Hollyhock House is Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles project. Built between 1919 and 1921, it represents his earliest efforts to develop a regionally appropriate style of architecture for Southern California. Wright himself referred to it as California Romanza, using a musical term meaning “freedom to make one’s own form.” – Text from the Barnsdall Park Art Foundation website.
Hollyhock House is located in Barnsdall Art Park in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz/Hollywood. A friend and I took the Expo Line from Culver City to the Vermont/Sunset Red Line exit. We met our other friends who came on the Red Line from North Hollywood and on the Gold Line from Pasadena and the Blue Line/Green Line from Redondo Beach. Lovely public transportation!
Above is the view of the Hollywood Sign from the front lawn.
The house was built for Aline Barnsdall by Frank Lloyd Wright. Her favorite flower was the hollyhock, so Wright worked out a stylized design to represent that flower.
Unfortunately, the specimens planted around the house were not at their best for our visit, but you get the idea. On a personal note, my mother loved hollyhocks and planted them all around our house in England.
Wright’s stylized version of the hollyhock plant.
In 1927, Aline Barnsdall donated Hollyhock House and eleven surrounding acres to the City of Los Angeles for use as a public art park in memory of her father, Theodore Barnsdall.
The inscription reads: “Barnsdall Park in memory of Theodore N. Barnsdall 1851-1917. Our fathers mined for the gold of this country. We should mine for its beauty. Aline Barnsdall.” Today we could substitute oil. Although, interestingly, she was an oil heiress and perhaps she meant that the oil was gold… I don’t know.
The house was closed recently for extensive renovations and re-opened in February of this year. I was disappointed that we weren’t allowed to take photos inside as the interiors, including the furniture designed by Wright himself, is indeed spectacular. Also, some of the rooms that had previously been open to the public (that I remember from previous visits) were not accessible, which was also disappointing.
A nice view of the Griffith Park Observatory from the lawn.
Beautiful FLW lamppost.
After our visit to the Hollyhock House we walked across to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) to see the Individual Artists Fellowship Exhibition.
I really enjoyed this exhibit. Some of the highlights:
As at this point we were satiated with visual delights, it was time to fill our tummies. Our fearless leader had suggested The House of Pies on Vermont. Okaaaaaaay… what could I do but go along with the plan?
But I was pleasantly surprised. It was a 1950s (?) style family restaurant complete with a shrill screaming kid (THAT was not too pleasant). I went for the Grilled Wahoo Burger (see menu here). Also known as Ono, it was excellent and fortunately did not come with the pickle spear as promised on the menu. I substituted sweet potato fries for the regular fries.
We did a LOT of walking so I have my fingers crossed that mitigated my lunch (yeah, right!). So as I sit here enjoying my well-deserved heartburn, I wish you adieu for another day!
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