Tag Archive for: echo park historical society

Walking out of Masa tonight after dinner, I look up and was thrilled to see some light shine on the top of the historic Jensen’s Recreation Center in Echo Park. The 1924 Jensen building is a great piece of Echo Park history and architecture, and the 28 feet wide x 17 feet tall sign has 1300 red, green and white incandescent light bulbs (which not many existing signs in the area have any more since neon became popular in the 1920s).

In 1997, after 50 years of neglect and the sign unlit, it was restored and re-lit through a cultural affairs grant. We’re not exactly sure how long the sign was lighting up the Rec Center roof, but we do know it was fixed and re-lit again in 2005. However, that lasted only one month, and the sign has been dark ever since.

The relighting you see now is a part of some testing being done to check what needs to be repaired, according to an article Monday on The Eastsider LA. The relighting has been made possible by a $5,000 LA County Historic Preservation Society grant through the Echo Park Historical Society. Echo Park residents, fans of history, and Echo Park Improvement Association members have also privately donated to fix and maintain the sign as well. And in October 2010, Greater Elysian Echo Park Neighborhood Council approved the allocation of $2,500 to the Historical Society for the restoration.

With this new development comes the question: When will the Jensen’s Recreation Sign lighting officially happen?

Hopefully we’ll find out soon, and the fundraising continues! Visit the Echo Park Historical Society website for more information and to donate.

Also, a comment on The Eastsider LA article intrigued us: “What a waste of tax payer dollars we can’t afford to throw away!!!!! Way are we the public paying to improve a privately held commerical building.???? how is the public or community being helped out. ????”

I suppose technically the money allocated by the GEPENC is technically tax-payer, but, like most funds allocated by the neighborhood council, it was put to a vote. In addition, we do appreciate historical parts of our community here in Echo Park, and this building is officially Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument No. 652. There’s even remnants of an Egyptian themed mural in what once was the bowling alley of Jensen’s Rec Center that still exists (the Historical Society gave a tour in March).

But it can’t be done without grants and donations from community members and organizations, and for those we say hooray.

Flickr photo via Mary-Austin & Scott

Tonight is the Echo Park Historical Society Quarterly Meeting, and if you’re into Echo Park history this is definitely the one to check out!

Favorite local author Charles Fleming (he wrote the Secret Stairways book I’ve been carrying everywhere with me) will be talking about his book at the stairways of Los Angeles. I’ve also heard there’ll be a short tour of the remnants of the Egyptian themed mural in what once was the bowling alley (see awesome historical photo above.

EPHS will also hold its annual Board of Directors election. Members in good standing (paid memberships) will cast ballots during the quarterly meeting. Candidates will have an opportunity to make a brief presentation before ballots are cast.

The historical society meeting takes place TONIGHT! from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the Rec Center Studio, located at 1161 Logan Street.

Visit the Echo Park Historical Society website for more info, or email ephs@HistoricEchoPark.org

After a two year haitus, the Historic Echo Park Home Tours returns this weekend!

In case you missed it, here’s a quick run-down from the Echo Park Historical Society:

This year’s Historic Echo Park Home Tour highlights 10 homes and gardens that feature the lifestyles of the ecologically minded. This includes properties utilizing gray water systems, solar power, natural light and circulation as ways to reduce dependency on public utilities as well gardens that include elements of urban farming, native plants, drought-tolerant landscaping and no dig gardening. And, yes, chicken coops.

The home tour has gotten some great coverage this year, including a segment on KTLA Morning News. The Los Angeles Times also published an excellent story highlighting the garden of Rhett Beavers, who discovered his 3,000 square foot garden behind his 1927 Echo Park home to be  the remnants of a communal orchard. That garden is one of several highlighted in this year’s Historical Society tour.

Tickets can be purchased on the day of the tour (Sunday, November 14) beginning at 11:00 am. The $20 general admission tickets will be sold at at Williams Hall, 2000 Stadium Way, or buy them online in advance and save $5. EPHS Members can buy tickets on the day of the event for $15.

Buy your tickets for the Echo Park Historical Society Home Tour, Eco Echo Park yet? Here’s some recent coverage from KTLA:

You might want to do it soon – you save $5 on tickets if you purchase them before November 14!

From the Echo Park Historical Society

Another kind of beautiful stairway in Echo Park: