Hollywood's Historic Buildings
Theaters and other architectural gems lined Hollywood's famous boulevards during its Golden Age and now hold restored star appeal
- By Laura Kiniry
- Smithsonian.com, March 01, 2010
Yamashiro Restaurant on North Sycamore Avenue, Hollywood, California (Jantti / Sipa)
1999 N. Sycamore Avenue
Completed in 1914 for two collectors of Asian art, Hollywood’s 10-room teak and cedar hilltop mansion had all the features of a Japanese mountain palace: silk-papered walls, hand-carved rafters and an inner courtyard with Koi-filled ponds. Later, Yamashiro became a private club for Hollywood elite like Norma Shearer and Charlie Chaplin. Fearing anti-Japanese backlash, owners disguised its Asian elements during World War II when the mansion served as a military school for boys. It was sold in 1948, but the new owner halted demolition of the mansion after discovering its distinctive details buried beneath layers of paint. His family opened Yamashiro Restaurant in 1959 and continues to operate it today. Yamashiro, its outbuildings—including a 600-year-old pagoda—and its public gardens were designated a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in early 2008.