Photo via Creative Commons


Santa Monica is one of the most sought-after places to live in Southern California, and the Santa Monica Canyon is one of the most exclusive parts of this community.


Santa Monica Canyon, known simply as the "The Canyon" to the people who call it home, lies just north of the city of Santa Monica. It is a shallow, flat-bottomed valley, full of small-frame cottages and upscale real estate. The people who move to The Canyon tend to be both influential and interesting, their eccentricities clear as soon as you walk into their homes. Though the community has seen its share of outsiders, it’s still the Greenwich Village of Los Angeles, full of bohemian flare.


The Canyon was discovered in the 1920's by artists, writers and old Hollywood stars. Inhabitants of the Canyon have included producer Joe Roth, old Hollywood film star Delores Del Rio and her husband, MGM set designer Cedric Gibbons, author Christopher Isherwood, artist Don Bachardy, and photographer Edward Weston -- to name just a few of the influential bunch who have called this place home.  


The history behind The Canyon is an interesting one, in brief the Mexican government issued land grants to Francisco Marquez and Ysidro Reyes, for the 6,656 acre "Rancho Boca de Santa Monica" in 1834. Marquez built his first home on what is now San Lorenzo Street and Reyes built his ranch house a short distance away on what is now Sunset Boulevard.


American sovereignty in California began on Feb. 2, 1848, and by the late 19th century small shops and lodging places could be found. Uplifter's Ranch, a social club for well-off gentlemen with a hankering for booze and the fellowship of other guys, was established in Rustic Canyon in 1913. Over time it boasted a Who's Who of Hollywood, including Walt Disney, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Will Rogers and "Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum, who gave the club its name.


By the 1930's, Hollywood had discovered the Canyon's charms. Screenwriter Salka Viertel owned a charming home on Mabery Road, which became a magnet for the famous. The rest if history!


Today in The Canyon, you can find well kept family homes, that range in price from about $2 million for a small cottage to $10 million and more for large, elaborate properties. But, you can still find that old Hollywood charm in the homes that hide behind the tree-lined streets.