Lost Hollywood – The Enchanted Hill of Fred Thomson and Frances Marion

A Norman Kennedy rendering of The Enchanted Hill. From Wallace Neff, Architect of California’s Golden Age

One of the great “power” couples of silent Hollywood, Fred Thomson and Frances Marion were counted among Cinemaland’s most popular pairs during the ten years they spent together in the heady twenties before their fairy tale existence was shattered by Fred’s sudden and tragic death on Christmas Day 1928 at age 38.

They say it is destiny that brings couples together. In this case, destiny came in the form of a broken leg and Mary Pickford. The broken leg was Fred’s, a “war wound” he picked up not on the battlefield, but in an overly spirited football game with his fellow soldiers down at Camp Kearney near San Diego. Fred, an ordained Presbyterian minister, had joined the U.S. Army upon America’s entry into the First World War, serving as a chaplain with the 143rd Field Artillery. As fate would have it, the 143rd had the great fortune of having been “adopted” by Mary Pickford as their godmother and while Fred lay up at hospital Mary appeared on a visit with her very good friend and collaborator Frances Marion in tow.

In her autobiography Off With Their Heads, which chronicled her half century as one of Hollywood’s most important and highest paid screenwriters, the two-time Oscar winner joked, “No one had ever written more satirically about ‘love at first sight’ than I…” but when Frances met the handsome 6’2″ Fred she found out it really could – and did happen. Even laid up in a hospital bed, Fred cut an impressive figure. Before donning the cloth, he had been a champion world-class athlete at Occidental and Princeton and was a world record breaker in track and field competitions. Frances was no less impressive, a potent combination of beauty, brains, wit and charm and while Mary excused herself to speak with other soldiers, Frances stayed behind and chatted with Fred.  There was both an immediate physical and spiritual attraction between the two and within ten days they were already making arrangements to be married. Even a world war could not hinder their romance and although Fred was quickly shipped out to France with the 143rd, Frances was not far behind, heading overseas as a war correspondent.  No sooner had the Armistice been signed then the pair were married at the Edouard VII Hotel in Paris on November 19, 1918.

With his movie star looks and high-powered Hollywood connections it was inevitable that Fred would enter the movies, but his reasons for doing so were atypical. Fred was convinced of the power movies had to influence young people and he believed if he made films with a positive message he could reach more young people with a single film than he could do in a lifetime of sermons from a pulpit. Mary and Frances gave him a trial run in The Love Light (1921), a Mary Pickford vehicle written and directed by his wife and with Fred playing, ironically, a villain. A few more appearances followed before he hit his stride as a cowboy star and along with his trusty steed Silver King Fred rose a rising tide of popularity that made him a serious threat to Tom Mix. By 1927, he was making a then astounding $10,000 a week with Frances doing no less well penning a string of hits including Lightnin’; Stella Dallas (both 1925); The Son of the Sheik (1926); The Winning of Barbara Worth and The Scarlet Letter (all 1926) with her biggest years yet to come.

By this time, the couple had long since moved on from their comfortable, but relatively modest house in the Wilshire District at 744 South Windsor Boulevard and had “Gone Hollywood,” with what Frances described was “the largest house on the highest hill in Beverly Hills.” According to Frances, their plans started out innocently enough with the idea of a little hacienda-style farmhouse built on four acres they had purchased in the hills of Beverly at $1,500 an acre. But then Fred began buying more horses. After all, Silver King needed doubles and lots of them. “Aren’t six enough?,” Frances innocently asked her husband one day. “Six!” came his incredulous reply, “Silver King has to have a double for the high jumps, and doubles for all the other dangerous stunts. I couldn’t take a chance on his being hurt.” The total eventually came to twelve.

Silver King was well-loved by his master.

Naturally, this necessitated a much bigger stable block than originally planned, which necessitated moving the stables further from the house because of the “pungent odor of manure,” which, in turn necessitated adding additional acreage, this time at an ever-increasing price of $4,500 an acre. And of course, there needed to be a separate house for the stable hands and a riding ring too. Actually two riding rings. And the horses couldn’t be out in the sun all day. They needed shade and this necessitated the hauling of full-grown trees to the site. “A week later, Sherwood Forest began moving up the hill,” stated Frances dryly. By now, the original architect had long since bowed out, turning the job over to a specialist in the Spanish Hacienda type home the Thomson’s were planning, and expanding upon, every day. His name was Wallace Neff and it was a fortuitous change. The brilliant Neff transformed the Thomson’s dreams and needs onto the barren hillside converting it into a kingdom unto itself and an enchanted one at that. As Frances was to write:

In a short while our hill resembled a gigantic wedding cake. pine trees studded every tier, while on top rose a huge house with a drawing room two stories and a half high, rare tapestries on the walls, an Aeolian pipe organ, and windows overlooking five acres of lawn. Beautifully laid out on the terrace were a tiled barbeque, an aviary, and a hundred-foot swimming pool. Fred and his horses and I had gone Hollywood!

The Enchanted Hill 1926. note the Guest House on the left and Cowboy’s House below. Both good-sized homes of their own.

Upon its completion in 1925, the Thomsons bestowed the dreamy yet wholly appropriate name of “The Enchanted Hill,” upon their fantastical new estate at the end of Angelo Drive. By now the estate had expanded to fifteen acres and would ultimately grow to 120 before it was all over with.

Although newly built, the Enchanted Hill looked as if it had been in place for a century thanks to Neff’s sensitive and skilled design, an Andalusian Cortijo magically transported from the sunny hills of Spain to the sunny hills of Southern California. Fred and Frances, their two children  (and no doubt Silver King) were delighted with their new home, a feeling shared by rave reviews in the architectural press. In an extensive piece in Arts & Decoration in 1927, noted interior designer Charles Ray Glass walked readers through a virtual tour of the Enchanted Hill. Care to join us?

“The approach to the estate is by broad winding road that carries one in easy grades up the gradually ascending hills. Entrance to the house is gained through an archway into a cobbled court, guarded in true Spanish style by the lodge keeper’s apartment.

The acres of grounds were laid out by Paul J. Howard’s Horticultural Establishment of Beverly Hills.

Note the lazy dog sunning himself.

This court, which is open to the view on two sides, is centered with a low fountain of hand-made Mexican tile. Beds of rare cacti, paradise plant and other exotics, set in tile bordered plots, convey an especially engaging atmosphere of semi-tropical charm.

Entering the house finds one in a great hall – clear storied to the blue painted rafters. Directly in front of one is a wide flung arch of heavy masonry, beyond which opens the living room. A feature of the house is the large pipe organ, the Spanish console of which is in a small adjoining room. This arch serves a double purpose – that of an entrance to the living room and by the use of a heavy plaster grill on the living room side, as an outlet for the organ pipes, which are chambered in a room below.

Radiating from the main and upper walls to all parts of the house are long, narrow corridors, wood beamed, white walled and tile floored, and cool and restfully dim of a hot California mid-day.

There the similarity to the conventional Castilian interior ends, for, one who associates Spanish houses with austere and sombre rooms, there will obviously be ‘something wrong with the picture.’ The Spanish atmosphere is apparent, but so also is a flood of California sunshine.

Interior decoration was provided by George Hunt of the Cheesewright Studios of Pasadena.

In every room are windows of generous, sometimes massive proportions. In his desire to reflect in his interiors the wealth of warmth and color without, Mr. Neff has been ably assisted by the decorative scheme. The same boldly balanced tonal scale used in the interior furnishings of each room has been adopted for the outside planting, and only the modification of light differentiates the hangings, rugs and furniture coverings from the huge beds of California annuals that surround the courts and patios. This contributes greatly to the intimacy and charm that is so evident even in rooms that are actually of great size and completely eradicates the charge of ‘mustiness’ that can be rightfully held against the average house of true Spanish type.”

The Enchanted Hill was built for entertaining with Fred and Frances opening the home up regularly for their wide circle of friends. “For our parties,” she wrote, “we gathered about us people we liked from all walks of life: educators, artists, scientists, authors, archeologists, and explorers like Robert Flahrety.” Reporter Grace Kingsley breathlessly recounted a visit to a party Frances threw for her lady friends at the Enchanted hill in 1927, “We were being ushered into the lofty hall and into the great living room, with its wide view of the surrounding country, which you look at through those beautiful arched windows and which gives also a view on the other side of the long Italian garden, with its colored walls, its fountains and many-hued flowers. If there was a feminine star missing that day from Frances’ party I don’t know who it could have been.” Kingsley went on to prove her point by naming such luminaries as Lillian Gish, Colleen Moore, Norma Shearer, Gloria Swanson, Hedda Hopper, Theda Bara, Mabel Normand, Claire Windsor, Mary Astor, ZaSu Pitts, Peg Talmadge, Janet Gaynor, Bessie Love and Marie Dressler among those in attendance. “Somewhere in the Fred Thomson-Frances Marion home is a big pipe organ,” she continued, “and somebody was playing it as we visited together – a charming, distant harmony that lent a still more beautiful atmosphere in an already entirely delightful occasion.”

The Enchanted Hill’s Guest House had its own terrace.

Anyone visiting the Enchanted Hill and seeing this beautiful and successful couple so deeply in love could only imagine a long “happily ever after” for the two. But, as Frances wrote in her memoirs, ten days before Christmas, as the couple gazed down at the twinkling lights of Beverly Hills far down in the distance, she noticed her husband had a slight limp. She asked him if the leg he broke the previous year in an on-set accident was troubling him. “No,” he replied. “I stepped on a rusty nail and it bothers me a little. Nothing to worry about.” He died Christmas Day in his wife’s arms. A victim of medical misdiagnosis with his tetanus believed by doctors to be a gallbladder problem.

Fred with the Enchanted Hill’s pet cockatoo.

Legendary inventor Paul Kollsman.

Within a few weeks, the grief-stricken Frances put the Enchanted Hill up for sale, unable to stand the memories or continue the upkeep herself for what the Los Angeles Times luridly described as the “Memory-Haunted hill,” renting the Florence Vidor/Jascha Heifetz home at 809 North Bedford Drive. A few months later the Enchanted Hill changed hands for a reported $540,000 in cash, an enormous amount for a home in 1929, but it was no doubt worth it. The buyer was an oil man, Lejene S. Barnes, president of the Elbe Oil Land Development Company. By 1945, the property had passed to Paul Kollsman, inventor of the Altimeter, who lovingly maintained the Enchanted Hill for the next four decades. After his death in 1982, Kollsman’s widow remained on the estate until 1997 when she sold it to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Allen paid $20,000,000 for the legendary estate and then quickly ordered the entire Enchanted Hill and its outbuildings, Silver King’s mahogany-floored stable; the guest house; Cowboy’s House; the two riding rings; tennis court; acres of mature and lush gardens; and the 100-foot swimming pool to be bulldozed into oblivion. More than a decade later, it sits as a vacant, weed-covered lot.

The Enchanted Hill in 1927.

And today. Image via Google Earth.

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248 Responses to Lost Hollywood – The Enchanted Hill of Fred Thomson and Frances Marion

  1. David Hankins says:

    Boo! Paul Allen. Boo!!!

  2. Jim lewis says:

    What a wonderful estate, and what a crime that it was destroyed. There should be a special punishment for people like Paul Allen.

  3. Lorinda says:

    Insanity. Complete insanity. No doubt about it, Paul Allen was a jack-ass.

  4. Wonderful post.
    Terrible, the hubris of Paul Allen

  5. Too bad he didn’t step on a rusty nail before he could carry out this dastardly deed!

  6. Lance says:

    Paul Allen, you sir, are a gigantic heel!

  7. David Ko says:

    I knew a lot about this house. This house was widely published in numerous home magazines and architectural periodicals by far one of Neff’s best works. You extensive research really explained the personality of the house that I did not know about. George Washigton Smith’s creation just like Neff’s shares the same fate in the hands of technology monguls. Both may not have the vision or time to replace them with homes worthier than the predecessors.

    • Steve says:


      It is always a pleasure to hear from you and your insightful comments and I thank you for your kind words. No one would think of destroying a a valuable and beautiful old painting just for the frame yet so many people destroy these great old homes, which are works of art in themselves just for the land. Once they are gone they cannot be replaced. Every time we lose one of these great homes we lose a part of our history.

    • It strikes me Paul Allen was a “hater.” His technology, which will pass away, was claptrap compared to the love and artistry that went into that estate.

  8. sylvain says:

    thanks for all ,i search other pictures of this villa since long time
    thanks again

    best regards


  9. A. Disgusted Citizen says:

    In the process of destroying this historic LA estate and grinding up the 120 acre mountaintop with a massive infrastructure project Mr. Allen and his minions have also utterly ruined the only adjacent undeveloped land on this mountain that is owned by someone else.

    Five small parcels (.5 acres) were purchased in 1994 by a local family, the Aghchays. Eva Kollsman had given the Agchay’s verbal permission to cross over the estate to reach their land, and they dreamed of one day building a family home next to the Enchanted Hill estate.

    In 2004 along comes Mr. Allen, who buys the 120 acres, levels the entire old estate, bulldozes the landscape, and with him comes illegal gates blocking Angelo Drive & armed guards that threatened the Agchays and who completely barred access to their land.

    Part of Allen’s ‘fixing’ the site of the old estate included building a 300 x100 yard drainage culvert system that dumps flood water directly on top of the Aghchay’s land, as well as a ten foot high concrete retaining wall blocking forever any hope of accessing their property.

    When politely asked in 2011 to make amends for the damages and to consider buying the Aghcays out at fair market value (before Allen ruined their land) Allen’s lawyers and lobbyists spent months stalling, then flatly denied any responsibility for what they had done.

    Eight years of intimidation of the Aghchay family, and total destruction of the neighbor’s property rights, and all Allen & his lawyers could come up with were condescending remarks, outright lies & blanket denials.

    Meetings with the local councilman came up with blank stares, nervous smirks, and no help at all. Later it was discovered that Allen’s lobbyists had paid the city $600K in ‘service costs’ to insure that the public road Angleo Drive would be turned into a private road for Mr. Allen’s 120 acres. Beverly Hills/LA City Government appears to be for sale to the highest bidder.

    Instead of being a gentleman and righting the damage done, and for a cost of less that 1% of the current value of the 120 acres he now owns, Paul Allen instead intends to bury the Agchays in legal paper if they dare to try to take legal action to restore their rights.

    Both the Enchanted Hill and the only neighbor’s land & rights were needlessly and forever ruined by the meglomaniacal bravado of this classless billionaire from Seattle.

    • Matt Moyer says:

      Couldn’t agree more with your perceptive synopsis of events after the Kollsman sale. The Aghcays fatal mistake was not obtaining a legally binding easement from Mrs. Kollsman. Hindsight is always 20/20, but how could anyone think a verbal assurance would transfer to a new owner, let alone one of the worlds richest men? Having managed the property in a peripheral way in the 1990’s I came to know Mrs. Kollsman, Jeff Hyland, etc. in a considerably less than flattering light. These people had no morals, were most rapatious and not very bright in the management of the estate. A long term tenant (@$40K/month) wanted to buy the property & restore it. When denied he vacated the premises & Hyland’s response was “Oh I’ll have the place rented next month”. No further long term tenants until sale to Allen. Beverly Hills is the last place I’d take anyone’s word on something important. Thanks for the update & my condolences to the Aghcays.


      • Kris says:

        I am thankful for the Lost Hollywood site which keeps those memories alive. So many of those wonderful homes have been lost. I believe only the gate and garage of Valentino’s Falcon Lair still exists. What a shame. Such a shame that a person, Paul Allen, with the resources to maintain such a beautiful estate as “The Enchanted Hill” chooses to flatten it.

      • Lynn Russell says:

        There is a considerable untold story about the nefarious deeds of Eva, her early and later cohorts and the true circumstances about the death of Paul Kollsman. As his patent attorney, my father and Kollsman were friends and colleagues since the late 3@’s before he eve. acquired the
        place. After Kolksmans first
        wife passed away , the unscrupulous Eva wormed her way into the life of a rather socially naive but brilliant man. The only other person that knew all the details was Kollsman’s major domo who eventually broke down under the weight of what he knew. After a life of devoted service to a man of impeccable character his soul was wracked by what be witnessed.

      • Richard says:

        Hi Matt,
        Long time no see. Thanks for your honest and clarity.

      • Lynn Russell says:

        Dear Friend of Paul and Franz,

        Many, many thanks on this grand day of gratitude for your kind remarks. It feels like yesterday when Franz sat at Kollsman’s for desk for hours and spilled out the entire story. Words cannot express my feelings then and since. His treatment at the hands of Mrs. Kollsman would barely be personified by the term indentured servant. She clearly ransomed his present and future along with Mr. Kollsman’s goodness and generosity in a labyrinth of deeds. I do hope Franz is often remembered in the prayers at The Good Shepard where he lovingly prepared the altar.

        Will I be contacting you as well at the address mentioned?

    • Lynn Russell says:

      How could Beverly Hills receive $600,000 for access modifications on
      LA County land not in Beverly Hills? Perhaps you know the name of the city official facilitating this arrangement? If not, easy to find out.

      Further how is it that a deal for adjacent land transacted with no legal access and with no appropriate

      • A friend to Paul and Franz says:

        Ms. LYNN! Thank You and your father. You are most correct and You might ask …’Murder She Wrote’ Angela Lansbury who lived on Kollsman land where a castle was built (@1355 Angelo Drive). She knows the truth, and did have a chat one very early morning with Franz. The tiny sliver Sold by Kollsmam in 1979 and a hideous 6,030 sq. ft “castle was build. During most the 80’s’ she lived on the property in a lease by the movie studio for about eight years( she shared a driveway entrance to the estates. I knew Franz for over 30 years and last saw him in 2003. Franz was, as you say “… He was very dedicated to his faith and a humble man. I will continue to pray for his soul. May God bless you for remembering a dear friend. Sincerely, Michelle Anglade, Good Shepard Church”. Franz and Eva both died in 2005 I believe and he was never paid a penny for the last 25 years of service since Eva did not like the word loyal employee. She had her live-in homo alcoholic Ray Mathew as a servant errand boy (one of two “errand boys”) from 1968 till there horrid deaths by excessive alcoholic consumption by 2005. Eva thought “everything should be donated” as if it was the pleasure to just work for free really!

        On March 21, 1980, Paul Kollsman filed a motion to submit additional evidence that raised, for the first time, the argument that his 75 homes- 85 acres subdivision application should be “deemed approved” pursuant to California statutes. The court held two additional days of trial in April 1981. On November 11, 1981, the court issued an opinion stating that it had found for the plaintiff on the issue of liability and directing plaintiff’s counsel to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Over the City’s opposition, the court on his birthday, February 22, 1982, granted Kollsman’s motion to amend the complaint to conform to proof. The amendment added two counts: Count VII asserts that Kollsman’s application must be “deemed approved” under California law, and Count VIII claims rights under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. He chose not to paid a cash ransome
        to a LA City supervisor in 1977 and therefore pursued justice and won!

        Soon after Eva hearing of a headache by Mr. Kollsman, Eva arrived for her first visit in some 20 years to the West coast and stay the two weeks after succeeding in doing what she does best. Drinking herself into a grandiose state of dullness alone with her Bi-bi coastal errand boy. I was present during her stay. She returned only once for an evening
        book signing for the said mentions by Wallace Neff jr.

        The caretaker Franz, the German cook/ handyman and MajorDomo who had “wished he had been a volunteer and gone to the Moon and died”, rather then serve the patrons of Eva sent from her reclusive 1010 Fifth Ave. 6C 3 bedroom apartment in 1969. Who was Franz, the caretaker?? He spent years of imprisonment by the Russians after the horrid deaths in the battle for Stalingrad in Jan. 1942. As a young German conscripted soldier in the engineer division, he was among the 93,000+ surviving german soldiers taken to Russia by walking!!!…after the long cold battle at Stalingrad in Winter of 1942. He was released in 1954. (He told of ex-German returning men who barely survived their trek West thru Eastern Europe as they wondered “where” to get off the train and fear local residents would kill them even though the war had been over for years. Less then 6,000 of the original 90,000+ Stalingrad captured soldiers survived to make it out of Russia.) Franz arrived in USA in 1955 via Canada. Little did he realize that he would again come against such a dark force. This is what confronted Franz in September 1982…and it would test his skills and his faith, beyond the hardships and moral degradations, etc. of the battles and life during all of WWII perhaps! Dark Matter still lurks in the low and highlands!

