FrontRunners: Storied Houses

Photograph by Randolph Harrison

Few communities have accumulated as layered a history in just over 100 years as has Beverly Hills, Calif. Once a bean farm, the city was established in 1906, but its transformation into a famous zip code began with the building of the Beverly Hills Hotel, which opened in 1912. The opulent edifice drew the financial and entertainment elite, sparking the century-long spree of palace-building chronicled in Jeffrey Hyland’s The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills (www.thelegendaryestatesofbeverlyhills.com), a large, lavishly photographed book ($250) that documents the area’s finest properties, from Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford’s Pickfair to contemporary residences such as the postmodern Bel-Air structure on the site of a 1950s house by celebrated Los Angeles architect Wallace Neff.

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