On A Clear Day, You Can See Catalina
December 1, 2010 § 3 Comments
The first time someone took me to the western edge of Beachwood Canyon, I was amazed. While the rest of the Canyon felt narrow and sheltered, Mulholland Highway ended in an expanse of light and space. The view was enormous, encompassing not only Lake Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills but the entire westward sweep of Los Angeles, all the way to the Pacific. Even more astonishing was what lay in the distance: the whale-like form of Catalina Island, clearly visible on fogless days.
This vista explains the Canyon’s appeal to the Tongva Native Americans. Like other California tribes–the Chumash and Ohlone come to mind–the Tonga preferred high, sheltered areas with sweeping views. To be within sight of the ocean but safe from its dangers was ideal.
When I moved to Beachwood, my realtor told me about a Malibu couple who leased a house here as an experiment. Though they enjoyed the neighborhood, they missed the ocean and soon moved back, quipping, “Where’s the beach in Beachwood?” Though the Canyon was named for its developer, Albert Beach, there is a beach. It’s a dozen miles west but part of the scenery, and much photographed by tourists who come to see the Hollywood Sign.