Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blavatsky in Hollywood

The Los Angeles Neighborhoods and Real Estate guide, Curbed LA, looks at “The Creation of Beachwood Canyon’s Theosophist ‘Dreamland’” that lasted from 1912 to 1924 when the community moved to Ojai, California, where they still reside.

The Theosophists were dreamers. “Theosophy, in its abstract meaning, is Divine Wisdom,” wrote movement founder Helena P. Blavatsky, who claimed to be a “missionary of ancient knowledge.” The Society soon became popular with educated, middle-to-upper class freethinkers in Europe, America, and India. 

Established in the Hollywood Hills as Krotona, “the community grew quickly along more haphazard lines, with architecture reflecting the Theosophist's ‘Eastern’ inclinations.” The rest of the piece covers examples of the architectural styles that have survived. With the departure of the group, “Most of the buildings at Krotona were quickly converted into apartments or continued on as private homes, and many still stand today, in various stages of repair. Crammed between the mish-mash of later Beachwood Canyon development, they still delight the eye and seem to be just a bit out of place.”

The history of the Krotona Theosophists has been devotedly chronicled in the volumes of Joseph Ross on the subject.

Krotona architecture today
A house on Temple Hill Drive designed by Marie Russak Hotchener

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