Category: Landmarks

Vista Theater

The historic Vista Theater in Los Feliz is a cultural landmark and artifact of life in Los Angeles. Located at 4473 Sunset Drive, this antique movie theater features a 50-foot movie screen, vintage architecture, and cement handprints from famous actors, actresses, and directors.

Spend a night out and go see a movie or the occasional concert at the Vista. It’s also available for special events, birthdays, and weddings. Many filmmakers have used the Vista as a shooting location and have premiered their films on its screen.

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Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/Vista_Theater%2C_Los_Angeles.jpg

This famous silver screen was opened in October of 1923, which means that it is almost one-hundred-years-old. Back in the roaring twenties, the theater went by the name Lou Bard Playhouse and it hosted vaudeville shows before it screened the film Tips, starring actress Baby Peggy.

Today, the Vista Theater projects films on both a Sony Digital projector as well as a 35 mm film projector. For example, Interstellar (directed by Christopher Nolan) was screened on 35 mm film at the Vista a week before its national premiere. Contemporary films are screened on a regular basis at the Visa now. The Secret Movie Club Film Festival of 2017 features movies screened every weekend of the month of August. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to see classics (like Freaks, Blue Velvet, Dr. Strangelove, and Roadhouse) on the big screen. Find out more here.

The Egyptian aesthetic in the building’s décor was popular in America in the twenties, and this historic building was designed by Lewis A. Smith. Think of Intolerance (1916) by D.W. Griffith. Ronald Wright later added etchings of hieroglyphics to the design. The original layout of the theater space contained 838 seats, but half of the seating was removed later to increase legroom for audience members. Now the Vista is known for “the most legroom in Hollywood.”

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Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTkVwEs0Zxo&feature=youtu.be

Check out this YouTube video by American Public Media to learn more. Thomas Theaters renovated the Vista Theater during the eighties, and it is currently owned by Lance Alspaugh.

You may have been to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, but don’t forget to visit the forecourt at the Vista Theater, where you’ll see the cement handprints of famous Hollywood actors and directors. Are you a Spike Jonze fan? Love laughing at John C. Reily? Or are you more into John Landis films? See the mark left by the cast and crew of famous pictures like Ed Wood, Swingers, Show Girls, Poltergeist, and more. Baby Peggy herself was featured in a handprint ceremony at the Vista when she was 91-years-old to celebrate the theater’s history. Other celebrated artists include Tenacious D, Ray Harryhausen, Forrest J. Ackerman, Penelope Spheeris, Vilmos Zsigmond, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and more.

About Los Feliz:

Los Feliz is a neighborhood in central Los Angeles known for its history as a California land grant and as the home of various Hollywood celebrities. Los Feliz was the neighborhood where Walt Disney first drew Mickey Mouse in his uncle’s garage, and it was home to his first animation studio. Today, Los Feliz covers two-and-a-half acres of land and is home to approximately 35,500 citizens. The borders of Los Feliz touch the Santa Monica Mountains, Hollywood, Griffith Park, Atwater Village, Silver Lake, the Los Angeles River, and the Hollywood Hills.

The Rancho Los Feliz land grant was a parcel of land covering six-and-a-half acres. It was granted to Corporal Jose Vicente Feliz (the neighborhood’s namesake). In Griffith Park, you’ll see the adobe home his children built, which still exists. Now, the same land is what we know as Los Feliz and Silver Lake.

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Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/9082603467

Visit Los Feliz Village for excellent shopping, dining, nightlife, and vintage stores. Drive by Laughlin Park, Los Feliz Estates, Los Feliz Hills, Franklin Hills, Los Feliz Square, and Los Feliz Knolls to get to know the neighborhood better. Celebrities like Adam Levine, James Cameron, Jenji Kohan, Geena Davis, Lily Tomlin, Val Kilmer, Beck, Spike Jonze, Katherine Heigl, Brad Pitt and more have lived in Los Feliz.

