SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (
-   Found City Photos (
-   -   noirish Los Angeles (

3940dxer Dec 6, 2011 4:31 AM


Originally Posted by Fab Fifties Fan (Post 5333682)
Its kind of like Alice in Wonderland builds her dream home

"The Enchanted Castle" a private residence at 4857 Melrose in 1935

and today a Thai restaurant. Supposedly it is in there somewhere.

Photo one courtesy

I'm up to page 224 now, and still enjoying the hell out of this thread! Last night I was really pleased to find posts about two buildings that I had been hoping to see here. This is the first one.

In the 1990's I saw this unusual building many times while driving down Melrose and could see that it was a small Asian night club.The trees outside were covered in fairy lights and situated atop a small hill, I figured it would have a nice view of the city. So one night I drove over there and worked up my courage to ascend the stairway and step inside.

Well, as the only non-Korean on the premises I created a minor stir (or should I say "panic") but the hostess reluctantly seated me and took my drink order. The place was smoky inside, very atmospheric, and, facing south, indeed had nice views of downtown and mid Wilshire. There were little outside tables and a running fountain. After I finished my drink the server nervously said something to the effect that my table was reserved for someone else, and it might be best if I did my drinking elsewhere, so I moved on. Oh well - at least I got to see the place!

I had always wondered what the story was behind that curious building and had been hoping I'd see it on this thread. And of course, I drove over there today -- but the news is not good. The place is still there but it's boarded up, in bad shape, and the foliage is so overgrown that you can barely see it from the street. The gate was open so I wandered inside and took a few photos. There's a fairly big parking lot east of the building (the green awning must have been there to shelter customers and the valet from rain and cold weather). The main house is almost completely covered by ivy and overgrown plants. One interesting artifact that I hadn't noticed that night is a concrete plaque, installed near one of the fountains. It's badly worn (and some meathead worker apparently splashed concrete on it, covering up some words). It reads:

(illegible characters)
(illegible characters)

After getting home I searched and learned a little more about the place. According to an article in the New York Times, Milton Hopkins built the "whimsical Castle" in 1948 as a gift to his wife. He used materials that came from buildings destroyed to make way for the Hollywood Freeway, then under construction. (I suppose that, being sheriff, the construction boys delivered them with a smile.) When his creation was finished, in 1957, the Hopkins's medieval-style home, topped off by battlements, had a front-yard kingdom that included a pump-driven stream, 15 waterfalls, a steel suspension bridge wide enough to walk over, and a wishing well.

I read elsewhere that in the mid 60's someone named Michael Boosin rented the place. He was an acquaintance of Andy Warhol, had money, and it sounds like he hosted some pretty wild parties there. It later became a Thai restaurant called The Siamese Castle, then a French place called La Bastille, and finally the Ko Kung Club, the Korean place that briefly let me in. A Korean sign can still be seen outside.

I hope the property survives, but it will need a lot of work! The location is interesting. The Castle is at the crest of a small hill that Melrose passes over, between Kingsley and Western. That particular area of Melrose is pretty seedy now -- there are 2 pot dispensaries across from the Castle -- but just north is a very nice old residential area now called the Melrose Hill Historic District, that I'd never heard of before (last 2 photos). The beautiful old house is at 4920 Marathon Street, it almost looks down on the Castle.

GaylordWilshire Dec 6, 2011 12:04 PM

3940: Phenomenal, fearless sleuthing! Thank you.

PHX31 Dec 6, 2011 3:39 PM

3940dxer: Great story, information, and pictures!

3940dxer Dec 6, 2011 5:57 PM


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 5506266)
3940: Phenomenal, fearless sleuthing! Thank you.

Thought you'd like it. :cool:

I've had several topics in mind but am being cautious about posting until I get through the whole thread. I can see that repetition has been an issue here, though it's often hard to avoid.

Here's a photo of the main residence, probably from the 60's or 70's.

