Where in the Sam Hill(s) is It?

Some time ago I found this great old photograph of a Missiony-Spanishy-style house in the hills. The question is – what hills? There was no accompanying information with the photo and I am curious to see if anyone might have any clues regarding its location. I think it’s a fair guess to say Southern California, but where in Southern California? Los Angeles, Glendale, Eagle Rock, Burbank, Hollywood? Who can be sure?

It’s not great architecture, admitedly. Whoever designed it threw in a whole bunch of gimmicky features to “jazz” it up, but the overall effect is kind of intriguing. I was particularly fascinated by what looks like a penthouse room on the roof accessible from that unusual tower in the center. The curving exterior staircase sweeping up to the Juliet balcony entrance is pretty cool too. And who’s there on the stairs looking out towards who knows where? Pretty intense gaze it would seem.

If you have any ideas I’d sure love to hear them and maybe we can figure out the party responsible for this strange yet oddly compelling pseudo-Mission Spanish Castlette.

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17 Responses to Where in the Sam Hill(s) is It?

  1. Dee says:

    My first thought was Malibu but there’s really not enough surrounding landmarks to do more than guess. Maybe John Bengtson would know!

  2. Franny Parrish says:

    It looks to me like Castillo del Lago, built in 1926 up in the Hollywood Hills. It was owned by Bugsy Siegal, and more recently by Madonna who renovated it and painted it….pink. It has apparently been restored to white.

  3. Nile Hight says:

    Franny – It looks a great deal like Castill del Lago but that house has a square turret and sits on top of a hill. This one has a round turret and is nestled aside a hill. I have seen some photos that resemble this structure that are now ruins in Cahuenga Pass near where Mulholland Dr. connects. This would be facing Universal Studios today IMHO. Nile

    • Steve says:

      Hi Nile:

      Great you brought up that Cahuenga Castle. i’ve been doing a lot of research on it and, at some point, hope to do a post. Thanks so much for the comment!

  4. Mary Mallory says:

    It’s not Castillo del Lago, way too small, not on top of and part of the hill, and doesn’t have two towers. Siegel never owned Castillo from property records, and it was orange and black stripes when Madonna owned it.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Mary:

      It’s true. A smaller cousin perhaps. I’m just delighted someone spotted it. It was like the proverbial “Needle in the haystack.” Don’t you love the Internet? AND smart readers?! Yay!

      Hope you’re doing great!

    • dom says:

      I read a lot of articles concerning Castillo de Lago. You’re wrong about the color. Went there in 2008, and it was like in the 90’s. Christopher Ciccone painted it, terra-cota and cream color. It has never been black stripes!!

  5. TheArtist says:

    I’ll share what I see, for anyone looking.

    Tall timbers on that mountain in the back could be a leading hint to location. I don’t recall that from images of the old Hollywood hills, I’m from Glendale and there weren’t any present in any images I’ve even seen. Trees growing on a hillside would make me thing of an area that gets more water, not so desert like here (back in the day). LaCañada or maybe more North-Western. I’ve seen some large non-standard styled buildings in the Santa Paula area. That Pussywillow type plant on the right could be an indigenous clue, if it was natural.

    Distinct features
    1. Flat roof, easy to rule out in searched images as most have terra cotta roofs.
    2. Those two windows on either side of the large (living room) window seem to be very distinct. Not sure if that’s an adult in the image, was there a building code for standard handrail height? Could help in guessing the window height, but I think they were pretty tall!

    I think I’m seeing some Art Deco. So the year could be 30-40’s. I also seem to remember something about the origination of the arch over standard rectangle windows but can’t remember (maybe someone else has more info on this?).

    Maybe there are interior photos elsewhere on the internet that could match that semi-unique window layout? The living room will have a high to very-high ceiling and the other rooms will be standard height (based on attic vents, left side).

    An Odd Note
    The living spaces and probably bed room(s) are all on the second floor. What was the ground level area to right of the garage used for? The one with all of the doors/windows. Odd to parade your visitors past that area before arriving at the front door. Certainly not following any formal approach. Very theatrical, especially if you had the odd relative staying in there!

    Love this, intriguing indeed.
    Happy Searching!

    This building will be on my mind for a long time yet.
    (sorry for the long post : )

    • Steve says:

      Thanks so much for your perceptive sleuthing on the mystery house. As you’ll see by the latest post it was just identified as Verdugo Woodlands of Glendale, which is right bordering La Canada. You suggested La Canada area so your observations were spot on!
      I’m going to post a few more mystery house and look forward to your thoughts.

  6. Miss G says:

    I know exactly where this place is. It’s in Glendale, along Hermosita Drive — in a neighborhood just south-ish from the Oakmont Country Club. I walk by it all the time (it’s a great neighborhood to take a walk. The street is lined on either side by wonderful California oaks).

    So do I win the prize?

    • Steve says:

      Hooray!!!!! You DO win the prize. The best prize of all – bragging rights! I am so impressed, Miss G for your brilliant eagle eye. As for me though – Having lived in Glendale now for the last decade I must hang my own head in shame. Congrats again!!!!

  7. Pingback: Where in the Sam Hill(s) is It? – The Verdugo Hills, That’s Where! | Paradise Leased

  8. Thom Kilrain says:

    it is a mission on a Indian reservation in New Mexico. I’m from New Mexico,I cant remember what reservation. I do belive just west of Albuquerque.Its not that nice of a building in real life, the picture dose it great justice. Ha ha ha. Trust me. “Its no Castillo de largo”.

  9. Yep, it is right at Hermosita Dr. where it meets Don Carlos Avenue.

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