[dropcap]O[/dropcap]nce upon a time, taking up the short strip of Sunset between Crescent Heights and Havenhurst, the Garden of Allah was something of an oasis. Built in the early 20th century as the home of actress Alla Nazimova, the complex was later expanded by Nazimova to include multiple villas and bungalows. Through the 1920’s through the 1950’s, a myriad of actors, performers and writers called the Garden of Allah home.
Today, it’s tough to picture the lush citrus trees and Spanish-style architecture that once shaded the complex’s swimming pool. The strip mall that stands in its stead, after the whole place was bulldozed in 1959, is indistinguishable from any other LA shopping center.
But with a little searching, a trip underground, and help from a property manager named Ulisses Acosta, it’s possible to find a hint of the past in this place at the edge of West Hollywood. Although, feeling the magic of the raucous parties of yore attended by creative geniuses? That still takes some serious imagining.
Historic Garden of Allah photos courtesy of Marc Wanamaker and the Bison Archives.