Posted: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 by Gaelyn Whitley Keith

I find I enjoying reading historical books that have recorded the correct history about H J Whitley.

H. J. Whitley. While there is a generous and widespread appreciation of the magnificant results achieved in developing many of the beautiful districts around Los Angeles, it is not generally understood how much of the credit is due the guiding genius and inspiration of a few far-sighted and public spirited individuals. Some of the best examples of this development, notably at Hollywood, have not proceeded from the haphazard and undirected enterprise of a community and its inhabitants, but from a powerful connection of effort originating largely in a single man or organization.

Those intimately informed as to the history of progress and development in the wonderful section of Los Angeles north of the city proper, including Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, are aware that the results acheived are due largely to the silent workings, plans and energies of H. J. Whitley. Mr. Whitley exemplifies in an eminent degree that broadly constructive spirit and genius for development which makes communities and cities. Mr. Whitley's forte has not only consisted in town development, the usual scope of his enterprise having extended over much greater area than that prescribed in any single town site.

Los Angeles From the Mountains to the Sea
Link to purchase:
Los Angeles From the Mountains to the Sea

Los Angeles from the Mountains to the Sea: With Selected Biography of Actors and Witnesses to the Period of Growth and Achievement; Volume 3
The American Historical Society
New York 1921

Posted: Sunday, March 28th, 2021 by Gaelyn Whitley Keith

It is interesting that Cecil B. Da Mille’s first film, The Squaw Man, was the first feature film shot in Hollywood. His last, The Ten Commandments, remains a box-office legend. This reminds me of one of the concerns that H J Whitley had with the motion picture industry. He realized there is great power in words. They are the things that create dreams. What type of positive dreams is Hollywood currently producing? How are they bringing communities together? How are actors helping their fellow man?

Over 13 years ago I had a very disturbing dream similar to the ones Gigi use to have. It had to do with the consequences people would pay for evil deeds they were doing behind the scenes. They were sure no one would catch them, but the times are changing. The secrets will soon be revealed. Hollywood, please wake up and do what is truthful and righteous before it is too late.

Posted: Friday, March 12th, 2021 by Gaelyn Whitley Keith

H J Whitley had one major concern when bringing the movie industry to Hollywood. He realized the power words had over others. He was often heard saying, “Those who think they can and those who don’t, are both right. Be the one who says you can.” Movie moguls and actors need to decide if they are showing their audience how to overcome a test or trail or leading them down a path of temptation. Test and trials are learning experiences to overcome adversity. Temptation leads to corruption and ultimately downfall. What would HJ think of Hollywood today? Are the movies the studios produce helping us overcome and come together for the betterment of mankind? H J Whitley always encouraged others to work together. He set an example for others to follow. He even bought out the remaining assets of the Suburban Home Company to keep his business partners from foreclosing on homeowners who were experiencing difficult times because of a turn in the economy. How is Hollywood faring today? Let me know what you think. Tell me the good things you have heard.

Posted: Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 by Gaelyn Whitley Keith

Gigi Whitley was born with a caulk over her face. This symbolized that she was chosen to be a dreamer. Throughout her life she would have dreams of events before they happened. One of her most eventful dreams saved the life of H. J. Whitley, Harry Chandler and H. G. Otis. They had planned to meet at the Times Building but because of Gigi’s dream the meeting was canceled. Instead they went to see a play with the ladies. The bombing happened October 1, 1910. A union member belonging to the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers planted the dynamite. The explosion started a fire which killed 21 newspaper employees and injured 100 more.

Her dreams gave her a close connection to God. Perhaps that is why Gigi Whitley planned the first Easter Sunrise Service in Hollywood. Few people know that the very first Hollywood Easter sunrise service took place in 1919 atop Whitley Heights in an open space at 6675 Whitley Terrace. It was the site of a Mission-style pavilion used for band concerts to attract prospective buyers to the new residential development.

That first Easter Sunrise Service, organized by Gigi Whitley, wife of Whitley Heights founder H.J. Whitley, was more of a block party, the kind of event that draws a community together. It was so successful that more space was needed to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend. The following year, the services were held on Olive Hill, now called Barnsdall Park. Because that venue lacked the acoustics needed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, a new location was sought. The Hollywood Bowl is famous for its Easter sunrise service held every year since 1921 in the outdoor theater nestled in a canyon enveloped by brush-shrouded hills.

And the site of that first Easter sunrise service in Whitley Heights is now occupied by a house built in 1951 and once occupied by actor Donald O’Connor, famous for starring in the movie “Singin’ in the Rain” with Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly. Wishing all of you a blesed Easter.

Posted: Monday, March 8th, 2021 by Gaelyn Whitley Keith

Many years ago the Whitley Family talked to Disneyland about H. J. Whitley being the "Father of Hollywood." It was very kind of Disneyland to include the Whitley Building in California Adventure. It is on the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Blvds.

It appears that Disneyland may be opening again April 1, 2021. This might be a good time for you to visit the Whitley Building and share a piece of history with the Father of Hollywood.