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The Garden of Allah back from the Dead!

Que Joni Mitchells’  Big Yellow Taxi

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

For those that don’t know the Paradise, she’s referring to is the Garden of Allah an early Hollywood bungalow community that played the role of a party destination, refuge, speakeasy, and home to some of the biggest names of the early years of Hollywood.  Sitting court over all of this was my Muse and Silent Movie idol, Nazimova.  Sadly, through a series of bad decisions, Madame, as she liked to be called, had to sell the place to pay the bills.  There was one last grand party right before the bulldozers tore up most of what was there to build a bank.  The bank changed hands many times, the lot turned into a strip mall.  When I first moved to Hollywood in the 1980s, it was one (of many) pilgrimages I made, Nazimova’s grave being another.  For those interested, she is buried in Forest Lawn Glendale.  Below is a short video on one of my pilgrimages there.

There is an excellent book on the Garden’s history, aptly named, The Garden of Allah.  For a really enjoyable fun read, there is Martin’s fictional trilogy (I highly recommend) The Garden of Allah, which in my mind really captures the feel and flavor of Hollywood during that time.

Fast forward to the modern day.  The strip mall has set idle for a long time, except the McDonalds which is still serving out its nutrient-dense foods. Sometime during the pandemic, the stores started closing and boards went up.  There was every indication that something was happening here.  I had heard developers were planning on putting parking, cause Sunset Blvd. NEEDS it.  Much to my surprise and (tearful) delight, this is not true.  Instead, a development company has not gotten approval to build an absolutely gorgeous apartment complex.  Normally I wouldn’t be giddy about such things, but in this case, I am over the moon.  Not only are the buildings being designed by famed architect, Frank Gehry but they are paying homage to the role the Garden of Allah played in Hollywood’s past.

 

While I would have been much happier if, by some miracle, they were going to bring back the Garden as it used to be, I’m fine with a more modern and practical resurrection.  I will always smile a little knowing that a piece of the Garden will always be alive.  For a really fun article about the Garden’s naughty past, check out this article from GQ published back in 2015.

I know where I’ll be visiting once they open.

 

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Ken Saunders

Freelancer, Gadget collector, Biohacker

Ken Saunders is a freelance writer, gadget collector and Biohacker. Kens’ professional background is in Information Technology as well as Health and Wellness. His experience has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys researching and writing articles on the topics of Technology, Food, and all things Freelancing. His articles have appeared in many online sites, including Lifehack.media, Andrew Christian, Alltherooms.com and Vocal.media.You can learn more about his services at http://www.ken-saunders.info.

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