Outpost Estates, Los Angeles

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Outpost Estates is a historic canyon neighborhood in the central region of the City of Los Angeles, California. It consists of about 450 homes[1] in Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills. It is located directly east of Runyon Canyon Park and centered around Outpost Drive. The area is bordered by Mulholland Drive to the north, Franklin to the south, Runyon Canyon to the west, and Hollywood Heights and the Hollywood Bowl to the east.[1]


The area was the site of the first building in what is now Hollywood, a three-rome adobe house built in 1853 by Don Tomas Urquidez, near what is now the intersection of Outpost Drive and Hillside Avenue. General Harrison Grey Otis, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, acquired the estate from Don Tomás through legal wrangling associated with California's secession to the United States. Near Casa Don Tomás, Otis built a clubhouse on the property for entertaining, which he called "The Outpost".[1]

In 1924 the property was acquired by Hollywood developer Charles E. Toberman, who kept the Outpost name and developed the property as one of several 1920s Hollywood luxury residential neighborhoods. The area became known as an affluent area with many rich and famous residents.[2] Houses in what Toberman called the "Hillside Homes of Happiness" tended to be large (5,000 to 10,000 square feet) with courtyards and fountains, terraced gardens, elaborate tile work and beamed ceilings.[1] "Homes had to be designed in Spanish, Mediterranean or California modern style, have red tile roofs, plenty of patios for "outdoor living," and be approved by architectural committee before being built."[3] Most of the original houses have been preserved, and Lower Outpost looks much like it did in the 1920s.

In the 1920s, in the hills above the development there was a large sign spelling out "Outpost" in red neon letters 30 feet high. It was intended to compete with the Hollywoodland sign (which later became the Hollywood sign). At the time it was the largest neon sign in the United States.[3] The Outpost sign was dismantled during World War II, and the wreckage of the sign was left in place, buried in the weeds; even the original foundation and electrical junction boxes survived. The twisted remains were identified by hikers in 2002.[1]

In 1967 a homeowners association was formed to combat what residents considered to be inappropriate development; in the 1980s the group help to prevent the development of Runyon Canyon.[3]

The Outpost Estates development was one of the first neighborhoods in the country to offer all-underground utilities.[citation needed]


Residents attend schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. They may attend one of three elementary schools: Gardner Street Elementary School, Selma Elementary School or Valley View Elementary School. Middle schools are Bancroft Middle School and John Burroughs Middle School. All residents are zoned to Hollywood High School.


  1. ^ a b c d e Rasmussen, Cecilia. "Hidden Hollywood sign uncovers history". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Dangcil, Tommy (2002). Hollywood: 1900-1950 In Vintage Postcards. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 0-7385-2073-X. 
  3. ^ a b c Meares, Hadley (January 25, 2013). "Sign of the Times II: Outpost Estates and the Importance of Mythmaking". KCET. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 

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Coordinates: 34°06′28″N 118°20′38″W / 34.1078°N 118.3440°W / 34.1078; -118.3440