Other historic sites to visit in Los Feliz include:

-The Franklin Avenue Bridge (“The Shakespeare Bridge”)

-The Ennis House, the Sowden House, and the Hollyhock House, designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright

-The Los Feliz Heights Steps

-The Lovell Health House, designed by Richard Neutra

-The First Walt Disney Animation Studio and the Animation School for the Walt Disney Studios

-The original Feliz Adobe in Griffith Park

Enjoy your time in Los Feliz and the great city of Los Angeles.

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Southwest Museum

Explore the culture and the history of Mt. Washington in Los Angeles. Mt. Washington is a historic neighborhood located to the west of South Pasadena and north of Cypress Park. It’s known as the home of the Self-Realization Fellowship, Heritage Square Museum, Eldred Street, and the Lummis House. All of these are lovely destinations, but museum lovers can’t afford to miss visiting the Southwest Museum in Mt. Washington.

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Photo Credit: https://theautry.org/sites/default/files/styles/original/public/visit/southwest-museum-exterior-46.jpg?itok=wO6YRXbV

The Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection is the first museum of Los Angeles and is located at 234 Museum Drive, Los Angeles, 90065. It specializes in exhibiting and preserving artifact­s and artwork from native American and Latino communities. It was founded in 1907 by the Southwest Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and journalist Charles Fletcher Lummis. Charles Lummis was the same Lummis of the Lummis House built in 1897. He was known for his photography of American landscapes and portraits of Native American Indians. Lummis was an outspoken activist for Native American rights and throughout his life he collected Native American artwork. The museum building was erected in 1912. Today, the museum is the Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus, and in 2003, the museum merged with the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum of the American West.

Museum hours are between 10 am and 5 pm on Saturdays, and admission and parking are  free.Visitors may inquire about tours, programming, special events, and lectures. Exhibits and features at the Southwest Museum include:

-Ethnobotanical Community Garden

-Four Centuries of Pueblo Pottery (featuring over one hundred pieces going as far back as the sixteenth-century)

-American Indians of the Great Plains

-Tunnel Entrance (contemporary artwork is on exhibit in the pedestrian tunnel entrance that is accessible from Museum Drive)

-Kaufman Collection

-Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale

-California Impressionism: The Gardena High School Collection

-Western Frontiers: Stories of Fact and Fiction

-Archive and Braun Research Library

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Photo Credit: Friends of the Southwest Museum – http://www.savesouthwestmuseum.com/?page_id=73

Currently, the collections at the Southwest Museum are being moved to the Resources Center of the Autry, a new building in Burbank, California. The Autry is also dedicated to the preservation of the Southwest Museum building and work on that project is underway.

As of January, 2015, the Southwest Museum was recognized as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is also recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. The Friends of the Southwest Museum is an advocacy group that formed in 2003 when the merger between the Autry and the Southwest Museum began. The goal of the Friends of the Southwest Museum is to see the Southwest Museum continue to show exhibitions and provide education and culture to schools and communities in northeastern Los Angeles.

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Photo Credit: Friends of the Southwest Museum – http://www.savesouthwestmuseum.com/?page_id=73

Other historic sites to visit in Los Angeles include:

-Historic Route US 66

-Casa de Adobe (Missions)

-Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

-Griffith Observatory

-Los Angeles County Museum of Art

-Getty Center

-La Brea Tar Pits

Real Estate Unlimited is a real estate agency serving the city of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Feel free to view and browse our listings in the neighborhoods of Mt. Washington, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and more.

Smith Estate – Mt. Washington

The Northeast neighborhood Mt. Washington in the city of Los Angeles is a hidden gem that is situated near downtown Los Angeles and various historic sites. Start your exploration of L.A. with the historic architecture and homes near Mt. Washington. You may have heard of Heritage Square Museum, but don’t forget Smith Estate in Highland Park.

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Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Smith_Estate%2C_Los_Angeles%2C_California.JPG

The Smith Estate is a pristine Victorian home on El Mio. It was built in 1887 for Judge David Patterson Hatch, and today it stands at 5905 El Mio Dr. Originally built for $10,000 with four bedrooms and servants’ quarters, the home value is estimated at almost two million dollars today. The four-and-half thousand square foot home contains six bedrooms and three bathrooms.

