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The Getty

The Getty Center, in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, is a campus for cultural institutions founded by oilman J. Paul Getty. The $1.3 billion center, which opened on December 16, 1997, is also well known for its architecture, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles.

The center sits atop a hill connected to a visitor's parking garage at the bottom of the hill by a three-car, cable-pulled tram. The center draws 1.3 million visitors annually. Originally, the Getty Museum started in J. Paul Getty's house located in Pacific Palisades in 1954. He expanded the house with a museum wing. In the 1970s, Getty built a replica of an Italian villa on his home's property to better house his collection, which opened in 1974. After Getty's death in 1976, the entire property was turned over to the Getty Trust for museum purposes. However, the collection outgrew the site, which has since been renamed the Getty Villa, and management sought a location more accessible to Los Angeles. The purchase of the land upon which the center is located, a campus of 24 acres (9.7 ha) on a 110-acre (45 ha) site in the Santa Monica Mountains above Interstate 405, surrounded by 600 acres (240 ha) kept in a natural state, was announced in 1983. The site cost $25 million. The top of the hill is 900 feet (270 m) above I-405, high enough that on a clear day it is possible to see not only the Los Angeles skyline but also the San Bernardino Mountains to the east as well as the Pacific Ocean to the west.