A NEIGHBORHOOD WHOSE NEIGHBORS ARE AS UNIQUE AS THE CANYON SURROUNDINGS:
Laurel Canyon is focused on its central thoroughfare, Laurel Canyon Boulevard. However, unlike other nearby canyon neighborhoods, Laurel Canyon has houses lining one side of the main street most of the way up to Mulholland Drive. There are many side roads that branch off the main canyon, but most are not through streets, reinforcing the self-contained nature of the neighborhood. Some of the main side streets are Mount Olympus, Kirkwood, Wonderland Avenue, Willow Glen, and Lookout Mountain Avenue. The zip code for a portion of the neighborhood is 90046.
Laurel Canyon Boulevard is an important North-South route between: West Hollywood, Hollywood, and Central Los Angeles; and Studio City and the eastern San Fernando Valley. The canyon's division between the two regions is defined by Mulholland Drive.
The reliable water attracted colonial Spanish ranchers who started sheep grazing on the hillsides in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. After the Mexican-American War and U.S. statehood, the area was settled by Americans interested in water rights. Around the turn of the 20th century, the area was subdivided and marketed as mountain vacation properties.
Between 1912 and 1918, a trackless electric trolley bus from the Laurel Canyon Pacific Electric stop ran up the canyon from Sunset Boulevard to the base of Lookout Mountain Road, where a road house served visitors. Travel to the newly subdivided lots and cabins further up the canyon was at first made on foot or by mule. As the roads were improved access was possible by auto.
Among the famous places in Laurel Canyon are the log cabin house once owned by silent film star Tom Mix, that later became home to the Zappa clan, and just purchased last month by Lady Gaga. Another famed house (directly across the street) is one that magician Harry Houdini may have inhabited.
Laurel Canyon found itself a nexus of counterculture activity and attitudes in the 1960s, becoming famous as home to many of L.A.'s rock musicians, such as Frank Zappa; Jim Morrison of The Doors; The Byrds; Buffalo Springfield; the band Love; and Micky Dolenz & Peter Tork of The Monkees. Tork's home was considered one of Laurel Canyon's biggest party houses with all night, drug-fueled, sleep-overs well attended by the hippest musicians and movie stars of the era.
Famed photographer Henry Diltz was also a resident and used the scenic Canyon backdrop for many of his historic photos of rock musicians casually socializing. Several of his photos became iconic representations of the 1960's & 1970's West Coast music scene and many others became famous album sleeve covers (such as CSN's debut album: Crosby, Stills & Nash - photographed in nearby West Hollywood).
Joni Mitchell, living in the home in the Canyon that was immortalized in the song, "Our House" (1970), written by her then-lover Graham Nash, would use the area and its denizens as inspiration for her third album, Ladies of the Canyon (1970). Crosby, Stills, and Nash first met each other in her living room.
Musician J. Tillman has said that his output under the moniker Father John Misty was partly inspired by a relocation to and personal reinvention in Laurel Canyon. The song "I Went to the Store One Day," from his 2015 album I Love You, Honeybear, recounts the story of how Tillman met his wife, Emma, in the parking lot of the Laurel Canyon Country Store. Current California Governor, Jerry Brown, was also a longtime resident; at one point co-habiting with then-girlfriend, Linda Ronstadt.
THE WONDERFUL WONDERLAND SCHOOL:
The Wonderland Avenue School was founded in 1927, Wonderland is a public Kindergarten through fifth grade campus nestled in the Hollywood Hills above Los Angeles. The neighborhood school for residents of the surrounding Laurel Canyon community and gifted/high ability magnet school, which draws students from across the city, comprise the 556 students attending the school. By all measures – API, CST, and Value Added – Wonderland is ranked among the most effective elementary schools in Los Angeles. The school has been honored with the California Distinguished School Award. Wonderland says its goal is "to provide all students with rigorous and meaningful educational experiences that nurture their creative and intellectual capacities."