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Beverly Hills News – Robbie Anderson Talks All About Oil And Land In His Book–Beverly Hills: The First 100 Years

Posted Thursday, November 27 – 10:00 AM

By Victoria Talbot

Beverly Hills began as a bean field, writes Robbie Anderson, author of Beverly Hills: The First 100 Years, and the value of the land and its future was intrinsically tied to the emerging oil industry.

Once owned by Maria Rita Valdez as a Spanish land grant, Rancho Rodeo de Las Aguas and the promise of oil prompted its purchase by trapper Benjamin Davis Wilson who raised cattle and wheat until the drought of 1864. Wilson had founded Pioneer Oil to drill wells on his ranch, with little success. After the drought, he sold the ranch to Dr. Edward Preuss, who formed a land company to sell off parcels.

The land was bought one parcel at a time by Henry Hammel and Andrew Denker. “Their ultimate dream was to establish a North-African-themed sub-division called ‘Morocco.’” Their ranch community included a one-room schoolhouse on present-day Coldwater Canyon and Sunset Blvd.

For full story see the print edition of The Beverly Hills Courier, or download the e-edition.

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