In Place: Sherman Oaks

Within years of its emergence just over the hill from Hollywood, Sherman Oaks was attracting stars. By the ‘40s, local luminaries included Bing Crosby, Mary Astor, Richard Arlen and W.C. Fields. Sixteen-year-old newlywed Marilyn Monroe set up housekeeping there, along with Susan Hayward and Jane Russell.

Sherman Oaks has continued to be home to stars, from Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas and Richard Gere to Salma Hayek, Alyssa Milano and Paula Abdul. Like much of the Valley, it’s home to a lot of other entertainment industry professionals as well.

For a place that only measures eight square miles, Sherman Oaks makes a dynamic impact. In contrast to many other San Fernando Valley communities, it combines an urban landscape of small skyscrapers, a thriving financial center and a prosperous retail/restaurant corridor with its parks and quiet residential streets. Homes range from basic studio apartments and midrange condos to single story houses and lavish gated mansions.

Like many other LA stories, water played a key role in the rise of Sherman Oaks. Anticipation surrounding the construction of the LA Aqueduct spawned a huge land boom across the San Fernando Valley. In 1910, a group of LA movers and shakers formed a syndicate to purchase 47,500 acres — nearly the entire south half of the Valley. Syndicate member Gen. Moses Sherman, co-founder of the Los Angeles Pacific Railroad, dubbed his 1,000-acre allotment Sherman Oaks. In 1927, the land was sold for $780 an acre, and a community was born.

The new appreciation for Mid-Century architecture and design has spurred interest in Sherman Oaks homes built in the 1950s and ‘60s. A perfect example is this stunning, custom-built view home at 3531 Alana Drive in the serene Royal Woods Hills area, listed by Kevin Driscoll at $2,395,000.

Built in 1963 and reimagined to perfection in 2016, it commands a 16,000+ square foot lot with abundant mature trees.

Floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound terrace bring in the city, treetop and mountain views. Just 16 minutes from Rodeo Drive and the heart of the Westside, this quietly lavish paradise embodies Sherman Oaks appeal.

If contemporary isn’t your first choice, you might prefer this gated French Country tennis estate at 3853 Longridge Avenue, the premier street in Sherman Oaks.

Or consider 4021 Hopevale Drive, a spectacular Mediterranean villa overlooking the hills above Sherman Oaks, minutes from Ventura Boulevard shops and restaurants.

The 6,857 square foot showplace is listed by Jay Martinez and Gilbert Dirige at $3,249,000.

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