Jan 29, 2011

The Little Town that Could

The Facts
What It Is:
A half-square-mile L.A community bordered by Highland Park to the north and west, El Sereno to the south and Monterey Hills to the east
Population: 3,327
Ethic Diversity: No statistics available; presumably the majority groups are Hispanic and Anglo
Number of Homes: 1,100
Number of Grocery Stores: 2

Hermon Who?
Perhaps you’re like us—you’ve lived here your entire life and never once heard of Hermon. Well, we’re here to tell you that Hermon’s been right under our noses all along—we just didn’t know it.

Key Players
In 1902, a group of Free Methodists walked up the Arroyo Seco from L.A to look for land to build a school, and they found this tidy little valley. The land’s owner knew his property’s isolation made it a tough sell, so he donated some of it to the Methodists to seal the deal. The new settlers named the town Hermon after the biblical Mount Hermon, and by 1904 they had 50 homes, a church, a private Methodist school and public school (now the Bushnell School).

Telling Moments
In 1911, the town fathers founded California’s first junior college, which went on to become Los Angeles Pacific College (which later merged with Azusa College and left town). In 1912, Hermon became part of the mushrooming city of Los Angeles, but it retained its clean-living Methodist ways. Then in the ’60s, when L.A Pacific College moved, a grocery store bought the land and scored a liquor license. Hermon gradually lost its Methodist soul.

Then & Now
The community’s final insult came in 1978, when L.A councilman Art Snyder renamed Hermon Ave. “Via Marisol” for his 3-year-old daughter, Erin-Marisol. All the street signs and the sign for the Pasadena Freeway exit were changed, leaving locals feeling angry but powerless. Finally, in the late ’90s, neighbors banded together to fight a hillside development, and as part of that process they demanded that their community get its name back. Hermon was born again, and the tree-lined streets of modest little frame houses are looking sprightlier.

Our Favorite…
Just across the Pasadena Freeway is the Arroyo Seco Regional Branch Library, on Figueroa St., a very cool stone building
Arts Organization: Art-in-the-Park, which runs art classes, a Day of the Dead festival and the Lalo Guerrero School of Music, named for the “godfather of Chicano music”
Dog Park: Hermon Dog Park, a wonderful doggie playland in Hermon Park, off Via Marisol and Ave. 60
Web Site:

Best Hangout
Lovely Ernest Debs Regional Park, which makes up the west border of the community.

Born in Hermon
Claude A. Watson, a prominent Hermon attorney who ran for U.S president on the Prohibition Party ticket in the 1944 and 1948 elections.



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena