Tag Archives: Famous houses

No Trespassing and the City!

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Every December, while in New York, I make a pilgrimage to Carrie’s brownstone from fave television show Sex and the City.  Even though I have visited this location quite a few times over the years, I never, ever get tired of it.  To me, it is the quintessential New York location.   I was especially excited to stalk Carrie’s brownstone this year because I had read that the real life owners, tired of stalkers taking pictures on their famous stoop, had installed a large metal chain blocking access to their home.  I was dying to see if it was true.  And sure enough, it was!

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My boyfriend and I were cracking up as we walked up to the house and saw the thick metal chain stretched across the entrance complete with a plastic “No Trespassing” sign.  I think it is absolutely hilarious that the owners did this because, for one, the chain and sign are a complete eyesore on what is otherwise an ADORABLE townhouse. I mean, the whole thing is just so un-Carrie!  The least they could have done would be to put up a cute little wrought iron gate to match the stair railing.  Come on, owners!  Carrie can’t live in a house with a sign like that – she’s a fashion icon for pete’s sake!   And secondly, I think the big ol’ sign only draws attention to the house rather than distracting from it.  LOL  I just don’t understand people!  I mean, if it were my townhouse I’d be standing out there all day, everyday shouting “Yes, this is Carrie’s apartment building and I live here!  I am the real-life Carrie Bradshaw!  Would you want to take a picture with me?  And I’d be happy to sign an autograph for you, too!”  It could be like a full time job!  🙂  LOL  I really hope that the owners aren’t so completely bent out of shape that they are not going to allow filming to take place there for the much-rumored SATC sequel.

On an ironic side note, for the months leading up to my New York trip I had been jokingly suggesting to my boyfriend that he should propose to me on the top of Carrie’s stoop.  It’s a good thing he didn’t take my advice to heart, as his plans would have been seriously thwarted if he had.  LOL

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Hopefully all of you SATC stalkers out there were able to snap a pic on Carrie’s stoop before the ugly “No Trespassing” chain went up.  I am very thankful that I was able to!  🙂  But I couldn’t help but wonder . . .

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. . . do you think this could be why such a sign went up?  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It (but don’t trespass!): Carrie’s brownstone is located at 66 Perry Street in the West Village  in New York.

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“He Tied Me to a Chair and Stole My Car!”

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On Thanksgiving my mom and I did a little stalking in South Pasadena – we aren’t much for football games or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  🙂  Anyway, one of the places we stalked was John Voight’s home from the movies National Treasure  and National Treasure : Book of Secrets.  Mike, from MovieShotsLA , had found the house long ago, but I had yet to go out and stalk it.

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In the first National Treasure, Nicolas Cage, along with his cohorts Diane Kruger and Justin Bartha (LOVE him!!), show up at this house, which is supposedly located in Philadelphia, carrying a stolen copy of the Declaration of Independence.  After using lemon juice and heat to uncover a code located on the back of the historical document, the trio tie John Voight to a chair and steal his car.  LOL  The house also shows up a few times in the second National Treasure  movie.

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When I first saw National Treasure, I remember thinking that John Voight’s house looked like a Pasadena house, despite the writing that appears onscreen which says otherwise (pictured above).  LOL  Sure enough, I was right.  The white clapboard residence does have an East Coast feel to it, though, which is probably why the producers chose it.  Pasadena is chock full of Colonial style homes like this one, and many of them have made appearances in movies, such as the Father of the Bride  house, the Mr. and Mrs. Smith  house, and the Catch Me If You Can  house

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Seeing so many similar Pasadena houses appearing in movies really makes me wonder what makes producers choose one over another.  While the National Treasure  house is very cute in person, for some reason the two octagon shaped windows located above the front door kind of creep me out.  I guess someone on the location team liked them, though.  🙂     

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The National Treasure house is located at 1030 Buena Vista Avenue in South Pasadena, just down the street from Lady Heather’s house.