The next family to call this Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument home was the Smiths. Charles Warren Smith was a railroad man who bought the home. He worked with the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway, the Pasadena Railway Company, the Los Angeles Electric Railway Company, and the Los Angeles Railway streetcar system. Charles was also known for the uncommon pursuit of writing publications on the occult. The Smiths were popular for their legendary parties involving dancing, decorations, and fundraising.

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Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/Charles_William_Smith_.jpg/603px-Charles_William_Smith_.jpg

Following the Smith Family, Michael Gage moved into the home during the 80’s. He commuted to City Hall for his position as the Los Angeles Deputy Mayor. The current owners are Tim Parker and Mari Parker.

Even if you haven’t seen the Smith Estate — or even if you’ve never heard of it — you may recognize it from some movies. The house was used as the setting for director James Wan’s horror film Insidious Chapter 2 (2013), starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne. It was also the setting for the cult horror movie Spider Baby (1967).

If visiting the Smith Estate isn’t enough to feed your interest in historic L.A., check out historic homes at the Hale House, the Heritage Square Museum, the Ziegler Estate, and the Garbutt House.

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Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/Smith_Estate%2C_Highland_Park_%28from_base_of_El_Mio%29.JPG

About Mt. Washington: Mt. Washington is a hilly neighborhood surrounded by Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Montecito Heights, Silver Lake, and Echo Park. It’s just close enough to the heart of L.A. and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Check out more destinations in and near Mt. Washington:

-Southwest Museum: Learn about and celebrate Native American culture at this historic museum.

-Self-Realization Fellowship Headquarters: Explore meditation and yoga at this local organization.

-Heritage Square Museum: Walk into the past as you tour historic home museums.

-Lummis House: See the river rock and craftsmen style of this iconic castle-shaped home.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real estate agency with more than thirty years of experience in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. We specialize in finding the right home for our clients, including luxury real estate. Please allow us to help you with any of your real estate needs in Mt. Washington, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Pasadena, Silver Lake, Echo Park, and more.

Lummis House (aka El Alisal) in Mt. Washington

There’s never a boring moment in Los Angeles, California with all of the historic homes and architecture to discover and visit. Among the many Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments, the Lummis House is one of the great historic house museums of Southern California.

Located at 200 East Avenue 43, the Lummis House and Gardens is open on the weekends to visitors, and the museum is run by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Charles Fletcher Lummis built the house in 1897, covering four thousand square feet on a property of three acres. The project lasted thirteen years, and the exterior of the home is made of river rock.

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Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/Lummis_House_in_Los_Angeles%2C_California.jpg/1200px-Lummis_House_in_Los_Angeles%2C_California.jpg

The Lummis House, also known as El Alisal, stands nearby the Arroyo Seco, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Los Angeles River. Lummis chose the spot for the project because of a sycamore tree on the property. El Alisal actually means alder grove, another word for sycamores.

Unfortunately, the original sycamore Lummis was drawn to is gone, but four new sycamores are growing on the site. The Lummis House looks like a castle fit for a king. The structure appears medieval and ancient, but it adds to the rustic atmosphere for this craftsman home. Railroad pole, carved woods

Today, this beautiful home is overseen by the Recreation and Parks Department of the City of Los Angeles. Lummis’ original wishes involved the estate turning into a theater for the community and a supper room influenced by Spanish architecture and culture. The home does include a concrete floor in the exhibition hall intended for concerts and art exhibitions. Until 2015, the property was used for the Historical Society of Southern California (beginning in the 1960s).

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Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fb/Interior_view_of_%22El_Alisal%22_the_home_of_Charles_F._Lummis%2C_ca.1920-1929_%28CHS-1426%29.jpg/1185px-Interior_view_of_%22El_Alisal%22_the_home_of_Charles_F._Lummis%2C_ca.1920-1929_%28CHS-1426%29.jpg

You may recognize the name Lummis from the Lummis Day Festival, featuring celebration and activities for the community that promote art, music, and history. The festival was inspired by Charles Fletcher Lummis himself. He is known for advocating for the preservation of Native American and Spanish culture. As a part of that mission, he founded the Southwest Museum, which eventually merged with the Autry National Center. It is still the goal of the museum to this day to conserve collections of Native American and Spanish artwork.

