In only a couple of hours the mystery has been solved!

I just LOVE technology! In a matter of hours, one comment from one person solved a mystery that's been bugging me for years (see the post below or click here to read it).

Thanks to Elaine I now know that this photo is of the Bernheimer Oriental Gardens in Pacific Palisades, California.
Help solve the mystery and identify these unknown Asian gardens in 1930s California
Once Elaine gave me a name, I was able to do a quick Google search and I found the following photograph at

Those elephants are definitely the same statuary in the photograph taken by my grandmother (below).

It's these elephants...


Bernheimer Residence and Oriental Japanese Gardens

Pacific Palisades & Hollywood, California

16980 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, California
Bernheimer Residence and Gardens

In 1924 Adolph Bernheimer leased the Pacific Palisades location, which was being used as a mule camp in the construction of highways. Adolph supervised every detail of building the complex of oriental structures as his personal residence. It housed his ancient oriental collection. It also was a horticultural showplace. The Bernheimer Gardens flourished as a tourist attraction until 1941, averaging 5,000 visitors a week. World War II was a factor in its fall from grace -- because it was oriental and because Adolph Bernheimer was of German origin. This triggered contempt and led to vandalism. Adolph's passing in 1944, financial difficulties and land erosion, caused the Oriental Gardens to slip into a state of disrepair. The property was vacated in the late 1940s and the treasures were sold at auction in 1951. All of the structures were demolished in the early 1950s. An apartment complex was built at the West End of the property and the rest of the property is still vacant land. The above map is from a Bernheimer Oriental Gardens brochure (see full brochure below).
Thanks to Mary Louise for providing this history; various sources used.

It looks like Hubby and I won't be taking any road trips to see this beautiful landmark. We're both sad that it no longer exists.
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  1. Cindy, I almost cried at the end when I read about the demise of this lovely sanctuary. Thank you for reminding me about the wonderful things my Mama did!
    Love you,

  2. I stumbled on this post while researching the Bernheimer Oriental Gardens. The picture is of the guest house in the sunken gardens.

    My aunt, uncle and cousin lived in that guest house for several years after Bernheimer's death; during that time our grandmother was trying to save the property. It was a family affair, we lived in the servant's quarters over the gift shops. Unfortunately, the rehabilitation efforts failed.

    That pond had landscaped islands with miniature bronze replicas of oriental temples. In the declining years my cousin and I swam in it, hiding in the overgrown shrubs when guests came through.

    It was indeed a lovely sanctuary, with a powerful emotional impact for me. I'm researching to write a book on what Adolph L. Bernheimer built. It's a good story.

    Mary Louise


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