Rodeo Drive


Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive of Beverly Hills, California is a shopping district famous for designer label and haute couture fashion. The name generally refers to a three-block long stretch of boutiques and shops but the street stretches further north and south.

History

First European contact

On August 3, 1769, Don José Gaspar de Portolà, the first governor of provincial California, and his entourage, the Portola expedition, became the first Europeans known to arrive in the area, having traveled an existing Indian trail (present-day Wilshire Boulevard) to the present-day site of La Cienega Park, named for a large swamp — "ciénega" in Spanish — and namesake of adjacent La Cienega Boulevard. The Tongva ("Gabrieleño") people living there considered it to be a holy site because of its precious commodity, water, and the abundant food supply it provided. Their name for the site, "the Gathering of the Waters," translates to Spanish as "El Rodeo de las Aguas." The street retains its Spanish pronunciation even today.

While Portolà fell somewhat short of reaching Cíbola, the expedition's chaplain, Friar Juan Crespí, wrote in his journal of

" ["a"] "large vineyard of wild grapes and an infinity of rose bushes. After traveling about half a league we came to a village of this region. People came into the road, greeted us and offered seeds"."

Following the death of her Spanish soldier husband, Afro-Latina and early California feminist icon Doña Maria Rita Valdez de Villa was granted the deed to the area in 1838. She operated the Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas there until its sale in 1854 to Benjamin D. Wilson and Henry Hancock for $4000. "Hotel California," the Beverly Hills Hotel, now stands where her adobe home once stood, about a half-mile north of the present-day Rodeo Drive shopping district.

Modern development

In 1906, Burton E. Green and other investors purchased the property with plans for a mixed-use subdivision. With a nod to the region's heritage, they named their company the Rodeo Land and Water Company and the development's main street Rodeo Drive. The shopping district as presently constituted developed in the 1970s. The business district, which extends from Wilshire Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard, is at once an exclusive shopping district, but also a major tourist attraction. The "Rodeo Drive" business district also includes those businesses on the streets that lie for a few blocks in either direction. Some of the more famous retailers include AMyu, Giorgio Armani, Baccarat, Bang & Olufsen, Badgley Mischka, Bally, Bottega Veneta, Bijan, Brioni, BVLGARI, Buccellati, Burberry, Brooks Brothers, Cartier, Celine, Chanel, CHANEL fine jewelry, Christian Dior, Coach, David Orgell, David Yurman, DeBeers, Dior Homme, Dolce & Gabbana, Domenico Vacca, Ermenegildo Zegna, Etro, Escada, Fendi, Frette, Hugo Boss, Gucci, Gucci jewelry, Guico, Gianfranco Ferre, Harry Winston, Hermès, Judith Ripka, Juicy Couture, Lacoste, Lana Marks, La Perla, Louis Vuitton, Max Azria, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, epicentre, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi, Stuart Weitzman, Tiffany & Co., Tod's, Van Cleef & Arpels, Valentino, Versace and Yves Saint-Laurent.

Possible subway link

The Beverly Hills City Council, which had previously opposed the building of a subway line through the city, endorsed the construction of a subway line through the city down Wilshire Boulevard in November 2006. The City has proposed building a station of the Purple Line at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard between Beverly and Rodeo drives. [ [http://www.beverlyhills.org/presence/resources/file/eb000a4c8fb167a/Town%20Hall%20Meeting%20DRAFT4.pdf "The Metro Red Line Extension"] . City of Beverly Hills Mass Transit Committee.]

Trivia

*Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Anderton Court Shops at 333 N. Rodeo Drive. It features a triangular-shaped tower and spiral ramp that are clearly Wright, though most of the rest of the structure has been modified to better standards. It was also the first place in California to implement diagonal pedestrian crossings called scramble crossings at some particularly busy intersections.
*"Rodeo Drive" is also the name of a game show, first seen in 1990 on Lifetime Television. Louise DuArt was the hostess.
*The song "Down Rodeo" by rap/rock band Rage Against the Machine is a direct reference to Rodeo Drive, lambasting the district for its excessive riches and declaring that they were "rolling down Rodeo with a shotgun" because "these people ain't seen a brown-skinned man since their grandparents bought one."
*The famed and historic Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel sits on Wilshire Boulevard at the south end terminus of the shopping district of Rodeo Drive.
*Stores which used to be on Rodeo and closed or moved: Courreges, Jon Peters Salon, Theodore, Jax, Jerry Magnin, The Daisy, Right Bank Clothing Co. & Tea Room
*There is a Rodeo Drive in the town of Emerald, Australia. The street sign is stolen regularly because of this.

External links

* [http://www.beverlyhillschamber.com Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://rodeodrive-bh.com Official Rodeo Drive Website]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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