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Donna Martin, Rose Princess

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When I first moved to Los Angeles about eight years ago, one of the very first items on my stalking agenda was to visit the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Headquarters.  I wanted to sign up for their annual Rose Court Pageant just like Donna Martin did in the Season 6 episode of 90210 entitled  “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”.  🙂  I was absolutely flabbergasted when after asking for an application the receptionist explained to me that in order to apply for the Rose Court I had to currently be in high school or in my first year of college (at the time I had just graduated from college).  I calmly told him that that simply wasn’t true as Donna was in her third year of college when she entered the pageant on 90210, to which he replied “Yes, but that was a TV show!”  LOL  I cannot believe 90210 decieved me like that!!  Anyway, even though my attempts at becoming Rose Queen were thwarted even before they began, I still loved being at the Tournament House and seeing where 90210 had filmed.  🙂

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The Tournament House was originally built for the Wrigley Family – yes, Wrigley as in the spearmint gum.  Construction on the home took over eight years and was finally completed in 1914.  At the time Orange Grove Boulevard was known as “Millionaires’ Row” due to the countless opulent mansions lining both sides of the street.  Sadly, most of those mansions are now long gone, torn down many years ago to make room for apartment complexes and smaller homes.  But the Tournament House remains.  When Mrs. Wrigley passed away in 1958, she deeded the home to the City of Pasadena with the specific instruction that it was to be used as the Tournament of Roses Headquarters, which it has remained ever since.

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The Tournament House, which sits on over 4 1/2 acres of beautifully manicured rose gardens, is absolutely beautiful in person.  The interior of the mansion is supposedly incredibly beautiful, as well, although I have never seen it.  Free tours of the House are offered every Thursday between 2pm and 4pm during the months of February through August and I think I am definitely going to have to partake in one soon.  🙂

The Rose Queen tradition began in 1905 and continues to this day.  It is so named because the Rose Queen reigns over Pasadena’s Annual Tournament of Roses Parade each New Years, riding on a special float.  Each year over 1,000 girls compete for the Rose Queen title, in a process that takes a month to complete.  Out of those thousand, one girl will become the Rose Queen and six others will become Rose Princesses in her Royal Court.  An interesting side note – actress Sophia Bush (of One Tree Hill  fame) won the Rose Queen title in the year 2000.  🙂  You can see a photograph of Sophia with her Court here.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Tournament of Roses House is located at 391 South Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena.

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The Real Clark W. Griswold House?

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I absolutely love Christmastime!  Halloween may be my favorite holiday, but the weeks leading up to Christmas are definitely my favorite time of year.  Each November I start looking forward to the red and green decorations lining city streets, the twinkle lights adorning houses and store windows, Starbucks eggnog lattes, carolers, the general goodwill in the air, and even all the hustle and bustle.  I just love it!  But my absolute favorite thing to do during the Christmas Season is to drive around looking at the many homes decorated with multi-colored lights.  The very best, and most famous, decorated home in all of Los Angeles also just happens to be a filming location!  🙂  So, of course, I had to blog about it!

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 No family does Christmas decorations better than the Balian Family.  The Balians are the owners of the Los Angeles based Balian Ice Cream Company and they live in a big, pink mansion in Altadena.  Their 21 room home was built in 1922 and is commonly known around the L.A. area as “The Balian Mansion”. The Balians have been decorating their home for Christmas since 1955 and, let me tell you, it is truly a sight to behold!  I honestly think it must have been the real life inspiration for Clark Griswold’s Christmas light display in the movie Christmas Vacation.  While standing in front of the house, you can almost see the City of Altadena’s main power meter spinning out of control just like in the movie.  LOL 

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Never in my life have I seen a home as decorated for Christmas as the Balian Mansion is each year.  Every last inch of the 5,459 square foot house and its surrounding 3.5 acre lot seems to be completely covered in Christmas lights and Christmas decorations, including a life size nativity scene, painted signs and lighted plastic statues.  A few entrepreneurial souls even stand out front selling t-shirts and glow sticks out of their cars.  Visiting the Balian Mansion at Christmastime is definitely an event!  People come from miles around to behold the site in person and the streets around the mansion get extremely backed up with cars during the weeks leading up to Christmas.  This year it’ll propbably be even more crowded than normal, being that the mansion just got a shout out on AOL’s list of Top 12 Festive Holiday Homes.     

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 Although the mansion’s main claim to fame is its yearly Christmas light display, the home also made an appearance in an early episode of Beverly Hills, 90210.  The house shows up in the first season episode entitled “The First Time” in which Brandon’s girlfriend from Minnesota comes to visit.  In the episode, Brandon and Brenda pass by the Balian Mansion while driving home from school (pictured above).  At the time the mansion was painted brown, but today it is a bright pink color.   When I re-watched that episode recently, I almost fell out of my chair upon seeing the mansion, which I immediately recognized from my many pilgrimages there each December.

