Category: Category

Vroman’s Bookstore

Are you tired of going to Barnes & Noble and shopping for books at the grocery store? Read on to learn more about Vroman’s Bookstore and other sites in Pasadena, California.

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You won’t believe the selection of books in this independent bookstore, a shopping experience unique to Southern California. Vroman’s Bookstore is the oldest and biggest store of its kind in the Los Angeles area. At Vroman’s, you’ll find a book for any taste, and you’ll have the opportunity to attend events, meet authors, enjoy trivia nights, and go to launch parties. The store was awarded Publisher’s Weekly Bookseller of the Year in 2008 and has hosted Bernie Sanders, Ray Bradbury, President Bill Clinton, Anne Rice, Joan Didion, Neil Gaiman, David Sedaris, Upton Sinclair, and more.

Adam Clark Vroman, the founder of Vroman’s Bookstore, was originally from Illinois before coming to California and selling his book collection following the death of his wife Esther. Eventually, he opened his bookstore in 1894. He is also well-known for his photography of Native American tribes in Arizona and New Mexico, in which he took portraits in a respectful manner. Vroman was also fascinated with taking photos of American western landscapes.

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Photo Credit: http://www.vromansbookstore.com/files/vromansbookstore/interior.jpg

Vroman left a legacy of giving back to the community. During the second world war, he took books to Japanese Internment Camps in California, even when armed guards tried to stop him with firepower. Additionally, he worked at mission sites, assisted with opening the Southwest Museum, and was a part of the Pasadena Public Library project.

Today, the owner of Vroman’s Bookstore is the great grandson of one of the employees who Vroman left the bookstore to when he died in 1916. This independent bookstore is still family owned, and today the company has two bookstore locations, two smaller locations in the Los Angeles Airport, and the company acquired the independent bookstore Book Soup in 2009 (located in West Hollywood).

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At Vroman’s, you’ll find books, specialty pens and stationery, cards to send your loved ones and friends, and many types of gifts. The store is located at 695 E Colorado Boulevard, and proceeds from every book purchase go towards a charity of the customer’s choice. Furthermore, through Vroman’s Gives Back programming, the store hosts events for community fundraising. Past events have included HIV testing, raffles, pet adoption, book fairs, support for girl scout troops and more. The store puts on more than 400 events for the community annually and has raised $655,998.52.

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While in the Pasadena area, be sure to visit these sites as well:

Pasadena City College Flea Market

Norton Simon Museum

Old Town Pasadena

Real Estate Unlimited is a real estate company with specialized knowledge in luxury real estate in the city of Los Angeles, California. We also have expertise in the areas of Pasadena, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Elysian Park, and more. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service for our clients who are buying or selling their homes. Contact us today for a consultation.

The Atwater Bungalows – Hopi-Style Architecture in the Heart of Echo Park

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Photo Credit: Latimes.com

Among the many types of property for sale in Echo Park are buildings with strong architectural and historical interest – for example, the Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue or Frank Lloyd Wright’s futuristic tribute to Mayan temple architecture, the Ennis House.

Today we’ll take a look at the Atwater Bungalows, Pueblo-style buildings that lend their unique architectural flair to Echo Park’s eclectic roster of historic buildings.

The Atwater Bungalows were built in the early 1930s, commissioned by Dr. H. Gale Atwater, an early Echo Park luminary who built several Pueblo-style buildings on Avon Terrace. The Atwater Bungalows were designed by Robert Stacy-Judd, the architect who designed the flamboyant Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, California. The details of the original commission brief are lost to time, but it’s likely that Atwater was enchanted by the Aztec’s majestic design and innovative use of materials.

This period in American architecture was characterized by bold experimentation, and many architects became fascinated with traditional construction techniques and natural materials. Adobe, which comes from a Spanish term that means “mudbrick,” is one of the earliest building construction techniques known to humankind. Adobe construction is common to large parts of North, Central, and South America, but it can also be seen in traditional village complexes in Mali and cottages in Ireland.

Generally, adobe buildings start with bricks made out of earth and a binding material like corn husks and straw. The bricks are stuck together and covered with a thick coating of adobe mud that gives adobe structures their characteristic smooth, rounded textures. Traditional adobe buildings incorporate rough-hewn log beams that are considered a signature element of Mission-style design, and modern adobe specialists have begun to use steel to create an extra-durable interior structure.

