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Verdugo Views: How former hotel became Flintridge Sacred Heart

April 09, 2014|By Katherine Yamada
  • In the early 1920s, Chevy Chase developer Burt Farrar turned a narrow dirt road along a winding streambed into a thirty-foot wide concrete drive that continued on to Flintridge. The new Chevy Chase Drive dramatically shortened the commute between Los Angeles and Flintridge and increased the demand for new housing. Later, Farrar, together with the Biltmore hotels, began a regularly scheduled shuttle service to serve residents of Chevy Chase and guests at the two Biltmore hotels. Photo ca late 1920s.
In the early 1920s, Chevy Chase developer Burt Farrar… (Courtesy of Special…)

For a brief moment back in the late 1920s, Chevy Chase Drive connected the Biltmore resort hotel in Flintridge with the elegant Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The connection? A bus, a De Luxe Parlor Car Bus.

The hilltop resort, first called the Flintridge Hotel, was the brainchild of Frank P. Flint, a retired senator, landowner and real estate magnate, and was designed by noted Southern California architect Myron Hunt, who also designed the Ambassador Hotel.

Known as the father of Flintridge, Flint had opened some 1,500 of his acres for development in 1917. Then he came up with a new idea — a luxury hotel — and by 1926, construction was underway.

Overlooking the San Gabriel Valley and the Rose Bowl — and designed to hold 150 guests — the hotel was estimated to cost $750,000, according to the Nov. 20, 1926, edition of the Glendale Evening News.

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It was situated on St. Katherine Drive, in the highest part of Flintridge, and the bungalows, gardens, guest rooms, lounges, dining rooms, swimming pool, miniature golf course and tennis court took up 30 of Flint's acres.

Much of his remaining property went up for sale at the same time through Flintridge Co., at Berkshire and Commonwealth avenues.

During construction, several old olive trees were relocated from the valley below. The hotel — with miles of bridle trails and a riding academy — opened to great acclaim.

Then, suddenly, while on board a steamship on a world tour, Flint died. An impressive memorial service for the former senator took place in the rotunda of Los Angeles City Hall. After a private funeral in the Flint family home, he was buried at Forest Lawn.

The hotel never had more than 10 guests and only lasted two seasons, according to the July 19, 1978, edition of the Glendale News-Press. Its remote location, coupled with Flint's sudden death in February, 1929, and the faltering economy, caused the hotel to fail and his heirs sold it to the Biltmore Hotel group.

During this time, Bart Farrar, developer of the recently subdivided Chevy Chase estates, came up with a plan to provide a shuttle bus between the downtown Biltmore at Fifth and Olive streets and the hilltop Biltmore in Flintridge, "exclusively for hotel guests and Chevy Chase residents," according to a brochure from the time.

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