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The Balian Mansion is an L.A. Christmas tradition and I HIGHLY recommend stalking it!  If you are in the area during Christmas, you must, must, must drive by!  The lights are typically put up the first week in December and stay lit through the first week of January.  When I drove by the house yesterday it looked as if the lights were still being set up and I made my boyfriend take a pic of the many powerlines needed to light the house (shown above).  LOL  I can only imagine what their power outlets look like!!! 

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Balian Mansion is located at 1960 Mendocino Lane in Altadena.  If you are in the area, be sure to also make a stop at Christmas Tree Lane, which is located on Santa Rosa Avenue, just off Woodbury.  Christmas Tree Lane is a mile long stretch of huge cedar trees decorated with hundreds upon thousands of multi-colored lights.  It is absolutely magical.  Christmas Tree Lane, although not a movie location, is definitely a must see! 

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The Californication House

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First off let me wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!  🙂  Now on to stalking!  Yesterday, while doing some Venice Beach stalking, I visited a location I have long been obsessed with finding – the house from the David Duchovny series Californication.  I have long been a DD fan – ever since I saw my first X-Files  episode over 15 years ago I have pretty much been obsessed.  So when my boyfriend got the Season 1 DVD’s of Californication  a few weeks ago, I had to watch!  Sadly, I have to admit that I don’t really like the series.  But I did become a huge fan of Hank Moody’s ex-wife Karen’s home while watching.  On the show Karen lives in a very modern style cement and wood home that is very reminiscent of James Woods’ house on the TV show Shark.  It also has some of the same characteristics of John Lautner homes.  So, I course I immediately became obsessed with it. 🙂  Luckily, while doing some cyberstalking I came across this awesome website which gave me the home’s location.  YAY!

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The home, which is known as the McKinley Residence, was built by architect David Hertz for his family and originally only consisted of the structure that is pictured above.  The original structure consisted of two separate buildings, one in the front and another in the back, that were joined via a covered bridge.  A few years later Hertz bought an adjoining lot and built the property’s second structure which also consisted of two buildings.  Today the property is made up of a total of four buildings all surrounding an outdoor courtyard and pool area and connected via several enclosed bridges.   David Hertz  has designed numerous homes throughout the West Coast and has a strong commitment to only building “green” structures and protecting the environment.  He is also the inventor of a building material called “syndecrete” which is a “green” cement based surfacing substance that is used in the building of many homes.

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The McKinley Residence is a frequent filming location.  Besides Californication, the house has been featured in Adaptation, Men, Women & Dogs and a Season 3 episode of CSI: Miami  entitled “Murder in a Flash.”  The house has also been featured in Dwell Magazine  and Shape Magazine. You can see all of the projects this extraordinary house has been featured in here.  You can also see some great interior photos of the home here.  The McKinley Residence is an amazing home to see in person and I highly recommend stalking it!

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

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Stalk It: The Californication house is located at 2420 McKinley Avenue in Venice.

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Casa Walsh

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Last Friday, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and I set out to do a little Pasadena stalking.  Who knew that our day would hold the stalking adventure to end all stalking adventures!  Even as I sit here, days later, writing these words, I am pinching myself, unsure if the whole thing even really happened.  But since I have the photographs, I guess it really did.  🙂 

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On Friday afternoon, after stalking a few Pasadena locations, Mike and I stopped off at our old staple, the 90210  house, aka Casa Walsh.  Even though Mike and I had stalked this home countless times before, we had to return yet again as it is one location that we just never grow tired of.  On this particular trip, though, the stalking gods must have been smiling down on us because the owner of the home pulled up in his car right when we arrived.  So of course, we got to talking with him.  🙂

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The owner, whose name is Jack, could NOT have been a nicer guy!  He stood and talked with us in the Walsh driveway for about 45 minutes, sharing all sorts of 90210  stories and behind the scenes info.  For instance, he told us that on one occasion when they filmed at his house, producers cleared out all of his living room furniture and built a soundstage of Kelly’s bedroom in the vacant room!  LOL  He also told us that some of the camping scenes from the Season 2 episode entitled “Camping Trip” were actually filmed in his backyard!  And – my personal favorite story of the many Jack shared with us – one day he got home from work to find a message on his answering machine from a woman who said “Hi this is Emily Valentine and I wanted to let you know that I just got out of the asylum.”  LOL  Jack even told us of a few other 90210  filming locations that he knew about.  🙂  Now, this is where the story gets REALLY exciting.  After talking with us for a bit in his driveway, Jack invited us into his backyard to take some photos.

