Toluca Lake—Part 3
I arrived at Paty’s Restaurant to the applause of the staff Bob Green, Jay Serkin, Teresa Morgan, Eva Flores and Elisa Flores. They knew I was coming and the owner George Mestos placed a special piece of the delightful homemade devil’s food cake in front of me.
In the last installment of my series on Toluca Lake, I mentioned Bob and Dolores Hope as the people who put Toluca Lake on the map.
I wanted to take this time to show appreciation to Dolores Hope for her selfless attitude in helping so many people. “Thank you, Dolores Hope, for staying steadfast in your devotion to truly caring for those less fortunate of our society through your charities and the participation in the charities of others throughout the many years.”
Dolores has been hailed as one of the world’s great humanitarians. Her work at the Eisenhower Medical Center at Palm Desert, California stands as a model example for those who desire to dedicate themselves to helping others through the advancement of medicine.
Dolores is the recipient of many awards for her tireless effort of caring through her many charities that have touched the lives of children and adults throughout America and the world but no award is greater than when they name a street after you. To celebrate all Dolores has been to thousands of people over the many years, The Bronx in New York City has name a street after her.
Dolores was born in the Bronx on May 27, 1909. As one of the longest residents of Toluca Lake, I think it is time they named a street after her here as well. Maybe it could be “Bob and Dolores Hope Lane.”
Speaking of people having streets names after them… that brings me to Barham Boulevard, which runs from Old Cahuenga Pass (along homes, businesses and the Oakwood Apartments in Toluca Hills) to Olive Avenue. That boulevard was named after my late father, Dr. Frank Barham, publisher of the Los Angeles Evening Herald.
According to my publicist, Chris Harris, there is not much history around about Barham Boulevard.
The next time you are sitting in your car cursing and wanting to know why traffic is not moving on Barham, consider this: Jack Warner of Warner Brothers once told my father, “There has to be a solution to this two lane narrow road!” Back then it was called Dark Canyon, and the solution came in 1932 when Dad decided to deed the land on both sides of what is now known as Barham Boulevard, to the City of Los Angeles.
My Dad did that without cost to the city. Can you imagine someone dong that today? The City of Los Angeles, out of appreciation for what my Dad did, changed the name from Dark Canyon to Barham Boulevard. Tha sprawling apartment complex known as The Oakwood was once part of our ranch. I noticed one day while driving Barham, that they have named one of their entrances Dark Canyon.
According to my father, there were many serious accidents before it became Barham Boulevard but once the City of Los Angeles took over and began to widen it, the accidents were fewer and Jack Warner was a happy man. If Mr. Warner were around today, he would be as mad as he was in the 1930’s for the time it takes to get over either side of the hill.
I will never forget the night my favorite riding horse got out of the stable and was hit by a car and killed on Barham Boulevard. The traffic came to a standstill while they loaded the horse into a truck.
When I was in Russia this year with my husband James Inman, we were taking a tour in St. Petersburg when the Russian tour guide said “You have a name like the Boulevard in Hollywood.” I immediately corrected him, informing him that it is in Toluca Hills, not Hollywood. He told me he waited nearly forty minutes to get over the hill from Burbank. When he said “It should be widened,” I told him the last person to make that statement was Jack Warner. I, of course, told him that it was once called Dark Canyon, so named for the treacherous driving journey, until the city took over, widened it and renamed it after my father.
Our friend William Randolph Hearts encouraged Dad to buy the property on both sides of Barham and to build a ranch there in the early 1920’s. Our ranch was known as The Barham Lodge, and everyone from Mr. Hearst to Charlie Chaplin were guests there. When my father died in 1953, I sold the remaining property.
I have to believe that Barham Boulevard is one of the most traveled thoroughfares in the United States, due to the vast number of people working in Los Angeles and living in the San Fernando Valley, and the vast number of people working at the studios in Toluca Lake and Burbank and that live in Los Angeles.
So next time you take that Barham journey, whether heading to Los Angeles or the Valley, don’t forget about Jack Warner driving that two-laned, narrow road called Dark Canyon. I highly doubt that mogul Warner was actually driving. I am sure in those days there would have been a chauffeur driving him.
Speaking of Jack Warner and his famous studios there where Barham ends and Olive starts, I prefer thinking that it is Toluca Lake and not Burbank. I have noticed that Warner Brothers has Burbank on their physical address–I think someone should tell them they are in Toluca Lake!
My friend Stuart Salsbury tells me that Ciao Christina located directly across from Warner Brothers is a place not to be missed. I love that area around Warner Brothers. There is an apartment complex on Olive that should be given landmark status.
If you think I over-looked anything about Toluca Lake, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.