The Daily Mirror

Los Angeles history

« Previous Post | The Daily Mirror Home | Next Post »

Matt Weinstock

May 10, 2007 |  3:58 pm

Matt_weinstockd May 10, 1957

At the rate landmarks are disappearing, a person could easily make a career of chasing down outmoded civic scenery under some such title as "What Happened to (Insert Name Here)?"

I don't know what happened to Insert Name Here, but Jan Meadoff of Bakerfield inquires:

"Can you tell me where Magnetic Hill used to be in Hollywood? I remember coasting up the hill in an automobile as a child."

Yes, "coasting up." Others may remember it too.

With the help of Norm Stanley of the Chamber of Commerce, I can explain what happened to Magnetic Hill. It was "demagnetized" in 1928.

Prior to 1928, Magnetic Hill was a short street named Villa Drive, located up the hill from Sunset Boulevard, just west of Doheny Drive. Driving along it, motorists got the astounding sensation that they were coasting uphill while they were actually descending it--or vice versa. It was an optical illusion created by the odd terrain.

In 1928, the property was regraded and, as they saying goes, "improved," wiping out both the hill and the illusion. The street is now named St. Ives Drive. [Note: St. Ives is east of Doheny. The mystery continues--lrh].


It used to be quite the thing to direct an innocent newcomer to Magnetic Hill and let him experience the incredible sensation.

Now everything's Disneyland, Marineland and tours of movie stars' homes.

Speaking of things that used to be, Bob King is enchanted by a sign exposed a few days ago by wreckers demolishing a building formerly occupied by a pawnshop on Main Street near 6th Street. The faded sign, on the south side of the Burbank Theater, states:

"Morosco's Burbank Theater. The Best Players and the Best Plays in America for the Money."

Thomas A. Farrell, Sun Valley, is fond of the anachronistic sign on the former entrance to the long since removed Pacific Electric tunnel at Sunset Boulevard and Hill Street stating:

"Above All See Mt. Lowe. Round Trip $1.50. Trains Leave at Convenient Hours From Main Street Station."

Been a long time since one did.