Long before tour guides would one day point out celebrity homes to tourists, the area that would become Beverly Hills was a large cattle ranch deeded to a Mexican military officer. It was the custom of the period for the Spanish crown to award success with land to develop a smaller Spanish kingdom in a larger colonial empire. The 4,539-acre ranch was called Rancho Rodeo de las Aguaso, awarded to María Rita Quinteros Valdez de Villa in 1838. She was the widow of the Spanish Officer who owned the ranch.
Rancho Rodeo de las Aguaso was among a group of ranches owned by the wealthy Spanish military elite when Mexico gained independence. Indeed, most habitable land in Southern California was swallowed up in these ranches as California started an effort to join the United States. Maria Valdez sold her ranch to pre-statehood developers who, even then, knew the value of the ranch’s central location.
- The English translation of Rancho Rodeo de las Aguaso is “Ranch of the Gathering Waters.”
- The place of gathering waters” was also a sacred sight for indigenous populations who could depend on the region’s natural resources.
- The name Beverly Hills comes from Beverly Farms in Massachusetts. The landowners thought the area resembled the Massachusetts farm and wanted the same in Southern California.
- Forming the city was plan B because the developers bought the land to drill for oil. However, all they found was water.
- Beverly Hills was incorporated in 1914. The city became a bedroom community for the young film industry as actors and actresses bought land and built homes to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
- The Beverly Hills Hotel was built in 1914 after owners realized there wasn’t oil but water.
- Rodeo Drive: Rodeo Drive is just one part of the city’s Golden Triangle. The area features restaurants, five-star hotels, and over 100 high end stores.
- Beverly Gardens Park: The Beverly Gardens is nearly two miles of park property that features gardens, water features, and art installations.
Mulholland Drive: This 21-mile road takes you through the Hollywood hills for great views of the Hollywood sign and past a number of celebrity homes.