Tagged: Frank Lloyd Wright

Some Frank Lloyd Wright in California


Remember when I thought that I recognized the house in the 1959 film The House on Haunted Hill? It turns out that the house is famous for a few reasons. Although it has appeared in a ton of films, including Bladerunner and L.A. Confidential to name but two, I “recognized” it because it looks like the Hollyhock House, which I toured with Sarah and my mom in May 2010. The Hollyhock House and Ennis House, the house from Haunted Hill, were both designed by Frank Lloyd Wright are both sited in Hollywood.


Since seeing House on Haunted Hill, I made visiting Ennis House one of my priorities when visiting Los Angeles. On the day after Christmas, my parents, Sarah, and I drove to the Hollywood Hills to see the house. Regrettably, one cannot tour the house. It was sold to a private owner in July 2011. The house needs a lot of work, but it’s not clear when the house will be open to the public once the new owner takes possession.

Visiting the house is easy with a car. Take Vermont Avenue north past Los Feliz Boulevard. Turn left on Cromwell Ave, then a quick right onto Glendower Ave. Follow the winding road up, up, and up, and then after about a quarter mile you will see the house. Mind the parking signs and take a walk around the house and, obviously, don’t disturb the adjacent properties.

After gawking at Ennis House, we drove back down the hill and stopped at Barnsdall Park to show my dad Hollyhock House because he had not seen it.

Kundert Medical Clinic, Frank Lloyd Wright

A day after we visited the Ennis and Hollyhock Houses, we stumbled on another Frank Lloyd Wright property. This was the Kundert Medical Clinic in San Luis Obispo. Unlike the other two properties, this was still in full operation. It sits along a creek on Santa Rosa Avenue, which was a main road connecting some important towns in San Luis Obispo County. After running around Hollywood looking at two (of many, many) Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Los Angeles, it was nice to find one by accident en route to our next destination.

One Movie and Two Architectural Gems


The fine folks at the Loew’s Jersey in Jersey City launched their annual tribute to Halloween with a Friday night screening of the William Castle classic, The House on Haunted Hill (1956). The tribute continues tonight with separate-admission screenings of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). The latter film, a German silent expressionist masterpiece, will be screened with live organ accompaniment.


Last night’s screening had two treats for architectural nerds. The first is the building itself at the Loews Jersey. It opened in 1929 as an outpost of the MGM-Loews movie empire and at a reported cost of $2 million, it was an example of the picture palaces that not only screened movies but sought to give audiences a transformative experience. The architectural style appears a little behind the times, as it borrows heavily from Gothic, cathedral structures that were common at the turn of the century. By the 1920s, it was more common to see Art Deco as the dominant style, but aside from old Radio City Music Hall, which opened a few short years later, most movie theater architecture remained unchanged since the end of the 1910s.

The House on Haunted Hill

The second treat came from the movie itself. Sarah and I found that the exterior of the titular house looked familiar, and very similar to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House in Hollywood. Poking around the Internet Commons, I found that the exterior shots were of Ennis House, a Lloyd Wright work and has been compared to Hollyhock (below).

Chilling at Barnsdall

The house has also been used in several movies, including Blade Runner and L.A. Confidential, and it has often been the home and lair of movie villains, an assessment I remember encountering in Thom Anderson’s essay film, Los Angeles Plays Itself. It seems a bit odd that the trip to Jersey City really seem to evoke sentimental feelings to L.A. Maybe it’s time I take a trip to L.A. for more than four hours.