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Numerous events in the Walsh twins’ lives took place in Jack’s backyard,  including Cindy and Jim’s 20th wedding anniversary, Jackie Taylor and Mel Silver’s wedding, the painting of the gang’s homecoming float which was later doused with gasoline by Emily Valentine, and – my personal favorite – one of the first times Brenda lays eyes on Dylan. 

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In that episode, entitled “Isn’t It Romantic”, Dylan and Brandon are working on Brandon’s car Mondale in the Walsh backyard.  In the meantime, while speaking with Kelly on the phone, Brenda walks outside onto a little balcony to admire Dylan from afar, but he notices her and turns around to give her that cute Dylan smile that I was so in love with.  🙂  LOVE THAT SHOW!  Anyway, Brenda’s balcony is really a part of the Altadena home and I could not have been more excited to see it in person!  I believe it was at this point in our Casa Walsh tour, as Mike and I stood there snapping pictures like crazy and screaming like little schoolgirls, that Jack told us we both had way too much time on our hands.  LOL  🙂

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After seeing us go a bit crazy over being in the actual 90210  backyard, Jack (wait, are you sitting down for this???) INVITED US TO SEE THE INSIDE OF THE HOUSE!!!!  Yes, you read that right – HE INVITED US INSIDE THE HOUSE!  THE 90210 HOUSE!  BRANDON AND BRENDA’S HOUSE!  WE GOT TO GO INSIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Mike and I both just about keeled over and died at this proposition and I am surprised we didn’t knock poor Jack to the floor as we made a running b-line for the house.  🙂  LOL  While inside, Jack first showed us some scrapbooks he had made with photographs and articles from his house’s filming days.   The scrapbooks included all sorts of photographs and memorabilia from the 90210  days, including photos of his kids with the stars and the original contract he signed allowing the production company to use his home for filming.  I couldn’t help but smile as I read one clause in the contract which stated that a basketball hoop would be added to the exterior of Jack’s garage.  🙂  That basketball hoop is now gone as Jack is in the middle of remodeling his garage (say it ain’t so!).  There were actually two different basketball hoops used during the filming of 90210 and when the series ended, Jack got to keep both of them.  Many years later he ended up giving both of those hoops away to 90210  fans who had stopped by his house to take pictures.  Like I said – what an amazingly nice guy!  Mike was extremely bummed that he wasn’t the lucky recipient of one of those basketball hoops, but we should consider ourselves lucky as Jack said that Mike and I were the first two fans he had ever invited inside the house.  🙂

The most surreal moment of the day for me happened when my phone rang while I was standing in the 90210  kitchen.  You see, my ring tone is, and always has been, the 90210  theme song.  I kid you not.  So there I was standing in Casa Walsh when the familiar strains of “Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh” came pouring out of my phone.  LOL  After looking at Jack’s 90210  scrapbooks, he took us on a mini-tour of the downstairs of his home.  I was in utter shock not only at the fact that he would invite us into his home, but also that I WAS ACTUALLY STANDING INSIDE THE 90210  HOUSE!  I had dreamed of seeing the inside of that home for YEARS and the only thing I can imagine that would have been more satisfying to a stalker like myself would be to have visited the studio set of the Walsh home during filming.  I had read that the set of Casa Walsh was based on the real interiors of the Altadena home and on Friday I saw for myself that that was sort of true.  While the kitchen area looks nothing like Cindy Walsh’s kitchen, the entryway, living room and dining room are all very similar to what we saw on TV.  When walking inside the house it was like worlds were colliding inside my head as the image I knew of the interior sets meshed with reality.  It was surreal and almost as if my brain couldn’t accept both images at the same time.  LOL

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The dining room area, which was just re-painted and therefore has no furniture in it, is very reminiscent of the Walsh dining room.

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The living room is also quite similar to its television counterpart, except that it is longer and not quite as deep as the Walsh living room.  In real life it is also missing the Walsh’s built-in bookshelves.

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The area of the home I was most excited to see was the entryway/stairwell, as the Walsh’s entryway/stairwell was shown so often on the show.  In reality, the stairway is situated like a mirrior image of how it appeared on 90210.  The stairs run from the left to the right, while the Walsh stairway went from right to left.  I asked Jack why he thinks they made this change for the studio set and he said he thinks that it worked better for camera angles that way.  Aside from the stairway running the opposite direction, the real entryway looks very similar to the Walsh entryway and I still cannot believe I got to see it with my own two eyes!