Adobe buildings were extremely common California during the Spanish Mission period, in part because mud bricks were easy to manufacture in the warm dry climate, and in part because thick adobe walls promised insulation from the scorching desert sun. Adobe churches and colonial administration buildings can still be seen in California, from as far north as Sonoma to as far south as San Diego. Adobe architecture enjoyed a resurgence in Southern California when the Golden State became famous as the home of Golden-Era Hollywood. A generation after the Atwater Bungalows were completed, Pueblo-style stucco homes would proliferate in California’s expanding postwar suburbs.

Today, adobe is popular both because of its unique texture and shape and because it provides a green air-conditioning alternative to homeowners looking to protect the environment. Since adobe is versatile – it can be used to create many different textures and ornaments, almost like buttercream icing on a cake – contemporary architects in Southern California are exploring creative variations on traditional Mission- and Pueblo-style designs.

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Photo Credit: Latimes.com

As an early experiment in modern adobe construction, the Atwater Bungalows combine architectural innovation with revivalist anachronism. Built from dense unfinished adobe that gives the exterior a rustic appearance, the bungalows are ornamented with pueblo-style windows, staircases, and cone-shaped chimneys. Aqua and orange trim creates a lively contrast with the dun-colored adobe surface.

Stacy-Judd’s creations tended towards the fantastical, and the Atwater Bungalows are meant to capture the spirit rather than the historical reality of the traditional Hopi kivas that inspired his design. He took a fanciful approach to finances, too, and the bungalows were finished “way over budget,” according to Atwater’s grandson.

Although the Atwater Bungalows are a familiar landmark to local residents, they’ve never attracted as much interest or activity as the Ennis House or the Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue, and they’ve never appeared in a movie or music video. Despite their relative obscurity, their imaginative construction and inspired design make them an iconic addition to the Echo Park neighborhood.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise.  Call us to schedule a consultation today! 

Antique Treasures on Display at Silver Lake’s Holyland Exhibition

The sprawling outline of Los Angeles contains a wealth of eclectic entertainment, and the Silver Lake neighborhood is home to its own share of quirky tourist attractions and museums. In this post, we’ll take a look at the Holyland Exhibition, a single-bequest archaeological museum in the heart of Silver Lake!

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The Holyland Exhibition represents the lifelong obsession of explorer and historian Antonia F. Futterer, rumored to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones. Futterer passed away in 1949, but his legacy lives on in this uncommon cache of curios from Egypt, Damascus, Babylon, Cyprus, Israel, and other Biblical lands.

Futterer’s life was stranger than fiction, and nearly as cinematic. While Futterer was convalescing after a long illness caused by severe appendicitis, he began an intensive private Bible study. When he recuperated, he became fascinated with the geography and archaeology of the Holy Land. Futterer was especially interested in the Ark of the Covenant – yep, just like the Indiana Jones movie!

Click here to read about wine tastings at neighboring Silverlake Wine!

During the first decades of the twentieth century, he went on several quests to the cradle of civilization in an attempt to locate this storied artifact. Although he never found the Ark of the Covenant itself, Futterer’s expeditions did amass an astonishing collection of ancient art, sculpture, and relics. In 1924 brought them back across the ocean to the mythical desert of Los Angeles, where he put them on display in his own exhibition space. They’ve been here ever since, and you can visit them in Silver Lake.

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Photo Credit: kcet.org

When Futterer returned to the United States, he founded the Holyland Bible Knowledge Study and introduced his trademark “Eye-O-Graphic” Bible seminar, based on his deep interest in the geography of the Middle East. His “Eye-O-Graphic” techniques are spelled out in a large map that takes up an entire wall. Although Futterer’s excavating days were over by the 1930s, he continued to lead his study group on informational trips to the region, including visits to Egypt and Israel, and maintained a scholarly interest in the Middle East until the end of his life.

His museum is fairly small, occupying just one Mission-style building. However, Futterer made the most of the available space, and each room is packed from floor to ceiling with a dazzling display of acquisitions from the Iron and Bronze Ages – some with a provenance that stretches even further back into antiquity.

Click here to read about the Gamble House, a historic building in Los Angeles!

