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Will the Sunset Flats development destroy Echo Park history?

Today (Friday, January 28) is the last day to submit your comments for public record on the Sunset Flats project planned for Sunset and Rosemont in Echo Park. I have written extensively about this project both on Echo Park Now and in an opinions piece on Echo Park Patch, but there’s a new concern by at least one resident that there might be an historical element to one of the soon-to-be destroyed homes.

Resident Rory Mitchell found out that one of the homes on Sunset Blvd. does indeed have some historical value, regardless of whether or not it’s an official historic monument (which it’s not – yet!). Rory, a writer and historical consultant, wrote on his website that 2231 Sunset Blvd. is a 1910s home built for Stefan Zacsek, a Hungarian immigrant.

As an ornamental iron worker, Zacsek owned Eastern Art Metal and Fixtures Co. located in downtown in 1906. Rory writes he and his family would have lived in one of the two homes in the back while the house was being built. He believes those houses were built before 1906.

(Note: The Eastsider LA also wrote about this earlier this month.)

Zacsek invented quite a few things, including a patent for a “spring loaded door latch and an ‘apparatus for displaying  pictures’ that would allow a person to look through binocular lenses and see a picture. Then, they could pull a handle… and see another picture.” Sound familiar? I had a Viewmaster when I was a kid, although not of his particular patent. He had applied for the patent in 1904, was granted it in 1906, but moving pictures became much more of the rage back then.

Even though the Zacsek family eventually moved later on farther down Susnet, “2231 Sunset,” Rory writes, “first as a back house and then as a front house, remains the first address for the Zacseks in Los Angeles, and the one that would represent their largest investment in the community both monetarily and emotionally.”

It’s unclear whether we could preserve this building as an historic monument as a tactic to block the huge development planned for this location, but Rory is right. Destroying 100+ year-old-homes is destructive to a community with such unique history, and it’d be silly to discount its importance.

Either way, make sure to get in your comments today!

In writing:

Los Angeles Department of City Planning
Community Planning Bureau
City Hall
Room 667
200 North Spring Street. Los Angeles CA 90012
Case # CPC-2009-3488-DB-SPR

Email: rogelio.flores@lacity.org

You should also CC Eric Garcetti’s office at councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org

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