Just A Reminder: Don’t miss this Saturday’s Echo Park Stairway Tour!

The Echo Park Historical Society’s Stairway Walking Tour on Saturday, November 6 at 9 a.m. includes the Baxter Stairs (possibly the city’s longest) as well as Fellowship Park, Red Hill, the modernist Harwell Hamilton Harris house and the restored long lost Lautner house.

This is a modestly strenuous tour that includes one long stairway and several steep hills. The tour is two hours long and shows how these forgotten stairways don’t just link the hills to the flatlands, but the past to the present.

Building interiors are not included.

Free for members, $5 for non-members. Meet at Elysian Heights Elementary School,1562 Baxter St, Los Angeles, CA 90026. (Baxter Street and Echo Park Avenue). For more information email historicechopark@gmail.com.

Can’t join us on Saturday? Take a virtual walk up the Baxter Steps

Step this way to the next Echo Park Stairway Walking tour

The Echo Park Historical Society’s Stairway Walking Tour on Saturday, November 6 at 9 a.m. includes the Baxter Stairs (possibly the city’s longest) as well as Fellowship Park, Red Hill, the modernist Harwell Hamilton Harris house and the restored long lost Lautner house.

This is a modestly strenuous tour that includes one long stairway and several steep hills. The tour is two hours long and shows how these forgotten stairways don’t just link the hills to the flatlands, but the past to the present.

Building interiors are not included.

Free for members, $5 for non-members. Meet at Elysian Heights Elementary School,1562 Baxter St, Los Angeles, CA 90026. (Baxter Street and Echo Park Avenue). For more information email historicechopark@gmail.com.

Can’t join us on Saturday? Take a virtual walk up the Baxter Steps

Echo Park Stairway tour scheduled for June 26

The Echo Park Historical Society’s Stairway Walking Tour on Saturday, June 26 at 10 a.m. includes the Baxter Stairs (possibly the city’s longest) as well as Fellowship Park, Red Hill, the modernist Harwell Hamilton Harris house and the restored long lost Lautner house.

This is a modestly strenuous tour that includes one long stairway and several steep hills. The tour is two hours long and shows how these forgotten stairways don’t just link the hills to the flatlands, but the past to the present.

Building interiors are not included.

Free for members, $5 for non-members. Meet at Elysian Heights Elementary School,1562 Baxter St, Los Angeles, CA 90026. (Baxter Street and Echo Park Avenue). For more information email historicechopark@gmail.com.

Taix French Restaurant

Taix restaurant declared a historic landmark — but we are not celebrating

Taix French RestaurantThe good news is that the L.A. City Council has declared French Taix Restaurant a city historic landmark. The bad news is that the nomination was modified by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell so that only a few elements of the building would be protected by demolition.

As a result, the developer who purchased the property and now move ahead with plans to tear it down to build a large, six-story residential complex.

The battle over Taix was triggered three years ago when owner Mike Taix announced he had sold the restaurant property to Holland Partner Group, which unveiled plans to build a complex of six-story buildings on the site. The project would include a smaller version of Taix, which moved to Echo Park in the early 1960s after being founded Downtown in 1927.

After the Silver Lake Heritage Trust nominated Taix as a city historic landmark, Mike Taix and Holland Partner argued that only the business — not the building nor its architecture — was important from a historic and cultural standpoint. That would make it easier to bulldoze the structure despite its landmark status.

Councilman O’Farrell sided with Taix and the developer on this issue.  As a result, the only artifacts that would be preserved from the old Taix building are the red-and-white Taix billboard sign on the rooftop; a vertical red-and-white “Cocktails” sign along Sunset Boulevard, and the restaurant’s original cherry wood bar top.

Approval of the modified historic nomination was a crucial win for developer Holland Partner, which paid more than $12 million for the property and has spent $170,000 on lobbying city officials on the project. With the City Council’s vote, can continue to pursue plans to replace the restaurant building with 170 units of housing and 13,000 square feet of retail commercial space – including a prominent place for a smaller version of Taix.

“It’s been our goal from the beginning to develop this site in a manner that respects the neighborhood and the history of the site,“ said Holland Partner executive Tom Warren.