Items on display include smaller curiosities like 5,000-year-old oil lamps, gold and silver jewelry, carved ivory, coins, and rows of glass bottles that predate the founding of Rome. The museum also holds several ancient tapestries, a 2,700-year-old sarcophagus, and a mummy casket that dates back to 600 B.C.E. Also on display are three ears of extinct Egyptian corn, carefully dried and preserved, and a game table from Damascus whose intricate design incorporates 10,000 inlaid pearls and wood from fourteen different fruit trees. As in artifacts retrieved from Pompeii and Crete, the magic is in the details of the everyday – the museum also houses handcrafted baskets, weavings, and ceramic plates and jars. Visitors can see these quotidian prizes up close.

Guests can also look at some artifacts from Futterer’s own life, including his antique desk from 1924. Cinephiles can tour a smaller display of memorabilia from silent-movie idol Rudolph Valentino and furniture used in the set for Rick’s Café in the classic movie Casablanca. Futterer also collected many contemporary costumes, souvenirs and religious artifacts, including a statue of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane which is installed near the museum’s entrance. Local history enthusiasts can even look at a gallery of photographs that show the neighborhood of Silver Lake growing up around the Holyland Exhibition building.

Tours are led by Futterer’s widow Betty Shepard and daughter Karen Shepard. Their talks include extensive information on the background of each piece and a summary of Futterer’s own theories about Biblical history and mythology. They’ll also tell you stories about Futterer’s early life in Australia and his participation in Hollywood history. He passed away long before the Indiana Jones films premiered, but his work may also have informed epics like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments.

At the end of your tour, you’ll be treated to a Middle-Eastern-themed snack: a slice of Mandelbrot, or almond bread; a glass of grape juice; and a strip of apricot fruit leather imported from Damascus. You can also stop by the gift shop to purchase souvenirs like a car mezuzah and “Gifts of the Magi” trinket set that includes frankincense, myrrh, and a small ingot of faux gold.

To preserve its one-of-a-kind collection, the Holyland Exhibition is currently only open by appointment, but Betty and Karen Shepard are happy to give tours to anyone who wants to come for a visit. Admission is only $2.50, a small price to pay for such an uncommon and extensive collection. Why not spend an afternoon perusing the treasure trove accumulated by this real-life adventurer?

Are you interested in learning more about the Holyland Exhibition and other exhibitions and galleries in Silver Lake?  At Real Estate Unlimited, we make it our mission to share with you all of the unique cultural and historical interest of this modern metropolis. Call us to schedule a consultation today!

Eaton Canyon Falls

Northeast of the greater L.A. area and Pasadena is Eaton Canyon Falls, a popular hiking destination. Clocked in at 3.5 mile round trip, with only 375 feet of elevation, the Eaton Canyon Falls trail is a short hike for a beautiful view. At the top of the hike lies the eponymous Eaton Canyon Falls,  Requiring no fee or permit, Eaton Canyon falls provides a pleasantly frugal opportunity for a great time outdoors.

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Photo Credit: Outdoor Project

 

Just a quick jaunt from Los Angeles, Eaton Canyon Falls posses a rustic history in contrast to the bright lights of the city. The Eaton Canyon Falls earned the name“El Precipicio” by the Spanish settlers due to the steep gorges lining the canyon. Now, the canyon is known as Eaton Canyon after Judge Benjamin Eaton, the man who built the original Fair Oaks Ranch House just a short ways from Eaton Creek. Using the creek to irrigate his fields, Judge Eaton went on to grow grapes, raise livestock, and become a major proponent of the Mount Wilson Toll Road.

Today, the Eaton Canyon Falls provides a curious opportunity for visitors, or residents, to the Pasadena area. Starting in the accessible Eaton Canyon Nature Area, the trail to the Eaton Canyon Falls begins up a dry creek bed named Eaton Wash. This area of the trial is open, well-maintained, and quite an easy trip, popular with dog-walkers, families out for a stroll, or those interested in visiting the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. Pack the sunscreen, because this section of the hike is exposed to the sun with only a little bit of cover!

After a ways, the trail enters a small wood and meets at a junction with the Horse Trail. Keep to your left, and continue on for just over a mile. The trail will meet with the historic Toll Road, a dirt hiking trail running to the peak of Mount Wilson. Continue on left, and pass below the large white concrete bridge. At this point, the hike becomes more arduous, requiring criss-crossing the creek numerous times up a narrow canyon. Just a little ways further, and you’ve made it!

