Mysterious Building in Laurel Canyon Unveiled

Building used to produce documentaries during Cold War is now for sale

By Connie Tran and Gordon Tokumatsu
|  Thursday, Sep 1, 2011  |  Updated 11:35 AM PDT
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A building in Laurel Canyon once used for filmmakers between the 40s, 50s, and 60s is now a single-family residential home on sale for over $6M dollars.

Gordon Tokumatsu

A building in Laurel Canyon once used for filmmakers between the 40s, 50s, and 60s is now a single-family residential home on sale for over $6M dollars.

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Long before Laurel Canyon was an enclave of the wealthy and a center, of sorts, for hippie counter-culture in the '60s and '70s, there was a building so profound that it almost cannot be duplicated today.

Gina Fattore lives one door down from the historic house on Wonderland Avenue.

“I think it’s really interesting and amazing,” said Fattore.

She said her houseguests can’t resist asking about it.

“People always see the phone booth. And, I mean, it’s an unusual place,” Fattore continued.

Nicknamed the “Lookout Mountain Air Force Station,” the building was built in 1941, right in the middle of America’s Cold War film era.

Hundreds of the best Hollywood directors, cinematographers, and other technicians worked there, churning out documentaries from the late 1940s to 1969. Many of the artists died of cancer after capturing top secret images of nuclear tests and military field maneuvers.

The facility sits on nearly an acre and a half of land, most of it concealed below street level. In 1969, the government moved out and the facility became a private residence. Today, it’s a funky house, in a community where “different” has always been celebrated.

“It’s immense up here,” said Sioux Ashe, another neighbor.

Ashe has lived in the Canyon since she was 6 years old. She visited the house in her 20s when a friend moved in.

Now, the house is on sale for a cool $6.3 million. The house’s interiors are featured on real estate websites like Redfin. The walls are covered with modern art and there are wide corridors lit for aesthetic value.

NBC4 News attempted to contact the current resident and her listing agent for a tour, but none of the four intercoms seemed to be working. Or maybe, we just didn’t have the proper security clearance.

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