Echo Park, Los Angeles

Echo Park is a densely populated neighborhood of over 43,000 residents in Central Los Angeles. It contains one high school and eight other schools, and has been home to many notable people. The neighborhood is centered on the lake of the same name.

Echo Park
Echo Park, with the Downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background
Echo Park
Location within Central Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34.0792°N 118.258°W / 34.0792; -118.258



First established in 1892, and long before “Hollywood” became synonymous with the commercial film industry, the area of Echo Park known as Edendale was the center of filmmaking on the West Coast.[1]

By the teens, several film studios were operating on Allesandro Avenue (now Glendale Boulevard) along the Echo Park-Silverlake border, including the Selig Polyscope Company, the Mack Sennett Studios, the Pathe West Coast Film Studio, and others.[1]

Several silent film stars worked in the Edendale studios, including Mabel Normand, Fatty Arbuckle, and Harold Lloyd. Charlie Chaplin’s first film was made in the Mack Sennett Studios, as well as the very first feature length comedy ever made, which starred Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand.[1]

The first pie-in-the-face scene was filmed at what later became the Mack Sennett Studios on Glendale Boulevard near Effie Street. The complex, which is now part of a storage facility, dates back to 1909 and includes one of the area’s first permanent sound stages, the factories where movies are made. The former studio, 1712 Glendale Blvd., is City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 256. [1]

Echo Park Lake

Echo Park Lake's earliest use by the city was as a reservoir. The Los Angeles Canal and Reservoir Co. formed Reservoir No. 4 in 1868. The company obtained the water by digging a ditch that sent water flowing from the Los Angeles River – in the area now known as Los Feliz – along a zigzag path that emptied into the reservoir.[1]

In 1891 the four owners of the surrounding area gave up 33 acres of land to the city around the reservoir so that it could be used as a park. The city began work landscaping the park in October 1892. [1] City parks superintendent Joseph Henry Tomlinson is recognized for coining the name of the new park – which later became the name of the neighborhood. He chose the name because of echoes he heard during the construction of Echo Park Lake in 1892.[2] By 1895, the park and accompanying boathouse were completed.[1]

By the late 19-teens, motion picture companies on Allesandro Street – now Glendale Boulevard – had been using the park as a filming location. City leaders responded by barring Keystone Studios, home of the Keystone Kops, from shooting any of its comedies at the lake, on the grounds that too many flowers were being trampled.[1]

Echo Park Lake was identified as an impaired body of water in 2006, and the city allocated $64.7 million dollars to fund its cleanup and revitalization. The lake was closed off and drained in the summer of 2011 when renovation work began. The rehabilitation project tackled Echo Park Lake not only as a recreational body of water, but also as an important part of the Los Angeles ecosystem. Although Echo Park Lake is man-made, it is part of the local watershed. The lake reopened on June 5, 2013 after a $45 million renovation.


Glendale Freeway Termination

The Glendale Freeway (SR 2) was originally planned and constructed in 1959 to connect with the Hollywood Freeway (US-101) through the neighborhoods of Silver Lake and Echo Park but terminates roughly 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northeast of its intended terminus at the Hollywood Freeway (US-101) due to opposition from residents living and developers building on a hill that is now a private gated[3] community called Hathaway Estates. [4] In 1962, as a result of this local community opposition, the full build-out plan was rescinded and construction was terminated at the present SR-2 terminus near Glendale Bl and Duane St. Since then, commuter traffic coming of and on to SR-2 has passed through the community, primarily along Glendale Bl and Alvarado St and has contributed to congestion.[5] Since that plan has been scrapped, the freeway is somewhat isolated from the remainder of the LA freeway system. [6]

Pacific Electric Railway

The Pacific Electric Railway, better known as the Red Cars used to run through Echo Park along the center of Glendale Blvd. The citywide system of electric trolleys began with the dawn of the 20th century, ultimately spinning a web of rail that linked cities in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. It was the largest and most advanced public transit system in the world at the time.

