Sunset Plaza Drive

You may be surprised to learn that Sunset Plaza, with its trendy shops and restaurants, has been owned by the same family since 1892. That was the year Nellie Ponet (1848-1919) purchased some 200-220 acres here from nurseryman Edmund D. Sturtevant. Nellie Ponet, born Ellen Josephine Manning in Ireland, was the wife of Victor Ponet (1836-1914; see Ponet Drive), a Belgian cabinetmaker who got rich off of shrewd real estate investments across L.A. These hills were very rural in 1892 and the Ponets’ property was designed as their retirement ranch: they started building a home here in 1898 and moved in two years later. After their deaths, their only daughter Gertrude (1874-1963) and her husband Francis Montgomery (1878-1961) took over the land, setting up the first of many commercial developments along Sunset Blvd. in 1924. Holly Vista Drive was renamed Sunset Plaza Drive in 1932, which is when Sunset Plaza was officially born. The Montgomery heirs still own and manage the property to this day.