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Houses of Los Angeles

Articles: Houses of Los Angeles

The purpose of Sam Watters’s monumental tome was to document the grand estates built in the Los Angeles area between 1885 and 1935. In the process, he has also captured the gardens around some of the largest and most elegant houses of the period. During this time, rich tycoons, real estate developers, and Hollywood stars “discovered” the thrill of creating gardens on their large properties. As the author remarks, “…integrating indoor and outdoor spaces—a defining aspect of the historic Mediterranean garden—determined the development of the California landscape in the first half of the 20th century.” Watters recorded these gardens beautifully in the 800 archival photographs that he found to fill his magnificent volumes.

When bold and extensive advertising sold Easterners on the wonders of these sunny lands, the steady stream of visitors (many of them rich beyond the dreams of avarice) arrived, and many stayed. Others built winter homes, far away from the cold. But nearly all of them spent great sums on their houses and their gardens. Watters has done a superb job of collecting historic photographs of these striking houses and gardens, some of them built on the scale of European c...


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