Michael Saint /

Fab Fifties Fan Dec 6, 2011 6:17 PM


Originally Posted by 3940dxer (Post 5506599)
Thought you'd like it. :cool: I've had several topics in mind but am being cautious about posting until I get through the whole thread. I can see that repetition has been an issue here, though it's often hard to avoid.

Here's a photo of the main residence, probably from the 60's or 70's.

Michael Saint /

3940, Thank you for sharing your rersearch on the castle!!! I was completely fascinated by it when I found that first photo. I have vague recollections of seeing it when I lived there in the mid-70's. We used to haunt serveral second hand stores, that were on that part of Melrose, and I think the castle was still a private residence but kind of run down. Regardless, it was great folk art.

I am also enamored with the picture you posted of the house on Marathon. I seem to remember seeing other beautiful houses on Marathon in an earlier post on the thread. If I recall correctly, it was a post about Three Stooges filming locations. I'll go looking for it.

Found it and my mind like a steel trap (a very rusty steel trap) strikes again. It was WC Fields not the stooges and it is Marathon Street in Silverlake, so nevemind:D

Thanks again:cheers:

~Jon Paul

FredH Dec 6, 2011 6:18 PM

O'Connor Electro-Plating Explosion
926 E. Pico
Los Angeles Times

Story and more pictures are here:

GaylordWilshire Dec 6, 2011 8:37 PM

157 North La Cienega, Beverly Hills

"A Saloon Created For The Carriage Trade. Professors of the Piano. Beauteous Genteel Feminine Cupbearers. Gleaming Fire Pole. Amazing Hanging Oil Paintings. Luxurious, Salubrious, Pulchritudinous. Home of the Biggest Drink in the West." The Gay 90s was apparently created by Paul Cummins of Huddle Restaurant fame and famous for 5¢ sandwiches. Street View

3940dxer Dec 6, 2011 11:12 PM

OK, how's this for a then and now...

Tiburcio Vasquez was a notorious Mexican bandit who in the mid 1800's had many adventures, robberies, arrests, and escapes all over California. After being caught for caught rustling horses in 1856, he was jailed at San Quentin. After his release he returned to crime in Sonoma County, was arrested yet again in Petaluma, and spent 3 more years in prison.

In 1870 he organized a new bandit gang, was arrested, and then escaped. When California offered a $15,000 reward for his capture he eluded posses and worked his way south towards Los Angeles. He wound up at the house of "Greek George", located just south of the present corner of Kings Road and Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. On May 14, 1874, he was captured at the house by 6 armed men and taken to City Hall on Spring Street. He was convicted at trial in San Jose and was executed on March 19, 1875 at age 39. Vásquez was asked just before his execution, "Do you believe in an afterlife?" He replied, "I hope so... for then soon I shall see all my old sweethearts again". The only word he spoke on the gallows was "pronto" (quickly).

(In the late 1970's I lived in a penthouse at 1200 N. Flores St., just one short block from where Vasquez was captured. I knew there was plenty of interesting L.A. history just beyond my door -- more on this later -- but never had a clue that a notorious bandit had been caught a hundred years prior, right around the corner!)

The Vasquez hideout (Greek George's house) in West Hollywood is from Remi Nadeau's City-Makers. "Now" is a Google Street View.

copcar555 Dec 6, 2011 11:26 PM

I was under the impression that Angels Flight had been rebuilt...I guess not.

ethereal_reality Dec 6, 2011 11:30 PM

previously posted by Gaylord_Wilshire

:previous: Interesting that the saloon building is still there.

That area of La Cienega was also a popular tourist attraction back in the 1960s and 1970s when it was at the height of it's fame as 'Restaurant Row'.

below: You can see the Gay 90s Restaurant in this postcard. The famous Tail O the Cock is on the left in red neon.
postcard ebay

I was first enamoured by 'Restaurant Row' from an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies I saw when I was a kid. They showed the area and it's themed restaurants as a possible location for Granny and Ellie Mae's 'Topless' restaurant (Jethro's idea). They thought topless meant they didn't wear hats (this wasn't high comedy).

