Self-Guided Tour

Go in Spooky Search of SoCal's Witch and Fairytale Houses

Friends of Residential Treasures: Los Angeles is sending local gallivanters out to admire some of the most fanciful abodes of our area.

Photo by Michael Locke

What to Know

  • Friends of Residential Treasures: Los Angeles has put together a map of some of our region's most whimsical homes
  • Note: These are private residences, so please view from a respectful distance and "(t)ake only pictures"
  • Donations to FORT: LA are welcome

Locating the exact coordinates of a witch's house?

It may seem like you'd require a special spell, and a knowledgeable familiar (perhaps a sassy owl or brainy hedgehog), and living on the edge of a dense forest?

Please. That's pretty much a given for this particular situation, at least according to the ye olde tales we all know.

But really, all you require is a magical map, some sort of charming chart that leads you to some of our area's most enchanting abodes.

The architecture-minded aficionados at Friends of Residential Architecture: Los Angeles have such a magical trail, which you can access by visiting the FORT:LA site.

The name of this wondrous ramble around the region, which you'll take on your own, via a self-guided tour?

It's "Witches Houses 2: Fairytales, Castles, and Cottages," a trail sponsored by Elizabeth Halsted.

Storybook structures became quite the quaint rage around our city a hundred years ago, give or take, as the influence of Hollywood's early pictures extended into the domestic lives of locals seeking splashy showplaces.

Good news for modern fans of this eye-catching and offbeat style, which is truly synonymous with Los Angeles: Several of these sprung-from-the-screen spots continue to happily exist.

Photo by Michael Locke

You can eye some of the most merry and majestic examples on the FORT:LA trail, including the Argyle Apartments, Normandie Towers, and the Sherwood House.

Of course, these are private addresses, so do keep that in mind as you stay on the sidewalk or in your car, snapping any photos from a distance.

One highlight on the trail? It's the castle-cool Ivory Tower, the former home of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Stone gates, "twisting labyrinthine streets," and other straight-from-fiction elements lend this stop an extra dollop of fantasy-driven delight.

Amber Benson, a novelist and actor (who starred as Tara Maclay in the fantasy-driven "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for three seasons), has done the pre-exploring for us, penning the colorful descriptions of each stop, whimsical write-ups that help set the trail's time-traveling mood.

There's an earlier Witches House trail to follow, if you want to make a full day of it in the days leading up to Halloween. That adventure includes The Bogart House and The Hobbit Houses, destinations that prove Southern California's dreamers have long ladled a romantic glaze on just about everything, even our humble homes.

And after the hauntingest holiday of the year has wrapped?

More architectural exploring awaits: Friends of Residential Treasures: Los Angeles offers oodles of interesting local trails, covering all sorts of styles and periods, from South LA Garden Apartments to 5 Great Multifamily Complexes in LA.

Pictured: Normandie Towers and Village Court, photos by Michael Locke

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