The Red Car system was sold to Metropolitan Coach Lines, whose executive, Jesse Haugh, had connections to a public transportation company funded by General Motors and other auto-related industries. The Red Cars faded out of service not long afterwards,[7] with the Los Angeles-Glendale-Burbank Line that traveled through Echo Park officially ending service on June 19, 1955. [8]


Echo Park has been infamous as being a hot spot for gang activity. This was true in the 1980s and 1990s, but in the early 2010's as the neighborhood began gentrifying, rents started to sky rocket, and a controversial gang injunction forced gang members to move outside their turf, instances of gang violence waned.[9]

In 2013, a Los Angeles judge signed off on a permanent gang injunction aimed at six rival gangs in the Echo Park area creating what authorities call a “safety zone” for the area. The injunction targets the members of six gangs: Echo Park Locos, the Crazys, the Big Top Locos, the Diamond Street Locos, Frogtown Rifa, and Head Hunters.[10] The perimeter for the safety zone is roughly bound by the L.A. River to the north, the 110 Freeway to the east, Beverly Boulevard to south and Glendale Boulevard to the west. It includes Echo Park Lake park and Dodger Stadium.[11]

The injunction, a civil order, prohibits two or more listed gang members from associating in any way in public or in common areas like courtyards. It also allows for stricter penalties if any listed gang member is caught with drugs, alcohol, guns or vandalizing property.[11]


Echo Park has many rolling hills and valleys with a few flat areas like Echo Park Lake.


Echo Park is flanked by Elysian Valley to the north and northeast, Elysian Park to the east, Chinatown and Downtown to the southeast, Westlake to the southwest and west, and Silver Lake to the northwest.[12][13]

Boundaries are the Golden State Freeway–Glendale Freeway interchange at the north apex, Riverside Drive on the northeast, Elysian Park on the east, Stadium Way and Beaudry Avenue on the southeast, the south apex being Beaudry Avenue and West Second Street and the west limit being an irregular line consisting of Second Street and Beverly Blvd, then moving upward north along Benton Way and the Glendale Freeway.[12][14][15]


Within Echo Park are the following:

Angelino Heights

Angelino Heights is most notable for its Victorian era residences, although these are few in number. It lies at an elevation of 502

Elysian Heights

Since the 1910s, Elysian Heights, along with Edendale, has been home to many of the counter-culture, political radicals, artists, writers, architects and filmmakers. The children of many progressives attended school there during the 1930s, '40s and '50s.

Historic Filipinotown

Historic Filipinotown makes up the southwest portion of Echo Park. It was created by a resolution proposed by then-City Councilmember Eric Garcetti on August 2, 2002. The district is bounded by the Hoover Street on the west to Glendale Boulevard on the east, Temple Street on the north and Beverly Boulevard on the south.

Victor Heights

Victor Heights lies between Chinatown, Los Angeles, and the central part of Echo Park, off Sunset Boulevard near the Pasadena Freeway below Elysian Park. One of its streets is the hilly Figueroa Terrace, where in 1992 a resident named Betty Oyama lived and helped popularized a name for Victor Heights as the "Forgotten Edge," because, as she said, the Police Department couldn't figure out where Victor Heights was exactly. In a feature story about Oyama's successful fight to form a Neighborhood Watch, a Los Angeles Times reporter said of Victor Heights that it was "a mix of new and old housing styles and [of] residents who span the socioeconomic and ethnic spectrums. New condominium complexes stand next to 1920s-era bungalow houses and old apartment buildings."[16]

In 2009 Victor Heights and its hilly streets were described as "a collection of stuccoed apartments and faded bungalows, a place with a lot of old-timers." With its dramatic views of the Los Angeles Civic Center, Victor Heights had a population of "older Italians and Croatians who once dominated the area," along with "newer Asian and Latino immigrants [and] a smattering of hipsters betting that Victor Heights will be the next big thing." The area became known for the flock of peacocks and peahens, with their chicks, who had taken over parts of the district, often on Everett Street, where they gathered in the morning.[17]

Victor Heights is an old area. In 1887 "Choice lots, commanding a splendid view," were being advertised for $1,200. Lesser lots went for $700 to $1,300. All had "Water piped through the street."[18] In 1908 its residents took a fight against disruptive dynamite blasting by the Los Angeles Brick Company in Chavez Ravine to the Los Angeles City Police Commission. They complained that the explosions were "cracking the plaster on their walls and causing their homes to settle to such an extent that they could not open their doors.[19]


