was sold and eventually, partially demolished. Today, some of the original features remain, including the elaborate guest wing, famous iron gates, and the kidney-shaped pool.