Beverly Hills rail station
Beverly Hills “downtown” (or perhaps more accurately termed commercial district) was certainly influenced by the location of the rail lines and rail station. Both freight rail and electric passenger rail cars ran through what is now Beverly Hills until the mid-1950s. Dates for line construction and demolition that I found were conflicting, but it appears the passenger service was in operation from 1902-1954.
In 1907, the Coldwater Canyon shuttle line was opened leading to the site of the Beverly Hills Hotel (constructed in 1912). The Coldwater Canyon line was only in operation until 1923 due to scant ridership.
The original station was named Morocco Junction after the name given to the old ranch land that hoteliers Hammel & Denker subdivided with the intent to develop. Hammel & Denker weren’t successful before they sold the land to Amalgamated Oil Company.
Amalgamated Oil was hoping to strike it big, but didn’t find enough oil to develop a large commercial operation. They decided to pick back up with the development idea, and in 1906 began work under the Rodeo Land and Water Company. The station name was changed to Beverly.
Based on photos, sometime after 1915 the station name was changed to Beverly Hills to match the name of the city which was incorporated in 1914. Photo dates conflicted between sources. For example, the photo of Beverly station is listed as from 1915 in Wanamaker’s book and circa 1918 in the USC photo archive. This means the photo of Beverly Hills station listed as taken in 1916 in Wanamaker’s book is either mis-dated or the USC date is in error.
In 1933, the station was moved from its original location to the southwest corner of Canon and Santa Monica Blvd to make way for the new post office.
While most dates for everything from construction, to operation, to name changes varied between sources, all were in agreement on the progression of station naming from Morocco Junction -> Beverly -> Beverly Hills. In just a few short years, heavy rail is returning to Beverly Hills in the form of the purple line subway. The proposed station name is Wilshire/Rodeo. Purple Line Extension Map
The map below shows the past and future Beverly Hills rail stations overlaid on the current street grid. One note of interest, the Coldwater Canyon shuttle stop still exists and is used as a bus stop.
- Wanamaker, Marc. Early Beverly Hills. Arcadia, 2005.
- http://waterandpower.org/museum/Early_Views_of_Beverly_Hills.html (photos link to archive sources)
- USC Digital Library, http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/search/collection/p15799coll65