*OK....just to make sure I wasn't imagining this I googled around and amazingly came across this video clip.

Clip of 'Restaurant Row' back in the day. The episode aired in 1968.


copcar555 Dec 6, 2011 11:48 PM

The car with the thick glass is a newer one than the one in the attack. The one in the attack is a '48 or '49 and the one with the armor is at least a '50...

ethereal_reality Dec 6, 2011 11:52 PM

One of my favorite restaurants on Restaurant Row was the Fish Shanty....the one you entered by walking through a whale's mouth.
postcard ebay
Alison Martino

.....The whale entrance in the 1980s.


GaylordWilshire Dec 7, 2011 12:50 AM

The Milligan Yucca Jacket?

GaylordWilshire Dec 7, 2011 12:51 AM

The Milligan Yucca Jacket?

3940dxer Dec 7, 2011 2:18 AM

On restaurant row, don't forget...

And ABSOLUTELY, don't forget Fatburger!

Long gone, but boy, how many times did I limp over the that round Fatburger hut at La Cienega and San Vicente for a king cheese with bacon and chili after a night of too much drinking. It could be quite a scene on Friday or Saturday night, after the bars closed.

Funny thing but most of those big places on restaurant row weren't really that good -- most were overblown tourist joints, riding on undeserved or extinct reputations...sort of like all those surf & turf places in Marina Del Rey, that never see a local customer. But it was fun to drive down La Cienega and look at all the signs. :yes:

Illithid Dude Dec 7, 2011 4:14 AM


Originally Posted by copcar555 (Post 5507161)
I was under the impression that Angels Flight had been rebuilt...I guess not.

It was.

GaylordWilshire Dec 7, 2011 10:42 AM

Speaking of Fatburger... Guy Guy Guy Street View

The only vaguely noirish thing--and I admit that it's a stretch--about The Burger That Ate L.A. once at the se corner of Melrose and Stanley was its replication of City Hall. I'm not sure what happened to it--the City Hall part--when it became a chicken place, but Starbucks seems for some reason to have felt the need to restore the shape (if it wasn't eventually to become a parking lot, a gas station, a minimart, a strip mall, it would have to have become a Starbucks, right?).

Per a commenter on the photographer's website: "The restaurant is in the shape of a huge 2-story burger. Bar stools are shaped like pickle wedges and suspended above your head is an enormous tomato slice suspended from the top bun! The counter where you eat is between the two buns which act as the floor and the ceiling."

ethereal_reality Dec 7, 2011 8:17 PM's another example by Terry Guy of a building morphing into a Starbucks.

The Showboat Restaurant in Caheunga Pass, May 1986.

below: As a of 86 in the city.

GaylordWilshire Dec 7, 2011 8:37 PM


It's a disease. I avoid the seemingly thousands of Starbucks in Manhattan--there are so many great local coffee shops (i.e., Mojo on Charles Street)--but I'll admit that they are sort of beacons when traveling. As for the old Showboat--I didn't realize that it had been destroyed.

GaylordWilshire Dec 8, 2011 1:40 AM

The Rosslyn and the New Million Dollar Rosslyn Street View

Vintage postcard drawings often exaggerate, and these of the Rosslyn are no exception. Usually I shy away from postcards here; I posted these because I think the colors are great. But my real quarry for this post was a pic of the connecting marble subway--no luck. Dinner on me at any of the Restaurant Row joints we've seen to first person who can produce a shot--3940? You seem brave, having visited the Castle of Enchantment--perhaps you can find your way into the subway. Is the passage even still open? The "Auto Drive-In Lobby" is also intriguing....
An interesting drawing of the Rosslyns

All times are GMT. The time now is 5:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.