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Of course, we just had to take a picture with Jack in the entryway to document our time spent at Casa Walsh.  On our way out, after giving Jack our phone numbers and telling him that if he ever needed ANYTHING to give us a call :), Mike told him that if he ever decided to sell Casa Walsh he wanted to be the first to know.  🙂 

I still can hardly believe this whole thing even happened!!  Mike and I seem to have a lot of luck when it comes to stalking 90210  locations, and I think I need to bring him with me on all of my stalking adventures from now on.  🙂 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Casa Walsh is located at 1675 E. Altadena Drive, in Altadena.  We got really lucky being let inside the house, but please don’t bother the owner to do this yourself as it is not his common practice.

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The 90210 Halloween Party House

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Mike, from MovieShotsLA, has done it yet again!  I really think I need to name my first born after him or something.  🙂  One of my very favorite episodes in 90210  history was the Season 2 episode entitled “Halloween”, in which the whole gang dresses up and attends a Halloween bash in a humongous, spooky mansion.  I’m not sure why I loved that particular episode so much – most likely because Halloween is my favorite holiday and also because I absolutely LOVED Brenda and Dylan’s Bonnie and Clyde costumes.  Ever since October of 1991, when the “Halloween” episode aired I have wanted to dress just like Brenda and Dylan did for Halloween!  🙂  Anyway, ever since moving to L.A. eight years ago I have been on the lookout for that Halloween party house, but was always unable to locate it.  Then, during October’s Haunted Halloween theme, I got Mike in on the hunt, but even with our two heads put together we just could not find the house!!    Until yesterday!!!   

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Ironically enough, Mike was looking for another movie location in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles when he ran across this article  and immediately recognized the home in the picture!  Mike called me and I just happened to be IN Hancock Park at that time, so I immediately drove myself right over to the house.   And sure enough it was the “Halloween” house!!!!!!!!  YAY!  I could not have been more excited to see this home in person.  It was a stalking adventure eight years in the making! 

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 90210  featured both the interior and the exterior of the house during the filming of the “Halloween” episode.  The front porch area was also featured quite prominently.  It is on the front porch that Steve tells Kelly that he still loves her, right after she is rescued by both Dylan and Steve after almost being raped by a fellow party guest.  Besides 90210, the home also appeared in Willard, Ben, Witchboard, The Addams Family Halloween Special, Mae West, Inner Sanctum II, Night Walker, Secret Games 3, Life Without Dick, Out on a Limb, and Masked and Anonymous.  Sadly, according to the article Mike found, the owners have since “retired” the home from filming.  😦

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The house, which is known as the Higgins-Verbeck-Hirsch Mansion, has an interesting real life history, as well.  The 9,918 square foot, 32 room home was built by renowned L.A. area architect John Austin in 1902 for a wealthy grain merchant named Hirman Higgins and his family.  The mansion was originally located on three lots on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Rampart Boulevard.  In 1919, the Higgins family sold the home to the Verbecks, who were forced to actually relocate the mansion a few years later.  As strange as that sounds, apparently it was quite commonplace at the time.  Due to the commercialization of Wilshire Boulevard and the widening of many Los Angeles streets, homeowners were forced to either move their homes or lose them to the wrecking ball.  The Verbecks chose the former and bought a parcel of land 2.5 miles away, on Lucerne Boulevard in Hancock Park.  On June 28, 1924 at 1 O’clock in the morning, house-mover George Kress split the Queen Anne mansion into two pieces, and using TWELVE trucks, moved it to its current location.  Apparently the Verbecks decided to mark the occasion with a party and invited the mayor and over 100 of their closest friends to hang out in the house during its 2.5 mile, four hour drive down Wilshire Boulevard.  From the 30s to the mid 80s, after many subsequent owners, the mansion suffered from severe neglect, until it was purchased by current residents Peggy and Perry Hirsch in 1986.  The couple spent the next few years painstakingly restoring the home to its original beauty and grandeur.  In 1988, it was designated a Los Angeles cultural historical monument.  

The house is absolutely HUMONGOUS in person – much larger than I had expected it to be – and absolutely beautiful.  I highly recommend stalking it, even for the rare few of you out there who aren’t 90210  fans.  🙂 

Big thank you to Mike, as always, for finding the location and for providing the screen caps!

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Stalk It: The 90210  Halloween party house is located at 637 S. Lucerne Boulevard in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.

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