Echo Park

Echo Park

Echo Park is a dynamic neighborhood of rolling hills, well manicure lawns and gardens, perfectly preserved craftsman-style homes and historic Echo Park Lake located just northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and southeast of Hollywood.  The area is known for its eclectic mix of working class families, artists and hipsters and extraordinary ethnic diversity.  It is also home to many civic pride events and multi-cultural festivals throughout the year.  Echo Park was named one of the Top 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2008 by The American Planning Association (APA). Echo Park was chosen due to "its historic architecture, breathtaking hillside topography, walkable and pedestrian-friendly streets, and engaged residents who have worked hard to protect and preserve their community," according to an APA release.

Echo Park has long played a rich and important role in the history of Los Angeles.  The community was founded by Thomas Kelly in the late 1880's and was named Edendale before the construction of the park itself and the original names survives in the Edendale library and Edendale post office in Echo Park.  The Los Angeles film industry was centered in Echo Park (then still called Edendale) before the studios moved to Hollywood and a large number of silent comedies were shot in the neighborhood, as were several Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Our Gang, Ben Turpin, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Charley Chase, Chester Conklin, and Three Stooges shorts.  Several Westerns were shot along the hillsides of Echo Park and it continues to be used for films and television shows today.  Artists and writers ranging from Ayn Rand and Charles Bukowski to Jackson Browne and Frank Zappa created some of their most enduring work while residents of Echo Park and even baseball immortal Babe Ruth maintained a bachelor's pad at the Crown Hill apartments in South Echo Park for much of the 1920s and 1930s.  Poetry and literature readings have been a tradition with Echo Park and its residents since the early 1920's and spoken word readings still continue in and around the neighborhood to this day; most specifically at the Little Joy Bar on West Sunset.

One of the great attractions to the community is the actual Echo Park and it's lake, which at one time was said to have the largest planting of lotuses outside of Asia. Due to its association with the exotic lotus flower, Echo Park hosts an annual Lotus Festival celebration with pan-Asian foods and flower vendors complete with Chinese dragon boat races. Existing in all its structural entirety, you can still visit the first totally enclosed film stage and studio in history, Keystone Studios, built by Mack Sennett in 1912 at 1712 Glendale Blvd in the Edendale quarter of Echo Park.  Echo Park is also home to a thriving music venue and art gallery scene and contains some of the most unique and interesting restaurants and cafes in L.A. county.