The Witch's House


Seeing Stars: Hollywood Landmarks..  

516 N. Walden Drive,
Beverly Hills, CA. / (310) 271-8174

Beverly Hills is probably the last place on earth that you'd expect to find a witch's house, but here it is!

There are so many beautiful mansions in Beverly Hills that it's hard to keep track of them. But if you turn north from Wilshire Boulevard, up posh Carmelita Avenue, you will discover an extraordinary house unlike anything else you'll ever find in these parts.

Known formally as "The Spadena House," but better known simply as "The Witch's House," this bizarre, whimsical creation was built in 1921 for a movie studio in Culver City. It was used in several silent films, and then moved to this pleasant residential neighborhood in Beverly Hills in 1926, where it is now a private home.

But the small house might as well have been created by the Brothers Grimm.

It looks for all the world like some haunted fairy tale cottage; you half expect Hansel & Gretel to walk out the front door. The yellow walls of the house slope precariously, giving the impression of imminent collapse. Its dilapidated, pitched roof (covered with odd-shaped brown shingles) is pointed like a witch's hat. The saggy, wooden window shutters are hung at odd angles. An eccentric picket fence surrounds the property, made of wavy, warped wooden pickets.

Even the landscaping in the front yard is purposefully bizarre, with gnarled, twisted trees, a wooden bridge crossing a moat, a miniature old mill and a sign (hanging from a lantern) which reads: "Witch's Landing."

This house has to be seen to be fully appreciated, and is indeed one of the Beverly Hills' unique sights. (The local children must have a field day on Halloween!)

Recently, the "Witch's House" had a cameo appearance in the 1995 movie "Clueless," in a scene where Alicia Silverstone wanders past the house (while pouting about flunking her driving test).

The Witches House is not open to the public, so you'll have to be satisfied with driving by the home, or perhaps stopping to take a snapshot of its eccentric exterior.

(In July of 1998, the owners sold the home for $1.3 million to Michael Libow, a real estate agent who plans to preserve the historic house. In his remodel of the interiors of the home, he is adding Gaudi-esque elements to create a 'cottage' feel to it. Also, there is a new intricate garden wall which accurately reflects the textures of the original building... an addition which looks as if it had always been there.)

Getting there: The "Witch's House" sits at the northeast corner of Carmelita Avenue and Walden Drive (not far from the Beverly Hilton Hotel), in the middle of an otherwise normal Beverly Hills neighborhood, just one block north of Wilshire Blvd. / From Rodeo Drive, go south to Wilshire Boulevard, and turn right (west) on Wilshire. Go about three quarters of a mile west on Wilshire to Carmelita (the first street west of Santa Monica Boulevard). Turn right (north) up Carmelita for one block, to the corner of Carmelita and Walden Drive. The house is on the northeast corner of this residential intersection. You can't miss it.

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