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Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ee/Charles_Fletcher_Lummis.jpg/800px-Charles_Fletcher_Lummis.jpg

Lummis was employed as a journalist, but he was also an avid photographer and a collector of folklore and artifacts. An interesting history chronicles Lummis’ life. He went to Harvard with Theodore Roosevelt before eventually dropping out, and he walked from Cincinnati to Los Angeles to work at the Los Angeles Times. During his journey, Lummis crossed 3,500 miles and became interested in Native American Indians; he went on to become an outspoken activist for their rights. In 1905, took the position of the City Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library, and he founded the Arroyo Seco Foundation in the same year.

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Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/04/Lummis_House%2C_Los_Angeles_2.JPG/1280px-Lummis_House%2C_Los_Angeles_2.JPG

Real Estate Unlimited is a boutique real estate agency with an intimate knowledge and impressive expertise of the Los Angeles area. Feel free to browse our listings in Mt. Washington, South Pasadena, Eagle Rock, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, and more. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you purchase or sell your home.

Judson Studios – Mt. Washington

“A work of art is anything supremely well done.” -William Lees Judson

 

Source: http://www.judsonstudios.com/about/

Art lovers of Los Angeles, have you checked out the Judson Studios in Highland Park? Judson Studios is a family run stained-glass art studio that has been in Los Angeles since the end of the 19th century. Check out Judson Studios near Mt. Washington in Southern California for tours and education about the stained-glass process.

The new location of the studio is at 200 S. Avenue 66, Los Angeles, California, 90042 in the Highland Park neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles (in the Garvanza section). The founder William Lees Judson from England started the Judson Studios in 1895 with his sons. At that time, the studio worked under its first name: Colonial Art Glass Co. Judson produced glass for architect Frank Lloyd Wright and eventually founded the Los Angeles College of Fine Arts.

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Photo Credit: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1220/1318793422_96d0d9f614_b.jpg

Today, Judson Studios is made up of two separate locations. The location in South Pasadena specializes in fused and kiln formed glass designs, while the second location is open for tours at 143 Pasadena Ave, South Pasadena, California.

Judson Studios specializes in customized stain glass projects for any venue or location. The studio has produced beautiful glass for both public and private buildings, and the professional team is capable of producing glass for projects of all sizes. The team also takes on restoration and repair projects, including reinstallation of glass.

In addition to crafting some of the most beautiful stained-glass projects in the world, the team at Judson Studios completes every step of the stained-glass process, from design and concept all the way to glass installation. Judson glass is beautiful, breathtaking, and lasting.

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Photo Credit: http://pasadenaheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Friday-Night-Reception_The-Judson-Studios.jpg

Artists at the Judson Studios are familiar with various styles of glass, and the studio produces both traditional projects as well as contemporary and cutting-edge projects. The artists there experiment with mixing both traditional techniques, contemporary styles, and the latest technologies to produce custom and unique glass designs. Judson Studios works to make designs and dreams a reality in gorgeous, colored glass.

Monthly public tours are available. The studios, which also hosts art exhibitions and artists-in-residence, is two-thousand square feet. The studio space includes a cutting room and a subterranean glazing room for glass work.

“Only the best is worthwhile” -Williams Lees Judson

Source: http://www.judsonstudios.com/about/

Since June of last year, the South Pasadena location has been open for tours. This studio is larger at five-thousand square feet. The space also includes kilns for innovative glass projects. David Judson is still the president of Judson Studios and the great-great-grandson of the original founder.

