At the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Garfield Place, there stands today nothing but a large vacant lot presided over by two venerable palm trees. The grand old trees are the only evidence remaining of what was once one of Hollywood’s first major apartment-hotels, the New Hollywood. Originally known as the Garfield Apartments, the New Hollywood was under construction at the same time, just a few blocks away, a brash young man named Cecil B. De Mille was making his first movie, The Squaw Man (1914), a landmark production that would help transform Hollywood from staid suburban community into the film capital of the world.
Financed by the Coast Utilities Investment Company, the three story structure literally towered over the cluster of modest craftsman style bungalows surrounding it upon its completion early in 1914. Chicago architect Rudolf F. Schering designed the New Hollywood in a U-Shape, wrapping the building around a 50′ x 109′ entry court, which helped to allow pleasant vistas from virtually all of its 205 rooms.
The interior was divided into two and three room apartments, each with their own private bath and warmed with steam heat. Practicality rather than luxury was the keynote of the New Hollywood and each apartment was equipped with numerous built-ins as well as disappearing wall beds. An added amenity was a built-in vacuum cleaning system, which sounds nice in theory but one can only imagine how efficient a 1914 vacuum cleaning system could be! In addition to an expansive lobby, the New Hollywood featured a billiard room in the basement and a sun parlor on the roof.
Although ultimately a rather bland looking building upon its completion, the New Hollywood was nonetheless a welcome addition to the growing community and the timing of its construction could not have been more providential. Within a few years, a number of studios were operating within blocks of the apartment house, most notably the William Fox Studios at Sunset and Western.
In its early years, the New Hollywood was filled with members of the nascent film colony. Two of the most prominent were James Cruze, who would rise to great prominence as one of Hollywood’s biggest directors of the 1920’s, and Raymond Hatton, a major star of the same period. Both were residents of the building in the mid-late 1910’s.
By the early 20’s, the New Hollywood was already losing its luster and although it would remain a respectable residential and transient hotel through the 1950’s, it never again drew the big names it garnered in its first few years of operation.
The New Hollywood’s days came to an end @ 4:31AM, January 17, 1994, when the Northridge Earthquake struck with such ferocity it shook the old building literally off its foundation. Demolition followed a short time later.