        I believe the $600,000 dollar paid by Allen was for the 3/4 mile private road which access
        at 2001 Benedict by the City of LA for the street access. The road follows the same path
        The Mr. Kollsman had laid out by bulldozer in 1956 for the a similar road development.

        Search google: A crazed Austrian cook – handyman with a bullet hole in his head

        Address for contacting or writing:
        Angela Lansbury
        635 north Bonhill Road
        Los Angeles, Ca. 90049-2301

  10. Randall says:

    I don’t know why people buy places like this (and Pickfair for that matter) just to destroy them. They were unique places, now gone forever. How sad.

  11. John says:

    This house belonged to a friend of my mom. I got to go there many times and relish in the amazing architecture and history. I even have the original for sale brochure. I thought Paul Allen was going to restore the home, but he apparently is a real horses ass. There was no reason to destroy the house.

    • Mark Johnson says:

      Dear John, Is the sales brochure available anywhere on the web? Is there any chance you could scan it and show it here? Thanking you, Mark Johnson

      • john smith says:

        If John doesn’t get around to it, I’ll send you scans of the brochure. Unless I missed something, can’t attach jpegs in this response. Please shoot me an email (set-up for this purpose) at: js99apple@gmail.com and I’ll send you the “once upon a time” Enchanted Hill brochure.

      • John says:

        Hi Mark,

        Sorry to take so long getting back to you. I do have the brochure and will scan it in and post. This is such a tragic loss for everyone.

      • tresrios639 says:

        My Dad and some friends at the Pool when my Grandpa Barnes owned it in the 30sSylvia Durando

      • Hi Mark. Sorry it has been so long. I do have the brochure and have it scanned in. Not sure how to post it here, but contact me and I will send it to you.

    • Scotty says:

      Hello ~ This might be a long shot, but I am just seeing this post and was looking for more mages of this house for a book I am working on. Any chance you still have the scan of the brochure? My email is: scottdisney33@yahoo.com

      • Richard McLeod says:

        So much of the Hollywood History has been lost to crazy development including Mary and Doug Fairbanks “Pickfair”, Rudolph Valentino’s “Falcon Lair”, the “Ambassador Hotel” and many other major sites and homes relating to Hollywood History including the back lots of MGM Studios. It is as if the current populace just does not care.

        I feel as if the future populations will evaluate us more for the buildings we have torn down as opposed to the buildings that have been built.

      • John says:

        Hi Scott,

        I will scan it in a email to you.



      • H.J. SCHNURR says:

        Hello – has the book been published in the meantime ? I am from Freudenstadt – Germany – the birthplace of Paul Kollsman – THANK YOU

  12. jim thomson says:

    my name is jim thomson,son of richard and grandson of frances and fred.i only learned today,january 3,2012 that the enchanted hill was destroyed.when i heard years ago that mr allen had purchased it i was hopefull for the future of the hill.now i am sick to my stomach.

    • A Fan of Frances Marion says:

      what a sad, sad ending to a beautiful story of love, architecture, and movies… i hope you know that there are many, many writers (myself being one) who admire your grandmother and love the story of your grandparents… i hope you have at least some momentos from their lives to make you happy… as long as there are people who love the movies, your grandparents will never be forgotten…cheers…

    • Patrice says:

      Jim, it was a travesty what Paul Allen did to that estate. I’m so sorry. Even after reading “Without Lying Down” many times, I kept wishing your mother had kept the estate, despite the loss of your grandfather. So many “if onlys” in this world. By any chance do you have any photos from when your father Richard lived there? Anything would be lovely to see! What a beautiful, classy estate it was. Clearly have money doesn’t imbue one with taste! I’ll bet they COULD have restored the place. I especially hate that no one can go up on Angelo Drive and at least see the “footprints” of what used to be there.

    • Jane Mellin says:

      Very disgusting behavior–hard to understand the arrogance. I and my parents were close friends of your Uncle Fred and his family, Joan and Rick; I even spent an afternoon with your grandmother. I miss the Thomsons often,

    • John says:


      I am, so sorry. Franz spoke of you often with great admiration.

      Made me sick to my stomach too.


    • Betsy Marion says:

      Hello Jim,
      My name is Betsy Marion. I am related to you via your grandmother, Frances. I’d be interested in speaking with you.

    • Gayle Fitch says:

      I have a painting which is supposedly of your grandfather, painted by Mary Leighton Thomson in 1974-75. On the back is her notation “Uncle Fred in Hollywood” and “Fred’s 1927 Packard Roadster.” I am trying to establish if this is actually your grandfather. A Spanish home is in the painting but I do not believe it to be the Enchanted Hill. Any assistance in this matter would be most appreciated.

  13. LaRoche says:

    Had the great pleasure of discovering both paradiseleased blog & this particular article today. In the early 90’s was a houseguest & been reading anything/everything I could find about the property since. This article was the most instructive found thus far with regard to photographs included and credits given to landscape & interior designers. Couldn’t agree more with the previous comments posted on Mr. Allen’s singular lack of what a unique property he’d purchased; both in terms of architectural heritage & string of brillant creative owners that had come before him & not found the property “wanting”. One would think 120 acres would allow for the preservation of existing structures as well as building whatever one wanted. Was considerabily less charitable in my opinions of Mr. Allen’s destruction initally, now just sad that such a unique “dream palace” is only a memory. Again, best, most extensive historic photos seen to date but don’t begin to capture the beauty of walking the grounds or sitting on the upstairs MB terrace and gazing at LA to the ocean. Many, many thanks for the memories.

  14. ERIC B says:

    the worst example yet… and the los angeles basin has plenty to choose from… of what a Big Swinging D*ck will do to prove that he has a B.S.D.! Shameful, and a pox on all those who snoozed/profited from this exercise in 1% ass-#*#ery, with Paul Allen at the top of the frickin’ list.

  15. John Hlumyk says:

    Isn’t Paul Allen the type of person who, in the old westerns, ended up with a slug from a peacemaker in his head? Man, I do love them old westerns.

    • Sylvia Durando says:

      Check out Comanche Station with Randolph Scott. I did all the riding and Stunts for Nancy Gates in the Movie.

  16. Larry Cali says:

    Just learned all this about the sale to Paul Allen.
    When I was a kid I spent a couple of summer weeks at the home, the guest of the Kollsman’s who owned it after Marion-Thompson. I live in Seattle and an really annoyed that Paul Allen bought and then razed the home. I’ve met Allen a number of times as a TV reporter. I’m going to tell
    him the next time I see him what a loss this was to me personally and to Hollywood.
    Larry Cali

    • Steve says:

      I’m sure he will tell you the house was old and rotted or something along those lines. It was in need of rehab, but a sensitive restoration would have returned that house into the paradise it once was. I do wonder why he seems to have dropped the plans for his new house there. Thanks so much for writing Larry!

    • Sylvia Durando says:

      Larry, I am the granddaughter of LS Barnes, he purchased the Estate from Francis Marion, with Hedda Hopper as her agent. You can read about it in Hedda Hoppers Book……”From Under My Hat”
      It hurts me deeply that the jerk tore it down!

      • Larry Cali says:

        Hi Slyvia,
        Where do you live in Seattle? What’s your e-mail? Would be delighted to meet you. I live on Queen Anne. I’m retired from KING-TV about 13 years ago.
        Hope all is well with you.

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        Larry i live in Central California. Hummmmmm how do I get my E to you without posting it here for all to see. Don’t mind chatting about the home but I hate all the Spam! You can Google my name.

    • gregnagin says:

      Larry my name is Greg Nagin. I use to live on the estate in late 1970’s. I worked with Franz to keep the place up. I had the guest house back past the garage that housed Mr. Kolesman’s Citron. I have a lot of memories of Mr. Kolesman, Franz and the place. I would love to converse about the place and people. This site has opened my eyes to my wonderful friend Franz. Now I know of his walk to Russia and the character of a man who 30 years my senior out worked me in the Los Angeles heat taking care of the grounds. I think of him often and wondered what happened. Now i know today he as passed. I remember Franz saying “Greg, do you know why I love this place?” he said because he could piss and look down on all the fake people of Beverly Hills.”

      • Frank Pettinger says:

        Hi Greg, what a cool place to live, really! I met Franz and Kollsman while shooting an episode of “Cool Million” up there in 1972. I became friends with Franz and visited the estate several times for business related meetings with Kollsman from 1973-1976 or so.

      • Frank Pettinger says:

        He told me the same thing, by the way.

        One day we visited several homes he was taking care of on Angelo Dr. As we drove up the hill from down below, he said there is Liza Minnelli’s home, a little further up Fred Silverman (the then President of Universal Studios), and just outside the gates in a rented home Sly and the Family Stone.

  17. Sylvia Durando says:

    O MY Gosh, I just found this PAGE. I am the granddaughter of LS Barnes. I lived with my parents in the Guest house in the late 30s. I have some wonderful memories and Photos of our time there. Sylvia Durando

    • Norma Nelson McDaniel says:

      Hi Sylvia,
      Was anyone living in the ‘Cowboy House’ that had been renovated by Nelson Eddy back in 1936? I have heard that he made it quite livable.

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        I will stand by this, as long as my Grandpa Barnes owned the Estate there was NO Nelson Eddy living there or renovating any part of it. If he renovated it was after it was sold!!!

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        NEVER was Nelson Eddy Living in the home anywhere as long as Mr Barnes owned the property.
        If he renovated anything on the property it was AFTER Mr Barnes sold it. You all have to get past this rumor. It just didn’t happen during our time there.

    • gregnagin says:

      I use to live there to but 40 years later. I understand Mike Douglas the actor rented it for $5,000 a month for awhile. I helped Mr. Kolesman take care of the place.

    • Mark Johnson says:

      Dear Ms Durando, Thank you for your post! Is there any chance that you would be willing to post your photos either here or privately? This story is fascinating to me. Sincerely, Mark Johnson

  18. Richard says:

    Mr. Kollsman’s discoveries and successes lead me to think he was one of the 20th Century most enlightened thinkers. “Thus a visionary”, it was said, after his first invention in 1928, and it continued through out his life. He had an amazing love affair with science. As a friend to the family, I thought it appropriate to celebrate his birthdate.

    This Friday, February 22, at the Will Rogers Memorial Park across from Beverly Hills Hotel 2PM @ the reflection Koi Pond – a moment of appreciation and remembrance.

    • Lynn Russell says:

      Hi Richard,
      The depth and breadth of Kollsman’s pursuits were truly visionary. There were hundreds of patents alone, a few pages of which I still retain. Alas, Mrs. Eva Kollsman was not about to bestow any of Kollsman’s papers to anyone who might have used them to illuminate his outstanding work. Oddly enough, my parents anniversary was also February 22, so I would be thrilled to meet with you next February 22, 2014 at Will Rogers Park at the Koi Pond, something Kollsman would have appreciated. I respectfully refer to Paul Kollsman as Kollsman since he and my Father would address each other affectionately and formally using only their last names.

      • Richard says:

        Kollsman’s contribution were indeed impressive,… as recent as 1975 with his bath tub surfaces and flush closing multi-panel sliding doors patents. From 1928 with the first sensitive altimeter to his discoveries in modern medicine and the first jet engines and, of course, the dozens of aircraft cockpit Kollsman Instruments, gyroscopes, tachometers, heated pitots tubes, etc… his discoveries were mind blowing brilliant! His “precise” apparatus 200 patents I.e. invents included: the first self-tuning for color TV; Over a dozen patents in “Regenerating ion transfers” for human dialysis; the first saline to fresh water treatment procedure in the decade of the 1950’s. Not to mention the automatic syringes devices; his jet compressors, jet nozzles, carburetors, fluid seals, and rotary engines in “thermodynamic thrust”-1944, first carbonation device for soda apparatus, the first miniature bulb and light socket, and first defrosting systems, and the fountain pen made usefully-artistic were,some of his patents from the decades of the 1940’s. Paul Kollsman was assigned the brilliant patent filed in 1938 for “Thermonic gas relay” high vacuum tube invention.
        His Kollsman Instrument Company dominated the air sextant field by then and they introduced their first aircraft sextant (to Pan American Airways and KLM) in 1948…and later to NASA including Apollo 13 flight (which might have saved the day had not Houston done the sextant calculations by radar since the explosion of gases had booked the stars view by the failed Moon landing attempt with the Apollo 13 astronauts ).

        What a tell of creativity … so willingly to give to humanity … Col. Doolittle called him the “well-manner genius”. A gentle quite soft speaking inventive-engineer, he was a centrifuge for synthesized knowledge…one of the best in the 20th Century.

        During the years after the WWII 1945, the Air Army and/or US Army did occupy the property at 1441 Angelo – (The “Enchanted Hill” or “Happy Hill” to be accurate) with meetings of mostly German scientist at which the tall and handsome Mr. Kollsman would be hosting the “minds” of, perhaps, the recently released FDR’s “operation paperclip” German engineers/scientist. These day gatherings were under extremely-tight armed Army MP and jeeps as told by eye witnesses including Luli Kollsman’s Austrian son, Goldi as the teenager kid and young friend Peter Paanakker rollicked in the Olympic pool. And there was a “Cowboy guest house” -a 3 story 15 room building which burned down in 1960 Belair fire located just above the lower Sables and grand terraced gardens.

        Some people bestow goodness and some “Alas Mrs. Eva”…less shining, as in this classic case of wife #2. The so-many Whys and Paul Allen’s grotesquely-gross decision to tear it down are known and will go down in historical societies as, perhaps, just poor advise and blind stupidity. When this first and perhaps flagship grand-theatrical design of the Wallace Neff estate was sold to Allen in 97, the main building was solid as the Hearst Castle. I doubt it was bought for it looks sadly!! It is/was a great sin and perhaps even a set-up for the seemingly lonely Paul Allen to tear it down. To understand one must read ‘Tense Little Lives’ – Ray Mathews, a truly dark haunting book of prose. Sadly, … it is not fiction. The real-life Suddenly, Last Summer homo depressingly sad story.

        Paul Kollsman’s living Godson, Paul, recently talked of Mr. Kollsman’s Minerals and Mining Company from the early 1960’s which extracted mercury and silver from some mines in Nevada and stories going back to the early 1930’s. Just How Howard Hughes aviation division entered their lives (Paul Kollsman and Howard Hughes) was partially revealed during a conversation. I had known that Mr. Kollsman would drive down Angelo Drive to meet Mr Hughes at Hughes request, off Lexington Ave in Kollsman car adjacent to the Beverly Hills Hotel Bungalow during 1950-Early 60’s.

        Knowledge is/was structured in Paul Kollsman’s Consciousness – that is for sure.

        Such a wonder thought to meet 22 February. The Chinese Garden @The Huntington also has a Koi pond too, a generous gift of the gardens and pond by the little kid playing in the pool ….Peter Paanakker.

        P.S. Netflix -TV movies Columbo Series 5 Episode 3 “Identity Crisis”, one of several spectacular films which show the grounds and interiors to the historical property in requiem! It was Torn down by the request of one sad and corporately abused loneliest perhaps Billionaire. karma can be a good wicked bitch… The lot, now known,as his sister’s Philbert Trust; Case # CF 10-1519; VAC-E1400931 2001 Benedict Canyon stands empty and welcomes a Wallace Neff design please GOD.

    • Lynn Russell says:

      Hello again Richard,
      I am very appreciative of your additional details. My mother likewise expresses her heartfelt thanks, father having since passed away.

      The story is a wild and wicked one to be sure but I would prefer to focus on all the positive aspects put forward by Kollsman. Other individuals who benefitted from their involvement in treacherous deeds will be fully revealed. The humility and dedication exemplified by Dear Franz is also stunning and deeply moving considering his trials in Stalingrad. I should look forward to meeting with you at Will Roger’s Park or The Chinese Garden at The Huntington which has also blossomed from the fine gift of Peter P. That would be a lovely choice as well. I have many thoughts regarding illuminating the legacy of Kollsman, perhaps some collaboration is in store.

      On this national day of gratitude, I wish to express thanks for all those individuals who freely give without thoughts of gain in the grand worldly collaboration benefitting all.

  19. Undine says:

    I just discovered this post via Twitter. What an amazing story surrounding what must have been, from these pictures, a truly amazing estate. Heartbreaking to think such a lovely house, with a rich history, is now a barren lot.

    I wonder why Allen left this land barren. Is he just one of those people who gets pleasure from destroying beautiful things?

  20. oh this was terrible.. myself and a nelson eddy and jeanette macdonald group go up to 1330 angelo drive ..at the gate..as nelson eddy bought the “cowboy house” and called it misty mountain and lived there on and off with his secret love jeanette macdonald.. but there are guards who came up and checked us out.. that greedy greedy man…to tear down all that histroy..does anyone have a photo of the “cowboy house” would love to have seen it..

    • Steve says:

      Hi: You are actually thinking of a different house than the Cowboy House. Misty Mountain was the name director Fred Niblo gave to his estate @ 1330 Angelo, which is just down the road from The Enchanted Hill, which was @ 1441. Both were designed by Wallace Neff and, thankfully, at least 1330 Angelo still exists, cared for by a certain Mr. Murdoch who I hear has something to do with newspapers and movie studios! That’s probably why you encountered guards. Look for 1330 Angelo and you’ll find lots of photos. A magnificent property in itself.

  21. Richard Davis McLeod says:

    Where was the Los Angeles Conservancy and even the City of Los Angeles in all of this? To be fair, they may have tried to save this Historic Estate, but their power is only so great, especially against one of these Technology Billionaires of today who care nothing for the History of Hollywood or anywhere for that matter. This Estate was a shining example of early Hollywood History as was Pickfair, and now both have been needlessly torn down by individuals more interested in a computer and smart phone than noted Architecture with a comparable History. This is an unfortunate and very sad story of such a loss to the History of Hollywood and the entire Movie Industry. Frances Marion was one of the most influential writers in the History of the Movies, and built this Estate employing only the best Architects and artisans of the day. A loss to the History of Hollywood, Architecture, Movies and the Arts.

  22. Nan says:

    I am puzzled…..when you go to google maps and put in 1330 Angelo Drive, you see an enormous home which seems to be on the same property at 1330 with access by a long driveway. Did Paul Allen finally build this home or is this a neighbor to the property? It appears that 1330 Angelo Drive covers quite a long footage and goes around the corner on google maps, part being undeveloped and a large part with the very large home, swimming pool, lovely gardens, etc.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Nan:

      You are looking at the wrong address. The Enchanted Hill was just up from 1330 @ 1441. You are looking at the old Fred Niblo/Rupert Murdoch Estate, which was also designed by Wallace Neff and is, thankfully, still there. The old site is, as far as I know, still vacant. Thanks for the question!

      • Nan says:

        Thank you Steve for your answer. That explains several things now, but I am curious as to how far up the road is 1441……would you say two blocks or a half mile or further??? I know it is on the other side of the street, just wondered how far away it is from 1330 Angelo Drive.

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        Nan, go to Map Quest and put in 1441 it will show the exact location. Trivia on the Silver King Horse. Fred purchased him in the East off the Polo Fields. They shaved the manes and fore
        lock of the Polo horses, so in the photos of the main Silver King Horse, you can see it is shaved off. Reason they couldn’t let it grow out is, it would of been standing straight up for a time. Some of his posters have the fore lock drawn on.

      • Steve says:

        Thanks Sylvia for helping out AND for the other great comments from before too. Appreciate the excellent info and especially the first hand knowledge! What a wonder it was.

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        Your truly welcome Steve. I have some wonderful photos from the home when we lived there. I am willing to share them but there is no way to post them here. I could E them to you or I could post them on your Facebook I guess.

      • Steve says:

        Hi Sylvia: I’m so awful at Facebook. I really need to get that going, but alas. I would LOVE to see any photos you might be kind enough to share. Can you send them to the blog e-mail site @ paradiseleasedblog@yahoo.com? I check that regularly.