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Photo Credit: Victor Leung

 

The Eaton Canyon Falls are more than worth the trip, providing a simple and august example of the San Gabriel Mountains’ ability to produce curiosities so close to the city. The canyon itself squeezes together, allowing only the creek to continue down from the trail’s summit into a 40ft waterfall. This waterfall feeds into a small pool just a short distance from the trail’s end. Not only is the waterfall a pleasant sight after the hike up, but the pool itself is frequented by hikers or residents seeking a cool dip in the pond after working up a sweat on the hike.

If you’re looking for a new adventure, a fun family outing, or the chance to see new sights, visit the Eaton Canyon Falls!

Real Estate Unlimited takes pride in serving those curious about South Pasadena real estate, including the exciting opportunities in the surrounding community. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about South Pasadena, purchasing a new home, or Eaton Canyon Falls.

Old Pasadena

Old Pasadena lies in the heart of L.A to the east of Arroyo Seco park. Old Pasadena is the cosmopolitan and commercial heart of Pasadena. Like many cities in the greater L.A. area, the neighborhood has a storied past, but today presents a wonderful opportunity to shop, peruse, and enjoy yourself in a recently renewed district.

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Photo Credit: Around Town Pasadena

Old Pasadena began as a mecca of academics, industry, and art. Originally, the neighborhood had the zero/zero postal intersection of Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. At that spot, the first business of the Indian Colony was established: J.D. Hollingsworth’s general store. At the beginning, the Indiana Colony (as Old Pasadena was originally titled) was a quiet farming community centered around Orange Grove Boulevard. As more settlers arrived, the community decided a schoolhouse was necessary to further the education of their children. The Fair Oaks schoolhouse was created, but quickly moved further outside of the town once the Indiana Colony’s town center became too busy to be safe for children.

The Indiana Colony continued to grow gaining a number of prominent buildings like the Hotel Carver, St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, and the Castle Green. But by the 1930s the town begun to decline. By the 1970s, the neighborhood was unrecognizable to those living in or near the district today: low-income housing, failing businesses, and all of the crime and strife that comes with hard times in an urban environment. However, the neighborhoods redemption came through the most unlikely of saviors. Parking meters. Hoping to control the sprawl of urban traffic in Old Pasadena, the city petitioned local business leaders to install meters with the added benefit of directing all meter revenue toward renovation of Pasadena.

Recently, Old Pasadena has reinvented itself as “The Real Downtown,’ a walking-friendly shopping district that can truly claim the title of Los Angeles satellite. Now an impressive place, the neighborhood boasts a hopping nightlife, bountiful shopping opportunities, and a level of safety and security that many neighborhoods would covet. Here are some of the opportunities available in Old Pasadena today:

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Photo Credit: Mapio

For those looking for a sip of something special, stop by the Bird Pick Tea & Herb. Based on a their grandfather’s stories of birds with acute senses and the ability to pick the finest tea leaves for nourishment, Bird Pick strives to offer a vast selection of teas and accessories discovered from around the world – some as far as China. Rooted deep in Chinese culture, Bird Pick strives to meet the new market of health-conscious lifestyles. Try unwinding at the tea bar, or pick up a bag of your favorite brew at Bird Pick.

At Lucky Brand, they know that jeans are much more than just denim and grommets. Aimed at free-thinkers, artists, and dreamers, Lucky Brand jeans claims to make jeans for dancing, working, jumping, and rocking. If you’re looking for denim with attitude, check out Lucky Brand.

Have a sweet tooth? Try Mignon Chocolate. Founded in 1910 in the Ukraine, the family run company traveled across the world (being known as the King of Chocolate in Iran) before arriving in Los Angeles in 2002. As third generation chocolatiers, Mignon’s is sure to satisfy any craving for coco!

These are just a sample of the hundreds of stores available in Old Pasadena. Stop by today to experience the old in a brand new way!

Real Estate Unlimited is the best stop for any questions about South Pasadena real estate or the plethora of opportunities in Old Pasadena. Please give us a call!

Arroyo Seco Park

Arroyo Seco Park is a breathtaking slice of woodland to the west of South Pasadena. Offering over 22 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding, Arroyo Seco Park has something to offer anyone living in L.A. The Arroyo Seco is open to all comers, including walkers, hikers or joggers. From well-maintained paved paths, to rough trails, the Arroyo Seco is sure to satisfy that outdoor-wanderlust no matter the occasion!

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Photo Credit: Wild Recovery

The Arroyo Seco is centered on a dynamic stream that starts in the heights of the San Gabriel Mountains and flows down into the communities of LA Canada Flintridge, Altadena, Pasadena, South Pasadena, and Los Angeles. There the stream joins the Los Angeles River and continues on to the Pacific Ocean. Cutting a fantastic canyon, many of the communities can identify the Arroyo Seco stream as a the birthplace of their culture, history, and unique identity.

