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From City to Sea

Not every Whitley Heights home in the freeway’s path was destroyed. A select few were relocated, both near (within the neighborhood) and far—40 miles away in Huntington Beach, as was the case for 6793 Whitley Terrace.

After 28 years at the corner of Iris Drive (where its front door was located; see below), in 1950 the three-bedroom Spanish Colonial Revival was severed in half vertically and transported from the Hollywood Hills to Orange County.

In order to pass under low utility lines along the way, the home had to lose its lower level, as well as four feet of roof.

Yet 6793 retained much of its original charm: the Batchelder fireplace, wood floors (and seam where the house was stitched back together), bathroom tile, glass doorknobs, lighting—and the same dining set as in Whitley Heights.

Locals initially weren’t so welcoming of “The House From Hollywood Hills,” an exotic beauty that seemed out of place on a seaside block.

However, once they heard its prestigious past, it was reinvented as “The Jean Harlow Mystery House.” (Although there’s no concrete evidence the blonde superstar lived at 6793 Whitley Terrace, it’s a quite a rumored distinction.)

In 2020, the famed house went on the market for the first time in five decades.

Fearing it might end up yet another tear-down in the neighborhood, the new owners snapped up the 98-year-old residence before history could repeat itself. Not only are they dedicated to learning its Whitley Heights roots, but also preserving them—they hope to restore the original 1922 roofline!

When I started Before the 101, it was to find the homes that had been here, well, before the 101. Discovering photos of 6793 Whitley Terrace was bittersweet because I assumed it was long gone.

To know it’s been treasured this whole time is my favorite happy ending ❤️


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