City Los Angeles
|County Los Angeles|
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
|Country United States of America|
Laurel Canyon is a neighborhood and canyon located in the Hollywood Hills region of the Santa Monica Mountains, in the Hollywood Hills West district of Los Angeles, California.
Map of Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA
Laurel Canyon is focused on its central thoroughfare, Laurel Canyon Boulevard. However, unlike other nearby canyon neighborhoods, Laurel Canyon has houses lining one side of the main street most of the way up to Mulholland Drive. There are many side roads that branch off the main canyon, but most are not through streets, reinforcing the self-contained nature of the neighborhood. Some of the main side streets are Mount Olympus, Kirkwood, Wonderland Avenue, Willow Glen, and Lookout Mountain Avenue. The zip code for a portion of the neighborhood is 90046.
Laurel Canyon Boulevard is an important North-South route between: West Hollywood, Hollywood, and Central Los Angeles; and Studio City and the eastern San Fernando Valley. The canyon's division between the two regions is defined by Mulholland Drive.
In early 2005, the first section of the road on the Hollywood side was partially washed away in a heavy rainstorm, and traffic was redirected to a normally quiet residential side street.
The Laurel Canyon area was inhabited by the Tongva people, a regional tribe of the indigenous peoples of California, for thousands of years. A spring-fed stream flowed year-round providing water.
The reliable water attracted colonial Spanish ranchers who started sheep grazing on the hillsides in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. After the Mexican-American War and U.S. statehood, the area was settled by Americans interested in water rights. Around the turn of the 20th century, the area was subdivided and marketed as mountain vacation properties.
Between 1912 and 1918, a trackless electric trolley bus from the Laurel Canyon Pacific Electric stop ran up the canyon from Sunset Boulevard to the base of Lookout Mountain Road, where a road house served visitors. Travel to the newly subdivided lots and cabins further up the canyon was at first made on foot or by mule. As the roads were improved access was possible by automobile.
Around 1920, a local developer built the Lookout Mountain Inn at the summit of Lookout Mountain and Sunset Plaza roads, which burned just a few years after opening.
Now a vacant lot, the corner of Lookout Mountain Avenue and Laurel Canyon Blvd (2401 Laurel Canyon Blvd) is where the famous 1915 "Log Cabin" mansion stood, with its 80-foot living room, floor to ceiling fireplace, bowling alley and indoor sunken swimming pool. It was once occupied by silent film star Tom Mix but spent years on the rental market. In 1968 it was rented by Frank Zappa who turned it into a recording studio and celebrity hangout. Zappa moved out after six months, and the house burned to the ground on Halloween 1981.
Directly across the street, at 2400 Laurel Canyon Blvd., is site of the home, long-gone, that magician Harry Houdini may have rented around 1919. It was originally the Walker estate.
Laurel Canyon found itself a nexus of counterculture activity and attitudes in the 1960s, becoming famous as home to many of L.A.'s rock musicians, such as Frank Zappa; Jim Morrison of The Doors; Carole King; The Byrds; Buffalo Springfield; Canned Heat; John Mayall; members of the band The Eagles; the band Love; Neil Young; and Micky Dolenz & Peter Tork of The Monkees. Tork's home was considered one of Laurel Canyon's biggest party houses with all-night, drug-fueled sleepovers well attended by the hippest musicians and movie stars of the era.
John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas took inspiration from their home in Laurel Canyon in the song "Twelve Thirty" a.k.a. "Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)", released in 1967.
In 1968, John Mayall recorded and released Blues from Laurel Canyon based on his experiences on a vacation earlier that year.
Famed photographer Henry Diltz was also a resident and used the scenic Canyon backdrop for many of his historic photos of rock musicians casually socializing. Several of his photos became iconic representations of the 1960s & 1970's West Coast music scene and many others became famous album sleeve covers (such as CSN's debut album: Crosby, Stills & Nash - photographed in nearby West Hollywood).
Joni Mitchell, living in the home in the Canyon that was immortalized in the song, "Our House" (1970), written by her then-lover Graham Nash, would use the area and its denizens as inspiration for her third album, Ladies of the Canyon (1970). Crosby, Stills, and Nash are reputed to have first sung together in her living room.
Musician J. Tillman has said that his output under the moniker Father John Misty was partly inspired by a relocation to and personal reinvention in Laurel Canyon. The song "I Went to the Store One Day," from his 2015 album I Love You, Honeybear, recounts the story of how Tillman met his wife, Emma, in the parking lot of the Laurel Canyon Country Store.
On July 1, 1981, three members and one associate of the Wonderland Gang, so-called because they were based at 8763 Wonderland Avenue, died in the Wonderland murders (also known as the "Four on the Floor murders" or the "Laurel Canyon murders"). Salon reports: "The massacre took place just down the street from what was then the home of Jerry Brown, who was California’s governor at the time. And 8763 Wonderland Ave. itself is said to have been inhabited at one time by Paul Revere and the Raiders."