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A Guide to the Best of Southern California : LANDMARKS : Roaming Amid the Ruins

Currents

August 11, 1991|BILL HIGGINS

A small remnant of the glory that was Hollywood rests in Runyon Canyon Park. Amid the hills on these 133 acres is a well-preserved tennis court--not a crack in it--that seems to await the return of Errol Flynn, in tennis whites, chilled daiquiri in hand.

Originally a sprawling private estate--built in 1920 by Carmen Randolph Runyon, rented by Flynn and later owned by A & P supermarket heir Huntington Hartford--the property was all but abandoned during the '60s and '70s. The house and other buildings were torn down; the exotic gardens went wild; the long, curving, palm-lined driveway cracked and turned to dirt. These ruins, just a quarter-mile from the traffic-choked intersection of Hollywood and La Brea, developed a well-deserved reputation as a haven for transients and drug users.

Now, as part of the county Department of Parks and Recreation, the gated Runyon Canyon Park attracts joggers and dog-walkers from the surrounding neighborhoods. (More ambitious hikers tackle a dirt road that goes all the way to Mulholland Drive.) The city view from the site of the old swimming pool is as spectacular as it ever was. And that tennis court practically cries out for someone to arrive with a net.

\o7 Canyon Park, 2000 Fuller Ave., Los Angeles. \f7

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