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Photo Credit: www.judsonstudios.com/portfolio/private-hotel-los-angeles/

Mt. Washington in Northeast Los Angeles is known for its steep hills and contemporary architecture. It is located a short half an hour from the Los Angeles Airport as well as from the famous Santa Monica Pier. In Mt. Washington, visitors and locals enjoy being in close proximity to the Self-Realization Fellowship, downtown Los Angeles, Eldred Street, and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian. Other nearby destinations include Hollywood, Moon Canyon Park, and the Carlin G. Smith Recreational Center.

The Real Estate Unlimited blog brings you expert knowledge and insider info about the city of Los Angeles. With our decades of experience in buying and selling luxury real estate, we are available today to assist you with learning about the city and the surrounding areas.

 

Galco’s Soda Pop Stop – Mt. Washington

Going to Bevmo is a treat, but no other beverage store in Los Angeles has as much character and history as Galco’s Soda Pop Stop. Located at 5702 York Blvd near Mt. Washington, Galco’s Soda Pop Stop was once a grocery store specializing in Italian food and sandwiches. Today, the store still contains and runs its deli and serves Blockbuster sandwiches.

Growing up, John F. Nese’s family herded goats in Chavez Ravine before having to move from the construction of Dodger Stadium. Nese became passionate about soda when he learned about the soda making process while visiting the soda bottling factory of a family friend in the 50s.

Later, while running Galco’s Old World Grocery — which offered unique Italian goods to the community — Nese experienced being locked out of soda distribution chains by larger retailers. When Pepsi offered prices Nese could not afford, he decided to start carrying smaller soda brands. What once started out as a soda endeavor involving 25 brands grew into the Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, which today carries more than 400 soda flavors.

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Photo Credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4Xxh6Yjt1gw/SlVbMFvzcqI/AAAAAAAAAtY/o9IgeByLTxE/s400/side+store.jpg

Many customers are initially stressed when facing the task of picking out just a few of Galco’s wide inventory of sodas. The possibilities are endless. However, once acquainted with the store, the great thing about Galco’s is that you have a choice between your favorite flavors, unique and wild flavors, and international brands. Just to name a few flavors, believe it or not, Galco’s offers butterscotch, birch, chocolate, cucumber, dandelion, caramel, honey, guava, lavender, mint julep, passionfruit, mandarin, mango, peach, rhubarb, rose, strawberry, tamarind, pineapple, vanilla, and more.

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Photo Credit: http://ot-foodspotting-production.s3.amazonaws.com/reviews/3433299/thumb_600.jpg?1366241124

Types of sodas on the shelves include coffee, egg cream, brews, sarsaparillas, ginger soda, diet sodas, kosher sodas, root beers, and non-carbonated sodas. If you can’t choose a soda, you can let loose on the Soda Creation Station. Customers mix creations into bottles from an assortment of 100 cane sugar syrups, which are mixed with carbonated water. You can also shop online, but note that the minimum order is 6 sodas.

Galco’s does soda in a big way, but it isn’t the only product or opportunity that the store has to offer. In addition to soda, the store houses 600 forms of beer within 10 cold cases. Besides the craft beer from around the country and the world, Nese stocks his shelves with options for everyone, like champagne, cider, mead, sake, wine, and artisanal waters.

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Photo Credit: http://galcos.dreamhosters.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Summer2012FeatureSodaPopE1.jpg

If you stop in to Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, be sure to check out the retro and vintage candy and toys. Show your family and friends the products you grew up loving, or find something new to take home.

About Mt. Washington: Mt. Washington is located in the San Rafael Hills in the Northeast region of the city of Los Angeles and was founded in 1909. It is known as home to Eldred Street (one of the steepest streets in the nation), the Southwest Museum, and the Headquarters of the Self-Realization Fellowship.

Real Estate Unlimited is a Los Angeles luxury real estate agency serving clients in Mt. Washington, Highland Park, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Pasadena, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, Elysian Park, and more. We prioritize providing high quality service and unique knowledge about Los Angeles. Feel free to contact us today.

Creativity Runs Wild in Echo Park’s Animal Alley

Los Angeles is a mecca for contemporary art, including a vibrant culture of collaborative and public art projects. The city is filled with dynamic murals painted by local artists, and the Echo Park and Silver Lake areas are no exception. Today, we’ll show you the larger-than-life denizens of Animal Alley, a collaborative mural gallery in the Echo Park neighborhood.