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        Will do!

  23. Sylvia Durando says:

    It was located at the top of the hill. I remember when we lived there the road up was one lane and my Mom would honk the horn going round the bend in case someone was coming down. I am still so saddened it was torn down. Wonder where the Iron doors ended up. My Cousin had the original stove stored in Burbank for a long time.

    • Anne says:

      Sylvia, did you ever post the pictures of the homes on the Frances Marion/Fred Thomson Estate? I’d love to see particularly pictures of the guest house, which is the one that was leased to Nelson Eddy for him and Jeanette Macdonald to live in in the late 30s and 40s. I’d appreciate it if you would very kindly send them to me.

  24. Shaun Q says:

    This house was featured in 2 movies that I know of… “Double Indemnity (1973)” TV Remake with Richard Crenna playing the part of Walter (Neff). Also, Clint Eastwood’s “The Rookie” (1990). Plenty of inside shots of the spanish murals in the living room.

  25. Shaun Q says:

    Oh, and a Columbo episode from 1973 called “Double Shock”

  26. Richard Davis McLeod says:

    Miriam Hopkins last film (not released at the time-around 1969 supposedly due to the Manson murders and the overall fear in the Hollywood Hills at the time) was originally called “The Comeback” (loosely based on the “Sunset Boulevard” concept), aka “Hollywood Horror House” & later “The Savage Intruder. This film was supposedly filmed at one of the Estates of the Talmadge sisters shown prominently in this film and quite impressive. The opening film credits show the condition of the Hollywood Sign at the time of the film’s production, and does so in great detail and quite impressive and now historic footage of the condition both of the sign and Hollywood at the time. This is actually one of the better parts of this low budget horror film. The movie also starred Minta Durfee Arbuckle (Fatty’s wife), Gale Sondergard, John Garfleld Jr. (John Garfield’s son I understand that was later killed in Vietnam), Joe Besser (Three Stooges fame) and other Hollywood notables at the time. I wonder if anyone knows where this house is and if it is near the Enchanted Hill? Thanks for the information.

  27. Chas Demster says:

    Thanks to one of my readers I learned this property was in the movie “Private School” An 80’s teen flick. It was used as a vacation resort where Phoebe Cates And Matthew Modine travel to in the movie. The movie makes you believe it is real close to the ocean because in a later scene they are at the beach.

  28. Pingback: Did Paul Allen Buy A Big Bay Area Crib? | Luxury Houses For Sale

  29. Patrice says:

    Sylvia Durando, I am very curious if you lived in the guest house in the late 30s do you recall Nelson Eddy living in the cowboy house at the time? I know another poster thought he was at the Niblo estate but he wasn’t. It was definitely the cowboy “bunkhouse” which he remodeled over the years that he and Jeanette MacDonald lived there, secretly, away from Louis B. Mayer’s scrutiny (he never wanted them to wed) and their “legal” spouses. I’m referring to your post below:
    Sylvia Durando says:
    January 15, 2013 at 01:02

    O MY Gosh, I just found this PAGE. I am the granddaughter of LS Barnes. I lived with my parents in the Guest house in the late 30s. I have some wonderful memories and Photos of our time there. Sylvia Durando

    • Steve says:

      Hi Patrice:

      We at Paradise Leased can confirm that Nelson Eddy was in fact living at Misty Mountain, the former Fred Niblo estate, in the late 1930s @ 1330 Angelo Drive. This has been referenced a number of times in various books/articles on the house. Specifically, he gave this address after he and his mother had been involved in an auto accident in June of 1937. (Source: “Nelson Eddy in Crash,” LA Times 6/25/1937) You might also want to check out “Beverly Estate of Fred Niblo Leased” (LAT 5/1/1938). It reads, in part, “The estate, with facilities including swimming pool and tennis courts, formerly was occupied by Nelson Eddy, screen star.”

      You say he was “definitely” living at the Enchanted Hill Cowboy House at the time. Is there any way you could share your source with us? We’d love to add it to the history of the house, but we’d need some confirmation if possible. Thanks so much! We’re always interested in learning something new.

      • Patrice says:

        Yes, it is from a journal his mother, Isabel Eddy, kept where she relates a specific wonderful Christmas a “Mists” which was the cowboy 2-story bunkhouse that Nelson remodeled. As there was no bunkhouse on the Niblo property it seems someone has it mixed up. I understand Niblo’s was called “Misty Mountain” — but Nelson and jeanette referred to their place as “Mists” because of the same mist that would float at the top of the hill. At least this was my understanding per a book called “Sweethearts” by Sharon Rich. Now I wonder if originally Nelson Eddy rented the Niblo estate but discovered the cowboy bunkhouse was more private away from his prying fans and moved further up the hill to Enchanted Hill. He must have known about the structures on the property as he once dated Frances Marion in the 30s. That’s about all I can give you. Check out Sharon Rich’s book. So it seems likely that Nelson had formerly leased the Niblo estate but perhaps once his address was listed after that accident, his fans bothered him. He must have discovered the cowboy bunkhouse was available and moved up to Enchanted Hill, remodelling the bunkhouse as a “love nest” for Jeanette and himself. They lived as husband and wife there from about 1938 to the end of the 40s. Again, this is all documented in Ms. Rich’s book. Thank you, Steve, for responding so quickly! I still wonder if Sylvia knows anything about that bunkhouse being leased to Nelson Eddy and/or seeing Nelson and Jeanette there!?

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        I am going to check my Hyland Book and see if that Niblo Home is mentioned in it.

  30. Patrice says:

    Oh and one more documentation that I can offer is the eyewitness account of a woman who is now 91. When she was a child her father was a friend of Nelson Eddy’s and would often drive up to Enchanted Hill to the bunkhouse called “Mists”. She remembers going up the long drive up to the hill top. She is most adamant it was NOT the estate that still exists at the bottom, at 1330 Angelo Drive. She recalls seeing Nelson there for sure and her father and mother discussing the secret love affair. She has been by that area since as an adult and knows they drove past the Niblo estate to get to the top of the hill.

    • Sylvia Durando says:

      To my knowledge there was NEVER a Bunkhouse on the Estate when we were there, and NO they did not live there as long as my Grandfather owned it. I know tons of dirt from that time but never a hint of them there. Not to say they didn’t but it could of been before or after we were there. I think I would of known if there was a Cowboy Bunk House.
      Jeffery Hyland has a beautiful Book and the Estate is in the book, it sells for over three hundred dollars, and is well worth it. I have a signed copy from him. One of the Beatles rented the home for a while. He might be the one to contact.

      • Patrice says:

        Okay, well I’m not sure why you say there was never a Bunkhouse aka the Cowboy house as it is mentioned in Frances Marion’s book as well as in the above description of the property.

        “And of course, there needed to be a separate house for the stable hands and a riding ring too. Actually two riding rings. And the horses couldn’t be out in the sun all day.”

        So it could have been called the cowboy house or a bunkhouse but there was a guest house (as shown in the above photo of 1927 and pointed out in the description of that 1927 photo) AND a cowboy house.

        I don’t think it seems odd to want to remodel a place you’re living in over a number of years as a rental. Eddy had money to spend and perhaps he offered to pay for the rennovations. What owner wouldn’t take him up on that offer? We’ll just never really know.

        As to whether memories are dim, Isabel Eddy wrote down day by day events as they happened. Not many years later. There are letters with such detailed accounts of dates, places, events, it just doesn’t seem possible for someone to make this stuff up!

        And as for the living person’s memory, well, this 91 year old woman is sharper than most 25 year olds! Sharp as a tack, as they say. She has an excellent memory for many things. As you say there it is in the L.A. Times that Nelson Eddy rented or leased the Niblo estate. As to whether there was a MacDonald-Eddy relationship, well, if the house was rented by Nelson Eddy why did Niblo sue Jeanette MacDonald over her dogs ruining the house? At any rate this blog need not be a forum for whether there was or wasn’t a relationship. Many, many believe there was. It is a silly old fight with old timers who won’t let go. Old time Jeanette fans still won’t believe Gene Raymond had a lusty gay life and that Jeanette tried to divorce him 9 different times. So be it. If Sylvia lived there in the late 30s I just wanted to know if she saw him there. Clearly she didn’t. So perhaps he rented out the cowboy house later on after departing the Niblo estate. Maybe in 1945 after Barnes sold the property? Who really knows. It was found that he rented and purchased property under corporate names so he could maintain privacy. He was always being stalked and followed by fans back in the day. And that doesn’t just come from Sharon Rich’s book. But many other sources. But Sylvia I loved, LOVED that estate and was an admirer of Frances Marion’s work. She was a true pioneer in the day. Enchanted Hills was a beautiful estate and it breaks my heart that it is just a memory now. So if you want to share any photos we would all love to see them.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Patrice:

      Thanks SO much for the detailed reply. I sure appreciate it. Yes, as I expected, the source is the Sharon Rich book. Listen, I know you are sincere and want to get the story right so I am sorry to say I have some issues with the story as told in that book. Please hear me out and, of course, draw your own conclusions. But some things just don’t add up. During the 1930s, there were only two estates at the top of Angelo. “Misty Mountain” @ 1330 Angelo and the “Enchanted Hill” @ 1441 Angelo. We know for a fact that Nelson Eddy lived, at least in 1937, @ Misty Mountain. We do not have any actual documentation linking him to the Enchanted Hill. The idea (according to Rich) that Eddy/MacDonald called their Angelo place “Mists” yet it wasn’t Misty Mountain is, well, a real stretch of plausibility. Is it really that hard to assume a 91-year-old might be remembering things, well, a little “misty,” in getting the houses mixed up?

      Also, please remember that the story goes that Eddy fixed up the bunkhouse over a period of years. Well, Nelson Eddy is never part of the public record on the Enchanted Hill. If he lived in the Cowboy House he would have only been a renter. I doubt he would have been able to remodel the bunkhouse without permission of Sylvia’s grandfather. And, as you can see by Sylvia’s recent comments, she debunks the story directly. And more interestingly, why would he have? If Nelson Eddy was looking for a secret hideaway so he and Jeanette MacDonald could have a secret affair, he had many, many choices in the hills of Beverly. He did not need to rent a bunkhouse for the purpose that would require extensive remodeling to make it into a “love nest,” particularly renting it from someone else.

      It’s just not adding up the way it is presented. We know Nelson Eddy was a renter @ 1330 Angelo in the late 1930s (Pre-1938). I’m thinking Isabel and others are remembering through the “mists” of time and getting it just a little off. Heck, I can’t remember what I did Sunday, let alone 1937.

      Thanks again Patrice for the interest and the info. It is critical to bring these tales to the fore and discuss them in a rational manner. That way we can get to the truth.

      • Richard McLeod says:

        A great deal of talk has been made about a relationship between Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald for years. This has extended to the point of exaggerating stories about “Love Nests” and the like. The “Love Nest” story now seems to be bordering on the tawdry. Jeanette MacDonald seemed perfectly satisfied with her legal husband Gene Raymond, and may have had a great fondness and liking for her co-star Nelson Eddy in many successful MGM pictures, but the story of the romance may be a bit overdone if it existed at all, and all this information coming out about this Estate and “The Mists”, along with other names, now makes me really wonder if Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy actually had a romantic affair at all.

      • Richard says:

        At 1441 Angelo … During the mid and late1980’s, George Harrison, the quiet Beatle with son Dhani, leased the estate, as did British Lord Hanson’s Sir Gordon White (later LordBaron White of Hull), did attempt to purchase the property during a two year stay. The house had only three large bedrooms upstairs with numerous sitting rooms and 4 servant rooms downstairs, chauffeur quarters, and a distant rustic pinnacle two-bedroom Casita once leased by actress Leigh Taylor-Young. Renovations of $250,000 by 1994 included: new air-condition system, electrical plus 200 exterior outlets, pool heater, tennis court and driveway resurface, designer wallpaper and upholstery in all major rooms, and a rebuilt entire tile roof replacement. That same year, billionaire Mogul Rupert Murdock (who had purchased the former Dr. Jules Stein/Wallace Neff house and the massive art work, just down the hill @1330 Angelo Dr. in 1986), did make an offer to buy the flagship Wallace Neff house at the top of the hill estate and 85 acres of wilderness land. Murdock failed to purchase the estate due to “excessive” demands made by the seller, Eva, and attending agent. (I was fortunate to be hosted at both grand estates and their respective Domos,…which lasted some 25 years till that faithful July 1997 when Allen secured a deal to buy the house and approx. 100 acres of attached wilderness.)

  31. Sylvia Durando says:

    Contact Mr Hyland not John Harrison about the Bunk House.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Sylvia:

      Always great to hear from you! Would love more pictures anytime you get the chance! Thanks for the replies on the Enchanted Hill vis a vis Nelson Eddy. Yes, the Jeff Hyland book references both Misty Mountain and Enchanted Hill and states Nelson Eddy lived @ Misty Mountain (p.68). Clearly, Patrice wants to get the true story here and I thank you for helping set the record straight.

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        You are welcome Steve. I have had personal contact with Mr. Hyland and he did considerable research for his Book. I trust his words. I lost your contact E or did you post it here.

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        I have turned the house upside down looking for the letter from NY telling me the Guest house burned down, that was before Mr Allen purchased the Estate’

  32. Sylvia Durando says:

    OK here we go! From “The Legendary Homes of Beverly Hills” Jeffrey Hyland. Misty Mountain had a long series of celebrity tenants: Emanuel Cohen, Paramount studios head of Production, Katharine Hepburn, actor and singer Nelson Eddy, and his frequent co star actress Jeanette MacDonald, whom Niblo sued for damages caused by her dogs”
    That should settle it!

  33. Patrice says:

    Sylvia, well, now I’m confused again. I found this old listing for 1441 Angelo with a color photo of Enchanted Hill, the main house. When it was last up for sale! The description states there are TWO guest houses. And yet we’re told that one of them (the “cowboy” house) burned down in the Bel Air fire of 1960! Do you think they rebuilt it? Oh I could throttle Paul Allen for destroying this beautiful place! The more I see of it the more I wish it still existed. Here is the link (hope it works) for the listing: http://www.ericwattsrealty.com/listing/1441-angelo-dr-los-angeles-%28city%29-529596
    What do you make of this? Two guest houses? And it lists 7 bedrooms. I thought it was stated there were only 3 upstairs? I know there were three maids downstairs and apparently 2 guest rooms on the first floor as well, according to the description on this blog.

    • Ok says:

      If you must know….
      There was one small two bedroom cottage on the wilderness lower acreage mentioned in the various brochures which had a tenant who leased from the Kollsman and assistant to Caretaker for twenty years until it was torn down and leveled in 1998. Two years later the main house went!
      It was connect by a long 1/2 mile path which now is the new Angelo a drive extension addition mentioned at 2001 Benedict.

    • Sylvia Durando says:

      I wrote to the Angelo Dr address a letter asking if they wanted me to share my photos with them, not knowing who the owner was at the time. I can’t remember who signed the return letter but I do remember there return address was Number One Park Ave NY and in the letter it stated that the Guest House was burned down. I have photos of my sister and I on the Guest House balcony and at that time (about 1935) in the photo, the stucco on the outside wall was pealing and looked like it needed repairing. NO reason what so ever for the letter writer to fib to me. I am of sound mind!

  34. Sharon Rich says:

    Hi all, I’d like to add my 2c worth, and set the record straight as to my source data for what I wrote in my book “Sweethearts” regarding Angelo Drive. And – also nip in the bid any attempts to misquote or promote incorrect assumptions here on this otherwise excellent blog. A lot of work and love goes into this site and it is much appreciated by those who share our love of old Hollywood.

    First off, it appears that Sylvia has found documentation that places not only Nelson but Jeanette as residents at Misty Mountain. Thank you, Sylvia!

    The initial press report of Nelson being at 1330 Angelo was his giving that address after a car accident, as noted in another’s post. I understood that he had leased the place as of the summer of 1937, which would be right after Jeanette’s wedding to Gene Raymond. How long he leased it for, I do not know.

    Sylvia states that she was at 1441 in the mid-late ’30s; while we know that Nelson was at 1330 at least for the summer of 1937, I’m not sure Jeanette was around much from 1937-39, since they weren’t on speaking terms off-screen…except for a chunk of 1938. In 1938, Nelson was on a national concert tour through May. According to one of Nelson’s east coast bodyguards, Jeanette traveled with Nelson for part of that tour. By June they were both in LA and filmed “Sweethearts” through the summer months. It’s possible Jeanette was a visitor at Angelo Dr during those months but she did not spend a lot of time there; ie, I have no documentation showing that she “lived” there during that time period. One would have to find the date that Niblo sued her for the damage done by her dogs…somehow that rings a bell with me…think I have in my collection a clipping about that or notes from a newspaper/Hollywood Reporter/Variety…but never previously connected the dots. Will see if I can find it. However, the people I interviewed back in the 1970s claimed that during the summer of ’38, the preferred hideaway house was in Burbank, just down the street from where their horses were stabled.

    I too was initially confused as to which Angelo Drive address we were talking about, particularly since Nelson dated Frances Marion for a time, first in 1935 and then 1937 after Jeanette’s marriage. I assume you know that he once proposed to Frances Marion. I always figured that’s how and why Nelson even knew about Angelo Drive in the first place!

    Patrice is no doubt correct in assuming that while originally, Nelson and/or Nelson and Jeanette were at 1330 Angelo, at some time later they moved to 1441 – or rather, the “bunkhouse.” Perhaps, they just continued to call it “Mists” between themselves. (And Jeanette named one of her dogs Misty.)

    What I do know definitively is that they were at the “bunkhouse” in 1945. Nelson’s mother Isabel was writing her memoirs and occasionally a section of this was included in letters mailed to her friends. In one from that year she explains that Nelson and Jeanette are now spending a lot time at “Mists” (as it’s called in the letters) and that they had recently redecorated it. And yes – my immediate question was: why was Nelson allowed to do an extensive remodel if he didn’t own the place? Answer: I have no idea. Maybe since he was spending his money to do so, it could only help the value of the place. As for the background of the house: the explanation given was that this building was originally a “bunkhouse” for stablehands but it had been completely converted into a house or bungalow, before Nelson ever moved in.

    In 1945, Isabel describes the makeover: “The living room walls were paneled in knotty pine – very attractive – but they wanted a softer shade – so had the wall painted a turquoise and then quickly rubbed off. It now has a pinkish blue effect – very lovely.” She adds: “The bunks Nelson had taken out and comfortable couch beds installed – table and lamp by each and all very lovely…” She mentions that “the former owners” had a handyman named George “that cleaned and cooked and attended to the grounds as well….He has stayed on with Nelson but now Nelson has the grounds so improved that it keeps the man busy just doing that. The entire wooded hill on the front side has been cleaned out until it looks like a big, lovely park. He was able to get a gas mower so George can cut the grass quickly. As for the house – none of us want a curious woman about – so for the time being we are doing it ourselves. Blossom [Jeanette’s sister] and I together manage to keep it in good condition and occasionally I take Mary [Isabel’s housekeeper and cook] up and she gives it a thorough going over…”

    There’s a few more pages of exacting details of each room which I won’t quote here but is in my book. Maybe Isabel’s description rings a bell for anyone reading this who was there around that time?

    Also – the 91-year old woman referred to (in a previous comment) is indeed sharp as a tack today…but it was WELL OVER 20 YEARS AGO ago when she was interviewed on video and provided details of visiting Nelson Eddy there with her dad in the mid 1940s. Her dad called it Nelson’s “retreat” and met him there on business, though Nelson was a family friend as well. And no, she wasn’t some giddy fan; her father was in the MGM sound department, built Nelson’s home recording equipment and updated it over the years with the latest high-tech (thus enabling Nelson to experiment with recording himself singing 4-part harmonies, for example). They worked on many projects together, both MGM-related and not. Nelson was a guest in her home and his ups and downs with Jeanette were observed and discussed at the family dinner table from pre-“Naughty Marietta” years onwards. Her father left MGM when asked to be a ground-floor exec at newly-formed Capitol Records.

