Join us on Friday for the Jensen’s sign relighting!

Photo Courtesy Vista Investment Group

Please join us on Friday, October 27  to watch and celebrate the relighting of the historic sign at the top of the landmark Jensen’s Recreation Center.  (Please see the updated ceremony schedule at the bottom of this post)

The 28-foot-high animated rooftop sign made up of 1,300 red, green and white light bulbs depicts a bowler throwing a strike. It is believed to be the only sign of this type and size remaining in the United States.

The Echo Park Historical Society and spent several years working with local groups, like the Echo Park Neighborhood Council, and national organizations, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to raise support and funds to repair and relight the sign.

Property owner Vista Investment Group eventually took on and completed the costly and daunting task to preserve this unique historic resource. The repair of the sign is part of Vista’s multimillion-dollar renovation program that includes the restoration of the building’s original brick façade, new entrance and lobby, refinishing of the original hardwood floors and renovation of unit interiors.

The sign went dark for several decades when it was restored and relighted in 1997 through a city grant. That fix proved temporary, however, and the sign went dark again a few years later.

Jensen’s Recreation Center, located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street,  was built by the late Henry Christian Jensen in 1924. It was one of several buildings constructed by Jensen in the course of a decade. Jensen was a German immigrant that made his fortune making bricks for the rapidly growing city of early 20th century Los Angeles. His business ventures often combined shopping and entertainment. he building was declared Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument No. 652 in 1998.

Other Jensen ventures include Jensen’s Theatorium in Echo Park, now a grocery store; He also built Jensen’s Raymond Theater in Pasadena, and Jensen’s Melrose Theater in East Hollywood. The Palace Grand Theater and Shops in Glendale was demolished to make way for new development.

Originally, the three-story Jensen Recreation Center had a row of shops, a bowling alley, and a pool hall at street level, and 46 apartments on the top two levels.

The relighting ceremony on Friday, Oct. 27 will begin at 5 pm and the flipping of a giant light switch to activate the sign scheduled for 6 pm.

Sister Aimee Slept Here: A Guided Tour of The Parsonage of Aimee Semple McPherson

Join us on Monday, May 15 at  7 pm  for our quarterly meeting and a guided tour of The Parsonage of Aimee Semple McPherson at 1801 Park Avenue.

Located next to Angelus Temple and across from Echo Park Lake, the home is restored with original furniture, photographs, props, personal artifacts and displays. The wonders of modern media tools have transformed memories and memorabilia into a trip back in time, with each room unveiling a portion of the life of Sister McPherson. The parsonage recaptures an extraordinary period of American history and culture—and it reminds us of our Foursquare heritage and call that still continues today.

Learn about the remarkable life and ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson, the world-famous evangelist and founder of The Foursquare Church.

Members RSVP via email ephs@historicechopark.org by Friday, May 12.

Explore the Washington Heights section of Echo Park this weekend

Washington Heights map fragment

Join us for the Echo Park Historical Society’s Washington Heights Walking Tour at 11 am on Saturday, April 29. Learn about the history of the Washington Heights Tract in Echo Park, one of the oldest commercial districts along Sunset  Boulevard.  See architectural traces of Echo Park as the Wild West while you hear tales of corrupt LAPD detectives chasing Mexican anarchists. Discover early Los Angeles boosterism and the silent film era in Edendale. 

Meet at the corner of Reservoir and Alvarado next to the Church. Free for members, $5 for non-members. For more information email ephs@historicechopark.org.