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Do you live in a “Kissel-built” home?

Do you live in a “Kissel-built” home?

If you live in the part of the Hollywood Riviera with a 90505 zip code, it’s very possible you do. That’s because hundreds of homes in the Riviera were built by developer Harry Kissel.

Mr. Kissel’s home-building endeavors in the Riviera began in the 1950s. At the time, Riviera resident Dr. Ellinwood, who passed away in 1977 at age 94, owned all the land from Paseo de Gracia and Pacific Coast Highway south to the Palos Verdes limits at Via Colusa and Calle de Arboles, and then east to the end of Tortugas and north to Anza and Pacific Coast Highway.

That’s a huge amount of land, and it was vacant at the time (many homes west of this area, which now have a 90277 zip code, were built in the 1940s and earlier). When he visited the area, Mr. Kissel saw sun-drenched fields with balmy breezes and views (although at the time some of those views were the oil derricks still covering much of Torrance). Torrance was in a growth phase, and Mr. Kissel made the most of the opportunity before him. Toward that end, in 1954 he paid Dr. Ellinwood $1,500 per acre for his huge landholdings.

Today, the Hollywood Riviera is an exclusive enclave of ocean-close homes, with most valued well above $1 million. The empty fields are gone, but our area is still sun-drenched, with balmy sea breezes and fabulous views (that thankfully no longer include oil derricks).