The Arroyo Seco park is divided into three large sections all found along the main stream. To the southwest of Pasadena is the area known as the Lower Arroyo Seco. South of the Colorado Street bridge, the Lower Arroyo is a natural preservation area and a cultural landmark. The canyon walls host a plethora of different wildlife, and the secondary trails include oak woodlands, coastal scrubland, and riparian habitats. Some of the Lower Arroyo Seco hotspots include the Bird Sanctuary, a memorial grove, and an archery range.

North of the Lower Arroyo Seco and west of Pasadena proper is the Central Arroyo Seco. The most active and colorful portion of the Arroyo Seco, Central Arroyo Seco is 470 acres of well maintained park for golfing, swimming, running, biking, and more! The most popular trail on the Central Arroyo Seco is known as the Rose Bowl Loop. At 3.3 miles long, this trail circles the Rose Bowl Stadium and the fairways of the Brookside Golf Course. Featuring colored pavement that indicate the safe-zones for both pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, the Rose Bowl Loop offers spectacular views throughout the Arroyo in comfort and safety. For something a little more off the beaten path, try the John Crowley and Tad Williams trails. Other great features of Central Arroyo Seco include the Rose Bowl Stadium and the Kidspace Children’s Museum.

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Photo Credit: Danielle Longo

The northernmost element of the Arroyo Seco is the Hahamongna Watershed Park. Made up of 300 acres of wildland, the Hahamongna Watershed Park joins the northern elements of Pasadena and L.A. in transitioning between city, and the foothill communities near the Angeles National Forest. The Park includes a large number of interconnected trails, picnic facilities, restrooms, playing fields, and the world’s first disc golf course! The basin behind the nearby Devil’s Gate Dam supports a wide and rich environment, the perfect refuge for numerous wildlife and bird species.

Stop by the diverse Arroyo Seco for the national park experience only a few blocks away from the big city!

Real Estate Unlimited has been serving the L.A. area for over 30 years. For more information about the Arroyo Seco, or help with your real estate needs, contact us today!

Echo Park School Spotlight

Like any great neighborhood, Echo Park is an excellent place to get an education! Today we’re exploring the various schools in and around Echo Park. Echo Park offers non-traditional high schools, youth academies, and plenty of traditional elementary schools.

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Photo Credit: 2006 IC CE200 (Former Pine Bush #561) First Student #060561

A great example of the variety of educational opportunities available in Echo park is the School for the Visual Arts and Humanities. The School for the Visual Arts and Humanities is a four-year sequence of courses focusing on creative and academic potential. Despite divorcing itself from the traditional high school experience, the School for the Visual Arts and Humanities is dedicated to a rigorous college preparatory education anchored in the arts.

If you require something a little more focused for your high-school age student, consider the Dream Center Academy, a non-traditional private Christian school located at the Dream Center in Los Angeles. The Dream Center Academy focuses on pedagogy through technology, experiential learning, and student-teacher relationships. The school conforms to California state standards, and emphasizes practical life and leadership skills.

The Downtown Magnets High School is a non-traditional high school aimed at educating future business leaders. Downtown Magnets High School’s mission is to ensure that every student graduates prepared for college with critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity skills. All students should graduate ready to have a successful 21st Century career and become a contributing member to the global community.

Opened in 1999, the New Covenant Academy started small – only eleven students – but not serves more than 175. Following the philosophy “it takes a village to raise a child” the New Covenant Academy aims to be a community in which each child can develop fully due to caring and nurturing adults who support student learning and achievement.

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Photo Credit: Clifford Math and Technology Magnet

Consider the Clifford Math and Technology Magnet school for younger children. The school aims at providing a first class education through the strategic use of technology to advance mathematical reasoning, problem solving, and communication. Clifford Math and Technology Magnet is committed to opening, maintaining and strengthening ties amongst staff, parents, and the community.

Much like the neighborhood, a number of schools have their own quirks of history. Elysian Heights Elementary school is a traditional elementary school that provides a safe, child centered academic environment, but is most famous for a cat named Room 8 that came to school with the students in 1952. For the next sixteen years, Room 8 kept the school and the students company, eventually passing away at the ripe age of 22. Room 8 is still memorialized in drawings, painting, and other such homages to this day.

