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Pacific Palisades and Will Rogers State Beach, California
Pacific Palisades is a largely residential neighborhood in the Westside of the city of Los Angeles, California, located among Brentwood to the east, Malibu and Topanga to the west, Santa Monica to the southeast, the Santa Monica Bay to the southwest, and the Santa Monica Mountains to the north. It is about 9 miles northwest of the UCLA campus. Known by locals as "The Palisades" this area of L.A. is known for low crime and high profile residents including several celebrities.
In 1911, film director Thomas Ince created his Western film factory, "Inceville", which at its peak employed nearly 600 people. A decade later, the Rev. Charles H. Scott and the Southern California Methodist Episcopal Church bought the land; in 1922, Scott founded Pacific Palisades, envisioning an elaborate religious-intellectual commune. Believers snapped up choice lots and lived in tents during construction. By 1925, the Palisades had 100 homes. In one subdivision, streets were named for Methodist missionaries. The tents eventually were replaced by cabins, then by bungalows, and ultimately by multimillion-dollar homes. The climate of the area was a big selling point. Temperatures are much cooler than inland Los Angeles during summer, but usually sunnier and less foggy than areas south along the coast (e.g. Santa Monica).
During their exile from Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 40s, many German and Austrian intellectuals and artists associated with the Exilliteratur settled in Pacific Palisades, including Thomas Mann and his wife Katia Mann at (1550 San Remo Drive), Lion Feuchtwanger, Theodor W. Adorno, Vicki Baum, Oskar Homolka and Emil Ludwig. Villa Aurora on Paseo Miramar, the Spanish colonial home of Feuchtwanger and his wife, Marta, became the focal point of the expatriate community, which was nicknamed "Weimar by the Sea".
For many decades there was a virtual ban on drinking alcohol in the district, and a Chinese restaurant, House of Lee, held the only liquor license. The Methodist Church created a Chautauqua Conference Grounds in Temescal Canyon. The Presbyterian Synod purchased the property in 1943 and used it as a private retreat center until the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy purchased the property in 1994 to become Temescal Gateway Park.
- The Via Bluffs and The Huntington Palisades are the neighborhoods that border the "village" proper to the south of Sunset Boulevard, overlooking the ocean. The Via Mesa is located between Temescal Canyon on the west and Potrero Canyon on the east; the Huntington Palisades is located between Potrero Canyon on the west and Chautauqua Boulevard on the east. Both of these neighborhoods are within walking distance to The Village and sit upon high bluffs that look out over the Pacific Ocean. This area is home to the largest park of the Palisades: the 117-acre Palisades Park which has four baseball diamonds, eight tennis courts, two indoor basketball courts, a hockey rink, dog parks, and a number of playgrounds.
- The El Medio Bluffs is located south of Sunset Boulevard beginning about a quarter mile west of The Village, across Temescal Canyon – just past Palisades Charter High School. The El Medio Mesa extends for a long distance from Temescal Canyon all the way to where Sunset Boulevard meets the Pacific Coast Highway. As with The Via Bluffs and The Huntington Palisades, The El Medio Bluffs are located on a high ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
- Castellammare is located along Pacific Coast Highway on small bluffs much closer to sea-level, north of where Sunset Boulevard meets PCH. This is the home of the Getty Villa and the narrow, winding streets in this neighborhood have Italian names and ocean breezes.
- Palisades Highlands is a community near the end of Sunset Blvd., bordering Topanga, about five minutes away from the center of Pacific Palisades (The Village). The Highlands could almost be considered its own separate community high up the hill overlooking the ocean, up Palisades Drive.[original research?]
- Rustic Canyon is the neighborhood east of Chautauqua Boulevard that dips into Santa Monica Canyon and includes the Will Rogers State Historic Park. The neighborhood features post-war homes located on the former polo field of The Uplifters, the original site of The Uplifters clubhouse (now a city park), and "cabins" developed as second homes and weekend retreats. This area is also known as Uplifter's Ranch.