    She recently corrected me for the upcoming, updated edition of “Sweethearts” that she visited 1441 Angelo Drive – not Niblo’s property. And that they drove onto a long driveway or road (she said it was the 1330 entrance gate) which served both addresses, went off onto a large circular driveway and then off to the right, about 150 yards or so southeast of the “villa” was Nelson’s place. During his years there Nelson added two bedrooms and two baths, along with the redecoration of the interior. There was also a small pond or “lake” on the grounds nearby and many large trees; I don’t have the exact quote at hand but the gist of it was, Jeanette liked looking out the window at the little “lake” and trees because it reminded her of Tahoe.

    In an earlier post it’s noted that “By 1945, the property had passed to Paul Kollsman…”; I wonder if it is coincidence or not that these renovations paid for by Nelson Eddy were done that same year. I do not know the exact date that Nelson gave up the property but know there is brief mention in another letter I have seen that he was out of there around 1949.

    Hope this info is more helpful than confusing!

    • Steve says:

      Hi Sharon:

      First, thank you SO much for giving us your wonderful detailed reply in an effort to clear up this Misty mystery. It is most appreciated and really helps with a lot of great information. And, as you wrote, maybe the information you provided will help jog some memories or bring out some new documentation. And also thanks to your years of dedicated research into that great love team – Nelson Eddy & Jeanette MacDonald!

      And I apologize for being such a doubter. I want you to know I’d love nothing more than confirm the story of the Enchanted Hill bunkhouse being “Misty” rather than Misty Mountain or some other location. Unfortunately, I still have some serious doubts. We can place Nelson Eddy all over 1330 Angelo (at least in 1937) but never once officially to the Enchanted Hill and by that I mean any paperwork that lists his address as “1441” or some other reliable document. We can’t forget that Misty Mountain also had outbuildings. But, still, there is no evidence of Nelson Eddy at Misty Mountain after 1937 either. Does Mrs. Eddy in her memoirs ever actually say the bunkhouse was up on Angelo? As you mentioned, people you interviewed believed the place was in Burbank, near their stables, which would frankly make more sense. I am wondering if people through the years have made assumptions it was up on Angelo because Eddy had been on Angelo in 1937 and the adjacent estate had a bunkhouse? We need a smoking gun! Ha!

      As for your 91 year-old interviewee who was 71 at the time. I don’t doubt she is/was sharp as a tack, but you and I have both interviewed a lot of people of similar ages through the years with sharp memories who still can’t remember it all. I recall one times sitting with an Oscar-winning actress with a phenomenal memory who told me a story completely the opposite of a document I had in my hands, which she herself had written. (I hid it under the chair. I wasn’t going to argue with this star. She would have beaten me senseless!) The point is, even clear minded people might have trouble remembering exact details of events that took place a quarter century earlier. May I use as “Exhibit A” the fact she told you 1330 and 1441 share the same entrance drive. They don’t. This is something anyone can verify for themselves. As for the pond or small lake, I’ve never seen any evidence at either estate. Sylvia, any thoughts? Rupert Murdoch, are you following this? Ha!

      Also, when Sylvia was referring to the quote about MacDonald being sued over dogs she was apparently quoting what she read in the Jeff Hyland book. I don’t have the latest edition. I only have the 1st edition, which makes no such reference. If its in the book (or any other for that matter) it’s a mistake. It is a misreading of a December 1937 article in the Los Angeles Times where somebody didn’t notice the “.” between a discussion of two houses. The house referred to in the article where MacDonald was sued over dogs was the Corinne Griffith house @ 912 North Rexford Drive in Beverly Hills. (“Stars Move Frequently to New Homes” LAT 12/19/1937)

      Sharon, I’m so sorry to be such a Doubting Thomas, but you love Old Hollywood history as much I do and I know we both wanted to get these stories right. There are those who would say “Who cares?” Well, we do. Hollywood’s history may be newer than some other places but it is still just as important and interesting.

      Thank you again for writing. it was such a pleasure to hear from you!

  35. Sharon Rich says:

    Hi, Steve!

    The house on Mariposa in Burbank is a totally different place that Nelson had starting in summer 1938. It was a small little nondescript one and no way could it be confused with Angelo Drive. Mariposa was identified by Blossom herself, when we took a drive there and she pointed out the house. I later verified that Nelson was there with Jeanette from talking to some of the neighbors on the side street. There are also photos of Nelson at the recognizable Dineen stables a few doors down. I didn’t know about Angelo Drive in the early ’70s or would have driven her there as well to verify. I didn’t have access to this material until the early ’90s. Ah, hindsight!

    And no, Isabel Eddy doesn’t give the address in the memoirs. She talks about time periods rather than specific dates, for example, that kind of thing. I’m not sure her memoirs would have been publishable as a standalone book but they certainly have provided or verified some interesting information, adding to the overall picture. However, there is more discussion about “Mists” in some back and forth accompanying correspondence from that time (again, with postmarked envelopes, etc.), in regards to Isabel’s comments about “Mists,” the remodeling and also detailed descriptions of Christmases that were celebrated there. (Right down to what gifts were given to each person.) As I said before, I didn’t pay much attention to it when I originally went through the hundreds of pages of material because I didn’t understand the significance of the two addresses. I am going through it again to see what, if anything, I might have missed. So much information has surfaced since I originally researched this story.

    My friend said it was the same ROAD or entrance as 1330; we discussed it while parked on Angelo just above the entrance of 1330 some years back. There are guards these in recent years wanting to know what one is doing there and telling folks to leave so we couldn’t even go farther up the road. I will ask her again to clarify what she meant in terms of which address and how you actually drove there although from her description and her “correcting” me, she specified 1441.

    I have seen an arial shot from many years ago that does in fact have a little pond. If I could get the source to share the photo, that might bring some closure on the matter. But I was asked not to publish it while the person is alive.

    I think you are correct about it being the Corinne Griffith lawsuit over the dogs. Yes, I remember that reference and that makes more sense in regards to what I posted above about Jeanette not “living” on Angelo (at any address) in the late ’30s.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Sharon! It’s all fascinating and fun, isn’t it? It’s like a detective story with different clues and mysteries to solve.

      This has all been very helpful and really adds to the discussion about Eddy/MacDonald and the Angelo estates. I’d love it if you’d give us an update if anything new turns up and please let me know when the new book comes out too.

      Thanks again so much!

  36. Matt Moyer says:

    Wow! Haven’t been on site for a year & I’m astonished by all the additional info; would have thought a trickle not a flood. To Steve, Ms Russell, Richard, A friend to Paul and Franz, Ms Durando and everyone else who has expressed such love and curiosity I’ll try & fill in some more of the blanks and make corrections based on my knowledge. Sorry this might seem disjointed but trying to relay major corrections to all of above referenced parties. First off while I was associated with the property the address was always 1440 Angelo not 1441. Mr. Murdock didn’t purchase the property offically because of deferred maintenance not sellers’ demands ah-la Sapperstein and Ecclestone. My guess is he didn’t get the steal he did on Misty Mountain as in price & a house stuffed with the Steins Stair & Co antiques thrown in to boot. Lord White didn’t replace the tile roof. After he’d moved out several water damage claims were filed. Insurance company then notified Mrs Kollsman no further claims honered until roof replaced. So much more to relay, more later promise!..Did Ms. Durando eber send pics?

  37. Matt Moyer says:

    To Ms Russell, Richard and A friend to Paul and Franz; can’t thank you enough for all of the wonderful information. Isn’t it amazing that we’re discussing a house that hasn’t existed in over a decade and in the case of Mr. Kollsman people gone for over 30 years? More facts not evidenced before. Franz was formally trained as a chef in pre war Germany. He was the executive chef at the Wilshire Ebell Club from where Mr. Kollsman hired him. The castle built on the sliver of land Kollsman sold was bought by a Dutch man with more money than taste. It was always my understanding that this house was rented on a long term basis by Sherry Lansing when she was head of Paramount. The $600,000 fee is a mystery… A few clues, it was my understanding that parts of the driveway, after the entrance gates, were actually public Angelo Drive. Also Kollsman (no disrespect) bought a house on Benedict Canyon specifically to tear down and put a road in for his planned subdivison as Angelo Drive is both narrow and dangerious near the top. So the $600 k could have been for buying Angelo private, for the new access road off Benedict or both.

    • Lynn says:

      Hi Matt,

      The final chapter of this labyrinth is yetv to be revealed concerning how Jeff Hyland calculated multiple gains far beyond his commission on the sale of the property to Paul Allen.

      Also where did you get the information regarding Franz and the Wilshire Ebell?

      • Patrice says:

        Matt, I think the image you refer to that was in the presentation was the last known aerial of the estate. Showing the main house and in the lower left corner the then caretakers house which used to be the cowboy bunkhouse that Nelson leased. In that photo you can see how the original drive was closed up and a new approach to Enchanted Hill was created opposite of where cares used to come into the courtyard. But I’ll take a look at the presentation to make sure of what you’re referring to.

      • Richard says:

        Ms. Lynn & Mrs. Howard Russell,

        A package is being left for you at the Good Shepard Church (attn: Michelle) today by 5pm, you can pick it up at earliest comfort. Some material for the upcoming remembrances of the Enchanted Hill’s estate owner of 50+ years, our friends Kollsman, and it’s legendary estate manager, Franz.

        For those interested in a memorial for Paul Kollsman, his handyman Franz, who was almost murdered by a staff Coup in 1961(not to mention WWII), and or the hilltop Wallace neff designed estate, known contemporary as the Enchanted Hill and Happy Hill, the house above Misty Hill, this quiet non-event will be held Feb. 22 Saturday 1:30P @ Will Rogers Beverly Hills Memorial Park. A brief history of Kollsman with your anecdote offerings, his accomplishments, brochures and extensive video & many dozens of personal and formal pictures covering 50 years of the estate, from early Luli to the pantry sink and cowboy house! Outtakes of the ‘Columbo’s’, Rock Hudson, and other edited TV films featuring the estate can be shown. A L00K inside thru the ‘window’ of a vintage Kollsman Altimeter Instrument, and a functional WWII aircraft compass will be displayed for inquiring mindful minds or an inquisitive lad.

        A remarkable and lasting Goggle historical article about the Kollsman, is in ‘Popular Aviation’ January issue 1940 entitled: “House of the Flying Sapphires”, is the most recent story of the brilliant-illusive Paul Kollsman and his “almost fanatical craving for the perfect aircraft instrument”. A time in his life, at age 39, he was just beginning to produce some revolutionary discoveries and become amazingly innovative. By 1945 it could be could said that the quote, “So much owed by so many to so few”- by Winston Churchill, was to a quiet technical advisor, working at the Basingstoke aircraft plant in Britain 1938-39, named Kollsman and others.

        Those interested in providing an anecdote or historical references are welcomed.
        For the man who won high achievement in National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology, Inventor, etc., a moment of silence (now on this blog too!!) will be observed for his immense capacity for creativity and contributions for mankind.

        I had the honor to meet and know him for eight years, during which time I leased a cottage house on Kollsman’s wilderness land from him, and continued living, with modest rent increases post 1982, for another 15 years until 1997. I was present during his peaceful passing. This gathering is some 32 years late, perhaps, and can serve as a quiet gentle reminder to remember gifted thinkers, hard workers and a gorgeous house. A remarkable true Pisces DNF Kollsman is.

        Friends of Paul

        100% Insurance money from the 94′ earthquake paid for the new roof same year.
        Sir Gordon White spend hundreds of thousands on improvements in 1985-86.
        The address was always 1441 Angelo-Happy Hill, Matt, during Kollsman era. 1355 Angelo is that blue-tiled trimmed old fart HH’s castle(who died a year later) facing the old Art Linkletter house, built in 1979 directly across from the old Misty Hill entrance, now the service entrance by the tennis courts, before the long steep limestone gateway to the Stein Misty house was build. Sincerely, Richard

        Trivial’s ?: Luli Kollsman husband #2 Count Albert, before inventor Paul, years later would designed the BMW 507, said to be the most beautiful car the marque has ever built. – What patent inventor is cited for the fundamental saline to fresh water patent and who also solved the heated static pitot tube problem for pilots in time for the battle of Britain and was the first to invent remote ‘fly by wire’ instruments and thereby “removed all the excess plumbing” from the aircraft ?? – Who refused to pay Mr. Kollsman’s sole and long time devoted personal gardener, Señor Jose Rosa, a well deserved – $5 raise – to $30 a day hard labor daily wage after Kollsman death back in 1982 and was fired and now has a daughter attending SF University? The only money ever spent by Eva, perhaps, was a bequest of cash, culminated for her belittled lover-Ray Mathew precious dispiriting book: “TenseLittleLives” >>Beware of the copyrights – from the bedbugs of Kali Eva <<

        Franz died on a park bench near Munich same year as Eva, in 2005.(He would have preferred to have been resting next to where Luli Kollsman lies in Cochella Valley!)
        He was never paid, or repaid period, and I do believe Eva never paid anyone. Saint Maurice, the Roman legion commander in full gold armor who was martyred for refusing to slaughter the Christians of Gaul in the late third century A.D was an ideal employee she did think. The original canvas painting was her gift to the NY Met.

        Kollsman enjoyed the movie industry filming on his property and was often seen, incognito to the crew, in the garden or walking the grounds like a gardener. The night a lion and two enormous tigers intensely aggravated roars echoed down the canyons during a 'murder' scene, and repeated until the clothing were shredded, or the edited out (1989) Rock Hudson naked pool scene were fun, as was the BH celebrity relays with the Van patten family in early 1980's. The Rockie (1990) was not. 'An Inconvenient Woman'(1991) was fun, if not… for just the title!? The estate's gig of a 1,000+ shirtless men's outdoor benefit Summer party in 1996 was the 'last cheap insult'. His personal time capsule buried by the loathsome real estate agent buyer greed, perhaps?, is now lying amongst the hilltop sun dried cemetery … is no laughing or a trivial event, … nor are those missing diamonds!

        The email: Sbalo@dc.rr.com can be used for info or messages of sensitive matter.
        This address will self destruct and will dissolve by master host Steve. Blessings

      • Lynn says:

        Thank you. Upon returning to town in Monday or Tuesday I shall pick up the material @ The Good Shepard. 2/22/14 is on my calendar as it is Kollsman’s birthday as well as my parents wedding anniversary. Look forward to meeting all the folks interested in celebrating two Nobel beings, Kollsman and Franz as well as Wallace Neff’s splendid property for the Thompsons.

      • LAWRENCE A CALI says:

        Don’t know if many of you all are aware of the book Luli wrote Come Take my hand. It’s a novel but loosely auto biographical. It was written in 1949, and published by Duell, Sloan and Pearce in New York. Long out of print, but I was able to get a couple copies from Amazon. It’s a little strange story but interesting none the less. Regards, Larry

    • gregnagin says:

      I think I remember working with Franz on Benedict Canyon to clear something of a mudslide with a bulldozer.

      • Richard says:

        If you were the skip loader Greg, You wore a bring orange rain jacket that flooding raining 2 day! Still have the pic. It was a lot of truck loads of heavy rock soil from the estates wilderness canyon run-off up @ 2001 Benedict Canyon from a nasty LA rainstorm.
        THXS!!! I hope you got your cookies from Franz

      • gregnagin says:

        Richard this is so amazing! I am happy to hear from you and the past, so many fond memories. Thank you so much for your reply. Please send the photo over to me and I can tell you if it was me greg.nagin@gmail.com
        I would love very much to hear more of your memories. I would like to know more about Franz, we shared a lot of time together but we never spoke of his past.
        I did get my cookies but in the hast of the moment to help Franz wit the emergency plumbing they became a gobbled down breakfast.

  38. Matt Moyer says:

    Typing this from a non smart phone hence typo’s & no sentance structure; please forgive. After the first Mrs Kollsman died & before Eva & Franz were involved Kollsman did his remodeling. Unfortunately the staffat the time were stocking their larders at Kollsman expense & the remodler, ascertaing the lay of the land, followed suit. Out went the hand carved living room shutters, freestanding exterior staircase, stone finials surmounting the front door, etc. Basically anything that could be removed and sold secondhand was. When Kollsman realized what was going on he wanted to sue but the decorator declared bankruptcy. This was also when some of the major design details were obliterated. The living room lost access to the backyard via a double arched door that aligned a magnificent vista of the backyard to the olympic size pool which mirrored the remaining window which overlooked the city to the ocean.. The living room also lost the pierced arch openings for the organ and the organ itself in an ajoining room. Gone went the first floor guest rooms, the tile roof over the master bedroom terrace, well…you get the idea. Some of the details were quite extraordinary. The butler’s sink in the pantry (seperate room off kitchen) was made out of sterling silver! I’m not talking a small sink but a large double sink specifically designed for washing glasses at parties. The laundry “room” was actually two rooms; the first for the washers and the second room was open arched (no windows) facing the city all the way to the ocean. Open air covered drying in all weather conditions with a million dollar view. Mr. Neff was a master of details. Look at the picture of Mr. Thomson kissing his pet bird, then look at the window in the background. Neff designed the stucco to match the depth of the open window. Kind of useful for a wood framed kitchen window in, say, a rainstorm. When’s the last time anyone saw that kind of attention to detail in a modern house? As you might be able to tell could continue for quite a while.

    • gregnagin says:

      I remember Franz mentioning a bowling alley or movie theater. I don’t recall seeing it clearly.

    • James says:

      I to hate seeing certain buildings torn down. But to blame Paul Allen for knocking down another rich person’s house, well no big thing. The latter entity made money in film (something not needed and 90 percent, if not more, of their ideas come from books or stage) and that is a joke in of itself.
      Again it is nice to have the house but my house when I was little is now a garage of a tall co-op building. I wish it was still there.
      Lastly, watch Columbo, season 5, episode 3, “Identity Crisis.” The “bad” guy’s house is this house, I believe.

    • James says:

      I to hate seeing certain buildings torn down. But to blame Paul Allen for knocking down another rich person’s house, well no big thing. The latter entity made money in film (something not needed and 90 percent, if not more, of their ideas come from books or stage) and that is a joke in of itself.
      Again it is nice to have the house but my house when I was little is now a garage of a tall co-op building. I wish it was still there.
      Lastly, watch Columbo, season 5, episode 3, “Identity Crisis.” The “bad” guy’s house is this house, I believe.

  39. Matt Moyer says:

    Last post tonight promise! Sorry Steve but the photo you list as the guesthouse with terrace is actually the front of the garages, with the window on the left being the chauffer’s quarters. If you look at the vintage aerial estate photo; above and to the left of the swimming pool is the building referred to. The reason the garage got such an elaborate treatment is because that’s where the driveway splits. To the right, past the tennis court, leads to the second or upper riding ring. Look to the left of this ring, thats the guesthouse building. Everything in the bintage aerial survived with the exception of the building above the lower riding ring and stable building just next to it. This was the 15 (17, whatever) room.stable hands house, the only estate structure burned in the 1960 BelAir fire. Looking at the aerial & seeing the close proximity it’s amazing anything survived that inferno. Bit more trivia, Mr Kollsman was expermenting with diamonds and lost $20k 1960 dollars in diamonds when this building burned.

  40. Patrice says:

    Thank you, Matt Moyer, for clarifying the location of those buildings. I was confused when the 1-story building above was referred to as the guesthouse. I know that the Cowboy bunkhouse was a two-story structure and had to be located near the lower riding ring because you can clearly see the stables there. I would have thought a guesthouse would also be 2-storys. So mystery solved. What a shame this magnificent estate no longer stands. If I had Paul Allen’s money and didn’t want to live there, I’d have fixed the place up and leased it. So many if onlys.

