Happy 100th birthday: Beverly Hills Then and Now (print)


Eunice Kim, staff writer
Ever since Beverly Hill’s incorporation in 1914, the city developed into “one of the most glamorous places in the world to live, eat, play, and, especially, show,” according to beverlyhills.org.  Below, Highlights explores the evolution of the city, decade by decade.
The building of the Beverly Hills Speedway, which was located in the area bordered by Wilshire Boulevard, Lasky, Olympic Boulevard and South Beverly Drive, began in 1919 to “bring some action and visitors to our city, and interest them in living [here],” according to beverlyhills.patch.com. The construction for the Speedway ended in 1921 and it became a popular site for auto races.
The City was threatened by Los Angeles, which wanted to annex the city in 1923 because of the Beverly Hills Speedway and because of many movie stars living in Beverly Hills. Will Rogers, who would later become a City’s honorary mayor, along with Mary Pickford and others, were against the plan. These protests from Beverly Hills lead the annexation to fail. After the event, the Chamber of Commerce was organized and has been “instrumental in the evolution of the City, both in its community and business landscapes,” according to beverlyhillschamber.com.
The Coldwater Canyon Park, which was established in early ‘20s according to an official timeline of Beverly Hills, installed the 11-foot long fountain in 1923. This fountain was located in Rodeo de Las Aguas. Then, in 1924, the trustees of the City passed an ordinance to create the first City Hall and was constructed in the southwest corner of present day Beverly Drive and Crescent Drive. In 1924, the Beverly Hills Post Office was completed.
The Bridle Path, or a path for horses, was formed during 1925 and was celebrated through a parade down Sunset Boulevard and Rodeo Drive. During the same year, the Beverly Theatre was created with the premiere of “I Want My Man.”
In 1926, Will Rogers, as mentioned above, became honorary mayor of the city. During the course of the year, the Lawn Bowling Club was created. These members would become the dedicated residents of Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hills Water Department was formed in 1927 and its job was to filter and soften the water for drinking. That same year, the Police Department of Beverly Hills was formed as a municipal organization with Charlie Blair as a chief. During the same year, Beverly Hills High School was formed by the Los Angeles High School District. In 1928, Greystone Mansion was constructed by Edward L. Doheny. The mansion later became a tourist sight. In the course of 1931, the electric fountain was built in Beverly Gardens Park. In the midst of 1932, the Police Department and Fire Department were moved to the City Hall Building. Later, Silsby M. Spalding became the first mayor of Beverly Hills.

In between 1936-1937 the main building of Beverly, which was destroyed by the Long Beach earthquake, went through renovation. In the midst of the Great Depression as part of the WPA, the school’s Swim Gym was designed by Stiles O. Clement. The design remains an architectural icon. During the course of 1940, the citizens of Beverly Hills volunteered with the American Legion to help veterans in World War II. During the same year, the war bond drive made the city the highest buyer in the nation.

In 1950, the Sunset Boulevard was created when its sign, which also contained the Crescent Boulevard sign, was installed by actress Gloria Swanson.

In 1959, the Beverly Hills Celebrity Monument was created as a tribute to the stars and public who helped Beverly Hills to become an independent city. Throughout the same year, the city completed the new recreational facility in the Roxbury Memorial Park to promote public activities. While in 1960s, the city hired the Parkettes to enforce a parking laws. During 1963, a vote to build the public library, which failed a year before, was passed. And in 1964, the city celebrated the groundbreaking of the Beverly Hills Public Library.

Two years after the vote, the Beverly Hills Public Library opened. Throughout 1967, Fred Hayman’s Giorgio boutique, which became a foundation of Rodeo Drive, opened. Two years later, the Litton Industry moved into Beverly Hills and its Plaza became a reflection of the city. During the course of 1971, the city constructed Greystone Water Reservoir. This Reservoir supplies 45 percent of water to Beverly Hills. Between 1967-1970 Beverly changed the North Wing to the Main Building. The Main Building contained a five story building with classrooms and also contained a two level parking garage. This was designed by Rowland H. Crawford due to rising enrollment.

In 1983, the Beverly Hills Civic Center was renovated to add new facilities while remaining its old self.

The opening of Two Rodeo began in 1989 and became a popular site of shopping, photo and movie background. The Beverly Hills Civic Center renovation ended in 1990.

The city experienced no particular change.

In 2005, the Art Science and Technology Center, designed by LPA, began construction and was finished in 2007. In 2011, the 9/11 Memorial Garden was created for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and to represent collective strength. The groundbreaking ceremony of Roxbury Memorial Park began on June 4, 2013. The new facility will contain a variety of community programs. Also, in 2013, the city celebrated its rich history by reenacting the Bridle Path in a form called the Rodeo de Los Caballos, or the gathering of the horses. The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts was opened in October 2013.
Throughout its history, Beverly Hills experienced a lot of changes due to its fame.

Interested in finding out who the city was named after? Click the link below.
Who is Beverly, anyway? 

Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce official website.
official Beverly Hills Timeline,
Movie Palaces along Wilshire Blvd,
Beverly Hills Unified School Districts website
The Wallis official website