Paul de Longpré was so famous that his house and flower gardens were the first Hollywood tourist attraction ... in 1899!
Paul de Longpré (1885-1911), a French painter of flowers, arrived in Hollywood in 1899 with his wife Josephine and daughters Blanche, Alice, and Pauline.
Daeida and H. H. Wilcox were the founders of Hollywood. Los Angeles was starving for culture, and they gave de Longpré a three-acre lot at Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard where he grew thousand of flowers (including 4,000 roses bushes!) as inspiration for his watercolors.
In present-day Hollywood, a park and an avenue are named for him – De Longpré Park, located on De Longpré Avenue.
Look at all the tourists in front of his home! Thousands of tourists each year arrived via Pacific Electric's "Balloon Route Excursion," a streetcar route which ran in a balloon shaped loop between Hollywood and West Los Angeles.
Paul de Longpré’s beautiful Mission Revival/Moorish style house, formerly located at the west side of Cahuenga Boulevard at Hollywood Boulevard, ca. 1902-1906.
Postcards of his home and mansion were extremely popular.
Paul de Longpre’s lattice pavilion, 1909. That's de Longpré himself in the upper right hand corner.
Lavish interior of his home.
Entrance Hall (Wikimedia Commons)
Reception Hall (Library of Congress)
An art gallery in his house, ca. 1905. Still-life floral watercolors hang on the walls or stand on easels, floor, and furniture. All these were for sale.
"Love Among The Roses" 1910
The 1910 silent movie "Love Among The Roses" was filmed in the de Longpré gardens and starred an 18-year-old Mary Pickford. Directed by D.W. Griffith.
Here is your opportunity to see Mary Pickford in the gardens (as a lace-maker), and you will also see several shots of de Longpré’s mansion.
Several of de Longpré's watercolors hung in Pickfair, the home of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.
What happened to Paul de Longpré and his gardens?Paul de Longpré died at home in 1911.
The family sold the property and moved back to France.
Due to ever-increasing property values, the gardens were demolished by 1924, and the house was demolished around 1925.
This is what the corner of Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard looks like now. Progress, right?
photo credit: Google Earth 34°06'04.64" N 118°19'46.84" W
De Longpré’s house and gardens are long gone.
But what beautiful watercolors he left us.