The 2000 U.S. census counted 40,455 residents in the 2.4-square-mile neighborhood—an average of 16,868 people per square mile, one of the highest densities in Los Angeles and among the highest densities for the county. In 2008 the city estimated that the population had increased to 43,832. The median age for residents was 30, about the same as the city norm.[14]

Echo Park was considered moderately diverse ethnically. The breakdown was Latinos, 64%; Asians, 18.8%; whites, 12.9%; blacks, 2%, and others, 2.3%. Mexico (41.3%) and El Salvador (15.2%) were the most common places of birth for the 53% of the residents who were born abroad, a figure that was considered high compared to the city as a whole.[14]

The median household income in 2008 dollars was $37,708, a low figure for Los Angeles, and a high percentage of households earned $20,000 or less. The average household size of three people was about the same as the rest of the city. Renters occupied 76% of the housing units, and house- or apartment owners the rest.[14]

The percentages of never-married men and women, 46.8% and 38.3%, respectively, were among the county's highest. The 2000 census found 5,325 families headed by single parents, a high rate for both the city and the county. There were 1,034 military veterans in 2000, or 3.5%, a low figure for Los Angeles.[14]

Census data below for Echo Park is generally cited from only US Census District 1974.20 and does not include a large portion of what is geographically and culturally considered Echo Park. District boundaries shifted from 2000 to 2010 in most of the other contributing districts, so trends are not necessarily reliably reported by the data. It is also alleged that Echo Park and Hollywood are among the lowest responding areas to census polls.

The 2010 US Census estimates that the neighborhood demographics for tract 1974.20 are as follows: Latinos still form the majority of the community, though the percentage fell from 69.8% in 2000 to 59.5% in 2010; Whites grew from 13.2% in 2000 to 23.2% in 2010; Asian population remained almost unchanged at 13.3% in 2010 compared to 13.2% in 2000; Other grew from 3.4% in 2000 to 4% in 2010. The number of people in the district shrank by almost 15% to around 3500 people. This represents less than 10% of the number of residents considered to live in Echo Park. The demographic shift from Latino to White is generally acknowledged as the overall trend in the area.

Data collected by Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count in 2019 show that Echo Park's homeless population is 367 (0.008%). [20]

Parks and Recreation


Elysian Park

The park is one of largest in Los Angeles at 600 acres (2.4 km²). It is also the city's oldest park, founded in 1886 by the Elysian Park Enabling Ordinance. Most of Elysian Park falls in the Eastern neighborhood of the same name, but a small portion of the park does fall in Echo Park.

  • Angels Point, a small hill in Elysian Park overlooking Dodger Stadium and the Downtown Los Angeles Skyline. Atop the hill is a large metal sculpture art installation by local artist Peter Shire of the 1980s postmodern Memphis Group.
  • Chavez Ravine Arboretum, opened in 1893 and contains more than 100 varieties of trees from around the world, including what are believed to be the oldest and largest Cape Chestnut, Kauri, and Tipu trees in the United States.
  • Grace E. Simons Lodge, an event space with waterfalls and reception rooms.
  • Marion Harlow Memorial Grove is a small tree and plant grove along the Elysian Park hiking trail.

Echo Park Lake

Originally built in the 1860s as a reservoir for drinking water. Today Echo Park Lake is a Los Angeles icon that functions primarily as a detention basin in the City’s storm drain system, while providing recreational benefits and wildlife habitat. Echo Park Lake also plays host to community events, such as the annual Lotus Festival every July.[21]

  • Echo Park boathouse restaurant and more than a dozen new swan shaped paddle boats
  • Picnic tables, BBQ pits, public restrooms, water fountains, and grassy picnic areas
  • 1 mile long looping promenade paved walking trail around the lake

Vista Hermosa Natural Park

A 10.5-acre urban natural park which features walking trails, streams, meadows, oak savannahs, picnic grounds, and a nature-themed playground amidst native Mediterranean vegetation. [22]

