Kirsten Anderberg's CA History Site: Odyssey Hill, Granada Hills, CA
11611 Blucher Ave, Circa 1970
The House on Odyssey Hill
Granada Hills, CA
This is the view we had from our back yard, on Odyssey Hill, at 11611 Blucher Ave, Granada Hills, CA. in 1975. This is looking to the west. In the upper left hand corner, you
see some of the Valley. Northridge and Canoga Park are in that direction. Both the foreground and hills in the background of this picture are now filled with condos/apartments. The trails on the hill
in the background are from kids and their bikes. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This view (courtesy of The Odyssey Restaurant) is the very view we saw every night facing south in our house on the hill. We used
to call the freeway lights going up over the pass into Los Angeles, the "S Curves," as they looked like a lit up "S" and if you look to the very middle of the picture just as
the Santa Monica hills rise from the Valley floor, you can see a lit up "S" there. The freeway in the left foreground is the 405 which passed right under our property
practically. The lights to the left of the 405 Freeway are from Sepulveda Blvd., a main north-south route in the San Fernando Valley. As I said, this was a sight we saw day and
night when we lived on Odyssey Hill and I have never lived anywhere quite like this estate since. (Photo: www.theodysseyrestaurant.com)
This is a view from our upper driveway looking east towards the San Gabriel Mountains in 1976...Alemany High School's old campus and Holy Cross Hospital, and Sylmar are in the
background. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
My family lived on "Odyssey Hill," in a house below the Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills, CA., from the early 1970's to the mid-1980's. At that time, the only people living on the
hill were our family in the top residence, and Mrs. Carrell (widow of Senator Tom Carrell), in her house down below, and also officer, Dennis Sheldon, lived in Mrs. Carrell's
guest house below too. The house we lived in was supposed to have been Senator and Mrs. Carrell's retirement home, but
Senator Carrell died, and their son also passed on, and so Mrs. Carrell sold it to us. A long driveway led up to our house, and we had a large parking lot below our main driveway into our house. Many people
would drive up our driveway looking for the Odyssey Restaurant. It was easy to mistake, as the road to the restaurant is a little tricky to find. The rest of the hill was pretty much in its
natural state. Kids used to like to ride their bikes on the paths on the hill, but very few other people ever were on our hill. Atop the hill, above us, was the Odyssey
Restaurant and its parking lot, which has a stunning view of the San Fernando Valley, as did our house. It was a little odd living on the hill as a kid, as we had air
around us, as if we were up on a cloud, where other people had walls and fences with short distances between them and others in their backyards. We had sweeping views of the
Valley which really gave our house a unique charm. Notice in the pictures below how many of them have just sky once you hit the edge of our property.
I looked in the Los Angeles Times archives to try to find some history on the house and hill. I found an article which I have somehow lost, about how the land where our house and
Mrs. Carrell's house was on Odyssey Hill had been sold off in the late 1960's when it was left over from the construction of the freeway through the pass there.
I had thought those
houses were old, but apparently they were very new, having been built in the late 1960's or in 1970. My family lived in the house in 1971 for the Sylmar earthquake, so it was built by then. I found
an ad in the L.A. Times that said there was a sealed bid sale on Nov. 8, 1973, for two excess land parcels owned by the Dept. of Transportation, at "Route 405 Freeway on
Blucher Ave north of Rinaldi St., Mission Hills." One parcel
was listed as 44,544 square feet and was selling for $2,000, and the other parcel was 192,784 square feet and was selling for $10,000.
In other Odyssey Hill History: On April 15, 1984, the Times reported, "Construction is expected to begin in
July on Northgate Apartments, an 80-unit complex on a 3.62 acre parcel at 11611 Blucher Ave., Granada Hills, which was formerly part of the 6.1 acre estate of Tom Carrell, a past state
senator who died in 1972." In May 1984, The Times reported, "Dolphina Carrell, widow of state Senator Tom Carrell, who died in 1972, has sold her home in Granada Hills to William Bromiley...
the 4,500 square foot home is situated on a 2.48 acre parcel at 14441 Rinaldi St., zoned for 55 condominiums..." These apartments were on the tract our house sat on. And just as our house suffered significant damage from the 1971 earthquake, these condos fell apart during
the 1994 earthquake and had to be rebuilt.
This is a picture of me on our front lawn on Easter morning in 1973. My hair is a mess because the Santa Ana Winds (or "Santana" winds as my dad called them) were whipping
around that morning. You can see the sky (and 1970's smog) as the only background
behind our property lines behind me. This photo is facing west. To the left in this photo, are the branches of an olive tree. (Apparently this area had
a thriving olive industry at one point.) In the right field of the photo is the ground where we would in the year to come put in a pool, pictured below. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of my sister Carol with a ton of my dad's ties on, goofing off...back in approximately 1977. Behind her you can see our pool, and the view to the
west...(Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of my sister sitting on the deck of our boat in our parking lot. This picture is facing east. In the background are the San Gabriel Mountains and
in the lower background is the old campus of Alemany High School. This photo is from about 1977. If you look below the bowsprit, you can see both directions of the 405 freeway.
You can also see part of the concrete in our parking lot in the foreground. To the right above the bowsprit is the San Fernando Mission cemetery. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of me in our pool area in 1976. The window, and sliding glass door in the shadows around the corner, of my parents' bedroom (the master bedroom),
is shown in the right field of this photo. That bedroom had an amazing view of the San Fernando Valley facing south, at night it was quite romantic and sweeping. To the left
of me you can see the cement lip of our jacuzzi, that was attached to the pool. You can also see in the very back of the photo in the left field the hillsides which lined our driveway which ran along the entire property to the back gate which was locked.
We had some security issues at times living isolated as we did on the hill. I think the only reason we were not robbed was there were so many people there all the time.
People probably did not know that we never locked our doors on the hill. I don't even think I ever had a house key up there. The doors were always open and the French doors
on my sisters' room in the back could be shimmied open even if locked...it is probably very good that people did not know this during that time! But we
did have a gun on the premises, and we had guard dogs. In the beginning we had Irish Setters but they kept running away, then we had a flock of Saint Bernards which actually did
scare people off, due to their size. Those dogs were remarkably gentle but were intimidating in size if you did not know them. We also had a German Sheppard named Genghis who did a
good job intimidating people who wandered up our driveway, or down from the hills to our property lines. But there were definitely times when we felt *watched* on the hill, it felt
like people were above in the Odyssey parking lot and the hills and were looking down into our house at times. We actually built a wall to the side of our pool so
that the Odyssey Restaurant could not see into that area, and we also put one of those bells that ring when you drive into a gas station on our driveway so we knew when someone was
driving up, as that was where we had the most problems. Many people would get lost looking for the Odyssey, and come up to our house then turn around and go back down and try again, but some would not
leave and would either try to hang out in our parking lot or would try to come up to our house under malicious pretenses, and that is where our dogs came in. I still have
nightmares at times about the property and its isolation issues. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of my dad at Christmas 1973 in our living room on the hill. You can see the large stone fireplace in this picture. The front door to the living
room was just to the right of the fireplace in this photo, though we rarely used our front door and almost always entered through the kitchen door. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
The house was built from adobe bricks and red tile. (You can see similar adobe brickwork at the nearby San Fernando Mission.) It was a gorgeous house and did well in heat. The house also had a
lot of wood on the inside, with a big wood beamed living room. There was a master bedroom and bathroom on the western end of the property, which was my parents' room, and then a living room, which connected to a dining room, which led to a bathroom and a bedroom
with French doors, which my little sisters lived in. The kitchen was on the northern end of the property off of the dining room, and it connected via a covered breezeway to a
bedroom with a bathroom which ran along the driveway into the property. My older sisters and I lived in this outside room. The only other structure on the property
was "the factory" which was a garage where my dad worked on production of his inventions and other marketing ideas.
