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Description

One of the Most Impressive Unrealized Developments in Los Angeles History.

Very rare color printed map of the proposed Miramar Estates development on the hills north of present-day Castellammare and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. An inset map locates the development with respect to the rest of western Los Angeles. Three images of sunlit recreation allude to the leisure attractions of the area. Reaburn & Bowen are given as the engineers for the project.

The Miramar Estates development was one of many Los Angeles projects that Frank Meline promoted during the Roaring 1920s. The subdivision was intended as a very exclusive neighborhood with large plots and large houses. Miramar Estates was a spiritual successor to the other developments that were underway in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains further to the east, namely Bel Air and Holmby Hills. However, whereas those project got underway in the early 1920s, Miramar Estates was not opened to the public until October of 1926. A Los Angeles Evening Express article on October 30th related the opening of Miramar Estates:

One of the most noteworthy announcements of the season in realty circles is the one by the Frank Meline Company that the beautiful Miramar estates, located on a high mesa facing Beverly boulevard at the ocean, will formally open to the public Sunday...

Miramar Estates consist of approximately 847 acres of land on Beverly boulevard, for which the Frank Meline Company has been appointed owners' representative. This choice piece of residential property was purchased by Arthur A. Weber, George W. Ley, Edward Haas and other associates...

The building program, which is a very elaborate one, being planned by the Meline organization, will mean that when the owners have constructed their residences the investment will run into more than $200,000,000. Perhaps never before in the history of the development of residential estates has there been a more extensive program made for improving property than has been planned for these residential sites...

Further announcements followed; in 1927 sewages had been installed for part of the subdivision, and in 1928 a lavish Spanish Colonial model home was advertised in the Los Angeles Times.

The project certainly found buyers, but not nearly at the pace of its more centrally-located competitors. That probably would have changed if the boom years of the 1920s had continued unabated. However, with the stock market crash of 1929, the luxury housing market in Los Angeles ground to a halt, dragging Frank Meline down with it.

By 1931 homesites were being sold for a fraction of their purchase price, as a classified ad in the Los Angeles Times (October 18, 1931) illustrates:

FOR SALE - Wonderful homesite, 1 1-4 acres in Miramar Estates Overlooks ocean, close to three magnificent homes Embellished with variety of trees which cost nearly $5000. Owner paid $27,000 four years ago. Buy it now for $10,000...

The project never recovered and the vast majority of the roads and plots were never cleared or graded.

The area came into focus once again in 1945, as J. Paul Getty was building his house and eventually his famous Villa in the triangle of land at the bottom of this map between the colored section and Castellammare.

Rarity

This is apparently the only known example of the map. We find no examples in OCLC nor any examples in general internet searches.