The longtime home of Bob and Dolores Hope at the corner of Moorpark Street and Ledge Avenue just might be the most true-blood celebrity estate left in the San Fernando Valley — and it has never before changed hands. Covering 1.34 acres, the corner is where the Hopes lived from 1939 until their deaths: Bob at age 100 in 2003, Dolores at 102 last year. The property was also the headquarters of Bob Hope the show business and real estate conglomerate and the setting for numerous political, community and Catholic church events through the decades. Generations of Valleywood kids also knew 10346 Moorpark St. as the place to score the best Halloween candy.
A yard sale of some kind was held last weekend and, according to the Tolucan Times, the property is expected to be listed for sale soon. No asking price has been revealed. There's an English-style main house designed by architect Robert Finkelhor, swimming pool, guesthouse, gardens and private golf course. Linda Hope, the couple's daughter, reportedly says the Nativity scenes displayed at Christmas for many years will be put out for the last time this season.
There's really no intact Valley property with as much Hollywood (or American) lore in its DNA. None of the other Toluca Lake estates come close. John Wayne's pre-Orange County home at Louise Avenue and Rancho Street in Encino was destroyed in the past decade to make room for an over-built monster. Nearby is the home built by Clark Gable and Carole Lombard on the proceeds from "Gone With the Wind," but their surrounding ranch has been subdivided so completely the original house is squeezed in by small suburban lots. Old ranches and homes made famous by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, D. W. Griffith, Edward Everett Horton and a long list of actors, producers, directors and musicians have long since disappeared. A Northridge ranch house designed for Barbara Stanwyck by the same architect who did the Hope home survives as a future city cultural center, but it's not in the same league. Likewise, the Hayvenhurst Avenue home in Encino where Michael Jackson grew up doesn't have the public profile of the Hope compound.
* Update: Dave Kunz spotted a sign at the Hope estate saying that last weekend's "garage sale" was postponed because of rain and will happen this weekend. It will be round two: the sale began on Nov. 24 and 25 and looked pretty busy, he emails. The sign says, "See you this weekend.”
Aerial photo of Hope compound: Google Maps