The location: Kaitlan's Boarding School.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A private boarding school.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. In Montecito, California.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. It was the boarding school where Kaitlin Cooper (Marissa's younger sister) was sent after Julie married Caleb. It's seen in Episode 24 of Season 3, "The Man of the Year", where Marissa pays a surprise visit to the school and unexpectedly drops in on Kaitlin.

    Kaitlin tells Marissa that she could be expelled, because the captain of the lacrosse team lied and told the headmistress that he saw Kaitlin steal a school crest that was above her door. Kaitlin thinks that he probably has it hidden in his own locked dorm room, but there's no way to get in there to retrieve it.

    Marissa asks if Kaitlin can get her one of the school uniforms, and shows up later dressed provocatively as a very sexy schoolgirl (complete with short skirt & bare midriff). She tells the lacrosse captain that she is a stripper who has been hired to entertain him. She takes him to a storage room, gets him to take off his pants, ties him to a chair, and then (without giving him the striptease he was expecting), steals his pants (with the keys to his dorm room in the pocket) and runs for it.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A former private mansion, now part of a public park.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. It is really the Wattles Mansion, an historic home & local Hollywood landmark.

    You'll find it on a hill, just above Hollywood Blvd, in Wattles Park, at 1824 N. Curson Ave.

    Built in 1907 as a winter home for Omaha banker Gurdon Wattles, the estate was called Jualita. It was designed by the same architectural team that built The Huntington mansion in San Marino and the Beverly Hills Hotel. The mansion and its gardens became an early Hollywood tourist attraction.

    The opening view of the school (mansion) was shot looking northwest, towards the front of the home.

    The scenes with the girls at a school patio table (with brick stairways behind them) were shot in the formal gardens behind (north of) the Wattles mansion, with the camera looking back south.

    Compare The O.C. photos above to these vintage Hollywood postcards from ages past:

    ( You will notice that the postcard above resembles the opening shot of The O.C. scene at Kaitlin's school. )

    ( While the postcard below shows the same area where Marissa, Kaitlin and her friend her sitting at a table. )

    The Wattles mansion is now run by Hollywood Heritage (a non-profit preservation organization), and is rented out for weddings, filming and other special events.

    (Scenes from the Dustin Hoffman/Tom Cruise movie, "Rainman", were also filmed at Wattles.)

    Here is a map link. And here is an aerial photo from Live Local.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. I also created the website, a visitor's guidebook to Hollywood, and the Wattles mansion is a Hollywood landmark. I visited the estate ages ago, when I was first researching the website. So you would assume I would recognize it when I saw it. A quick look at the Live Local aerial photos confirmed that it was the same mansion used for Kirstin's scene.

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