  41. Matt Moyer says:

    More trivia…two, not one, of Thomson’s films survive; I know because I’ve seen them. Galloping Gallagher & Thundering Hoofs both 1924. Can’t fully remember now but think one was assembled scenes. Poor quality copies on VHS tape. Franz had a collection of Thomson Lobby Cards, an early photo albumn of the estate when new, photos of the first Mrs. Kollsman, etc. & asked me what he should do with all of them. I immediately responded donate them to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences library housed in the old Beverly Hills water treatment plant.. Have no idea if he did so, but would make for some interesting reading if he did. Kollsman besides being brilliant, got on pretty well socially. He was always invited to the Steins’ parties at Misty Mountain….Eva…..never was. Cary Grant, Reggie Gardener & a tablefull of such Hollywood luminaries were being entertained by Kollsman when Eva burst in made a huge scene then stormed out. Grant made the comment she must not be feeling well; class in response to Evas’ boorish behavor. Garbo in the 50’s was a near neighbor; comming full circle as she visited the house when new. Marion wrote her first talkie & the cook & houskeeper were Swedish. Not sure if this is any help for the Eddy\MacDonald questions. Youtube: Nelson Eddy & Jeanette MacDonald – “Mists” hideaway home. Interesting overview; unfortunately at 15 minutes the speaker displays a photo that is not the Enchanted Hill & then displays a 2nd photo stating this was the Enchanted Hill caretakers house; when in fact it it the main house. It’s entirely possibe Eddy/MacDonald used stablehands house but as this speaker claims to have gone to the estate as a child & can’t tell the difference from the main & stablehands houses I find it a little suspect. Franz cooked dinner for President Nixon, who went into the kitchen & gave him $100.00.

    • gregnagin says:

      I’m just sharing memories, way off the subject…. Franz cooked him and I dinner once …….a steamed cauliflower, with lemon and butter. So simple so amazing. I remember his dogs Gretta and Fava. God he loved those dogs and almost fell apart taking them to the Vet several times. Once there was a major leak in the house and he woke me up, pounding on the chauffeurs quarters, ( I was staying in there for awhile while the guest house was being repaired). He said Greg……Greg……I have some cookies….it was six in the morning. A little bribe I guess to help him. Not necessary though.

  42. Matt Moyer says:

    To Ms Russell #37: Well aware of Hyland’s misdeeds; none of which have made it into print…thus far…As to Franz & Wilshire Ebell Club. Heard it from the horses mouth so to speak, Franz told me. Had enough wonderful meals at Estate prepared by Franz to confirm this. Did you know Franz loaned Mr Kollsman $90k towards the end of his life? Think Eva ever paid up? When asked her stock response was “oh when the estate sells” Do you know what happened to Franz after the sale? With all you’ve relayed we could swap some amazing stories. Great to hear from you!

  43. Patrice says:

    Matt, I do see the error in the presentation. Linda pointed out the courtyard of the main house in the second photo and claimed it was the “estate keepers” courtyard but it most definitely was not. She does say that the photos came out of a coffee table book on Beverly Hills estates. Now that I look at the first photo, the aerial photo, it does not look like the original Enchanted Hill. Do you think it’s possible there was extensive remodeling done and a new driveway to the estate created?

    The writer might have mistaken this photo out of the coffee table book as Enchanted Hill, but I would think the book would label the photo wouldn’t you? I will ask her and see if she can show me the book and page of this photo.

    I guess the only real photo of the cowboy bunkhouse would be that 1927 aerial photo since you say it burned down in the 1961 Bel Air fire. It’s all so confusing!

  44. Patrice says:

    The book EH came out of in which that aerial photo was shown is “The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills” by Jeffrey Hyland. One of the reviewers said this: “Covering some of the most beautiful estates in Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills and Bel-Air, this book is the ultimate in Real Estate wish-fulfillment. Happily it leaves off most of the cracker-box McMansions of the last decades; the focus is estates such as Casa Encantada, the Harvey Mudd mansion and the Warner Estate, as well as such estates as Enchanted Hill and Cordhaven that are sadly gone.”

  45. Matt Moyer says:

    To Patrice #37&40: With sincere respect: Look at the vintage aerial & compare it to the first presentation photo. The presentation photo shows the main house slightly below a hilltop and a lawn where the flagstoned entrance courtyard was. The estate was on it’s own hilltop between Beverly Glen Blvd and Benedict Canyon Dr. The cowboy/bunkhouse burned in the 1960 BelAir fire and the estates driveways remained as built until Mr Allen’s destruction. Sorry. As to your lament in #40: The place was very well maintained. Seriously, 120 acres to build on and Allen destroyed all this for vacant land? Which from what other posters have relayed he feels the need to now have guarded. What rational person does this? Jon Peters did the same to the Neff/King Vidor house but at least he later admitted it was a mistake to have torn it down. Thanks for all the interest.

    • hi matt- it was a mortal sin what that man did to that beautiful estate- greed beyond greed- and i can tell you -having been up there at the gate that says 1330 angelo dr- the security guard would not let us near it and not even out of the car except a way down the hill- disgusting

  46. Matt Moyer says:

    To Patrice 43 & 44: Well aware of Hyland’s book owning a copy. If you want the original find a copy of Charles Lockwood’s “Dream Palaces”. In fact most of the prose in Hyland’s book was lifted verbatim from Dream Palaces with Lockwood listed as “co-author”.

    • Sylvia Durando says:

      Mr Hyland gave me a copy of his Book I respect all the work he put into it. The History needs to be documented how ever procured. I will look into getting a copy of Dream Palaces.

    • Patrice says:

      I will look into Dream Palaces as well. Thank you for the information, Matt and Sylvia.

  47. Sylvia Durando says:

    Ok I settled it. The photo I sent you of my sister and I on the porch or deck had to be The Cowboy House. I zoomed the photo you have on here and the home close to the Barn has the same deck and wall. The up stairs left corner shows the porch looking thing with the wall and the window, in the same place as my photo.
    My Grandpa and Mother must of re named it a Guest House. He might of not known at the time that it had been called The Cowboy House. I have one other photo of that porch from a different position, I’ll look it up.

    • Patrice says:

      Sylvia, would love to see those pictures!

      • Sylvia Durando says:

        Patrice, I can’t do that because not willing to put out my addy for everyone to see. You can click on the photo next to my name and see two of the Silver King Horses poising in the arena at the Estate. My mother is on one of them, father on the dark horse and don’t know the name of the other rider.

      • Patrice says:

        Thanks, Sylvia, I did click on the avatar and it’s a nice photo.

  48. Lynn says:

    A while ago when I was on the board of the BH Women’s club, Jeff Hyland did a talk on his latest. When introduced I asked him how he was enjoying 1010 Fifth Avenue when he turned white as a ghost. Indicated my father was Kollsman’s patent attorney and friend since the late 30’s. He became speechless and suddenly darted away.

  49. Lynn says:

    Eva expedited Kolksman’s death by not calling medical personnel and prevented Franz from making the call as well. Her selfish goals were to be soon realized in theory, however the estate became heavily laden by debt. Eva prevented Franz from receiving his entitled proceeds from Kollsman’s will. Infinite claims and promises to pay “when the estate sold” held Franz a literal hostage. In later years Eva refused to pay final legal bills due my father and likewise the subsequent attorney handling affairs after father retired his practice. Oddly enough, I recall my father mentioning that he saw through Eva at the very first meeting.

    Franz related how Eva and friends took advantage of Kollsman’s following Luli’s death. The rest is history what is known and what will be revealed. A senseless and destructive saga.

  50. Matt Moyer says:

    To Lynn #49. You’re only stating half of it. Mr Kollsman liked to excercise at night before bed; a habit now known to be less than benefical. He suffered a heart attack & Eva refused to allow him to be taken to a hospital; hiring a single nurse to look after him instead. Franz speculated she didn’t want to be “burdened” with a crippled husband & also relayed she ended up having an affair with the female nurse while Paul lay dying in bed. Can anyone say white trash?

  51. Matt Moyer says:

    To Lynn #49. You’re only stating half of it. Mr Kollsman liked to excercise at night before bed; a habit now known to be less than benefical. He suffered a heart attack & Eva refused to allow him to be taken to a hospital; hiring a single nurse to look after him instead. Franz speculated she didn’t want to be “burdened” with a crippled husband & also relayed she ended up having an affair with the female nurse while Paul lay dying in bed. Can anyone say white trash? I once found some 8 x 10 glossies in a book at the estate. Showed them to Franz & he said they were before his time there. Photos were 1950’s party pics of Sammy (butler) serving drinks to women wearing major jewels. From the way Franz looked at the photos & what you relayed above now surmise photos were of Eva’s cronies.

  52. Sylvia Durando says:

    I have a copy from the pages of a Book or Photoplay, titled “Tragic Mansions” The Strange story of heartbreak houses of heartbreak town. Some fine dwellings that stand as monuments of shattered careers. By Cal York. Sorry I don’t have the year published, guessing the 30s. The Estate is one of the Homes in the story along with Falcons Lair, Charles Ray, Douglas Fairbanks, Roscoe Arbuckle, and several others. My Grandfather was described as an Eastern Capitalist, hehehe.

  53. Matt says:

    To Lawrence A Cali #37.4: Actually saw this book at the estate; the flyleaf was inscribed “To Toro” Luli’s pet name for Paul. Franz said (I’m paraphrasing) that it was an insiders’ view of the jet set-pre jets. When the book was published Luli had been, or was, living at the Waldorf Towers at $40k A MONTH IN 1948!!

  54. Matt says:

    To Sylvia Durando #46.1: Sincerely, I meant no disprect; just tired of hearing about “Hyland’s” book when Mr Lockwoods huge contribution hadn’t even been mentioned. I agree with you about preserving history. In post 47.1.1 you say you can’t send the historically important treasure trove of photos you have because you don’t want to give out your address; both prudent and wise in this day and age. How about going to someplace like Kinko’s & having them scanned & emailed from there? Their email address would be used not yours. Fingers crossed soon everyone will get to see your wonderful sounding photos & please, please, the Tragic Mansions article you mentioned in post #52.

  55. Matt says:

    The best book BY FAR on the estate, Thomson/Marion and Hollywood in the 20s is Cari Beauchamp’s ” Without Lying Down, Francis Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood” Extremly well written, really explains the people involved & once read makes Allens’ destruction all the more tragic and appaling. Someone should send him a copy of this book…..Mr Cali??…. and then get an apology a la Jon Peters. Mr Allen, class is calling…..are you home?

    • tresrios639 says:

      Have you seen the wonderful documentary on Francis. I Saw a copy at a friends home. He is a Western Movie collector and did a wonderful piece for The High Noon news letter on Fred. You could Google Francis and it should come up.

    • Sylvia Durando says:

      You can purchase it in film, just Google the title. I saw it and it is very well done.

  56. Matt says:

    To Lynn #48: I know my commments aren’t in order but BRAVA! Should the chance ever avail itself in the future, you might want to politely inquire of Mr Hyland what he’s done with all of Mr Kollsman’s papers Eva had him store for her. Or, going-even-further…if he still enjoys his boating parties……

    • Friend says:

      Correction- insurance money did not pay for the new main house roof.
      The insurance company saw through Eva. You have no idea, someone just wrote me: …Mr. Kollsmans estate probate never closed while I was involved because he left millions to people & Eva wouldn’t pay. We pay for roof replacement. It paid for living room fireplace repair & misc breakage, dishes, etc. Know cause I handled claim. Eva tried to must have overlapped time wise. Just after the 94 quake. I stayed there for over a month at Franz’s request. The insurance didn’t file major contents claim but went nowhere – I’d written letter prior to quake stating bank/insurance company would disavow any such claims as she’d declined to place scheduled contents coverage. She was quite a piece of work. TheProperty was held in title holding trust; meaning no management duties.

      The living room painting Birds of Americans (or Discover of the America 1761 Francis Bergen as noted in numerous Columbo scenes) was conversation noting time date & people involved. Kollsman had assigned it to Franz, the huge multi canvas painting featured in all those movies. Franz had in deed loan money to Kollsman!

      “When I put in for an XO fee, Eva & Ray Mathews called stating no such conversation occurred. I damaged by a film crew? Eva & Mathews quizzed me for 45 minutes on what to do. Knowing who I was dealing with I did a memo of the relayed the date, exact time & details. Neither had any response when confronted with proof. Slimy no? The film crew insurance company paid $50k for the quarter sized hole & Eva never repaired the picture.”

      Thanks for your number Matt. You mean the 70′ party boat MS Argosea in marina del Rey he bought with his well earned bloody money? Is a medical suite at 40 bond Street being used as an experimental lab for the cloning Eva’s bed bugs?

  57. What a terrible loss! It was a stunning estate. I hate these uber-rich people ruining such glorious estates.

    • Richard McLeod says:

      I certainly agree with you in regards to the loss of this Estate, with such a history of Early Hollywood beginning with its’ builders, Frances Marion and Fred Thompson. It is hard to believe that today with the efforts of Historic Preservation and the work done by the Los Angeles Conservancy, such can happen, but it does even with all the protests. And in this case, everyone from Greta Garbo, to Jeanette MacDonald and even Richard Nixon were entertained at one time or another, not to forget what the actual Roster of famous guests who visited this Estate over the few short years of its’ existence. Such quality of design and quality of materials, I doubt could even be replicated today. Let’s not even think about the loss of “Falcon Lair”, “The Ambassador Hotel” or “Pickfair”, as it is just so sad such buildings directly related to the History of Los Angeles and specifically the Golden Years of Hollywood could be destroyed with so little action by the community against the culprits. From what I have read in this column, this specific loss was pulled off very quickly, and such actions were completed with a definite purpose in mind. What that purpose is, I don’t know, but regardless of this loss, the old statement of “following the money trail” probably will lead one directly to the answer and the culprits responsible for such destructive, insensitive actions.

  58. BB says:

    I’ve been following this fascinating discussion for a while. I stumbled into this mention while searching online for something else. It places Nelson Eddy at the Niblo estate earlier than mentioned in previous posts.

    From Radio Mirror, March 1937: “Nelson Eddy moved into the Fred Niblo estate, which he bought in time to give one of his famous Sunday night parties for the cast of the show before hitting the trail on his concert tour.”

    • Sylvia Durando says:

      Nelson NEVER lived in our estate while Mr Barnes owned it.

      • Sharon Rich says:

        Sylvia, would love to chat with you by phone. Would you be willing to go to my personal website, my name dot com and use the “contact” tab and let me know how to get in touch with you? it will just come directly to me as a personal email… thx, much appreciated.. Sharon

      • Steve says:

        Thank you Sylvia so much for the clarification as one who would know above any/all speculation. It is a proven fact that Nelson Eddy lived in the adjacent estate “Misty Mountain.” Literally next door! I am unable to grasp why people seem to pay no attention to that, but rather want to ascribe him living at the Enchanted Hill in a place called the “Mists.” Misty Mountain vs. The Mists. Two entirely separate estates. Huh?!

      • Sharon Rich says:

        As a serious researcher, I take offense to the snide innuendo posted here and the “assumption” that Nelson Eddy never was found at 1441 Angelo Dr, just 1330. That’s just not true.

        Just because Sylvia Durando states that Eddy was not a renter while her grandfather had the property, does not mean he was never there. This last weekend, I spent over three hours combined on the phone with Sylvia, Jeff Hyland (who sold the property to Paul Allen) and my source (Madeline Bayless) who visited Nelson Eddy at the “cowboy bunkhouse” at 1441 on a number of occasions. I believe we have now sorted out any confusions on this and if Sylvia chooses to post here again, I’m sure she will back up everything that I’m posting here regarding her end of the story. Both she and Jeff were very friendly and helpful in sorting out this matter once and for all.

        First, though, I will give the background of Madeline Bayless, the now 91-year old who actually WAS THERE on the property when Nelson Eddy lived there. (If I’ve mentioned some or all of this before, I apologize for repeating the information.) Her father, Jim Bayless, worked at MGM from its inception. When movies went sound, he moved into the sound department with an emphasis on record recording technology. When Nelson Eddy arrived at MGM in 1933, he became friends with Jim Bayless and came to their house several times and Madeline first met Nelson at that time, as a family friend. Jim was to build Nelson’s home recording equipment and they designed it together based on what Jim had at his home. Then Jim built and installed a similar set-up in Nelson’s home. He taught Nelson how to push the technology to its limits, which was how Nelson first began experimenting with recording himself singing 4-part harmony. He subsequently recorded many great opera singers singing at his home and at parties; one which I really wish had survived was the “Faust” trio with Nelson, Jeanette and Allan Jones, which they made copies of and gave out as Christmas gifts one year.

        In 1941, Jim Bayless left MGM when he was asked to be an exec in a new startup – Capitol Records. There he remained the rest of his career and his son, Jim, Jr., was an exec after him. Bayless, Sr. continued to work with Nelson privately through the 1940s; for example, he would record Nelson’s weekly radio shows and then after the show take the disc over to Nelson so Nelson could listen and critique himself. During the mid 1940s, Madeline sometimes accompanied her dad in the car as they drove over to what her dad called “Nelson’s retreat.” She never heard the name “Mists” “Misty Mountain, “Enchanted Hill” or any other name. But where they went was indeed the “cowboy bunkhouse” at 1441…and they drove there via a service road through the gate at 1330.

        Now, when I spoke with Sylvia, she explained that even though her grandfather didn’t sell 1441 until 1945, at some point in the war they were not living there in the main house and the place was completely closed up because they could not keep the staff! Everyone was off doing other war-related jobs. She did not remember exactly what year this occurred. Jeff Hyland confirmed this as well, telling me that Paul Kollsman told him that when he bought it, the main house was abandoned and the place overgrown.

        In regards to 1330, it is known that both Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald lived there in the ‘30s (and Jeanette named one of her dogs Misty). Nelson took the place in 1936…but I have no information as to when he left. All that is known is that by 1945, we know for certain that he had moved up the road and was now at 1441. In a lengthy letter written by Nelson’s mother, Isabel Eddy from that year, it is obvious that Nelson was there because he did a massive renovation of the “cowboy bunkhouse.” Isabel writes: “The former owners had a handyman [“George”] that cleaned and cooked for them and attended to the grounds as well. He has stayed on with Nelson but now Nelson has had the grounds so improved that it keeps the man busy just doing that. The entire wooded hill on the front side has been cleaned out until it looks like a big, lovely park. He was able to get a gas mower so George can cut the grass quickly. As for the house – none of us want a curious woman about – so for the time being we are doing it ourselves. Blossom [Jeanette’s sister] and I together manage to keep it in good condition and occasionally I take Mary [Isabel’s housekeeper and cook] up and she gives it a thorough going over, even to washing the windows.”

        The renovations (detailed in minute detail) include redoing the bedrooms, per Isabel: “The bunks Nelson had taken out and comfortable couch beds installed.” She adds: “The living room walls were paneled in knotty pine – very attractive – but they wanted a softer shade – so she had the wall painted a turquoise and then quickly rubbed off. It now has a pinkish blue effect.” The “she” referred to here is Jeanette MacDonald, who subsequently brought over furniture that Nelson liked from her home with Gene Raymond, Twin Gables, to help furnish “Mists.”

        I want to interrupt here and say that “Mists” was apparently the nickname that they used for the property in their letters, they did not call it “Enchanted Hill” as they did not live in the main house. Who cares whether it was a proper name for it, or whether they bastardized the phrase “Misty Mountain.” The point is, that’s what THEY called it. And since I quoted those letters verbatim in my book, I altered nothing. Nor did Nelson live there full-time; it was used in spurts and, as Jim Bayless said to his daughter, was “Nelson’s retreat.”

        Now – I asked Sylvia on the phone repeatedly about the “cowboy bunkhouse” and she stated firmly that there was no such place, the only structure other than the main house was the guest house and the barn. When I talked to Jeff, I read the entire lengthy Isabel Eddy letter to him and then asked him to comment. First question: what building was this? Without hesitation he replied, “the cowboy bunkhouse.” I told him that Sylvia said that didn’t exist and he replied that it was right near the stables; he provided me with more descriptive details of it and added that it burned down in the Bel Air fire of 1961. And that there were supposedly jewels hidden there but someone got them because the insurance company never found them in the rubble.

        I also asked Jeff whether Madeline’s description of how one reached the bunkhouse via the 1330 gate was accurate; he said yes. And described to me how if you drove through the gate, on your right was the Niblo estate (1330) but if you continued driving you would reach the dead end and turn right for the main house (1441) and left for the stables and bunkhouse.