- The Riviera is a Palisades neighborhood located approximately two miles east of the community's Village and features The Riviera Country Club, a country club, and streets named after various locations in the French and Italian Riviera. The neighborhood is divided into north and south sections by Sunset Boulevard. It borders Santa Monica and Brentwood. The Riviera Country Club hosts the Genesis Open on the PGA Tour in February (the tournament has been previously known as the Northern Trust Open and Nissan Open and was originally the "Los Angeles Open"). Riviera has hosted three major championships: the U.S. Open in 1948 and the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1995. Ben Hogan won three times in less than 18 months at the course (1947 and 1948 L.A. Open, 1948 U.S. Open), and it became known as "Hogan's Alley." The country club will also host golf during the 2028 Summer Olympics.
In 2009 the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these Pacific Palisades statistics: population: 25,507 residents in the 22.84-square-mile neighborhood - 1,048 people per square mile, among the lowest population densities for the city and the county.
Parks and recreation
Every Fourth of July, the community's Chamber of Commerce sponsors day-long events which include 5K and 10K runs, a parade down Sunset Boulevard, and a concert and fireworks display at Palisades High School baseball field. The district also includes some large parklands and many hiking trails.
The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks operates several recreational facilities in Pacific Palisades.
- Palisades Park, at 851 Alma Real Drive., has 117 acres (0.47 km2) of land. The Palisades Recreation Center, also at that address, has barbecue pits, four baseball diamonds (two lighted, two unlighted), lighted basketball courts (indoor and outdoor), a children's play area, a football field, an indoor gymnasium (no weights are offered), picnic tables, lighted tennis courts, and lighted volleyball courts. The facility also has a kitchen, a stage, a television area, and various scheduled athletic and non-athletic activities. The Pacific Palisades Tennis Court, also at that address, has eight courts.
- Rustic Canyon Park is located along Rustic Canyon Road. The Rustic Canyon Pool is located at 601 Latimer Road. The Rustic Canyon Recreation Center, located at the same address, has a multipurpose with a capacity of 150 people that can be used as an auditorium, a gymnasium, or a volleyball court. The center also has barbecue pits, an unlighted baseball diamond, basketball courts (lighted indoor and unlighted outdoor), a children's play area, an indoor gymnasium (no weights are offered), picnic tables, and volleyball courts (lighted and unlighted).
- Temescal Canyon Park is a non-staffed "pocket park" located along Temescal Canyon Drive from Pacific Coast Highway to Sunset Blvd. The park has barbecue pits, a children's play area, picnic tables, hiking trails, a native garden, and toilets.
- Santa Ynez Canyon Park is located at Palisades Drive and Avenida de Santa Ynez.
- Rivas Canyon Park is located at the east terminus of Oracle Place.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation also has locations in Pacific Palisades.
- Will Rogers State Beach extends one and three-quarters mile along the shore. The beach features swimming and skin diving. Facilities include volleyball courts, playground and gymnastic equipment, as well as a bike path and walkway. A number of movies and TV shows have been filmed at this beach. The beach is located off the Pacific Coast Highway, near the intersection with Temescal Canyon Road. The beach is operated by the County of Los Angeles Department of Beaches & Harbors.
- Will Rogers State Historic Park. While Will Rogers made Beverly Hills his home in the late 1920s, in 1922 he bought a large plot of almost 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land above Sunset Blvd. to build a weekend cottage. He built a polo field on the property in 1926, and in 1928 he and his family made it their home. In 1944, nine years after Rogers died, the ranch became a state park. In the interest of historical preservation, the home is maintained as it was including the furniture and fixtures. It is open to the public most days with the exception of major holidays, although admission is required. The top of the property's trail includes vistas of the ocean and city.
- Temescal Gateway Park located at 15601 Sunset Blvd., encompasses 141 acres of oak and sycamore canyons, ridgetop views, and access to miles of trails in Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park, and the 20,000-acre “Big Wild.”
- Topanga State Park Located in the cliffs and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains and headquartered in nearby Topanga Canyon, Topanga State Park features 36 miles of trails through open grassland, live oaks and views of the Pacific Ocean. The park is bound on the south by Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, on the west by Topanga Canyon, and on the east by Rustic Canyon. Numerous geologic formations can be found in the park, including earthquake faults, marine fossils, volcanic intrusions, and a wide variety of sedimentary formations. Trail heads into the park are located throughout Pacific Palisades, including Las Lions Drive, Palisades Highlands, Temescal Gateway Park and Will Rogers State Historic Park.
