What It Is: A 3.76-square-mile section of L.A west of South Pasadena and south of Eagle Rock
Ethnic Diversity: 73% Hispanic and/or white, 12% Caucasian, and 3% African American
In the early 20th century, Highland Park was a mecca for intellectual practitioners of the Arts & Crafts movement, including painter William Lees Judson and printer/ typographer Clyde Browne, who built the now-shabby Arroyo San Encino, a gathering place for artists. It was also the location of many a silent film—one of L.A’s first movie studios was located next to Sycamore Grove Park.
One of L.A’s earliest subdivisions, Highland Park asked to be annexed to the city of Los Angeles in the late 1890s—it needed water and it wanted the bigger city’s police force to help control the wild saloons that had sprouted up around what is now Sycamore Grove Park.
Then & Now
Charles F. Lummis settled here after writing about his 1884 walk from Ohio to take a job at the Los Angeles Times. His handmade castle, El Alisal (“Place of the Sycamore”), is open to the public. Today, Highland Park isn’t as affluent as its hillside neighbors Washington Heights and Monterey Hills, but its increasingly boho-meets-bodega atmosphere is drawing more and more of the Prius-and-chai set.
Park: Sycamore Park, with playgrounds and climbing structures, the Hiner Bandstand, tennis courts, families out on Sunday afternoon and multitudinous picnic tables and barbecues shaded by old sycamores; taco trucks park on Figueroa in case you forgot a picnic
Library: Arroyo Seco Regional Branch on Figueroa, whose architecture pays tribute to El Alisal
Arts Organization: The Arroyo Arts Collective, sponsoring art shows, community art projects and an annual tour of artist’ homes
Attraction: Heritage Square, a collection of Victorian mansions, some of which were moved here to save them from demolition
Web Sites: historichighlandpark.org, hpht.org
Pets with Fez, an incense-filled weaving studio on York (lessons on jumbo looms!); the gastropub on York called, of course, the York; and, for underage drinkers, Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, home to 500 specialty sodas.
What He Said
“This Arroyo would make one of the greatest parks in the world!”
-President Teddy Roosevelt to Charles Lummis, 1911
(Twelve years later, Lummis pressed the city into dedicating 60 acres to the Arroyo Seco Park System. Bully for us!)
Born in Highland Park
USC’s College of Fine Arts (1901)
Lived in Highland Park
Occidental College (moved from Boyle Heights in 1898)
Jackson and Severin Brown, musicians and grandsons of Clyde Browne
Edward Furlong, actor
Porntip Nakhirunkanok, Miss Universe 1988 (Thailand)
Bobby Riggs, tennis star
Rocky Delgadillo, L.A City Attorney