Looking for more Echo Park public art? Check out our post about the Lady of the Lake!

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Elephant mural by artists Otto Schade and Cindy Schwarzstein – Photo Credit: Atlasobscura.com

Animal Alley is the brainchild of Los Angeles gallery owner Jason Ostro. He showcases emerging artists at Gabba Gallery, a boutique exhibition space Echo Park. His Gabba Gallery project began in 2014 as a constructive way to combat the prevalent graffiti and blight in the neighborhood. The initiative inspired local artists to begin decorating local alleys and side streets with imaginative artwork, on themes ranging from typewriters to superheroes to outer space.

Ostro kicked off the project with his own mural, a collaboration with local street artist Andrea LaHue, aka “Random Act.” Now, the Gabba Alley project incorporates over a hundred murals by more than eighty-five local and international artists. A prolific local talent whose compositions focus on botanical themes, “Random Act” has contributed her signature orchids to the Animal Alley murals.

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Mural by local street artist Phobik – Photo Credit: Imgrum.net

The artwork is focused in four alleys, three near Gabba Gallery and a “satellite street gallery” in Echo Park. “Animal Alley” takes its theme from the wild kingdom, and artists creating individual works for its walls are invited to base their artworks on the creatures of their choice.

“Animal Alley L.A.” can be found off Glendale Boulevard, just behind the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Entries range from growling cheetahs to marching elephants to winged kittens – and since the Alley Project is eclectic by design, artists have created murals in a range of styles from figurative to realistic. Many painters have expanded on the animal theme by adding lush vegetation, including vines, ferns, and colorful flowers.

Looking for more local color? Read our post on the history of Echo Park’s Carroll Avenue!

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Lion mural in Animal Alley – Photo Credit: Imgrum.net

Ostro works with local residents and business owners to locate wall space, and most of the materials used to create the murals are donated. A few artists have contributed sculptures and art installations made from recycled materials, including a royal macaw made out of scrap metal from used coffee tins. National art supply chain Blick has been a proud sponsor of the Gabba Alley Project from the outset.

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Artists at work in Animal Alley – Photo Credit: Latimes.com

Animal Alley, like the other streets in the Gabba Alley Project, is designed to encourage neighborhood participation, so the project will be ongoing and may eventually expand into nearby side streets and wall spaces. Current murals occupy open walls, garage doors, and even dumpsters. Painting sessions tend to be half open studio, half block party, with troupes of artists showing up to work together on outsize compositions.

Animal Alley’s finished works already include fifteen bright animal-themed paintings, and the menagerie has already become a stop on several city art tours. If you’re planning to visit Echo Park, why not make a stop in Animal Alley? You can see local creativity and civic pride on display, and you might even catch local artists hard at work on a mural in progress!

Looking for places to eat during your visit? Read our guide to the best restaurants in Echo Park!

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!

Echo Park’s Lady of the Lake

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Photo Credit: Kcet.org

Echo Park, LA is home to an impressive number of architectural and historical landmarks – including the Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue, the Pueblo-Style Atwater Bungalows, or Frank Lloyd Wright’s art-deco tribute to Mayan temple architecture, the Ennis House.

The Ennis House isn’t the only art-deco-inspired monument in Echo Park. The recently-renovated Lady of the Lake statue welcomes visitors to Echo Park Lake. Her official name is “Nuesta Reina de Los Angeles,” which translates to, “Our Queen of the Angels,” but locals tend to know her by her Arthurian nickname. In this post, we’ll tell you all about the history of this majestic sculpture.

Our story begins in 1934, when the Works Projects Administration, or WPA, commissioned a public statue for the city of Los Angeles. The WPA’s public arts division was designed to fund public projects by deserving artists who struggled to make ends meet during the depression – and also to assist in the creation of art works that would inspire everyday people. Many WPA mural and sculpture projects still survive. The WPA employed over 10,000 artists in total, including superstars like Diego Rivera and Willem de Kooning.

