An Interesting Look at the History of the Hollywood Riviera

The Ellinwood Riviera Legacy

By Elizabeth A. Spatz, Riviera Homeowners Association Historian

Recently I was researching the history of my home in the Torrance Riviera and learned from its original 1956 building permit, that its provenance began with an owner referred to as the “Ellinwood Corporation.” I was not familiar with the name Ellinwood, and was compelled to learn more. What I discovered—a heritage stemming from the Civil War era and California’s Rancho days, routed through some of San Francisco’s founding medical community—was not what I expected.

Charles Norman Ellinwood, born in Vermont in 1834, became a well-respected physician in the San Francisco Bay area. Attending medical school in Chicago in 1858 and continuing his studies in Paris until 1862, he joined the 74th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, assembled in Rockford, IL on 4 Sept. 1862, and operated as a surgeon in the U.S. Civil War for Lincoln’s army until his discharge as medical director on 10 June 1865. In 1866,

Dr. C.N. Ellinwood moved to San Francisco, married Elizabeth Steele McDowell of New York, and settled into a prominent career in medicine, serving on the boards of Cooper Medical College, the Regents of the State University of California, and as president of the San Francisco Medical Society.

Photoograph of Dr. C.N. Ellinwood, ca. 1865.

In the course of his successful medical career, C.N. Ellinwood had befriended his colleague, Dr. Levi Cooper Lane, founder of the Cooper Medical College and Lane Hospital, both institutions having been under Ellinwood’s leadership for a time. At Dr. Lane’s death in May of 1902, the task of distributing his estate was left to Ellinwood, who, following the death of Lane’s widow just six months later, chose to retain the majority of the holdings as his own property, maintaining that the estate was left to him unconditionally by Mrs. Lane. One of the properties in Dr. Lane’s estate was a plot of land located in Southern California, purchased by Lane for taxes and identified as Lot B in an 1882 partition map of the Rancho Los Palos Verdes.

Click here to see the rest of the story!

Save the Date for the Next Riviera Homeowners Association General Meeting 4/12/23

April’s meeting will be online only this time. The Zoom link and more information on the speakers will be posted before the meeting.

As always, we cannot do these without you and your support. Please consider making a donation to help keep us going and keep you informed of important information.

Free Household Hazardous and Electronic Waste Drive-Thru Collection Event

Don’t let that hazardous waste and old electronics sit around!

Date: 03/19/2023 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM   

Location: Torrance Courthouse Parking Lot
825 Maple Ave.
Torrance, California 90503

For more information on what you can bring and cannot bring, please view this page

Make Art Inspired Poppies!

Date: March 18 2023 10:00 AM 
Location:El Retiro Library
126 Vista Del Parque

In honor of Women’s History Month, adults are invited to create beautiful paper poppies inspired by the work of artist Georgia OKeeffe. Please call Library staff at 310-375-0922 to register.

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