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The First to Go (1925-1948)

As planning began for the Hollywood Freeway, many of the homes that stood in the way of progress were acquired by the state and then auctioned off at a fraction of their worth. If the new owners were unable to relocate the structure immediately, it was bulldozed. One of the first victims of this controversial tactic was 6786 Whitley Terrace, which sold for $855 in 1948.

6786 Whitley Terrace
(Dick Whittington Studio / USC)

Located at a fork in the road that curved down to Wedgewood (with Villa Valentino the first on the right; see below), the three-story residence was “superb in construction, in design, and location,” according to a 1927 listing. With a bird’s-eye view of the Hollywood Bowl, four bedrooms “most artistically arranged,” two exquisite tiled bathrooms, electric control heating system, and a two-car garage—“to see it is to want it.”

6786 Whitley Heights
Los Angeles City Historical Society

And the Turton family did. The Montreal expats relocated to Los Angeles, “the land of heart’s desire” as businessman Mr. Turton described it, and made Hollywood their home. They settled into 6786 with their two daughters, who attended the private Hollywood School for Girls, alma mater of Jean Harlow (and where eight-time Academy Award-winning costume designer Edith Head first worked as a French teacher).

In 1929, the Turtons celebrated the wedding of their elder daughter, by now a student at USC, to a naval officer. “The bride cut the cake with her husband’s sword,” reported the LA Times. The youngest carved out her own path: Bright and athletic, she was secretary of her 1931 junior high class and an accomplished equestrienne who frequented the Griffith Park trails. There was also a four-legged family member, a white Wire Fox Terrier with black markings named May Jim, who sadly strayed from home in 1931.

As of 1940, Mrs. Turton still lived at 6786, now a widow. After that, I can’t confirm if it remained her home until its 1948 demolition, but two months earlier in December 1947 there was a quick sale of “eight rooms of distinctive furniture.”


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