Echo Park is old Hollywood. That is to say, it was the center of the film industry during the silent area, with films in the neighborhood being shot with actors such as Charlie Chaplin. After the film industry moved to Hollywood this area went through a few changes. It has historically been a middle-class community that is just within walking distance from downtown. It has an alternative feel to it, attracting many artists and musicians. The area is very diverse, with ethnic roots ranging from Chinese to Filipino to Latino and so forth. Some notable residents were from one time to another Ayn Rand, John Fante, Steve McQueen and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Where is Echo Park?
Echo Park is located north of Beverly Blvd, between Beaudry (north of Sunset) and Harbor Freeway (south of Sunset). Here is a map of the area.
Architecture of Echo Park
As one of the oldest neighborhoods in LA this area has a lot of notable Victorian and craftsman homes. The greatest surge in growth for the area was between 1905 to 1935. Atwater Bungalows are a great example of interesting architecture to be found in the area. Built in 1922 on the top of a hill near Elysian Park, Robert Stacy-Judd built this Pueblo-style native american inspired building. More than two dozen public stairways line the hillsides, reflecting a time that was prior to the automobile. They have become a fan favorite of joggers in the area.
History of Echo Park
The community in Echo Park was founded by Thomas Kelly, a horse and carriage maker who transformed himself into a real estate developer. During the turn of the 19th century the lake area is said to have gotten its name from the workers who could hear their echos off of the surrounding canyon walls. As mentioned earlier, this was the original site of motion picture production pre-Hollywood. Prior to World War I this middle class neighborhood was known as “Red Hill” for it’s concentration of political activists who lived in the area.
Where to Go and Things to Do in Echo Park
Annual Lotus Festival
Contact Dr. Leo Pandac
2001 W. Beverly Blvd. Suite 201
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Held since 1972 it showcases the largest variety of planted lotuses outside of Asia. Every year has a contrasting theme celebrating a different Asian ethnicity, such as Chinese, Korean, Bagladeshi, Filipino, etc. You’ll find live music, dance and activities including paper-cutting and calligraphy.
Take a Walk on the Stairways
You can take a hike one some of the many public stairways throughout the community. It can turn into something of a local treasure hunt, finding old staircases that are both crumbling away from the early turn of the century to beautiful well maintained steep treks. Find out more here.
Visit Dodger Stadium
A little known fact is in the 1950s the area that is now Dodger Stadium was condemned and after a government project failed to be approved it was sold for $1 to Walter O’Malley who then built the stadium. Go, eat a dog and enjoy the game.
Taco Zone Truck
Alvarado & Montana
Los Angeles, CA 90026
This food stand is a hidden gem. Going to school in San Diego I was surrounded by delicious authentic Mexican food so close to the boarder. This is the place to go for that delicious street taco taste. Its cheap, efficient and delectable..