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Ada May Sharpless with the Lady of the Lake – Photo Credit: Lit250v.library.ucla.edu

Artist and sculptor Ada May Sharpless won the WPA commission for the Lady of the Lake, and she set out to create a monument that would capture both the history and unique cultural traditions of the Los Angeles area as well as a spirit of progress and modernity.

Ada May Sharpless grew up in Santa Ana, California, and developed an interest in painting and sculpture early on. She graduated from USC in 1922, and went on to study sculpture at the Otis Institute of Art and Design. She continued her exploration of form and design in Paris, where she studied with influential art deco sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Sharpless created several other public sculptures in the Southern California area, including a full-length stone sculpture of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo for her hometown of Santa Ana.

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Photo Credit: Kcet.org

Sharpless’ work, like that of other art deco sculptors, is characterized by clean lines and stylized forms. Their work also called back to ancient sculpture traditions that emphasized the human form, including statues of Greek athletes and bas-relief friezes on Egyptian temples. Her “Queen of the Angels” was meant to synthesize these diverse influences into a seamless whole, a sculpture that was monumental, accessible, familiar, and innovative all at the same time.

The Lady of the Lake was installed in 1935, but the statue fell into neglect along with the park. Fingers broken, covered with graffiti, she was placed in storage in 1986, but restored in the late 1990s and returned to a renewed Echo Park Lake. Today the regal statue gazes down on visitors as they approach the park from the peninsula, with the water providing a dramatic backdrop. If you’d like to visit Echo Park’s own guardian naiad, you can find her welcoming visitors at the north end of the park.

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!

Carroll Avenue in Echo Park

Carroll Avenue near Echo Park is one of the most famous streets in the country, having been immortalized through television and film due to its beauty. The street is the location of some of the oldest houses in the city of Los Angeles, including 19th century Victorian designs. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, it was listed in 1976 in the National Register of Historic Places.

As you visit Los Angeles, look for the historical marker on Carroll Avenue while you search for homes from your favorite Hollywood productions. The sign reads, “Highest Concentration of Victorian Era Residences” and lists the Cultural Heritage Board Monuments numbers associated with the historical structures. Here you’ll see architecture that playfully mixes Victorian styles with Japanese and Scottish styles of decor.

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Photo Credit: http://media6.trover.com/T/4fb1180d09c86b093c000014/fixedw_large_2x.jpg

You’ll recognize 1345 Carroll Avenue as the home filmed in the music video Thriller, starring legend Michael Jackson and movie star Vincent Price. John Landis directed the music video in 1983. Rewatch the video and see if you can spot the same house!

Next, if you’re a fan of Adam Sandler, you won’t want to miss 1324 Carroll Avenue, which was featured as Grandma Lily’s home in Grandma’s Boy. Sandler was an executive producer on this 2006 comedy; the film stars Allen Covert as Alex, a video game tester who moves in with his grandmother after his roommate fails to make rent. Nicholaus Goossen directed the film, and Nick Swardson and Covert co-wrote the script about Alex’s wacky dilemmas as he works on his own original video game.

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Remember the magical television show Charmed about the three enchanted Halliwell sisters? They lived together in their mother’s home, Halliwell Manor, the exterior of which was actually filmed at the location of 1329 Carroll Avenue. This house is also known as the Innes House, previously occupied by Daniel Innes and built in 1887. The home evokes the Victorian style popular in Los Angeles, the structure spans 2,900 square feet (including 5 bedrooms, and one bath). Don’t be fooled by the storyline of the TV show, which is set in San Francisco.

Many of the beautiful homes in Los Angeles are located in Echo Park, and the neighborhood is home to many well-loved Hollywood celebrities. Near Echo Park you will find Downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown, Silver Lake, and the Elysian Valley. Visit Echo Park to enjoy the excellent dining and nightlife options, enjoy a game at Dodger Stadium, fish in the city and experience the lotus garden at Echo Park Lake, and explore the biking and hiking trails of Elysian Park.