        I phoned Sylvia back and reported to her what Jeff had said about the existence and location of the bunkhouse and she said, “Oh, you’re talking about the servants’ quarters! I never heard the word bunkhouse, we never used that word. My grandfather was kind of snobby, in the main house he called it the ‘maid’s quarters’ and this one they called the ‘servants’ quarters.”

        I did explain to Sylvia that Nelson would have been very low-key about living there because in another letter, Isabel states that Nelson’s wife knew nothing about “Mists” and was never invited there. At that time, Nelson’s wife threatened to name Jeanette as correspondent if he tried to divorce her and the fear was that Jeanette’s reputation and career would be ruined if that occurred. There is a very short list of the few people who were trusted, knew about and were allowed to visit Nelson there; when I said to Sylvia that Hedda Hopper was mentioned as probably the only Hollywood person to know, she said that Hedda Hopper was very familiar with the place and was the one who brokered the deal when her grandfather bought it from Frances Marion!

        How long Nelson Eddy was there is still unknown but again, from the letters we know that it was at least through the summer of 1949. Nelson’s relationship with Jeanette was rocky at that point and they would soon after break up for over two years. Isabel noted that Nelson was depressed and barely left Mists all summer. In early 1950, the friend to whom Isabel was writing all these details died and so a valuable leak of information was stopped.

        There’s much more detail about events that took place at “Mists” (holiday events, a miscarriage suffered the night of December 19, 1947, etc.) in my updated book but the above should clarify the basic facts. Just Isabel’s 1945 letter alone – and her accurate description confirmed by Jeff Hyland – should be enough corroboration to satisfy any skeptic.

      • thanks sharon for doing the research -and talking to the folks “in the know” this was ever a puzzle as to the timeline and which home was “mists” to jeanette and nelson – and a thank you to sylvia and jeff also for their input- this part of the rumours and mustery solved ..but in conclusion – it was really a crime what this dreadful new owner did to these beautiful historic homes- greed beyond greed .. thanks to sharon and all here for a most interesting history

  59. Pingback: The Enchanted Hill, a Hollywood dream made real by Wallace Neff, Fred Thomson, and Frances Marion | BEGUILING HOLLYWOOD

  60. Hi Steve,

    I stumbled across your blog while I was doing research on a very special listing I have in Pelican Hill of Newport Coast.

    I thought you and your readers may appreciate the beauty of this home which was inspired by the Enchanted Hill – which was so tragically lost.
    Thank you for the virtual tour and pictures of the Enchanted Hill which helped me relate to our architect’s inspiration and design of the home in Pelican Hill. The architect on this Newport Coast home is Mr. Richard Krantz, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit with him. In his own words:

    “My inspiration for 26 Fairway Point was from the Marion-Thompson House by Wallace Neff, a principal architect of California’s Golden Age in the 1920’s. It has the characteristic sculptural forms and enchanting courtyards with interesting elements at every turn of the eye. Reminiscent of whitewashed SpanishAndalusian and Santa Barbara homes with romantic turrets, arches, fountains and wrought iron railings, this house contributes many varied picturesque spaces for a family to enjoy the wonderful Newport Coast climate.”
    – Richard Krantz, AIA Architect
    Link to a slide show of 26 Fairway Point – http://youtu.be/48gjy–Lkzk
    (not sure if this is the best way on a blog never blogged before)

    If you know of anyone who would love and appreciate this gem, please let them know it is ready for a new owner and kindly forward my contact information.

  61. Sylvia Durando says:

    Misty Mist. If you ever lived off the California Coast you would know how that name came about. Low Clouds and Fog come off the Coast and hang over the inland Mountains and Valleys, there is a heavy Mist that comes from them. Not rain but you do have to use your wipers if you are driving through it. I was not there when Misty was named but my bet is how that came about. The homes were high on the hill and many times the Mist would blow in during the early morning. I came through the Mist this morning, and the Light Bulb flashed.

    • Sylvia Durando says:

      I do have to add, Mr. Barnes sold the Estate in 1945 and at NO time prior, was Mr. Eddy living there and at No time was any of the buildings on the Estate named Mist or Misty!!! Please folks no matter how much you want to place him there before 1945 he was NOT!

  62. Sharon Rich says:

    Hi Sylvia! The letter describing the ongoing renovations is from September 1945. The last mention is that Nelson spent much of the summer of 1949 there. There are several letters about it in between that time, so we can place him there between 1945-49. As for him calling it “Mists”…I have no idea. As I stated before, it seems to have been their own nickname for the “bunkhouse” or whatever you want to call it. But that’s how it’s referred to in the letters.

  63. tresrios639 says:

    I was looking through some papers and I found the letter from Eva to me, dated Feb 1986. In her words in part. “The house and grounds are UN changed since you saw them but the Guest House burned down in a bad fire in the sixties.
    We have owned the property since the forties. Francis Marion did come visit once or twice before she passed.” Signed Eva F Kollsman Post Marked New York 1010 5th Ave.

  64. brian wellman says:

    paul allen of microsoft, america would like to know the story of why you had “enchanted hill” bulldozed. Was it on an earthquake fault line, were the grounds poisoned with DDT before they knew how harmfull it is, or is it because you are a damned idiot? I absolutely HATE people like you who are destroyers of history. WHAT AN IDIOT!!!!!

    • Richard McLeod says:

      I always remember the line Gloria Swanson made to William Holden in the film “Sunset Boulevard”, when he had taken out what she felt were vital portions of her play “Salome”. She had hired him to revise the Play for her, not destroy it. When realizing what he had taken out of the Play written for her comeback, she demanded he “Put it back!” referring to the sections he had deleted from what she had written. I feel that way toward what Paul Allen did when tearing down one of the great houses of Los Angeles and Hollywood History, when it seemed everyone seemed to have thought Mr. Allen was going to restore the Estate, evidently including the Los Angeles Conversancy, City Officials, and other Historic minded people in Los Angeles.

      I doubt Mr. Allen could “Put it back” as Gloria Swanson said in “Sunset Boulevard”, but with his money, he could possibly make efforts at rebuilding the historic home he so neglectfully and insensitively had destroyed.

  65. Pingback: Flicks Friday: The Life And Career Of Frances Marion |

  66. Christy Woster says:

    I am working on an article about Francis Marion and would love to connect with one of her family members/descendants.

    • Mary says:

      I once emailed with Frances Marion’s great granddaughter. If I can find the old email, I’ll see if I can get it to you privately

  67. dav9en says:

    My name is David Collins and I was fortunate enough to be able to work on the Enchanted Hill after the Earth Quake of 1994 I believe. I got to know Franz as he would make me breakfast every morning and insist that I sit and eat. Talking to him was one of the most interesting moments have experienced. He loved Mr. Kollsman and was obviously heart broken by his death. He was no fan of Mrs. Kollsman and made no bones about it. He was no fan Jeffrey Hyland either. The house was for sale at that time with Hyland as the realtor for Mrs. Kollsman.
    I have many fond memories of the time I spent working there. I am disgusted by what I just read about demise of the Hill by Paul Allen. There is a special place in Hell for people like him.

    • Paul says:

      The honor to share time with such a hard working soul is always very real. You might be interested
      in the true bio of the two caretakers of Enchanted Hill since 1945, the dynamic pair of domo Franz and brilliant inventor Paul Kollsman. Please contact us if interested to share thoughts.

      German born Franz always wanted to write a book about his life on the Hill, but truth was …his life was amazing hard. As an Nazi conscript 20 year old in 1935, and Franz survived 12 years in a Stalin Gulag after his near death injuries as one of the few survivor of Stalingrad, and after 7 years of being a engineer soldier. He was conscripted, AGAIN, by Widow by design Eva in 1982 for another 15 years of free labor and kicked of the property after almost 30 years loyal service as MajorDomo unpaid!

      The realtor agent to heiress in waiting Eva Kollsman for 25 years also become executor and inheritor!,…yes, yet so many legal debts were not paid in all those years…including Franz Koch who was never paid a cent! An estate worth many many millions. The every so moral realtor sold a 31million Malibu estate to a Dictator’s son and was interviewed by a Senate panel on corruption soon afterwards. Hum?

      Kollsman, survived by his estranged wife, Eva, died on a Sunday after two weeks in a coma at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on September 26, 1982. Widow by design Eva wanted no memorial, funeral & no burial for Paul Kollsman. “His family said his remains will be cremated and there will be no funeral”, the actual quote Eva commanded from a API Obituary Sept. 29, 1982.

      First wife actress Luli and childless Paul Kollsman have a-dual large Luli Kollsman granite memorial plot in Coachella, California when she was buried in 1951. And the half full plot is still awaiting “any Kollsman”. Why of course second wife would creamte the body.

      That no remembrance of Kollsman be held was and still is the very least of her disappointing bowel deeds. Eva Kollsman’s one million dollar Australian bequests in 2007, a shocking sickly demented “Tense Little Lives: uncollected prose” by black widow Eva Kollsman and her 40 year long homosexual lover, Ray Mathew. The sole copyrights of ‘Tense Little Lives’ are held by…a bi-coastal JH. Goodness!

      Things that cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

      Do contact us: Kollsman22200@gmail.com

  68. Pingback: Columbo and the Silent Clowns – Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd | Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

  69. MLM says:

    To our host Mr. Vaught – Very belated thanks for your perceptive insights & obvious love of historic buildings. Scoured site & discovered your two new books on Old Palm Springs!

    My late mother graduated PS High in 1947, a time when the town really was full of millionaires & movie stars. Her larger than life father (race car driver, WWI fighter pilot, etc.) was a Realtor at the time & sold property to Bob Hope, etc. His surname was Hoover (had a nephew named Herbert) & he actually got the aireal tram pushed through politically!

    Thank you for your informed, erudite articles. They’re much appreciated by this reader &, guessing, most everyone else that’s found your website. Thanks also for relaying why you “dropped out of site”. Glad to know it was for productive reasons!

    • Steve says:

      Sorry for the delay in response but I couldn’t be more appreciative of your kind words. They made my day and hope I can keep turning out more. And I’ll have a new book coming out in September on architect Gordon B. Kaufmann.
      BTW: I know of your your grandfather, having encountered him many times in the pages of of Palm Springs newspapers. He was a mahttps://paradiseleased.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?paged=1&ids=5179%2C5178#comments-formjor player there for sure!
      Thanks again so much!

      • john smith says:

        Mr. Vaught, My turn to apologize for the tardy response. History’s fun. The more you know the more interesting ones surroundings become. The Rex, Lucy’s back room, the Clover Club… My God what went on in this town -Seemed like it was a heck of a lot more fun then; dancing to a twenty piece orchestra at the Coconut Grove or Earl Carrols’ anyone? As well as a lot more dangerous; Benjamin Segal, Myron Cohn, Burton Fitts.. Scary on both ends of the social spectrum.

        In any event Mr. History, can/would you “flesh out” the 1915 Santa Catalina island fire. Always been very intrigued by this mysterious event; especially in light of it’s unresolved/explained status to my knowledge. For those who’ve never heard of this fire, Catalina had big money establishments which burned to the ground in one night..in non-contigious fires…. Any clues? Thanks , mm

  70. Bruce Robertson says:

    If you want to see this estate circa 1987 check out the link to Rock Hudson Story starts at 1:27:37

  71. Richard McLeod says:

    When I think of Frances Marion I am reminded of the wonderful story writer she was for MGM. She wrote so many scripts for iconic MGM films such as “Anna Christie” with Greta Garbo, whom I feel certainly visited the Enchanted Hill with many other Hollywood Stars of the day. The later Nelson Eddy, Jeanette MacDonald and many, many other visitor’s only adds to the illustrious history of the Estate. The home was Hollywood History that was very is lost to us. The unique quality of building materials and artistry used in the construction of the home during the glory years of Hollywood, the overall architectural design and location but primarily the wonderful memories which can never be taken away.

    • MM says:

      For quite awhile wanted to commend your heartfelt comments on the loss of the estate & other properties like it.

      Sadly, don’t think a recreation could come anywhere close to the original. The brilliance involved in creating such a complete 1920’s “cost be damned” estate by Thomson, Marion & Neff… All three were “tops” in their respective fields.

      Trying to replace the old growth timbers used for the living room ceiling.. an interior entirely of hand troweled lime plaster walls.18th century Austrian choir stalls reworked for the living room steps and bar. Decorative iron and tile work imported from Spain. Glass doors that disappeared into walls, silver sinks, two story organ pipes. Yes all of the these, with a shower of money, could be rebuilt. The consummate craftsmanship & ’20s charm, doubtful –

      That the estate survived for over sixty years was an exceptional milestone. Interesting too, that unlike Mr. Allen, the Murdoch family appreciated Neff’s near neighbor the Niblo-Stein “Misty Mountain” to not only restore the property, but to keep it in the family. Rupert recently sold it to one of his sons for something like $25 million; on considerably less than 120 acres…

      Everyone’s free to do what they want with their own properties. Like you think it’s a “crying” shame for people to buy iconic historic properties only to remodel them out of existence or level them as in the case of the less than enlightened (my opinion only) Mr. Allen-

  72. Anonymous says:

    Kollsman’s second wife, the true and deadly Black Widow” did not remain on the estate at all. She was ensconced in New York with a questionable writer type sycophant remainingb in constant communication with the nefarious Bevrely Hills realtor who ultimately got the wrecking ball swinging by selling the place to Paul Allen. Mr. Realtor, cloaking a checkered past, prefers to be considered as “historian par excellence” following a deep dive into purloined information, useful in exalting his shiny image.

    • MM says:

      Think it’s interesting that Anonymous failed to mention that “Mr. Beverly Hills Historic Realtor”, while endlessly publicizing his association with the property, always neglects to mention that he was Mrs. Kollsman’s inheritor. This is not speculation or conjecture on my part. Australian writer Thomas Shapcott stated so in his acknowledgement page of the truly grotesque “Tense Little Lives: Uncollected Prose of Ray Mathew” reissue with the following verbatim quote:

      To the National Library of Australia for a Harold White Fellowship in 2005 which enabled me to work on the Ray Mathew papers in their holdings; to Jan Fullerton who first suggested to me the possibility of research funding; to the Estate of the late Eva Kollsman and to her inheritor Jeff Hyland for the donation of the important bulk of the Ray Mathew archives and for permission to reproduce; etc.

      Or the fact that he and Mrs. Kollsman stiffed the Estate’s Major Domo out of apx. 250k owed for years of unpaid salary and a 90k loan made to Mr. Kollsman before he died.

      Nor the fact that said Major Domo introduced Mr. Kollsman to “Mr. Realtor”. No knowledge of, but assume, Mr. Realtor also neglected to pay the Major Domo the “promised” commission for said introduction.

      Or that “Mr. Realtor” inherited Mrs. Kollsman’s 1010 Fifth Avenue apartment as well as a substantial volume of Mr. Kollsman’s papers; a brilliant inventor with over three HUNDRED inventions that materially changed the world.

      Also think it most telling that last year’s “Will Rogers Awards” show, with all of its endless pre awards publicity, made absolutely no mention, ever, of the catagory Mr. Realtor “won”.

      To give you a slight idea of Mr. Realtor’s competence of historical facts one only needs to reference Pickfair; the Fairbanks-Pickford estate, now lost. Mr. Realtor has endlessly referred to the property (and to be fair, along with many, many others) as a former “hunting lodge”. The property was built by Lee A. Phillips as a country home by architect Horatio Cogswell. If Mr. Realtor can’t even get the facts straight on one of BH’s most iconic properties…..

      • Anonymous says:

        “Stiffing” appears to be one of Mrs. Kollsman’s most convenient techniques. After years of association. with Paul Kollsman, a Wall Street attorney was summarily stiffed and closed off in communication by the illustrious Mrs. Kollsman. Could this have been part of a master scheme to forever distance close associates of Mr. Kollsman cleverly continued by Mr. Realtor?

  73. PK says:

    The estate’s lead witness is a co-chair of Sotheby’s Old Masters squad. He downgrades the paintings’ values, because they are extremely dirty, and the dirt may hide a multitude of sins.” OH so True! “That ancient cry rings no bells with Judge Gale, as he discusses the cleaning of Old Master paintings in Estate of Eva Franzen Kollsman, Deceased, Jeffrey Hyland, Executor, 2017 T. C. Memo. 40, filed 2/22/17. The late Eva was another art collector with a collection TO DIE FOR, and she did. She was a heavy smoker, and her Breughels were unclean.” The total purchase price was $2,434,500.00 for a Paul Kollsman’s painting.

    The Eva Frazen Kollsman estate’s assets included a few 17th-century Old Master paintings, Accordingly, ESTATE OF EVA FRANZEN KOLLSMAN, DECEASED, JEFFREY HYLAND, EXECUTOR, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent Docket No. 26077-09. Filed February 22, 2017.
    Village Kermesse, Dance Around the Maypole (Maypole) by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (Pieter Brueghel), measuring approximately 21-1/2 by 29-7/8 inches, and (2) Orpheus Charming the Animals (Orpheus) by Jan Brueghel the Elder or Jan Brueghel the Younger or a Brueghel studio,5 measuring approximately 19 by 27 inches. Both are oil paintings on wood panels. Maypole depicts the revelry of a village festival: Some villagers dance around a maypole as others engage in similarly spirited pursuits. Orpheus depicts the musician of Greek mythology by that name playing a lyre, surrounded by an assortment of paired animals in a sylvan setting. “He stated that the “preliminary estimates” of the sale prices the paintings would bring at Sotheby’s January 2006 auction in New York City were $600,000 to $800,000 for Maypole and $100,000 to $150,000 for Orpheus.”
    But The Maypole sold at Sotheby’s January 2009 Old Masters auction in New York. The total purchase price, including the buyer’s premium, was $2,434,500.00. “Thus, Mr. Wachter, on behalf of his firm, had a direct financial incentive to curry favor with Mr. Hyland by providing fair market value estimates that benefited his interests as the estate’s residual beneficiary–that is to say, “lowball” estimates that would lessen the Federal estate tax burden borne by the estate.
    The Courts determined Respondent determined a $781,488 deficiency in the Federal estate tax of the Estate of Eva Franzen Kollsman (estate). Eva Franzen Kollsman (decedent), a resident of New York, died testate on August 31, 2005. Her estate was administered in New York. Her will designated Jeffrey Hyland as the executor of her estate and the distributee of its residual.3 Mr. Hyland resided in California at the time the petition was filed.The Eva Kollsman estate IRS audit had no mention of JH as HEIR; the paper work was all filed on the day Eva died; “Around the date of decedent’s death, in a letter dated August 31, 2005”. The exact date! “Her will designated Jeffrey Hyland as the executor of her estate and the distributee of its residual.” She did die on that date, not “around the date”! Cry me a tear. As Heir, Mr. Realtor was this against the LAW?

    • Lynn Russell says:

      Hi Richard,

      Is this you as someone else? If so I feel we should be reasonably circumspect with the information and let out occasional breadcrumbs.

      Jeff Hyland could put undue pressure on Steve Vaught with this blog and I don’t think we need to scare SB to death in the process. Just my opinion of caution. We should hold most cards close. What do you think?


      Sent from my iPhone


      • curious says:

        Seems to me ok being public records and all.

        As an outsider find it all fanaciting. Really the lifestyles of the rich and depraved thrown in with some talented originals and a kinda nice house.

      • Richard McLeod says:

        Yes, it’s me. First, they tore down ‘Pickfair” (referred to as the West Coast White House in it’s day because of the famous World leader’s and guests that visited there over an extended period of time), then or about the same time, “Falcon Lair” was torn down, and now the Enchanted Hill not to forget the Brown Derby’s and the Ambassador Hotel with the famed Cocoanut Grove Ballroom. This list could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. I think Antonio Moreno’s home is still standing?
        These architectural losses are all such a sad story, especially in consideration of the historical significance of these homes and buildings to the Los Angeles, Hollywood area history of what literally put those places on the map.