Government and infrastructure
The most important civic group within the Palisades is the Pacific Palisades Community Council. The Pacific Palisades Community Council usually meets twice each month to discuss a wide range of issues that affect its residents. The Council has rejected city offers to become an official part of the city, preferring its independent, non-aligned status. Among the main reasons that Council members cite is that the Council would not have the power to appeal decisions of City officials, commissions, and boards and the Council could not appear before Federal, State, and County authorities regarding local issues.
Los Angeles Fire Department operates two fire stations serving Pacific Palisades. Station 69 at 15045 West Sunset Boulevard serves Pacific Palisades and the Pacific Coast. Station 23 at 17281 West Sunset Boulevard serves the Palisades Highlands, Castellammare, and the Pacific Coast.
County, state, and federal representation
The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services SPA 5 West Area Health Office serves Pacific Palisades. The department operates the Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center in Santa Monica, serving Pacific Palisades.
Pacific Palisades is within District 50 of the California State Assembly. As of 2019, Richard Bloom represents the district. Pacific Palisades is within District 23 of the California Senate; as of 2019, Ben Allen represents the district. The community is a part of the State Board of Equalization District 4, represented by Mike Schaefer as of 2019.
In the U.S. House of Representatives Pacific Palisades is within California's 33rd congressional district and is currently represented by Ted Lieu. The United States Postal Service operates the Pacific Palisades Post Office at 15243 La Cruz Drive .
Los Angeles Fire Department Station 23 and Station 69 serve the area. Station 23 is located on Sunset Blvd at the bottom of Los Liones Drive and Station 69 is located on Sunset Blvd and Carey Street.
Some residents are assigned to Pacific Palisades Elementary School, some residents are assigned to Canyon Elementary School, and some are assigned to Marquez Elementary School. All residents are zoned to Paul Revere Charter Middle School and Palisades Charter High School.
- Marquez Elementary School opened in 1955.
- Paul Revere Middle School first opened as Palisades-Brentwood Junior High School on September 12, 1955; it chose its current name during its first year of operation. It became an internal charter in 1994.
- Palisades High School opened in 1961. Palisades received a charter in 1994.
Private schools in the area include:
- Calvary Christian (K–8)
- Village School (pre-K–6)
- Corpus Christi (K–8)
- St. Matthew's Parish School (PS–8)
- Seven Arrows (K–6)
- Westside Waldorf (K–8)
- Lycée Français de Los Angeles Pacific Palisades Campus
- The Los Angeles Times is the citywide newspaper.
- The Palisadian-Post, founded in 1928, is the oldest newspaper to serve the Pacific Palisades community.
- The Palisades News, first published in 2014, is a Palisades-based newspaper published twice monthly for the residents of Pacific Palisades.
- Pali Production was a local low budget class at Palisades Charter High School that streamed sports events and school graduations. It unified the community and kept Palisadians up to date. There was also a show they ran called "The Current" that was facilitated by the students. It told the parents and kids of Pali High and the Palisades community what was happening and what had happened in the school and area. Pali Production folded in 2017 when longtime teacher Sean Passan left the school.
- Eames House: The 1949 home and studio of husband-and-wife design pioneers Charles and Ray Eames.
- The Getty Villa: An educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.
- Villa Aurora: An artists residence and historic landmark located in the former home of exiled German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta.
- Thomas Mann House: Thomas Mann's home during his exile from 1942 to 1952 designed by JR Davidson.
- Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine: A 10-acre spiritual center on Sunset Boulevard founded in 1950 by Paramahansa Yogananda, whose classic book “Autobiography of a Yogi” introduced many Westerners to yoga and Eastern mysticism.
In popular culture
- Jerry Lewis lived in Pacific Palisades on Amalfi Drive during the 1950s. He shot several Gar-Ron Productions home movies at that house with neighbors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. He became the honorary mayor of the Palisades in 1953.
