The Witch's House
516 Walden Drive · Beverly Hills, CA
It's the old story. Witch bakes children. Witch sells recipe to Mrs. Fields. Witch moves uptown. Sure, she's new money. But, you have to like the crafty, old woman. You really do have to.
OK, so the house actually belongs to a man - a real estate agent named Michael Libow who was trying to sell the house for its previous owner when he ran into a predicament. He couldn't seem to find a buyer who didn't want to tear it down. So, he bought it himself for the amount of 1.3 million dollars. Hey, it only looks run down. In reality, it's a spacious four-bedroom just a short walk from Rodeo Drive. (Walk to Rodeo Drive...Bahaha!) Libow now uses it as his private home.
The house was built in the early 1920s by a movie studio in Culver City and was supposedly used in quite a number of early silent films. It was moved to a corner lot in Beverly Hills in 1926, where it became a private residence. Today it stands as an anachronistic masterpiece, thumbing its nose to the Roman columns and iron gates which recede in its conspicuity.
The landscape framing the house completes the eccentric vision. A tree reminiscent of Boo Radley's stands on the corner. The yard looks almost overrun with vegetation and a gnarly wooden fence encloses the property, as does a moat. It's quite possible, upon visitation, to feel as if you were lost in the woods, keeping a tight grasp on your basket of goodies. Darkness approaching, the wind blows leaves down around your feet. A wolf howls in the distance and you sense a pulling force drawing you to the gate. But like a shiny penny to Christopher Reeve, the stop sign out front snaps you back into a modern land of vanity and materialism.
I can't understand why anyone would want to demolish such a spectacular house. But anyone who chooses to live there must realize the one overwhelming obligation - you absolutely must be home on Halloween.