But Holland Partner still needs additional city approvals and will face more public hearings, culminating with the Planning Commission, Warren said. Holland has modified its preliminary design after meeting with some unfriendly reactions from community stakeholders, but has kept the size roughly the same. A timeline is hard to determine, Warren said, though the plan could come before the commission in late summer.

The Echo Park Historical Society and other preservation groups will  remain active as the development process moves along.

“We still think there is an opportunity to consider alternatives,”  said Adrian Scott Fine with the L.A. Conservancy, “like more discussions to allow meaningful preservation for the restaurant as well as proposed housing.”

The latest design concept for the Taix development, presented in September 2020. Courtesy Holland Partners

Atwater Bungalows declared an L.A. City historic landmark

We are happy to announce that the Los Angeles City Council has approved our application to declare the Atwater Bungalows  a historic cultural monument.

The Atwater Bungalows in the 1400 block of W. Avon Park Terrace – right next to Elysian Park – share a large lot with about 10 residences, built variously between 1908 and 1939. But the highlight of the property are the structures designed by architect Robert Stacy-Judd, and built between 1930 and 1931.

“Each demonstrates significant attention to the characteristics of the Pueblo Revival style popular in Los Angeles from 1905 to 1940,” according to John Wingler, who researched and prepared our nomination.

The Pueblo Revival style features include exposed, protruding beams, protruding rain spouts, adobe-like stucco with rounded corners, and rough, heavy wooden lintels over deeply inset door and window frames.

In an earlier presentation, Winglet highlighted the style of the Stacy-Judd buildings by showing pictures of them alongside photos of actual pueblo settlements, showing the similarities of style and structure.

The Atwater Bungalows are named after Dr. H. Gale Atwater, a dentist who started buying the multiple properties on that lot in 1922, and who commissioned Stacy-Judd for the two Pueblo-Revival style bungalows.

Commission members voted unanimously in favor of the nomination and expressed interest in the historic nature of the other properties on the site.

It’s time to make Taix a historic landmark

Taix French Restaurant

You have probably heard the news that a developer that has purchased the Taix property wants to demolish the building to build an huge residential and commercial project.  Now, we have a chance to save this beloved neighborhood place that has been a gathering spot for generations of Angelenos.

We would like you to join the EPHS in having the City of Los Angeles declare the building a  Historic Cultural Monument.  The Cultural Heritage Commission is scheduled to review the application  on Thursday, Oct. 15 and decide if it’s worthy of consideration. The commission then usually arranges a site visit before voting a second time on whether to support the nomination.

We would like your help in expressing your support to the Cultural Heritage Commission and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.  We will follow up with you on what steps you should take to protect Taix.  The demolition of Taix would not only wipe away an important part of neighborhood history, it would also open the door to more super-sized development along Sunset Boulevard that is out of character with Echo Park.

Here’s a copy of the letter with have presented to the Cultural Heritage Commission:

Cultural Heritage Commission
200 N. Spring Street, Room 272
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Echo Park Historical Society supports declaring Taix French Restaurant, 1911-1929 W. Sunset Boulevard, a city Historic-Cultural Monument.

Our organization is dedicated to preserving and promoting the historic and cultural heritage of Echo Park. Recognizing Taix as a neighborhood and city historic landmark is long overdue.

Taix, which opened in Echo Park nearly 60 years ago, is a touchstone for generations of Angelenos from all classes and races who have dined in its restaurant, sipped cocktails in the lounge and celebrated events and attended civic meetings in its banquet rooms.

The restaurant is a neighborhood icon, with its half-timbered walls, petite tower and glamorous porte cochere. Yet it is also a historic destination for residents of other parts of the city, rivaled in our neighborhood only by such landmarks as Echo Park Lake and Angelus Temple.

Taix’s French-Norman style reflects the era when dining out was a more formal and special occasion.

Until now, the restaurant’s owners had taken great pains to honor that history, showing numerous historic images in the Taix lobby and having the intersection outside the restaurant named “Taix Square.” For that reason, it seemed unfathomable to us that the owners would seek the building’s destruction.

