A Spellbinding Account of Our Fascinating Area by Jeff Hyland, Cultural and Architectural Historian

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As expected from the accomplished Jeanne Anderson, the Fellows had another brilliant event. On December 7th, 2019, in the afternoon, the Fellows mingled with each other and tasted an excellent selection of appetizers and sweets, in addition to having the honor of attending a fabulous presentation on Legendary Estates of Bel Air by Jeff Hyland. Jeff has been a long-time supporter not only of the Virginia Robinson Gardens, but also of the history of the many great estates throughout Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills. His books are filled with wonderful stories from the many amazing people who have lived here and the incredible lives they lived in the fascinating homes they built. He is steeped in the history of the area as he was born in Bel Air.

Jeff’s book, The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills, is an exhaustive work that brings home to the reader the most historic homes in Los Angeles including Bel Air. This book and his presentation displayed Jeff’s deep knowledge he had gleaned as an architectural historian and expert on the most significant properties in Southern California. He has been a leader in the real estate business for 30 years.

In addition to so much captivating information about these estates, he also provided us with a charming story about how he originally met and then continued to be educated by Ivo Hadjev, Virginia Robinson’s last Major Domo in the early 1980s. The initial tea with Ivo and another important House Manager gave Jeff a bird’s eye view of the important cultural fabric of Beverly Hills and Bel Air. He heard fascinating stories from Ivo and this other very important Major Domo who oversaw a 180 acre estate which provided Jeff with a stimulating overview of the rich and famous lifestyles of so many prominent individuals.

As well as being recognized by the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA), and receiving an honor from the Will Roger’s Community Hero Award, Jeff is a recipient of The Spirit of Beverly Hills award presented by the Friends of Robinson Gardens. He also created our stunning logo with the image of the Pool Pavilion.

So fittingly, after days of less than perfect weather, the clouds lifted, and the Virginia Robinson Gardens looked absolutely lovely from our perch up in the Pool Pavilion. The location gave us a sweeping view of the pool and down to the formal lawn surrounding the perfectly trimmed Cypress Trees along the border gardens.

Capping off a perfect afternoon, Jeff sold his incredibly huge, beautiful coffee table-sized books to those in attendance, donating the money to the Friends of Robinson Gardens and then took the time to autograph each one. Not only did he offer to sell his incredible books, but he discounted the price to the lucky purchasers. Then, he donated the entire $175 discounted sales price for each of the many books he sold to the Friends of Robinson Gardens. What a superlative community supporter.

I was thrilled to have the chance to attend and introduce one of my heroes.

Post and photos by Marcella Ruble
Friends of Robinson Gardens Member

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