- The Beach Boys 1963 hit "Surfin' U.S.A." mentions Pacific Palisades in its list of Southern California surf spots.
- The 1976 book, What Really Happened to the Class of '65? is about members of one of Palisades High School's early graduating classes and how their once-privileged lives turned out years later, often disastrously. The book, by author David Wallechinsky, the son of novelist Irving Wallace, and his "Pali" classmate, film critic Michael Medved, described Pacific Palisades as a microcosm of America during the tumultuous Summer of Love-era.
- The West Coast Avengers, a California-based branch of the Marvel Comics superhero team, were depicted as based out of an estate in Pacific Palisades.
- Pacific Palisades, a 1997 TV series produced by Aaron Spelling, was named after the area.
- The characters on the teen show Saved by the Bell (1989–1993) mention on several occasions that their school is located in Pacific Palisades.
- Popular show 90210 mentions Palisades High as their rivals and has filmed some episodes on the beach and at a local restaurant Cafe Vida.
- British alternative rock band Ash included a song entitled "Pacific Palisades" on their 2001 album Free All Angels.
- Rapper Childish Gambino mentions Pacific Palisades in his song IV. Sweatpants saying, "got a glass house in the Palisades."
- In Modern Family, the Dunphy Children attend Palisades Charter High School. Alex Dunphy was crowned school valedictorian in the episode Patriot Games.
- The main character of the TV series Transparent lives in a house in Pacific Palisades.
- untitled 02 – 06.23.2014., the second track of Kendrick Lamar's 2016 compilation album untitled unmastered, mentions the area in the third verse: "Palisade views with some sex."
- The 1985 Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner film Prizzi's Honor was partly filmed at a private house located at 15025 Corona Del Mar, which was repainted for the occasion and then turned back to its original colours after the shooting. That house was demolished later and now only exists in film history. It belonged to Joyce R. Proctor.
- The 2005 Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips film Havoc was set in the Palisades and filmed at Palisades Charter High School.
- The 2003 Disney film Freaky Friday with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan was filmed at Palisades Charter High School.
- The 2001 film Crazy/Beautiful starring Kirsten Dunst was filmed at Palisades Charter High School.
- The house used for the exterior shots of the Pearson residence in the 1979 film Phantasm is located at 1232 Corsica Drive in Pacific Palisades.
- The 1985 music video for "Slip It In" by the hardcore punk band Black Flag was filmed at Palisades High School.
- The 1977 NBC television program James at 16, starring Lance Kerwin was filmed at the same school, which was then called Palisades High School, or more commonly as "Pali High".
- The 1976 film Carrie was filmed at Palisades High School.
- The 1957 film No Down Payment has several sequences around Pacific Palisades posing as a Los Angeles suburb.
- Food Network's Everyday Italian is filmed on El Medio.
- The TV series Baywatch was filmed at Lifeguard Headquarters by tower 15 of Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades.
- The TV series Rockford Files was often filmed in and around the Palisades in the 1970s.
- The TV series Popular filmed at Palisades Charter High School
- The TV series Modern Family filmed some scenes at Palisades Charter High School.
- The first season residence of the television series The Golden Girls was a home in Pacific Palisades. For subsequent seasons, a facade house was built on the Disney/MGM back lot.
- The HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm is filmed in the real-life Pacific Palisades residence of Larry David, as the home of his character, "Larry David".
- The TV series Teen Wolf was filmed at Palisades Charter High School.
- The original 2014 movie God's Not Dead had scenes filmed at 1033 Ravoli Drive in Pacific Palisades.
- The 2014 movie Redeemed -Grace Abounds starring Ted McKinley, resident of Pacific Palisades was filmed at 1033 Ravoli Drive in Pacific Palisades.
- An episode of HBO's Silicon Valley was filmed in the Palisades Highlands at 1268 Piedra Morada Dr. It was used as the home of “Big Head” after he became rich.
- List of districts and neighborhoods of Los Angeles
- Old Santa Monica Forestry Station in Pacific Palisades.
- Loomis, Jan (2009). Pacific Palisades. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9780738569482.
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