Whether planning for the future, or hoping for a new start, consider Echo Park’s wide variety of educational opportunities for your child!

Real Estate Unlimited is here to serve your real estate needs. Contact us for help finding the perfect home, or getting a feel for the right neighborhood to raise a family.

Historic Filipinotown

Part of Echo Park’s great eats, luxurious parks, and vintage finds is L.A.’s historic Filipinotown. This neighborhood boasts a diverse and fascinating legacy that lasts to this day. Whether you’re swinging by for great food, to tour one of the fascinating historic landmarks, or just explore the district, Filipinotown is a must see for anyone near Echo Park.

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Photo Credit: LA Curbed

More than just another neighborhood in L.A., Historic Filipinotown was created in 2002 by a resolution intended to promote “economic, civic, commercial, cultural, industrial, and educational interests of local residents, business owners, and other stakeholders.” Filipinotown itself is made out of two L.A. districts, Silver Lake to the northwest and Echo park to the southeast.

Filipinotown is the first official geographic designation by any city outside the Philippines honoring Filipinos. In 1920, a wave of Filipino immigrants made up mostly of young unmarried men, arrived in Los Angeles due to American agricultural industries’ need for workers, especially in California. Many of the workers faced racial stigma, forcing them to band together in communities of like-minded individuals. For more than two decades, the Filipino community lived in Little Manilla. Opening restaurants, barbershops, and pool halls, the Filipinos lived and socialized together in Little Manilla.

Today, Historic Filipinotown has changed along with Los Angeles. Although still maintaining a large Filipino population, Filipinotown is now minority Filipino, the old population being overshadowed by ethnically Mexican and Central Americans. However, out of the 600,000 Filipinos living in Los Angeles, 10,000 continue to call Historic Filipinotown home.

Visiting Historic Filipinotown? Be sure to stop by the famous landmarks:

The Filipino Christian Church and St. Columbian Filipino Catholic Church stand as a testament to the religious history of Historic Filipinotown. Supposedly, the quarters from which the churches grew were the original starting point for the neighborhood! As one of the first Christian churches established to serve Filipino Americans, a number of key organizations in the American Filipino community use the churches as a locus point.

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Photo Credit: Leyland S.

Don’t forget to check out Unidad Park, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Historic Filipinotown. The design for Unidad Park was conceptualized by leaders of the Filipino community and based on the artwork submitted by mural artist Eliseo Silva. Unidad Park features a traditional Dap-ay used by students, a sandbox for young children, and barbecue grills for use by families and parties.

Historic Filipinotown also hosts the Filipino American WWII Veterans Memorial, dedicated to the 250,000 Filipino and 7,000 Filipino American soldiers who fought for the United States in World War II. Five slabs of black granite commemorates the history of the veterans, from the battlefields in Europe and Asia, to the fight for equality in the United States.

If you’re interested in visiting Filipinotown for the first time, or want to experience the best the district can offer, stop by August 6th for the 14th Annual Filipinotown Festival running from 9am – 6pm!

Real Estate Unlimited has been serving the neighborhoods around the Historic Filipinotown for over thirty years. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of downtown L.A., or would like help with your real estate needs, please get in touch!

Get to Know Victor Heights

Victor Heights is a hidden-gem of L.A. tucked just southeast of Echo Park. The neighborhood is known for its mystery and isolation, despite being in the center of Los Angeles. This quirky neighborhood is a mixture of Chinese and Hispanic neighborhood and rapidly developing townhouses and upscale neighborhoods.

Victor Heights is set largely on a large slope, giving a great view of the L.A. skyline. Despite being known for being disconnected from the rest of downtown, the neighborhood is connected to Chinatown by the bridges on Alpine, Sunset, and College. Echo Park and the Dodger’s stadium are also only a short walk away!

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Photo Credit: Eric Brightwell

Victor Park has a history much more contemporary than most neighborhoods. Most famously, in 1992 a resident named Betty Oyama lived and coined the neighborhood the “Forgotten Edge,” because, as she said, LAPD couldn’t find Victor Heights. Stepping up to fill the vacancy left by the authorities, Betty Oyama successfully fought to establish a neighborhood watch. Nowadays, the most likely people to be prowling the streets are numerous production assistants that aide a number of films and TV shows being filmed in Victor Heights. Unlike some of the other downtown neighborhoods, Victor Heights lacks any real homogeneity in the architecture. Instead, in Victor Heights the dominant aesthetic remains a mix of major housing developments, family built-bungalows, and Spanish Colonial Revival houses.