This is a picture of the kitchen on the hill. All of the cabinets were wood, and the kitchen windows had sweeping views of the Valley to the east, as well as the magestic
San Gabriel Mountains. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
In the mid-1970's, we began to hear word that some condo developer was trying to make the hill into condos. We began to see signs of this when we lived up there,
as they began making roads on the hill. They began trying to buy our house to raze the house and build condos over it. My parents were very adverse to the idea, and held out
as developers built a condo city around us. No longer did we have the hill to ourselves, no longer were our views sweeping, now they looked into condos next door! In the end, my
parents sold the house and property to the condo developers, but they did so begrudgingly. Above is a real estate ad my parents ran in the 1980's to try to sell the house to
someone besides the condo developers, but in the end, no one wanted to live surrounded by condos, so they mowed the house down and now have put condos all over the hill,
including our old house site. You can see a larger copy of this flier by clicking here. The flier says this is a "secluded hilltop,"
but it was fast becoming a hilltop that was not secluded. When I look up on the Odyssey Hill now, and see all those condos, it makes me sad to know that beautiful Spanish adobe
house, which really was gorgeous architecturally, along with the eucalyptus, olive, and palm trees, it just was a beautiful house, a piece of history, a work of art and it is a shame
to see it replaced by ticky tacky condos. (Flier: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of the patio area outside at the Odyssey Restaurant, looking west. Our old house would
have been to the left, and down the hill a bit, from this fire pit. We could see this firepit from our backyard and could even hear people talking up there at times when the wind
was right. The view you see here is close to the view we also had at night from our pool area and backyard. The Odyssey Restaurant is still in operation
today. You can see the same eucalyptus trees and bouganvilla bushes that we had on our property and Mrs. Carroll had on her property, in this picture of the Odyssey patio. The
silhouette of the eucalytpus trees and the red of the flowers in the foreground are plants I recognize from my teen years on the hill. (Photo: theodysseyrestaurant.com)
We built our pool up on the hill in 1974. This is a picture of the pool right after it was built, the first time we filled it. You can see red flowers at the fence,
they may be bouganvilla, and the view to the west beyond the fence includes Canoga Park. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of our backyard, facing the back of the house, facing west. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
My family had a lot of girls and we all went to either Kennedy or Alemany High Schools (I attended Alemany primarily). So from approximately 1974 to 1977, there were a lot of parties on Odyssey Hill at
our house, that were attended by large groups of Valley teens. Sometimes we would throw parties when my parents were out of town, for both Alemany and Kennedy simultaneously.
Our parking lot would fill up with cars and we would have people parked all along the road to the Odyssey as well. Hundreds of people showed up for our parties and since we did
not have any neighbors like normal streets would, our parties were never shut down that I recall. Due to us hosting lots of Valley parties in the 1970's, many people in the Valley
have stories about things they did on our hill! People also used the Odyssey parking lot as a make out spot, so there are many Valley teens with stories about their teens on the hill.
This is a picture of our old driveway in 1994, right off of Rinaldi Street. Under the rock walls and wrought iron gate, is our driveway. On the lower right of the
driveway is an area that the Sheldons tried to use as a Christmas tree lot, they grew them there for many years. To the middle right is Mrs. Carroll's house and the guest house
where the Sheldons lived, shaded by trees, and up on top, after a right curve, was our house. The driveway was lined with Eucalytpus trees and when the Santa Ana winds really whipped up, there would be twigs and leaves from
the trees all over the driveway. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of our old driveway in January 2008...(Photo: K. Anderberg, January 2008)
This is a picture of Mrs. Carrell's pool, below our estate. Before we had our own pool, we would go down and use her pool. This picture is probably from 1973. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of me (with bad posture) at about age 15 on the eastern lawn of our house on the hill, feeding some of our wild rabbits. My little sisters' room window is
on the right. (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of my cousin in our bedroom. We had an unbelievable amount of parties in this room. This was the "older girls' room," where I lived with my teenage
sisters. This room was detached from the central house and was the first building you came upon as you came up the driveway. Notice the classic Southern California
1970's decor! LOL! (Photo: Archive of K. Anderberg)
This is a picture of condos in 2008, that have been built directly upon the spot where our house at 11611 Blucher Ave. used to be. It is sad to see a beautiful adobe house
replaced by ticky tacky houses. (Photo: K. Anderberg, January 2008)
Resources Used in this Article * Los Angeles Times, Display Ads, Oct. 7, 1973, page I17.
Kirsten Anderberg. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint/publish, please contact Kirsten at firstname.lastname@example.org.