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Franciscan Motor Hotel

Welcome to the Franciscan, Hollywood’s newest motor hotel in 1949. At the time, 92,000 cars passed daily through the Cahuenga Pass Parkway, and there were several roadside lodges in the immediate area on Highland Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard.

Franciscan Motor Hotel Hollywood
Guests are greeted at the Franciscan's porte-cochère. (Julius Shulman/J. Paul Getty Trust)

Located next to the Pilgrimage Theatre, the hillside motel offered a picturesque setting for as little as $7-per-night. The 34 sleeping rooms and suites were no-frills, but clean and comfortable with wood paneling and floral drapes.

Amenities included a heated swimming pool with brick patio, restaurant, and locked garages beneath the second-story rooms. Every holiday, the lobby was delightfully decorated, especially at Christmas.

Architectural photographer Julius Shulman shot the Franciscan for its brochure—but the cover image got a slight edit. Look closely at the woman on the left in the blue swimsuit … in the original picture, she’s wearing a two-piece.

The Franciscan was so popular, Photoplay magazine recommended that readers “better write for reservations” in its May 1957 issue. But by the 1960s, as Hollywood tourism evolved, the motor hotel pivoted to apartments, with studios available monthly for $65 all utilities included.

Hollywood postcard
Franciscan Motor Hotel postcard (California State Library)

Some time after the freeway was widened to eight lanes in the early 1970s, two of the Franciscan’s three structures were razed for parking. The one that remains is used as private offices for the LA Philharmonic.

Hollywood Bowl
The Franciscan was located across from the Hollywood Bowl (Julius Shulman/J. Paul Getty Trust)


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