OUR BLOG


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.

SW 1

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

SW 2

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.

SW 3

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.

smith 1

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.

smith 2

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.

smith 3

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.

Lummis 1

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).

Lummis 2

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.

Lummis 3

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.

Lummis 4

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.