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Flashback Fridays: Birds eye view of Echo Park in 1903

Yes, we love maps – especially old ones of Echo Park and Los Angeles. The latest publication on the Big Map Blog is a nice display of Los Angeles circa 1903, so we zoomed in nice and close on Echo Park (of course!).

The map shows a sprinkling of homes with lake views and some in “Angeleño Heights,” as well as neighborhood by the name of Sunset Blvd Heights on what appears to be Laveta Terrace (near now Scott Avenue/McDuff Street), and current-day Glendale Boulevard going north into Edendale.

On the Big Map Blog website you can zoom in and out while scrolling through Los Angeles, all centered around a surprisingly well-developed Downtown.

h/t CurbedLA

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Support Echo Park Historical Society with a pizza at Mohawk Bend

Getting hungry? We are! All through the month of August, Mohawk Bend is supporting the Echo Park Historical Society by selling you delicious pizza.

Through the restaurant’s monthly fundraising campaign, Piece of the Pie, Mohawk Bend has created a custom pizza called the Historical Ramona. A portion of the proceeds from each pizza sold will directly benefit the Historical Society. On top of the pie: rapini, red onion, cerignola olives, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, and an olive oil drizzle.

The Echo Park Historical Society is a group focused on the preservation of the community, including fantastic things like the Jensen’s Recreation Center sign, and even the Ramona Theater that now houses Mohawk Bend. Support history in Echo Park by stopping into Mohawk Bend through August 31!

This is also a chance to celebrate a bit of history in the amazing theater-turned-Mohawk Bend. The Ramona Theater (also once galled the Garden Theater and Studio 1) remained vacant for about 30 years until owner Tony Yanow came in with the restaurant just a couple of years ago. But the theater was opened in 1914, so Mohawk Bend is celebrating the building’s 100th birthday and its own 2nd birthday with some special events.

From August 8 through 13, Mohawk Bend will be tapping special, limited-release beers, and guests are invited to play beer bingo to win prizes. On August 14, there is a special reservation-only anniversary party featuring the unveiling of a collaboration beer with Golden Road Brewing.


Old wagon wheel found entombed in Echo Park Lake

Image via the LA Times

Of the official list of things found at the bottom of Echo Park Lake during the rehabilitation project (which we published last November), some of the stranger items included a payphone and a parking enforcement boot, along with a couple of guns and knives. But during the past few months of the Lake rehabilitation project, construction workers have been digging up the bottom of the mucky lake bed, and moving enough dirt that they’ve unearthed something from Echo Park’s history.

From the Sunday LA Times, a fascinating story on the uncovering of a rusty 1880s-era wagon wheel by a construction worker digging with a backhoe last May. Now, Echo Park Lake was established as a park in the 1890s, but the lake had been there for some time and served as a reservoir for the surrounding farms and ranches. In the LA Times story, experts determined – after some speculation about its authenticity, and if it was from a farm wagon or a stagecoach wagon – that it was indeed a farm wagon wheel.

It may not be the most ground-breaking thing to find buried in the lake, but it is incredibly fascinating. It’s a glimpse into the history of Echo Park, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and what it was like before the roads were paved, before the neighborhood was built, and before we were a city.

It would be great to have all of the items pulled from the lake bed up for display!


Elysian Park’s “Avenue of the Palms” trees are dying

You wouldn’t know by just looking at them, but the 100+ year old palm trees, a rare species of wild date, that make up “The Avenue of the Palms” on Stadium Way are dying.

Planted in 1895, the palms are now dying from a “combination of disease spread by using uncleaned chainsaws,” as well as old age.

The Citizen’s Committee to Save Elysian Park is addressing the issue, and will be discussing replanting the trees during their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday.

Avenue of the Palms, 1950. Photo from the LAPL archives.


Flashback Fridays: The sandstone cliffs that make up “The Cut”

Echo Park resident, historian, and contributor to The Eastsider LA Rory Mitchell explores the history behind the sandstone cliffs that make up the west end of Echo Park as you drive into Silver Lake on Sunset.

Apparently this section has a pretty interesting history – in 1887 an ostrich farm decided to build a railway to its new Griffith Park location. Apparently the landowner of the section they blew threw, who knew about the project and initially supported it, was left “unsatisfied” with the work, sued the railroad company, and won. This landowner was lawyer George H. Smith, former Colonel in the Confederate Army and the grandfather of General George S. Patton.

Here’s a little video about the project, via the Echo Park Historic Society:

The Cut is now home to some unique vendors selling various items on the weekends, and is often plagued by landslides, especially after the “big” rains we had a couple of years ago.

Click here to read the entire write-up by Rory on the My Historic LA website.

Related articles to also read:

  • A look into landslides reveals Sunset Boulevard’s rocky past. The Eastsider LA, February 26, 2011
  • “The Cut” digs into the geology and history of Echo Park & Silver Lake. The Eastsider LA, February 24, 2012

A modern Echo Park Lake draining in pictures

1984 draining, via Gloria Sohaki and The Eastsider LA

Despite all the negative aspects of the Echo Park Lake rehabilitation project (the length of closure, the loss of a park, the sights and smells of the construction process), it’s fascinating to witness how thoroughly documented this entire process is. A lot of in-depth research online (we are limited… we admit) brings up little photographic evidence from past lake drainings prior to the 1980s, but we were excited to see images on a recent The Eastsider LA article displaying a very empty lake bed during the draining prior to the 1984 Olympics. Not only had the story’s contributor Rory Mitchel dug deep into the LA Times and Los Angeles City records, but Echo Park resident Gloria Sohaki had also contributed these photos from that last draining.

 

Photo by Conor Collins, uploaded today

Additionally, every day it seems there are more images of the status of the Echo Park Lake draining – this one today from a resident with a higher up view, and a whole website of daily images documented by resident Conor Collins. Add in the hundreds of tweets we’ve seen since the start of the lake rehabilitation project in August, and a webcam on EchoParkLake.com capturing hundreds of images every day, and we’ve got stellar documentation of the draining for the history books.

We’ve also been keeping a close eye on things, uploading photos to our Flickr page, and even joined up with the Odor Monitoring Committee to help with the process. In October we’ll learn about all the things they’ve find in the lake, so stay tuned!

Want to contribute? Feel free to share your photos on our Facebook page!


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