High Tower Drive

High Tower, a five-story, campanile-like elevator shaft, was built by Fred Spencer Gallagher (1878-1955), a Canadian-born accountant turned real estate developer. In 1922, Gallagher and several investors (including Hollywood-born embezzler Gilbert H. Beesemyer) purchased five hilly acres south of the soon-to-open Hollywood Bowl to build homes. One of those hills was too steep for cars, so three pedestrian “streets” were laid out at the summit – Broadview Terrace, Alta Loma Terrace, and Los Altos Place – to be accessed by stairs and that iconic elevator. High Tower Drive was named that same year as part of the “Hollywood Highland Ave. Tract”. (Gallagher soon ran a contest to rename the tract: the winning suggestion was Morning Glory Terraces; see Paramount Drive for more on this.) The Streamline Moderne homes flanking High Tower were built by Armenian American architect Carl Kay (né Khosrov Kazanjian, 1892-1973) between 1935 and 1956. How Kay took over the site from Gallagher is unknown, but it’s likely that Gallagher’s fortunes plummeted during the Great Depression.