Janes House


Seeing Stars: Hollywood Landmarks..  

in Janes Square
6541 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA.

The Janes House is a Victorian cottage on busy Hollywood Boulevard, just a few blocks east of the Chinese Theatre.

It was built back in 1903, when similar Victorian homes lined the boulevard (which was then called Prospect Avenue). But Janes House is now the last remaining residential house along this heavily-commercialized street.

It's a beautiful, little two-story Queen Anne/Dutch Colonial Revival home, with shingled gables and fanciful turrets.

Beginning in 1911, Janes House was a family-run school, "The Misses Janes School of Hollywood," and its broad front yard was filled with the children of film industry VIP's. Mary Ruth Janes and her three daughters ran the well-respected school, which offered education from kindergarten through eighth grade. Classes were often taught in the home's shady back yard. The school attracted the children of early Hollywood celebrities such as
Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil B. DeMille, Noah Beery, Jesse Lasky, and the Chandler Family (who own the Los Angeles Times).

Douglas Fairbanks

Charlie Chaplin

Cecil B. DeMille

Jesse Lasky

But in 1926, hard times fell on the Janes sisters, and they were forced to close their school. As Hollywood Boulevard grew up (and eventually decayed) around the charming little home, the proud sisters were forced to rent their large front yard as a parking lot, and to lease space there to a flower vendor. The home eventually fell into disrepair, along with the rest of old Hollywood Boulevard. The last of the Janes sisters, Carrie Belle, died in 1982. Fortunately, through the efforts of Guy Miller (a young man whom the sisters had taken in during the 1970's), their home was saved and restored to its former glory.

Today, the cottage is stuck in the back of a modest, modern mini-mall called (appropriately enough) Janes Square - but at least it's been spared the wrecking ball. The gray & white shopping center is designed to imitate the shingled Victorian look of the Janes House itself.  But the center's retail spaces house only a tiresome mix of electronic stores, gift shops, and the like (as well as a spot to book a seat on the Starline Tour bus).

Fortunately, the Janes House itself has been preserved intact, and has been beautifully restored. The owners hoped to make it a museum one day. It is not a museum today, however, and there isn't even a plaque to tell the history of the venerable home. But the public was free to walk in the front door. Janes House became the home to the official Visitors Information Center for Hollywood.

But in 2006 (following an earlier renovation of the courtyard), the 102-year-old Janes House reopened as a somewhat pricey restaurant named Memphis. (The Visitors Info Center moved to Hollywood & Highland.)

Memphis is now gone, and as of mid-2009, another restaurant/club has opened in the old house and its courtyard, named simply "Janes House". It will reportedly be a restaurant in the early hours, then switch to strictly club mode as the evening sets in... (323) 308-1911.

Getting there: The Janes House is located on Hollywood Boulevard, tucked away off the street, in the back of a small center at Schrader Blvd, five blocks west of Vine Street.

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