Castle Heights

Los Angeles is home to a surprising number of towering estates fit for a king. Ranging from the famous Wolff's Lair and Castillo del Lago to the mysterious Magic Castle and the '70s tacky Hollywood Castle, none of these were actually ever home to royalty, unless you count the Hollywood types.

Perhaps it was the same kind of royal imagination that birthed the neighborhood of Castle Heights, nestled between Beverlywood and Culver City in the South Robertson (SORO) area of Los Angeles. Established in 1922, the neighborhood is home to some 900 residences, many of them built in Spanish Revival style in the 1930s. But there was never a castle in the area, despite the hilly winding streets that suggest a lead-up to a palatial estate, Edinburgh-style.

"I think that it's kind a little gem of Los Angeles." describes Larry DeMers, from the private corporation SORO Inc., which works with the SORO Neighborhood Council in improving the communities within the district. "[It's a] great walking neighborhood, great place to ride a bike; it's got Rancho Park right in the heart of it."

Primarily a residential neighborhood, Castle Heights can perhaps be seen as the red-headed step child of SORO, with many of its residents claiming to be part of neighboring Beverlywood or Cheviot Hills, hoping to grab a piece of the higher property values seen in those communities. Nevertheless, it is home to many grand homes and well maintained roads, with some of the most colorful autumn foliage to be seen around the city.

Due to its proximity to Fox Studios and Sony Studios, Castle Heights is home to a high concentration of workers in the entertainment industry, whose generous wallets have contributed to the general upkeep of the neighborhood, as well as maintaining programs at nearby schools. The area is home to the historic Hamilton High School, established in 1931 and is the only high school in the SORO area. Its tight-knit group of alumnis are affectionally referred to as "Hami Kids."

Residents of Castle Heights will soon reap the benefits of the first rail line to come to the Westside in over 50 years, as Metro's Expo Line is expected to include a stop at the intersection of Palms and National Boulevards, a mere blocks away. Most residents of Castle Heights are in full support of the project, according to Larry DeMers. "It's really an asset to the neighborhood and for the west side in general," he says.


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About the Author

Yosuke Kitazawa is the Site Editor of KCET Departures.

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