Los Angeles Neighborhoods

Choosing the Los Feliz Neighborhood

If you’re considering Hollywood Hills real estate, the Los Feliz neighborhood gets my vote.

“The Hills”, it’s more than a TV show featuring catty, really beautiful people (which I l.o.v.e.d). It’s where I decided I had to live – the hills of Los Feliz. Los Feliz is part of Central Los Angeles. To the north we border Griffith Park, on the northeast by Atwater Village, on the southeast by Silver Lake, on the south by East Hollywood, and on the northwest by Hollywood and Hollywood Hills. There are eight schools in the immediate neighborhood and it’s a great place live for families with kids, as well as chic singles and couples. Los Feliz is rich in culture, architecture, diversity — and drama.

The hills here are pretty stunning. The small Los Feliz neighborhood shops and restaurants are charming – they evoke the feel of New York’s Greenwich Village. The people are warm and friendly; after all, “Los Feliz” does mean “The Happy” in Spanish. Speaking of Spanish, the Mediterranean-influenced architecture here is plentiful, well-preserved and really beautiful. Take a drive down Los Feliz Blvd to see what I mean. It’s a special neighborhood and the desire to live here continues to increase. If you live here, you are either walking distance or a two-minute drive to Griffith Park, a 4000 acre park that includes a zoo, a railway, a museum, and an observatory. It was also one of the busiest areas for movie shoots in the last few years. Rebel Without a Cause, Terminator, and Back to the Future are just a few of the long list of movies I’ve recognized that were filmed here.

[ Photos of Griffith Park courtesy of Mark Gentile and Hip Pictures ]

There are a lot of good reasons to live here and I’m happy to share them should we meet. But allow me to digress into an history of Griffith Park you may find interesting. Below, my version of the story of how Griffith Park came to be. When I say my version, I’m going to cut out some of the boring stuff.


A Brief History of Griffith Park

There was this Colonel named Griffith J. Griffith. That’s not a typo, it’s really the same name for the first and last names. This guy was a smart guy and he likes to drink (more on that later). He came over from Wales, landed in Pennsylvania for a while, then made his way out here to sunny California. He worked as a journalist reporting on mining and was a real estate magnate. He purchased Rancho Los Feliz (near the Los Angeles River) in 1882. He developed real estate here in Los Feliz. However, luring people to this area, at the time, was a challenge. So, he did what you and I would do, and started an ostrich farm. The feathers were commonly used in making women’s hats and they sold for quite a bit of money for those days. He even charged admission to view the farm. It worked. People came they saw ostriches, they bought his houses and he got even richer, and drank more. Once his real estate sold, he donated the park to the city of LA, which they gladly accepted.

Now I mentioned that Griffith liked the bottle. This is underscored by his cause of death — liver disease, at the age of 69. Well, during one of his binges he managed to shoot his wife, twice, in an alcohol-fueled rage at a fancy Santa Monica Hotel. She lived, but was horribly disfigured and lost her right eye. Griffith goes to San Quinten State Prison for only 2 years (his lawyer plead a “medical condition” referencing his alcoholism). His wife, Mary, gets a divorce, takes the kid and moves out of town.

This is not your typical ending to a prison sentence. Once Mr. Griffith Griffith gets released from prison he’s still rich and a true philanthropist. He offers to fund over $700K to build the Greek Theater and the Observatory. The city council, politely says “no” due to his criminal past. Again, the City of Los Angeles, wouldn’t take his money that he was offering them. They had scruples. However, once he died. Then they accepted the money, and I’m glad they did. Check out a concert at the Greek Theater and I think you’ll agree.

So, perhaps the Los Feliz neighborhood has a history more in common with the drama of The Hills TV show than I thought when I set out to write this.

Craig Spano is a Licensed California Real Estate Agent (BRE# 01971165) with Coldwell Banker. Learn more about Craig by reading his bio. Reach out to him via email or call him directly at 323-486-7786.

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