Discovering a Piece of Hollywoodland’s Equestrian Past

February 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

The Front and Back Covers of a Hollywoodland Riding Club pamphlet, circa 1923/All Photos Hope Anderson Productions

The Front and Back Covers of a Hollywoodland Riding Club pamphlet, circa 1923/HopeAnderson Productions

Last Sunday I stopped by the Antiquarian Book Fair at the Santa Monica Civic. I was there to meet John Howell, a rare book dealer who had emailed to tell me about one of his offerings, a pristine pamphlet advertising the long-defunct Hollywoodland Riding Club.

Because all of Hollywoodland was once a ranch, there have been horses at the end of Beachwood Drive for as long as anyone can remember. In recent decades, horses have lived at Sunset Ranch, which offers boarding, lessons and trail rides to the public. But when Hollywoodland began in 1923, there was a riding club where homeowners could board their horses and learn to ride English-style, if they didn’t already know how. The allure of riding in the Hollywood Hills was a selling point for house lots, and figured prominently in radio ads for Hollywoodland:

Listen–the horses are stamping in their stalls-the sea breeze kisses the hilltops-while the birds weave melodies of happiness on the open trail. Your day in Hollywoodland-in-California begins with a song, and for a brief hour you canter on the wings of the morning–a shower-breakfast-and away for a day at the office, to return at eventide to the calmness of the hills, and there below you, watch a myriad of millions of lights twinkling in the distance.

Inside the Pamphlet, a Map of Hollywoodland/Hope Anderson Productions

Inside the Pamphlet, a Map of Hollywoodland

Although I had seen the pamphlet in a larger format, I wasn’t aware it was produced in this compact size. I wasn’t planning to buy it, but in the end I did, impressed by its excellent condition and historical significance. Anyone with an interest in California history should check out John Howell’s website, which offers a variety of books and images: johnhowellforbooks.com

John Howell

John Howell

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