The neighborhood’s demographics are a picture of L.A. writ large. The population is mostly older Italians and Croatians that originally formed the neighborhood, supplanted by the newest wave of Asian and Latino immigrants. Most recently, lured in by new development and the appeal of the old-school reputation, younger professionals and hipsters have begun appearing in Victor Heights.

Although certainly a quirky mix of cultures and styles, Victor Heights also possesses a few odd natural quirks that draw in some bizarre wildlife. Feral parrots and wild peafowl wander the neighborhood, bringing an odd twist to inter-city life.

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Photo Credit: Eric Brightwell

Victor Heights is almost entirely residential, but the no-nonsense Hispanic street-food styled Guisados provides homestyle braises on handmade corn tortillas. Featured in our Echo park dining guide, Guisados strives to make tacos “Just the way my mom used to make them.” Guisados takes its name from the classic Hispanic street vendor scene. Try the Steak Picado, pairing flank steak with green bell peppers and bacon, while the extremely spicy Chiles Toreados offers habanero, serrano, jalapeno, and thai chiles on black beans.

If you’re looking for a slice of sleepy residential L.A. that retains the mystery and history of a older era, be sure to check out Victor Heights.

Victor Heights and Echo Park have been served by Real Estate Unlimited since 1980. If you’re new to the neighborhood, are interested in real estate help, or just want to get to know us better, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Explore the Many Echo Park Coffee Houses

The Echo Park neighborhood boasts great parks, thrifty vintage stores, and great dining locations. Thankfully for those looking for a caffeine fix, the coffee is even better! Whether you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up, looking for a location to enjoy the latest best-selling novel, or a moody scene to have a cerebral conversation, Echo Park has you covered.

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Photo Credit: Woodcat Coffee

Check out the Woodcat Coffee Bar at the center of Echo Park. Named after the old Scottish nickname for a hare, the Woodcat offers a wide variety of classic coffee beverages. Woodcat also takes pride in serving Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters’ beans, ensuring that all the drinks are not only locally-sourced, but also extremely delicious.

The Open Space is a combination coffee shop and theater that caters to a wide variety of crowds. The traditional theater crowd is sure to be pleased by a constantly rotating schedule of plays, from classical theater to the most cutting edge avant-garde. The Open Space also hosts business meetings, parties of all varieties, and acts as a local comedy club. If you’re looking for theater or a show, be sure to get caffeinated while you enjoy the gig at The Open Space.

Tierra Mia Coffee is a no-nonsense coffee house that emphasizes the experience of a perfect cup of coffee. Aiming to provide the “freshest and best coffee, beverages, and pastries” Tierra Mia roasts all of their coffee beans in-house on a 1957 Probat roaster! Many of their drinks blend traditional American coffee culture with Latin American tastes, offering drinks like the Cubano con Leche, the Mocha Mexicano, or the Coco Loco Latte. Tierra Mia also aims for creative latte art with each drink, ensuring their drinks are as great to look at as they are to drink.

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Photo Credit: The Blue Bottle Facebook

Visit The Blue Bottle for a taste of history in each cup of coffee. The Blue Bottle is named for the original coffee house in Central Europe opened by one Franz George Kolshisky, famed for his daring escapades during the period of Ottoman Empire expansionism. The Blue Bottle aims for the ultimate coffee experience, promising that no coffee beans older than 48 hours are sold to customers, ensuring each cup is at the perfect level of flavor. The Blue Bottle also offers delivery and carry-out service, so that you can enjoy your favorite coffee blends at home.

FIX is a full-kitchen cafe, offering a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. They offer a wide variety of classic coffee drinks, and also serve wine, beer, and a number of other beverages. FIX maintains the hipster acethetic, but the friendly staff ensures that all visitors will feel welcome. Try their breakfast sandwich, featuring a brioche bun, fried egg, bacon, and arugula. For those on a budget, swing by and grab a two dollar bagel, or splurge and pick up a jalapeno cheddar bagel with cured lox, tomato cucumber, and cream cheese.

Take some time this summer to track down the best coffee houses in Echo Park!

Real Estate Unlimited has been serving Echo Park and the L.A. since 1980. Contact us if you have any questions about Echo Park, real estate needs, or the best coffee houses on the block.