While Los Angeles is known worldwide as the center of the entertainment industry, Beverly Hills is regarded as the home of the glamorous people who work in the industry – the ultimate company town. The allure of its pristine and opulent homes, many owned by actors and executives in film, TV, music and sports, makes this prestigious and sought-after community, both by those inside and outside the industry.
For those seeking status, luxury and an unparalleled quality of life, this is the place to be. Long before Beverly Hills earned its reputation as home to the stars, it was a sprawling ranch owned by a colorful early American feminist, Maria Rita, who let her livestock graze freely in the grassy hills, but gathered them for a festive yearly rodeo.
The land passed through many transitions, including a sale for $4,000, and was used for cattle, then sheep, then oil drilling. In the early 1900s, after failing in oil, Burton Green had the vision to develop the land for residences, encouraging film stars and captains of industry to build the homes of their dreams there. To further encourage them, he built the wide streets and boulevards that define the community today.
Soon after the building of the Beverly Hills Hotel, which became the center of the community, the most famous stars of the time, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, built their dream home, Pickfair, in the area. Others soon followed: Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Marion Davies, Buster Keaton, Rudolf Valentino.
Will Rogers, who became the first mayor of Beverly Hills, was responsible for launching a successful campaign to fight annexation to Los Angeles. It remains an independent, unincorporated city to this day. From the roaring ‘20s to the present day, Beverly Hills has been a place to see and be seen. Rodeo Drive, one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, is a destination for tourists and stars alike. The Golden Triangle surrounding it offers a wide range of dining, from ultimate chic to neighborhood friendly.
Art galleries are abundant and full of works by highly sought-after artists. While some seek a Beverly Hills address to take advantage of the fine schools, excellent police and fire departments, sprawling parks and safe, palm-lined streets, many residents are focused on quality of life issues that go beyond leisure and status. The presence of many modest homes and apartments fosters an economically diverse community.