CA California Home+Design: ‘Silent Film Star’s Legacy Turned L.A. Strip Mall’
Model of the Garden of Allah Hotel

Model of the Garden of Allah Hotel

Earlier this year, CA California Home+Design published an article about the demise of the Garden of Allah Hotel. The money quote came from Martin Turnbull, author of the Garden of Allah novels and Alla Nazimova Society co-founder:

“It became a magnet for a certain type of person,” says Martin Turnbull, a novelist who has extensively researched the property for his book series The Garden of Allah. “It tended to draw the New York intelligentsia, who had come out here to earn money writing for the movies.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx and Robert Benchley were just some of the tenants who fell into that category. Regular visitors included actors such as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn and Tallulah Bankhead (who reportedly enjoyed skinny-dipping in the Black Sea–inspired pool).

One small fact-check quibble with an earlier section of the article, however.

[Nazimova’s] sleepy stretch of Sunset Boulevard fell outside the jurisdiction of the city police, and the county sheriff just didn’t care that much.

This is a common misconception, but the L.A./West Hollywood boundary was a block or so west of the Garden of Allah, which occupied 3.5 acres at 8152 Sunset Blvd. [map]. It is unlikely Nazimova gave any thought to the jurisdiction of the estate when she acquired it in 1918. It’s more likely she was drawn to it because of its remoteness — Back East, she had a country estate in Rye, New York, as well.

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