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RECREATION AND PARKS


WATTLES MANSION

1824 N. Curson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
Phone: (323) 665-1155

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History: The house of Spanish architecture was designed by Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey, two prominent Los Angeles architects. They also designed the gardens. Mr. Wattles' father met the head gardener, Alexander Urquhart on his travels. Urquhart worked as head gardener from 1910 until 1930. The concept for the garden was formulated during trips to Mexico and Japan. During a trip to Japan, his father purchased a tea house, shrines and lanterns and had them shipped back to use in the gardens. Four gardens had been developed: the first corresponding to the architecture of the house, the second, Italian, the third, American, and the fourth, Japanese.

To take advantage of the site, the house was positioned on a knoll, surrounded by gardens winding up into the hills. From the beginning, Mr. Wattles opened the gardens to the public and it soon became a popular Sunday afternoon tourist attraction. Approximately fifty acres occupies a long narrow corridor of space that rises 950 feet from Hollywood Blvd. to the top of the hill. As the tourists strolled through the garden, the beautiful panoramic view of the city unfolded before them to the south.

The Park has a variety of zones from the lower to the upper regions. The lower park, 4.13 acres in size, fronts on Hollywood Blvd. This area is now used as a public garden. The Wattles residence and formal garden area comprises the area from the private roadway to the back of the residence. The early American garden area is directly behind the residence and was composed of rose and vegetable gardens.

The upper hillside has a variety of native California plants. The Crest or observation point occupies the top of the property and has no real access at this time. This observation point provides one of the best views of Los Angeles in the area. Much of the garden has fallen into a state of disrepair, but the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, hopes to remedy this.

The Wattles residence was opened in the spring of 1909. Designed in a Mediterranean/Mission style, the home is two stories and has a full basement. The first floor rooms include a paneled library, formal dining room., large living room with a picture window to the south gardens, two large bathrooms off the entrance hall, servant's dining hall and kitchen and pantry. The front and rear terraces serve as extensions of the living spaces. Five bedrooms and three baths are on the second floor.

Gurdon W. Wattles' estate and gardens in Hollywood is an outstanding example of Southern California landscape architecture and the important role it played in the development of the region in the early twentieth century. "Jualita" is one of the few remaining landscapes reminiscent of another era and tradition, possessing a genuine integrity of setting, design, workmanship, and association.

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