Taix is worthy of monument status for contributing to the city’s broad cultural, economic and social history and embodies a distinctive architectural style adapted for commercial uses.

Many of the historical society’s members know firsthand the special place that Taix has in our community. Now is the time to recognize that cultural and historic significance.

— Echo Park Historical Society

Taix French Restaurant

Plans to redevelop Taix fail to respect the historic character and scale of Echo Park

Taix French Restaurant

The Echo Park Historical Society has serious concerns about the proposal to redevelop the Taix restaurant site, based on the most recent renderings and project description presented to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning.

The development proposal unveiled last week is substantially different from what was shared previously in briefings with members of our board. Furthermore, the EPHS has not endorsed any of the concepts for the site.

The latest proposal is far short of respecting and referencing the historic character and scale of Echo Park. It is unacceptable.

The EPHS is opposed to the current concept for the Taix site. Our organization, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the neighborhood’s historic and cultural heritage, would like to see substantial changes to the design of the project and its relationship with surrounding buildings and vistas.

Our organization is not opposed to development and recognizes the need for housing. We welcome innovative contemporary architectural design. But these goals can be achieved in a way that is sensitive to the neighborhood, allowing for the creation of new and beloved landmarks.

The EPHS and other neighborhood groups and organizations deserve a greater voice in shaping this project, which is planned on a critical stretch of Echo Park’s business district.

In addition, the EPHS supports efforts to nominate the Taix site as a Historic-Cultural Monument. Our organization looks forward to working with our neighbors, the developer, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and other organizations in creating a project that respects the past of Echo Park while preparing for its future.

— Echo Park Historical Society Board of Directors

 

Join us for this Saturday’s Echo Park Stairway Tour

The Echo Park Historical Society’s Stairway Walking Tour on Saturday, October 12 at 10 a.m. includes the Baxter Stairs (possibly the city’s longest) as well as Fellowship Park, Red Hill, the modernist Harwell Hamilton Harris house and the restored long lost Lautner house.

This is a modestly strenuous tour that includes one long stairway and several steep hills. The tour is two hours long and shows how these forgotten stairways don’t just link the hills to the flatlands, but the past to the present.

Building interiors are not included.

Free for members, $5 for non-members. Meet at Elysian Heights Elementary School,1562 Baxter St, Los Angeles, CA 90026. (Baxter Street and Echo Park Avenue). For more information email EPHS@HistoricEchoPark.org.

Love Echo Park history? Join us Sunday at the Echo Park Lotus Festival!

The Echo Park Historical Society will be back at Echo Park Lake on Sunday, July 14 for Day 2 of the 39th Annual Lotus Festival.

Look for our booth filled with historical photo displays just north of the lotus bed (near Glendale Boulevard and Park Avenue).

Come meet fellow members and your Echo Park neighbors. We will be there from 11 am to 5 pm.

Echo Park Lake Walking Tour

In addition to our booth, EPHS member Dave Ptach will lead an Echo Park Lake Walking Tour on Sunday, July 14. The tour begins at 10 am and leaves from our booth.

The tour includes a discussion of the origins of Echo Park Lake, a tour of the edge of Angeleno Heights, the site of the American Institute of Mentalism and Angelus Temple. We also talk about the renovations of Echo Park Lake.

This is a slightly strenuous tour with three Echo Park staircases. Building interiors are not included. (Bring a hat, water and sunscreen — it’s going to be hot!)

Free for EPHS members and $5.00 for non-members, the walking tours begin at the Echo Park Historical Society booth located inside the Lotus Festival. To RSVP email  ephs@historicechopark.org.

We are looking for a few good volunteers at the Echo Park history booth

 

 

Our booth will be filled with historic photos of Echo Park

The Lotus Festival returns to Echo Park Lake this month, and the Echo Park Historical Society will be there with a display of historic photos. Please be sure to stop by. But, better yet, please help us staff our booth, which has traditionally offered a front row seat to the blooming lotus bed.

We are seeking volunteers who can donate two or three hours of their time during on either Saturday or Sunday, July 13 & 14 .

If you can help, please send an email to ephs@HistoricEchoPark.org. Let us know what times and dates you are available.