        I would have thought the one of the Historical Associations, Mayor’s, City Councilmen, the current movie Actor’s, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or concerned citizen’s groups would have saved these specific buildings and homes, as they were the highest pinnacle of Hollywood History, but nothing happened other than to tear down some of the most significant and historical architectural gems in the City.

    • Lynn Russell says:

      I just realized PK must be Paul Kollsman speaking from the grave. An interesting POV.

      Sent from my iPhone


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  75. knows says:

    Mr. McLeod, Been around and connected the dots. Of the places you’ve mentioned:

    Pickfair: Could have driven up, or walked, the driveway. A time when Mary had secluded herself in her bedroom. Open gates, peeling paint and trash dumped over the wall. Think you missed the point on this one. Doug and Mary were the first motion picture power couple. On a scale unimaginable today. Silent pictures…..worldwide audience…and histerical adulation. Doug was a man of his time and place. Double standard marriage with Mary accountable to his unreasonable-irrational insecurity born jealousies. Mary was not even allowed to dance with another man! But he could take his pick of the on set extras and wasn’t shy about it. The house plubilicity with all the royals, etc. was another of Doug’s manias, titles. Lady Silvia Ashly….please…

    Falcon Lair: Drove by it for years. Era when Bernard Lafferty was in control. Saw him a couple of times on the driveway and knew who he was at the time. Less than surprised in the manner of Miss Duke’s demise; or for that matter, his own. 500k to a BH plastic surgeon for his “services” at her death?

    Ambassador Hotel: Was one of the last guests. Accidentally pushed the wrong floor on the elevator and the doors opened to a peeling paint hallway. Knew then what was coming. Could have gone to the original Brown Derby across the street, but never did. At the time people were fighting to save it in the courts and the developer, knowing this, illegally tore it down in the middle of the night. Slap on the wrist fine with no jail time.

    Can’t speak for associations but as far as government agencies go, they have no financial incentive to save historic properties; rather the reverse actually. Permits, taxes, fees, etc.

    Think about the last drought water crises and the draconian restrictions that were being imposed on consumers. At that time, six billion dollars in building permits were issued. Zoning, height and density covenants were being (and continue to be) swept aside for these developments. Am I the only one to recognise the ludicrous dicotome in these diametrically opposed positions? One hand telling the population they must sacrifice and the other hand telling developers welcome to our anything goes town?

    And kudos to one of your references, The Acamedy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Their adaptive reuse of the old Beverly Hills water treatment plant into the Margaret Herrick Library is a benchmark standard, in my book, of how things can, and should, be done in this town.

    • Richard McLeod says:

      Think about the last drought water crises and the draconian restrictions that were being imposed on consumers. At that time, six billion dollars in building permits were issued. Zoning, height and density covenants were being (and continue to be) swept aside for these developments. Am I the only one to recognise the ludicrous dicotome in these diametrically opposed positions? One hand telling the population they must sacrifice and the other hand telling developers welcome to our anything goes town?

      I also recognized (as you well put it) “the draconian restrictions that were being imposed on consumers”, so at least we know there are two of us out there aware of the (also your well phrased statement) “ludicrous dicotome in these diametrically opposed positions situation that existed and on the “One hand telling the population they must sacrifice and the other hand telling developers welcome to our anything goes town?”. Very interesting (and sad) comments on your last visits to Pickfair, Falcon Lair, the Brown Derby and the Ambassador. I am not sure what the word “dicotome” means that you used, but still get the point.

      I was at the nearby Ted Gibson’s Frame Shop one day during the early part of the demolition, and had a set of CD’s with the famous Band Leader’s from their actual broadcasts in the early 1930’s. I parked my car on the western side street of the Ambassador (near Ted Gibson’s Frame Shop), and just had my own memorial service as the Ambassador was being torn down in front of my eyes while listening to the music that had been played by the various Orchestras in the Cocoanut Grove including Gus Arnheim, Phil Harris and others so many years ago.

      • knows says:

        Thanks for the kind words. Glad to know someone’s interested in the back end histories and not the PR pablum, be it governmental agencies or agenda driven individuals, that often supplant “facts”.

        Thanks also for sharing your frame shop Ambassador demise. What a great story! Since you were so generous, more expanded trivia on the subjects:

        After the press announcements that The Ambassador was going to be torn down, the then owner held a series of on site sales of the contents. I went and bought – Missed the first day and the “hot” item; champagne buckets from the Coconut Grove. Did buy serving platters, table linens, imprinted stationary, etc. Toured the kitchen….. RIP RFK… The hotel was such a part of LA history…

        Suspect Pickfair was remodeled almost out of existence under Buss and Riklis-Zadora, before being demolished and replaced by the latter. Honestly the house was no great shakes architecturally. Wallace Neff, genius architect of Misty Mountain, The Enchanted Hill and so many others, tried to convince Mary Pickford to replace the house in the early ’30s. Not the greatest time for architects, or the best PR move (Which Mary surely must have realized.) for a still revered, but fading, movie star in building an extravagant new home. Failing that, Neff settled for (among other things) adding Regency style wrought iron to the exterior in an attempt to mask the bad proportions. Although the house wasn’t much on its own, the original acreage and location were superlative. 16-18 acres in Beverly Hills with a panoramic view of the Westside to the ocean.

        Falcon Lair had a very slow death. Stripped to the studs and left to rot. The story was the last owner had incredible problems with the city over permits, etc., gave up and demolished the place. Falcon Lair was also very precariously sited on a narrow ledge of cleared hilltop land. Heard the foundations were slipping, but also read Miss. Duke was a stickler for maintenance, so I really don’t know. Best guess? City red tape, and possibly a lack of funds, did the place in.

        Also of note: House wasn’t built by, or for, Valentino; but he did spend a fortune on improvements and furnishings. As the first (in the modern sense) male superstar sex symbol, privacy was a serious concern. Rabid fans thought nothing of ringing the doorbell at all hours, hopping the fence or just walking into the house unannounced! He built a perimeter wall around the estate that was something like 8 feet tall with 16 foot foundations! His bedroom, as furnished, was one of the most fantastic rooms I’ve ever seen. All the furniture (if I remember right) was custom made to his specifications in the then very new Art Deco/Art Modern style. While the furniture itself doesn’t stand out all that much in black and white photos, the descriptions of the colors used (orange, celadon green, gilded ball feet, etc.) must have made it a stunning visual Tour de Force. Also loved the picture of the striped to the waist maiden over the bed and the absolute finishing touch of ’20s decadence, a perfume burning lamp at the foot of the bed!

        Miss. Duke also added some embellishments, a room from Napoleon I being one. Her Estate seriously hindered the preservation of the property. Something (I believe) she herself would have abhorred as a staunch preservationist. (What she did for Newport, RI, over decades, “set the bar” followers have yet to match.) Read conditions of Estate sale included removing the Napoleon room and a lot of other architectural features such as door surrounds and even window frames. Don’t know how much was followed through in the sale, but it must have been pretty grim for the buyer. A house with doors, windows, paneling, light fixtures, etc., removed by close of escrow.

        Sorry about “dicotome”. What can I say? The wonders of unproofed Spellcheck? Meant dichotomy.

        By the way, the owner of The Ambassador at the time of the contents sales is now POTUS. Sorry, but when writing about such great people and properties, can’t bring myself to include THAT name –

        Also have (off the top of my head) memories of the Pan Pacific Auditorium, Villa Auora, Gamble House, Venice’s Lafayette Cafe and 72 Market Street, Nicky Blair’s, Le Dome, Spago (both locations), The Luau (Still missed, all time LA favorite.), Juschi and Rodeo Drive just as it became “famous” (and my take on the reasons why), Westwood Village when it was a local paradise, the most beautiful celebrity women and the following short list of seen/or met: Orenthal James and Nicole Brown Simpson, Armand and Michael Hammer, Fred Astaire, Dean and Dean-Paul Martin, Army and Sema Archer, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland, Vidal and Beverly Sassoon, Paul Newman, The Terminated, Walter and Carol Mathieu, Liza-Lee-Denise, The Kneissl’s and Franz Jr. whose first marriage was to Sunny von Bulow’s daughter from her first marriage, HRH Princess Annie-Laurie (Ala) von Auersperg… TSH’s the Grimaldi’s (Rainier III and Grace) and Monaco, Crown Prince Akihito before he became Emperor of Japan and others. Any interests?

  76. War Emblem says:

    “Stein, born in Los Angeles to renowned parents. Her father Jules C. Stein was the founder of the Music Corporation of America (MCA), which was once the largest talent agency in the world and took over Universal….
    “Her childhood home was a Beverly Hills mansion known as ‘Misty Mountain’, once occupied by Katharine Hepburn in the 1930s. When Stein’s mother died, Rupert Murdoch bought the home, which is now owned by his son James.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4463498/Famous-author-jumps-death-Manhattan-tower.html#ixzz4fuLKJMnw
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    I take it that the Daily Mail’s “Misty Mountain” is not the subject of your fabulous article, above. Am I correct?

    • Steve says:

      Right. “Misty Mountain” is the estate next door, which was built by director Fred Niblo and has had a great celebrity history right up to the Murdochs of today. Both estates were designed by the same architect, Wallace Neff too, but only one remains.

      • The Fly on the Wall says:

        There is a good chance they would both be standing in there deserved glory had it not been for the avaricious and fake “preservationist real estate” agent that had a heavy hand in its sale and ultimate destruction.

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  78. Mira Olson says:

    I’m so happy to have found paradiseleased 🙂 Thank you for this wonderful work! I was so sad to read about the destruction of this fabulous estate. I love early-Hollywood history and it has long saddened me that so many wonderful homes have been torn down. Regarding Paul Allen, I did an internet search to read more about his destruction of this estate…and during that process, I found an interesting article indicating his reckless destruction continues… in 2016…Paul Allen megayacht destroyed most of Caribbean coral reef…http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/paul-allen-megayacht-destroyed-most-of-protected-coral-reef-officials-say/

  79. Ortlan says:

    Visiting “old stomping grounds”, went to the top of Angelo Drive last night.
    Interesting, interesting, interesting…

    Both the street and driveway(s) around “Misty Mountain” appear to be train wrecks. The wrought iron front gates are off their hinges and hanging as if discarded debris. It looks like some remodelling was started, and then stopped, some time ago….

    Tried to make a cell phone call from this “top of the world” unobstructed location and, for the first time ever in urban LA, zero bars cell phone reception…

    I’m sure with billionaire neighbors Allen and Murdoch about, nothing as underhanded (and illegal) as cell phone jammers could possibly be employed… Especially with the “utterly charming” razor wire topped concrete prison barbican entrance Mr. Allen erected; or the steady drone viewing me almost directly over where The Enchanted Hill’s original main house was.

    Glad to see Mr. Allen’s got his priorities straight; me against the world perhaps?

    • Richard McLeod says:

      Frances Marion was one of the great script writers for the movies of Greta Garbo and many others especially at MGM Studios. When this home was built it ranked as one of the great mansions of old Hollywood. A shame this home like Pickfair and Falcon Lair no longer exist. Pickfair was once considered the White House of the West Coast. The last of historical appreciation in the Beverly Hills area is astounding. Three of the areas’ most significant and well remembered homes are now gone and evidently the current Mayor and City Council members of Beverly Hills could “care less”.

    • War Emblem says:

      No fire damage in the area?

    • Christine says:

      I’m delighted to find this site! What a treasure trove of information. I thought I had scoured up every possible historic picture of the Enchanted Hill, but I just drank in the ones here that I hadn’t seen.
      Since no one else has posted it, I thought I’d offer an update on the state of the Enchanted Hill now in 2021. The developers have a website, theenchantedhill.com, and I check in every so often. For awhile there were pictures of all of the sites newly finessed with bright white retaining walls and bright green artificial turf to give the development a fuller sense of it being all ready for an imagination to run wild. This apparently didn’t do the trick, so about 18 months ago, I noticed that they had employed the services of an architect who designed modern-looking structures for each site, one depicting guest houses, one a winery with hillside vineyard, a fitness center, and possible equestrian facilities. In the actual aerial photos, there was still ONE precious morsel of the great estate remaining, the semi-circular brick stairs from the entrance courtyard down the hill. Someone knew that people would value the history of the place, and these stairs remained for nearly 20 years.
      I’m not sure why, but after reading this blog about a dozen times, I re-visited theenchantedhill.com to look at the aerials. Much to my surprise, there was a big re-branding effort underway. All of the previous architectural renderings had been replaced with futuristic designs looking like nothing so much as old-fashioned spaceships. Every site had building modelled around this central design of discs; the rendering for the 4-acre home parcel has so many discs, and a few ovals used for decking, that it’s hard to discern where any living facilities are. Then there’s another style mixed in on other sides–very small, but tall narrow buildings with a full wall of glass facing outward. I’d be hard pressed to describe if these are the guest houses or greenhouses; one diagram shows a huge glass-ceilinged space with plants lining one side and what look to be three desks on the other. The accompanying spiel starts here to mention eco-building, the new focus of this campaign. A lot is said about hillside windmills and solar (on those perfectly-presented discs?) and farm shops, but the only really clear thing about it all is that they’re pushing the “green” concept, as if having not only the largest compound of structures to exist in LA, but being the standard-bearer for saving the planet is the ego they’re pitching to.
      Perhaps they anticipate some who might say that the “greenest” thing to do is to save existing structures instead of adding them to ever-growing landfills, so they have moved away from the historic aspect of their pitch. The website might still be (for the moment) theenchantedhill.com, but the title that now appears at the top is Angelo Park, and that’s what appears in the tab at the top of your browser once you’re in the site. The new focus is on Angelo’s pedigree, both architectural and star-studded, and the name Enchanted Hill appears only once until the very bottom where the earliest (of three) promotional videos they’ve made to date can still be found. With the links to all three videos still present, their confidence in this new futuristic, green, Angelo concept shows some cracks. Like the concept of throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping something sticks, they’ve left all three videos in the hope that perhaps one of them will hit a chord with someone.
      And in the latest aerial shots with the green carpeted sites, the semi-circular brick steps are now gone. By destroying this last vestige of the great estate, they’ve clearly determined that history won’t be the selling point that sticks to the wall.
      This blog has been going for nearly a decade, and in that time, some contributors likened this mile-long sale to the 100 acres to the east, once called The Vineyard, then re-branded simply as The Mountain. At early points in this blog, the asking price was $1 billion. The latest news on that front? It went into foreclosure and sold under the auctioneer’s block for a mere $100,000. In the last year there have been several area sales of $60 million and more, including the Warner Estate, Chartwell, spec mansion The Billionaire, and now The One, the 8-acre, 100,000-square-foot megamansion that can never be exceeded due to new size restrictions, priced at $350 million and headed for foreclosure. With the demand for megamansions skyrocketing during the pandemic, will the promise of supreme isolation privacy + luxury + bragging rights to being “green” + having every amenity and never having to go out bring about some interest in Enchanted Hill? While the brick steps from 1923 were still there, I was somewhat hopeful that nice people like Marion/Thomson might continue their tradition. Somehow, though, the removal of the steps has soured me to the point that I hope it fails to sell. If it just sits there with no interest in sight, forcing the greedy estate of Paul Allen to pay taxes and maintenance year in and year out, that would be just fine with me.
      I hope if this blog hasn’t been closed and someone gets to read this, my sincere wishes that you have survived this past year of COVID-19.

  80. Remembering says:

    It was on the highest hill in Beverly Hills decorated by the then owner’s first wife; a woman born a prewar German Baroness with highly refined exquisite taste – 18th century cast French silver candalabras and Jensen Acorn Pattern sterling as every day dining table ware; pictures of 16th century Korean noblemen lining the staircase and library walls; 19th century Turkish reverse painted on glass pictures in the dining room. The 2 1/2 story tall living room contained at least two of the first large scale western porcelain animal figures attempted at Meisen by Fredrick the Great and an 18th century bureau bookcase that the Italian goverment bought as an official state gift for the marriage of HRH The Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer. The house was stuffed with such treasures.

  81. Remembering says:

    While looking at the blog photos just realized, right this second, why the garage front was so simple, yet so incredibly charming… It was the vistor’s first introduction to the Estate’s architecture! Made all the more so as it was viewed headon. One either had to make a 45 degree right (to the garages, tennis court, upper riding ring and guest house casita) or making a 45 degree left to the main house. Driving this route one rounded a slight bend to see a straight shot down the driveway to the arch and not much of the house.The finale to this very carefully thought out composition was passing under the arch to the (originally) cobbled stone entrance courtyard.

    This is a VERY sophisticated ideal; harking at least back to 18th century English estates. A slight peak here, a slight peak there and then the full impact; most often a massive pile (mansion). That Neff chose to allow the spectacular panoramic view to be the visitor’s natural first inclination is really kind of remarkable. He was very young and this was his first “Hollwood” commission. Under those circumstances, wouldn’t most people have gone overboard on the front facade demanding attention?

    (Mr. Vaught, I owe you an apology. Anyone not intimately familiar with the Estate would most naturally assume the garage front was the guesthouse. Who but Neff would lavish so much care and attention on a garage?)

    Something else noticed but not mentioned: look at the 6th picture from the bottom up; the one of the swimming pool to the house. Take a very close look at where the edge of the concrete meets the lawns. If I’m not mistaken The Enchanted Hill’s pool surround had a most unique water feature. It appears to me that rectangular slits were cut into the concrete for water lilie “ponds” down the length of the pool on both sides! I’ve seen this only once elsewhere; another Neff, the Fredrick March house on Monovale Drive. It’s most famous occupants (aside from Mr. March & Wallis Annenburg) were Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston during their time together. At both locations these “ponds” only appear in vintage photographs, having been filled in long ago. Most likely due to corroded pipes and would have been extremely expensive to repair with the thickness of concrete pours in the ’20s and ’30s.

    Connect the disperative dots me also picked up on another significant (at least to me) finding.  After carefull study, it appears that King Vidor’s 1927 Neff at 9941Tower Lane was almost an exact copy of The Enchanted Hill’s main house; and a not much smaller one at that. The Enchanted Hill’s 10,000 sf. verses Vidor’s 8,000. If one compares photographs of the view sides of the homes, both have two story+ living rooms on the right. Both have driveways that snaked around the houses and both have parking courtyards at the front doors. (Pardon me; all of the “have’s” should be “had’s”.) The original acreages weren’t all that far off either. King Vidor’s 5  verses The Enchanted Hill’s 12. So they really were very close comparables when built. The Enchanted Hill in 1926 and Vidor’s almost immediately following in 1927.

    To think that such twins lasted so long and were leveled, within a decade of each other, by owners unable (or uncaring) to comprehend the real sophistication before them…There really is only one word that fits the bill.. Philistines.

    • tresrios639Sylvia says:

      I have some wonderful photos of the Estate from when we lived there in the 30s. My grandfather was LS Barnes. Would be fun to share them here but Not allowed. I have some 16mm film as well. There was a Sand boxed in area next to the pool for the non swimming lil children to play in, I have a photo of me in that Sand. Memories are all we have left and I was Lucky to have been there.

    • Richard McLeod says:

      This last comment was beautifully and touchingly written. Sad to read on Christmas Eve, a day short of the death of Fred Thompson, so many Christmas’ ago.

      • tresrios639 says:

        I just found a photo of the SAND BOX at the Pool with Adults lounging in it along with my Father. I will try to attach it to this E mail. Let me know if it gets to you. Sylvia

      • Christine says:

        I’m wondering if I know you! Are you a (retired) history professor from PA with an early August birthday?!

  82. Pondering says:

    Does no one find it more than beyond strange for an individual, regardless of worth, to spend millions on infrastructure upgrades in the form of roads, retaining walls, city sewer lines and seriously beyond state of the art 24 survelance security for a “vacant” lot?

    As pure speculation, ponder the possibilities of a most private 120 acre hilltop site when the original structures were demolished and the infrastructure upgrades built.

    Could it be that Mr. Hadid’s notoriously unpermitted additions to his Bel Air “Starship Enterprise” Strada Vechia property might just have a substantial underground cousin?

    • Christine says:

      Now in 2021, the answer to this question is easier to discern. After a decade of Mohammed Hadid’s Strada Vecchia fiasco–with the property finally sold last week for $8 million with $5 devoted to the building’s demolition–it’s become clear just how slowly the wheels and cogs of the LA permitting offices move. Aside from complaints/litigations, developers now say that the it can take up to two years to get all of the permits approved for demo and a new dwelling. As a result, they’ve found that seeling the lot with all of the infrastructure in place, an archiect’s plans for the whole project that have been approved by the city, as well as environmental and engiineering studies ir needed. It’s like “pack and play” items; once the sale goes through, construction can start the next day.

  83. Stablemates says:

    Wasn’t this estate used for for the Columbo episode “Identity Crisis?”

    • tresrios639 says:

      There were several Movies made there. I have a list someplace. One was the Life of Rock Hudson

    • jimfoz says:

      Yes this was – it was also featured in a later episode of Columbo with William Shatner. One of the reasons I love the early Columbo’s is the location shooting in some of the nicest LA houses.

  84. tresrios639 says:

    I so wish I could share my photos of the Estate when we lived there on this sight, but it does not allow it. Bet you all would love to see them.

  85. Enough Fantasy Fiction says:

    So the man is just a complete and total jackass – Destroyed what some are now calling Wallace Neff’s finest creation to build a mile long vacant road.

    Also of note is his complete lack of horticurtural appreciation. All the original vegetation was either immediately destroyed when the structures were demolished or allowed to die from lack of water or any maintenance. One example: the entrance driveway was lined with massive Jacaranda trees planted by Thomson and Marion. Once established the trees needed no water. Driving that driveway after spring rains was a magnificent canopy of purple blossoms unequaled in Los Angeles. Think Mr. Allen transplanted the trees? Guess again.

    Self proclaimed Historian Realtor continues with his “facts” on a ridiculously ignorant level. Unlike his fantasy version: Greta Garbo owned the Thomas Lamb vaguely English Tudor house just down the street in the 1950’s. Paul Kollsman knew her and she was walking the property with Gaylord Hauser one day and stated something to the effect “That this is such a happy hill and that’s what it should be called.”

    The place was named “The Enchanted Hill“ as the English version of W.R. Hurst’s La Casa Enchanda. Marion was screenwriter of Hurst’s paramour Marion Daves.

    Lastly the pure BS as in “once in a lifetime”, etc., is the same crap they were peddling over a year ago for “The Vineyard” 90+ acres directly across Benedict Canyon listed for $250 million and remains unsold last I heard.

    • Enough Fantasy Fiction says:

      Correction. Mistook 90 acre $250 million price for “The Vineyard” parcel across Benedict Canyon.

      Per article in NY Times 07.28.18 the loons that actually own the parcel have changed the name of the property from “The Vineyard” to “The Mountain” and want $1 Billion for the 157 acre parcel. Why not a trillion dollars?

  86. Enough Fantasy Fiction says:

    Typo Corrections and a little bit more

    The Spanish name of Hurst’s San Simeon Ranch is “La Cuesta Encantada”; or “The Enchanted Hill” in English. Not La Casa Enchanda was too rushed to look up before. Why would Thomson and Marion need anyone, including Greta Garbo, to name their property as Historian Realtor “authoritatively” states?

    All the breathless reporter hype about the $1 billion dollar price of “The Mountain of Beverly Hills” across Benedict Canyon…

    Interesting none of the reporters seem to remember, or feel the need to report, the property was “unoffically” shopped around for the same billion dollar price back in 2015 when it was named “The Vineyard of Beverly Hills”.

    That unofficial listing stopped when “The Hollywood Reporter” detailed the decades of legal battles, lawsuits and ownership disputes.

    One of the current brokers has been quoted as saying “Authenticity is going to be a big part of the branding”.

    Given the property’s history and the principals involved, good luck with that…

  87. Pie in the Sky says:

    Think these astronomical prices. i.e. $150 million, $250 million and $1 billion dollars are “pie in sky” seller’s dreams. Who in their right mind would pay that much for unlandscaped dirt? Despite Broker babble listings each stating offered as “once in a lifetime unequaled opportunities” accerage –

    Having said that, with houses going for north of $100 million (on considerably less acreage) guess anything is theoretically possible –

  88. gregnagin says:

    Does anyone know what happened to Franz the Kollesman’s caretaker?

    • Bearer of.... says:

      Mr. Nagin; thought others with more knowledge would respond to your query. Guess not. Quite a while ago asked the same question. Somewhere in these comments got a reply that Franz died on a Munich park bench. Sorry to be the bearer of such sad news.
      PS: Based on your (much admired) website, you’re quite the accomplished artist!

  89. Miscellaneous Musings says:

    Perhaps Insightful

    Currently five Westside lots – north of $100 million dollars – are for sale. All are unimproved with no structures. Save for grass and remanderman shrubs/trees, none have formal or extensive old growth landscaping. All are advertised as “unequaled”, “once in a generation” “minutes from Rodeo Drive”, etc. Most, if not all, have been marketed on and off for years. When first marketed (even unofficially) listed with elaborate plans: multiple lots, improvement renderings, etc. None known sold.

    The most ludicrous being “The Mountain of Beverly Hills”, a 157 acre Benedict Canyon parcel. This property was “unofficially” listed in 2015 with eloborate plans as “The Vineyard of Beverly Hills” (Though not a grape to be found.) Subsequently removed from market to “cool off” and now being publicized as new to the market –

    As in a January 18, 2019 Beverly Hills Courier, page eleven, reporter referencing the property’s past “celebrity” ownership, via another publication’s 2015 article, while excluding the extremely convoluted/criminal/lawsuits history the article extensively itemized! Anyone with an email address (and the ability to add two numbers together) can download this “news” as a PDF at: http://bhcourier.com/courier-e-edition-login/
    Asking $1 billion, since 2015, the article states TMZ “reports” owners turned down $400 million and countered with $600 million.TMZ as a reliable news source? Think the paper in the smallest room in my house has more integrity. Reminds me of “reality tv” wherein a single broker is seen in a Bentley in one video and a Rolls in the next. Props for hire anyone? This is Hollywood time people; facade, divorced from anything remotely approaching reality, is the stock norm –

    All this r/e “news” bears more than a passing resemblance to p/r company press; of the most infantile, “golly, look at the rich” low class pandering. Unless the, so far phantom, buyers are just off the turnip truck rich does anyone seriously believe someone with $100+ million bucks to spend gives a flying fig how close the property is to three block long Rodeo Drive?

    For those in the $150 million dirt market, two current local offers are:

    A “once in-a-generation; unrivaled; minutes from the Beverly Hills Hotel and Rodeo Drive; limitless; unparalleled; unprecedented”; etc. The 120 acre Enchanted Hill parcel found on this site.

    This ten acre property has the same history. On the market years ago and didn’t sell. Even the shown improvement rendering is from years ago!

    Perhaps it’s just me that’s confused. Are these real estate articles news or press releases? If they purport to be serious news, from the likes of the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, etc., shouldn’t they include the marketing history, unofficial or not? Or is there a scintilla of difference nowadays? Will be most curious to hear any comments and discover if I’m the one completely out of step with the times –

  90. Duke Bombshell says:

    The Butler Did It!_ The Legal Battle Over the Estate of Doris Duke

    Always knew, murder!

    Amazing similarities to Paul Kollsman’s death.

  91. Pingback: When Moss Hart Bought the Farm . . . Well, a Farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania | Screenwriting from Iowa

  92. TheXmanCometh says:

    I just wanted to note that the property is also featured in season 2, episode 16 of Charlie’s Angels (1976.) The episode is entitled “Diamond In The Rough”

  93. Meg Rodriguez says:

    Jim Thomson, I think you are my cousin. My grandmother’s child was likely the son adopted by Frances Marion and Fred Thomson. Cari Beauchamp and I met to discuss this about a decade ago, and we weren’t sure, but the stories meshed. Please do contact me if you’d like.

  94. Larry Cali says:

    Does anyone who was familiar with “Enchanted Hill” in the 1950’s recall the name of the Japanese groundskeeper (gardener) at the estate? Also does
    anyone know what happened to Luli’s son, “Goli”?
    Larry Cali

  95. H.J. SCHNURR says:

    Hello – I’m from Freudenstadt – the city of birth of Paul Kollsman – Question > is there a biography of Paul Kollsman ? Thank you and greetings from the Black Forest – Jürgen Schnurr

  96. Christine says:

    I’m delighted to find this site! What a treasure trove of information. I thought I had scoured up every possible historic picture of the Enchanted Hill, but I just drank in the ones here that I hadn’t seen.

    Since no one else has posted it, I thought I’d offer an update on the state of the Enchanted Hill now in 2021. The developers have a website, theenchantedhill.com, and I check in every so often. For awhile there were pictures of all of the sites newly finessed with bright white retaining walls and bright green artificial turf to give the development a fuller sense of it being all ready for an imagination to run wild. This apparently didn’t do the trick, so about 18 months ago, I noticed that they had employed the services of an architect who designed modern-looking structures for each site, one depicting guest houses, one a winery with hillside vineyard, a fitness center, and possible equestrian facilities. In the actual aerial photos, there was still ONE precious morsel of the great estate remaining, the semi-circular brick stairs from the entrance courtyard down the hill. Someone knew that people would value the history of the place, and these stairs remained for nearly 20 years.

    I’m not sure why, but after reading this blog about a dozen times, I re-visited theenchantedhill.com to look at the aerials. Much to my surprise, there was a big re-branding effort underway. All of the previous architectural renderings had been replaced with futuristic designs looking like nothing so much as old-fashioned spaceships. Every site had building modelled around this central design of discs; the rendering for the 4-acre home parcel has so many discs, and a few ovals used for decking, that it’s hard to discern where any living facilities are. Then there’s another style mixed in on other sides–very small, but tall narrow buildings with a full wall of glass facing outward. I’d be hard pressed to describe if these are the guest houses or greenhouses; one diagram shows a huge glass-ceilinged space with plants lining one side and what look to be three desks on the other. The accompanying spiel starts here to mention eco-building, the new focus of this campaign. A lot is said about hillside windmills and solar (on those perfectly-presented discs?) and farm shops, but the only really clear thing about it all is that they’re pushing the “green” concept, as if having not only the largest compound of structures to exist in LA, but being the standard-bearer for saving the planet is the ego they’re pitching to.

    Perhaps they anticipate some who might say that the “greenest” thing to do is to save existing structures instead of adding them to ever-growing landfills, so they have moved away from the historic aspect of their pitch. The website might still be (for the moment) theenchantedhill.com, but the title that now appears at the top is Angelo Park, and that’s what appears in the tab at the top of your browser once you’re in the site. The new focus is on Angelo’s pedigree, both architectural and star-studded, and the name Enchanted Hill appears only once until the very bottom where the earliest (of three) promotional videos they’ve made to date can still be found. With the links to all three videos still present, their confidence in this new futuristic, green, Angelo concept shows some cracks. Like the concept of throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping something sticks, they’ve left all three videos in the hope that perhaps one of them will hit a chord with someone.
    And in the latest aerial shots with the green carpeted sites, the semi-circular brick steps are now gone. By destroying this last vestige of the great estate, they’ve clearly determined that history won’t be the selling point that sticks to the wall.

    This blog has been going for nearly a decade, and in that time, some contributors likened this mile-long sale to the 100 acres to the east, once called The Vineyard, then re-branded simply as The Mountain. At early points in this blog, the asking price was $1 billion. The latest news on that front? It went into foreclosure and sold under the auctioneer’s block for a mere $100,000. However, in the last year there have been several area sales of $60 million and more, including the Warner Estate, Chartwell, spec mansion The Billionaire, and now The One, the 8-acre, 100,000-square-foot megamansion that can never be exceeded due to new size restrictions, priced at $350 million and headed for foreclosure. With the demand for megamansions skyrocketing during the pandemic, will the promise of supreme isolation privacy + luxury + bragging rights to being “green” + having every amenity and never having to go out = some interest in Enchanted Hill? While the brick steps from 1923 were still there, I was somewhat hopeful that nice people like Marion/Thomson might continue their tradition. Somehow, though, the removal of the steps has soured me to the point that I hope it fails to sell. If it just sits there with no interest in sight, forcing the greedy estate of Paul Allen to pay taxes and maintenance year in and year out, that would be just fine with me.

    I hope if this blog hasn’t been closed and someone gets to read this, my sincere wishes that you have survived this past year of COVID-19.

    • Frank P says:

      I read your reply, thank you. I was there in the early 1970’s while filming Cool Million. This place was a blow mind!

    • around says:

      Erudite addition – Finally someone with broad knowledge without an axe to grind.. Bottom line? If Allen with his endless billions had restored the magnificence he bought…. To my mind $150 million wouldn’t be far off the mark –

    • Steve says:

      Christine, thank you for this great comment and digestion of the current state of the Enchanted Hill. Much appreciated by myself and hopefully any of those still reading this blog, which I haven’t updated for a while but consider doing so thanks to people like you.

  97. around says:

    Speaking of the front courtyard’s brick staircase… Google Neff books. Does the latest book’s cover look familiar? Personal aside, one of my estate favorites was a wood gate with “wavy” slats, alternately painted green & white, to the right of the swimming pool’s tile fountain. Never seen before or since & so evocative of 1920’s charm –

    • tresrios639 says:

      So lived I bet the Home early on when my Grandfather L S Barnes owned it. So much of the facts from that time frame, have been changed over time, I guess to suit the readers or to stir the Pot.
      I have Movies and photos from our time there, would love to share but no way to do it here. You all can carry on with your hear say and who said what but don’t believe all you read about the time we were there.

      • Steve says:

        Actually, the whole point of my blog is to try and get the story right. I would love to know the “real” story as you intimate in your comment and correct any misinformation that may have come down as lore through the years. As you know better than I, there’s been a lot of stories about this legendary home through the years. It would be so nice to set the record straight. Comment here or contact me direct at paradiseleasedblog@yahoo.com. I would be thrilled and honored to hear your thoughts.

      • noellemary96 says:

        Hi there!

        I think this is the same poster Sylvie who has been active in the comments. I’ve been reading all of these replies from over the years and I’ve been loving hearing about the history of the property’s guests & residents. You’ve been very VERY clear about your memories of the property being fact despite historical evidence and personal acquaintances offering other details or documentation you may not have been in know know of. I’d love to talk with you about your memories or even see some of the pictures you’ve mentioned here in the comments! Possibly we can exchange email? (same as my username @gmail.com)
        As a 25 year old in 2022 reading about these things that happened almost 100 years ago, I’d love to know more and appreciate Enchanted Hill’s history as much as I can 🙂

  98. Hans Jürgen SCHNURR says:

    In the Kollsman Suite in the Waldorf Astoria – New York – there was a picture of Salvatore DALI with Luli Kollsman – who knows it?

    • corrections curious says:

      Regarding the Dali portrait. You got it right, it was a portrait of Paul Kollsman’s first wife Luli. As with almost all things associated with Mr. Kollsman’s second wife, Eva, anything she couldn’t slander or destroy were transformed into reflecting her “illustrious delusions”; the portrait was not exception – Created in 1946, years before Eva entered Paul Kollsman’s orbit, Eva dishonestly rechristened the portrait after herself!


      Thankfully Mr. Dali’s Catalogue Raisonné has the correct attribution:


      Since you apparently have knowledge of the Kollsman’s during their time on the East Coast, do you know anything of their Long Island estate? Would think such a famous celebrated couple would have reams of publicity on the property. Alas, to date, haven’t been able to locate anything specific. Any clues?

      • Hans Jürgen SCHNURR says:

        I’m from Freudenstadt and know about Kollsman a little before his time on the east coast.
        Paul Kollsman was born in Freudenstadt on 1899 as Paul Wilhelm Katz.
        It was only in America that he called himself Kollsman.
        I have passenger lists (ship and airplane) and documents from his company that he later sold to Square D.

  99. Ingo Dobingo says:

    Roast in Hell Paul Allen for this blasfemy-like destruction! 🤮
    This Curse can only be revoked by his eres by rebuilding the estate from the old bluprints as it was 😔

  100. Christine says:

    Those who cherish this property have been focused on the tragedy that has befallen it, with (for myself, at least) nary a thought about its possible future beyond a private road with loads of infrastructure. Well, that day has come–could the future of this property actually make us sadder and angrier than the last two decades?

    Maybe not. The recent buyer of Enchanted Hkll for $65 million is none other than Google scion Eric Schmidt, who in SoCal alone has no fewer than four historic trophy estates. He has owned the century-old Gregory Peck home since 2014, and it remains one of the few non-teardowns in the neighborhood. Just this year, he purchased the historic Paul Robinson-designed Jay Paley/Barron Hilton estate with its famous zodiac-mosaic pool for $61 million, as well as the 50-year-old house next door for $4.5 million.

    If this weren’t enough, Schmidt owns what is IMHO the most beautiful estate in Montecito, Villa Solana. Designed in 1913 by Francis Underhill, it served for 20 years as a democratic think tank for national figures like JFK and Henry Kissinger before being returned to private use and complete restoration. The home surrounds a gorgeous courtyard, has impeccable landscaping and a huge rose garden with specimen blooms. Once 40 acres abutted by public land, it ruled its promontory with 360 degree views and utter privacy. It’s 11 acres now and still impressive, but some owner about 20 years ago sold off a piece of land holding the tennis court directly adjacent to the house. If I read Mr. Schmidt correctly, he’ll find it a priority to restore that parcel to Villa Solana. Filling out this clear commitment to historic vision, he also owns a huge Montecito estate purchased in 2014 for $20 million from DeGeneres and DiRossi.

    To me, this is as good as the news could get. Schmidt seems to be devoted to the preservation of history, a la Jerry Parenchio who lovingly restored and expanded Chartwel in Bel Air or Ron Burkle who has lovingly restored Harold Lloyd’s Green Acres, two Lautner-designed Palm Springs homes once Bob Hope’s, and restored the famed Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House. I think Schmidt is very likely to keep the Enchanted Hill property intact, certainly building something of historic provenance, perhaps even creating an updated Enchanted Hill based on the original design? All in all, this is by far the best outcome of this sale, and I actually find myself looking forward to seeing what he may do.

    PS Mohamed Hadid is finally getting it with both barrels: Demolition has begun on the Strada Vecchia house he illegally and unsafely built to 30,00 square feet, and his 65-acre project that has defaced the Hill above Franklin Canyon has gone bankrupt with an auction scheduled for late March. Hopefully, attorney Ronald Richards still plans to buy it on behalf of other supporters so that Angelenos can have the Hastain Trail for recreation into perpetuity.

  101. Frank P says:

    Christine – Villa Solana in Montecito is amazing. Thanks for pointing that estate out.

    There is a real difference between to two. Of course there is the location, and being in Los Angeles today is different today than it was in the 1970’s when I knew Kollsman and the estate encompassed 124 Beverly Hills acres. It resided at the end of the Angelo Dr, on the way up to Enchanted Hill you would pass by Liza Minnelli’s house, (then president of Universal Studios) Fred Silverman’s house, and even were Sly and the Family Stone lead singer was renting. Then once inside the walls with Enchanted Hill everything was original and vintage (some of it was a bit dated) from maybe the 1940’s. For example, in the kitchen the stove and refrigerator (close to an ice box type) were unlike any I had (or have) seen. There were also so many unique, one of a kind furniture and art pieces.

    Roughly 11 acres. Villa Solana” although built In 1914 it has been completely restored in the best possible way, everything has been modernized but still has that grand sense to it. Very impressive!

    Let’s just hope Eric Schmidt does right by the Enchanted Hill property.

  102. Mastro says:

    I’m sure some people here know this – but the estate as it existed in 1975 or so is shown in detail in the Colombo episode Identity Crisis. Its the villain’s estate and he is having a pool party which Colombo gate crashes. It is a visual treat of a long lost masterpiece.

    • Frank P says:

      This is great, thanks. Watched on Tubi. Turns out I was there at the pool party, great to see myself as a young man (blue swim trunks) in several scenes.

      • pettinger@sbcglobal.net says:

        I already subscribe, when I replied to a recent post, for some reason I was asked to enter info and your system saw it as a new subscription.

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