Highland Villa

(ca. 1886)^^ - View of Hill Street looking south from Court Street, showing an unpaved street and large homes (at right).  The 3-story white building with the balconies (lower-center) is the Highland Villa (n/w corner of 1st and Hill). Also at right is one of the City’s first electric streetlights.  At 150-ft in height, it towers over all the surrounding homes.  


Historical Notes

Approximately 30, 150-foot tall poles with carbon-arc lamps were installed in Downtown Los Angeles between 1882 and 1885.  These were reported to provide illumination equal to the level of a full moon.^^#^

Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights.



(1886)^^ - A view of the northwest corner of 1st & Broadway. Horses and carriages were common as were the stables and liveries. The 3-story white Highland Villa stands near the top of the hill. The N.G.D. Turk Livery Feed & Sale Stable seen here later became the Tally Ho Stables. Later the first home of the Chamber of Commerce was located here.





(2015)*# - View of the northwest corner of 1st & Broadway as it appears today.  





(1888)^ - Looking west on 1st Street from Spring Street. The tower in the background is the general alarm tower of the fire department.  Highland Villa is seen at upper-left on the northwest corner of 1st and Hill.  





(ca. 1887)^^ - View looking northwest from the top of City Hall (under construction - completed in 1888) on Broadway. The intersection of 2nd and Broadway is at lower-right where the California Bank Building stands on the southwest corner. The 3-story white building with the balconies (top-center) is the Highland Villa.  





(ca. 1891)^^ - Panoramic view of Los Angeles from 1st Street and Hill Street looking southeast.  The 3-story Highland Villa (n/w corner of 1st and Hill) is on the far left.  Also on the left, in the distance, stands Los Angeles County Courthouse with it’s distinctive clock tower.  The LA Times Building, located on the northeast corner of 1st Street and Broadway, is seen at center-right between the palms.  





(ca. 1898)#^* –  View showing the Highland Villa, the Bradbury Mansion and the Bixby house, Court Hill.  


Historical Notes

Looking northwest from the third City Hall with Highland Villa still isolated above a foot path which will become Hill Street, the Bradbury Mansion standing majestically above the fray at what will become Hill and Court Streets and the Llewellyn Bixby house signalling his death (1825-1896) as the second floor was added by his widow. #^*




(ca. 1900)^^ – View looking southwest from the County Courthouse showing the Bradbury Mansion at upper right on the corner of Hill and Court streets.  The Highland Villa can be seen at center of photo.  


Historical Notes

Broadway runs diagonally south(left)/north in the lower left quadrant of the photo. The steep slope with the stairs next to it is the future site of Court Flight, Angels Flight's sister funicular railway. Court St. dead ends at the top of the slope. The Bradbury Mansion (built 1886, demolished 1928) is the large house on top of the hill, facing east on to N. Hill St. The house directly across from it (partially hidden by trees), at 138 N. Hill, is the third Los Angeles home (built circa 1881, demolished 1955) of Sarah Bixby Smith, author of "Adobe Days" (1931). The Hill Street Tunnel was put through in 1908 after 1st St. was extended to the west. Court Hill (between Bunker Hill and Poundcake Hill) was removed entirely in the mid- to late 1950s.




(ca. 1905)^^ – View showing the Highland Villa and its fan-shaped sign as seen from the top of the County Courthouse.  





(1908)^^ – View of First Street and Hill Street before the Hill Street Tunnel was cut through with the Highland Villa seen at upper-left.  On a hill between the partially visible porch and the road is a sign that reads "Highland Villa / Furnished Rooms / $2.00 per Week & Up". Rail tracks are visibly embedded in the road, and a switch track light can be seen at left. The Highland Villa will be sacrificed in ca 1910 for the 1st Street cut and the Hill Street Tunnel approach.  


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References and Credits

^ LA Public Library Image Archive

^^USC Digital Library

*#Google Maps

#^*Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson



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