Beverly Hills was incorporated in 1914, when it was originally a Spanish ranch where lima beans were grown. From these humble beginnings, Beverly Hills now boasts almost 35,000 residents and is home to high-end shopping, luxurious hotels, award-winning restaurants, and notable art galleries. It is also a city that has gained worldwide fame for its 90210 zip code, as well as its famous denizens which include celebrities, musicians, artists, and world renowned chefs.
The History of Beverly Hills
In 1900, Burton Green, along with several partners, purchased "Morocco" for the Amalgamated Oil Company and commissioned a new round of oil exploration. After drilling many unproductive wells, they reorganized as the Rodeo Land and Water Company in 1906. Green and his wife renamed the land Beverly Hills after Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Green hired the landscape architect Wilbur D. Cook who, influenced by landscape designer Frederick Law Olmstead, created wide curving streets that hugged the hills. The City's first streets: Rodeo, Canon, Crescent, Carmelita, Elevado and Lomitas were constructed in 1907.
The Beverly Hills Hotel was constructed in 1912 and with this beautiful construction, a bevy of famous silent film stars followed. Attracted to an elegant lifestyle made possible by the hotel, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford led the wave of movie stars here when they built their mansion, Pickfair, in 1919. Gloria Swanson, Will Rogers, Thomas Ince, Charlie Chaplin, Tom Mix, Carl Laemmle, Ronald Coleman, King Vidor, John Barrymore, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Jack Warner, Clara Bow, Marion Davies, Harry Cohn and Rudolph Valentino soon followed and built stylish mansions.
In 1923, there was an effort by Los Angeles to annex Beverly Hills because the city had a plentiful water supply. However, the residents of Beverly Hills fought back and the proposal to annex was defeated. After helping lead the efforts to block annexation, Will Rogers was then appointed by Beverly Hills as its first honorary mayor. He went on to play a part in the development of Beverly Hills by fostering construction of a new City Hall in 1932 and the establishment of a U.S. Post Office in 1934.
In the post World War II years, Beverly Hills continued to develop as one of the most glamorous places in the world to live, eat, play and, especially, shop. The Golden Triangle, with Rodeo Drive at its center, was built and marketed to the rest of the world as the shopping destination of a lifetime. Many other glamorous hotels opened, notably the Beverly Wilshire, attracting visitors from all over the world. The City's iconic image was enhanced with the spread of television shows and movies set in Beverly Hills, among them The Jack Benny Show in the 1950s, The Beverly Hillbillies in the 1960s and, more recently, Beverly Hills Cop in the 1980s and Beverly Hills 90210 in the 1990s.