An empty lot on the border of Echo Park and Silver Lake that was once home to Los Angeles’ first permanent movie studio has been sold. The lot, which sits at the southern end of the 2 Freeway at Glendale Boulevard, is part of nearly three acres of land and buildings that were purchased by a buyer identified only as 1855 Glendale Blvd LLC, according to Land Advisors, a brokerage company. Land Advisors did not disclose a sales price for the property, and no information was available about what is planned for the site. One person familiar with Eastside real estate sales estimated that the entire site, which is spread over two blocks, sold for at least $4 million.
The empty lot next to the freeway offramp once served as the home of the Selig Polyscope Studio, which opened in 1909 as Los Angeles’ first permanent movie making facility. Selig Polyscope was soon joined by a string of other silent film studios that operated along what is now Glendale Boulevard in an area known as Edendale. Writer Allan Ellenberger in his Hollywoodland blog describes the city’s first movie studio lot:
Edendale soon became Selig-Polyscope’s headquarters. Selig sparred no expense in fitting up the permanent studio. The company built the exterior, which faced Allessandro (Glendale) Street, to represent an old Spanish mission and used genuine adobe. In the interior was sunk an enormous water tank. The studio itself, composed entirely of glass, was the second largest of its kind in the world at the time. It contained stages, dressing rooms, offices, and a modestly sized film laboratory. The total cost of the studio renovations was estimated to be a quarter-million dollars.
A previous developer had planned to build more than 100 condominiums on the site and had mentioned plans to include a monument in honor of L.A.’s first permanent studio and backlot. But that projected never materialized and the property was eventually taken over by its lenders.
- The birthplace of Hollywood goes unnoticed at the end of an Echo Park offramp. The Eastsider