Other sights to visit in Echo Park include:

-Echo Park Time Travel Mart

-The Echo and The Echoplex

-Chavez Ravine Arboretum

-Baxter Street Stairs

Are you excited to learn more about the neighborhood of Echo Park and homes in the historic areas of Los Angeles? Feel free to contact our experienced team at Real Estate Unlimited for a consultation. We are knowledgeable on the history of and the properties in Los Angeles, and we are happy to share our listings of homes in Southern California.

The Ennis House – A Temple to Modern Architecture in Los Feliz

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Falling Water may be the most famous Frank Lloyd Wright home, but this prolific architect created memorable buildings throughout America, including several in California. The Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz is home to the Ennis House, a Frank Lloyd Wright design meant to invoke the surrounding desert and the region’s ancient history. In this post, we’ll take a virtual tour of this Southern California original.

If you’d like to learn about another Los Angeles landmark, check out this blog post about the Holyland Exhibition in Silver Lake!

The Ennis House was commissioned by Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1923 and built in 1924. The house is the fourth and largest of Frank Lloyd Wright’s textile block designs, constructed primarily of molded concrete blocks in a unique graphic pattern meant to invoke ancient Mayan temples. The Ennis House complex is constructed of over 27,000 of these handmade concrete blocks. Frank Lloyd Wright was fascinated by innovative textures and building materials throughout his career, and this quartet of homes comprise a historic experiment in creative use of building materials.

The Ennis House is sometimes referred to as an example of “Mayan Revival” architecture. Bas-relief designs on the concrete blocks are patterned after symmetrical bas-relief sculptures in the ancient temple city of Uxmal in Mexico. The design also features an exterior gate made of wrought iron bent into a striking geometric pattern.

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Photo Credit: Christiesge.wix.com

The Ennis House faced significant setbacks during construction, mostly owing to its unusual makeup. Concrete blocks at the lower levels buckled under the weight above, causing unevenness and structural instability. The concrete was mixed with local granite in order to create a special color and texture. Unfortunately, this admixture created impurities in the final product, weakening the concrete blocks further.

Once construction reached the upper levels, Mabel and Charles Ennis took over, announcing several changes to the original design. Although these changes were intended to limit the structural instability and cost overruns of the building, they didn’t altogether succeed. Always vulnerable, the Ennis House was damaged during the Northridge Earthquake of 1994, suffering further damage during record rains in 2004 and 2005. With over fifteen million dollars in estimated repairs, the future of the Ennis House was uncertain. In 2005, the house was added to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of “11 Most Endangered Historic Places.”

In 2006, a FEMA grant was issued to begin restoration on the house, and more funds were made available by a construction loan through First Republic Bank. Reconstruction included a new structural support system and a new roof. In 2009, the Ennis House was placed on the market, eventually selling in 2011 to its current owner, billionaire Ron Burkle. A condition of the sale was that Ennis House be open to visitors twelve days each year.

To take a virtual tour of another iconic local home, click here to read our blog post about Silver Lake’s Chandelier Tree!

The Ennis House has inspired Hollywood for decades, beginning its cinematic career back in 1933 when it became a shooting location. Its unearthly façade has appeared in classics like The Haunting of Hill House, The Day of the Locust, and Blade Runner. Its interior, which reminds many visitors of a cathedral, has appeared in still more films, including The Replacement Killers and The Thirteenth Floor. Many filmmakers have used the Ennis House as an exotic setting – in Rush Hour, it was transformed into a penthouse apartment in a futuristic Hong Kong skyscraper.

Today, the Ennis House is a pilgrimage site for cinema buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike. If you’re planning to visit Los Angeles, why not plan a side trip to Los Feliz so you can pay tribute to this one-of-a-kind urban temple?

Are you interested in learning more about the Ennis House and other unique Los Angeles landmarks? At Real Estate Unlimited, we pride ourselves on our knowledge of local history and architecture. Call us to schedule a tour of Los Feliz or another unique Los Angeles neighborhood, and let us show you around these unique neighborhoods today!