Sports Facilities

  • Chavez Ridge Disc Golf Course (in Elysian Park)
  • Echo Park Deep Pool (indoor pool)
  • Echo Park Recreation Complex
    • Facility Features: [23]Baseball Diamond (Lighted), Basketball Courts (Lighted / Indoor), Basketball Courts (Lighted / Outdoor), Childrens Play Area, Community Rooms, 6 Tennis Courts (Lighted), Stage, Picnic Tables, Indoor Gym (without Weights), Skate park (opening in 2020) [24]
  • Echo Park Youth Center
  • Elysian Fields (2 baseball diamonds in Elysian Park)
  • Elysian Park Adaptive Recreation Center (in Elysian Park)
    • Facility Features:[25] Basketball Courts (Unlighted / Outdoor), Childrens Play Area, Indoor Gym (with Weights), Amphitheatre, Indoor Gym (without Weights), Classroom(s), Stage
  • Vista Hermosa Synthetic Soccer Field (lighted)

Government and infrastructure

Local government

Echo Park resides in both Los Angeles City Council District 13 under Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell and Los Angeles City Council District 1 under Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Station 20 is in the area.[26]

The Los Angeles Police Department operates the Rampart Community Police Station at 1401 West 6th St., 90017, located near Echo Park in the Westlake district of east-central Los Angeles. LAPD also operates an LAPD Police Academy training facility Including a weapons firing range in Elysian Park adjacent to Dodger Stadium.

Mitch O'Farrell is an American politician and member of the Los Angeles City Council representing the 13th district, including Echo Park. O'Farrell was elected on May 21, 2013 to succeed outgoing incumbent Eric Garcetti, the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles. His office resides at 1722 Sunset Blvd. in Downtown Echo Park. [27]

County, state, and federal representation

Echo Park sits in the following governmental districts:

  • 1st County District of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, under Supervisor Hilda Solis
  • 24th State Senate District, under CA State Senator Maria Durazo
  • 51st State District of the California State Assembly, under CA State Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo
  • 28th Federal Congressional District, under Representative Adam Schiff

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Central Health Center in Downtown Los Angeles, serving Echo Park.[28]

The United States Postal Service Edendale Post Office is located at 1525 North Alvarado Street.[29]

Maria Elena Durazo (born March 20, 1953) is an American politician serving in the California State Senate. A Democrat, she represents the 24th State Senate district, which encompasses Central Los Angeles and East Los Angeles, including Echo Park. Her District Office resides at 1808 Sunset Blvd. in Downtown Echo Park.[30]


Eighteen percent of residents 25 and older have a four-year degree, about average for the city and the county, but there is a high percentage of residents with less than a high school diploma.[14]

In 2007, LAUSD used eminent domain to remove 50 homes in order to build a new school.[31]

Within Echo Park are the following schools:[32]

Elementary schools

  • Baxter Montessori, 2101 North Echo Park Avenue (private)
  • Elysian Heights Elementary, 1562 Baxter Street (LAUSD). This school was home to "Room 8 the Cat"[33]
  • Clifford Street Elementary, 2150 Duane Street (LAUSD)
  • Mayberry Street Elementary, 2414 Mayberry Street (LAUSD)
  • Golden West Christian, 1310 Liberty Street (private)
  • Gabriella Charter, 1435 Logan Street (LAUSD)
  • Logan Street Span School, 1711 West Montana Street (LAUSD)Serving K to 8th grade
  • Rosemont Elementary, 421 N. Rosemont (LAUSD)
  • Betty Plasencia Elementary School, 1321 Cortez Street (LAUSD)

Other schools

  • DC Academy, 626 Coronado Terrace (private)

Public libraries

The Los Angeles Public Library operates two branches in Echo Park: Echo Park Branch and Edendale Branch.

Entertainment and night life

The trendy Echo Park area, known as one of "the city's hippest neighborhoods", has many bars, night clubs, and restaurants.[34]

Notable people



  • Echo Park is a 2006 crime fiction novel set mostly in Echo Park. It's the 17th novel by American crime-writer Michael Connelly and the twelfth featuring the Los Angeles detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch.
  • The Echo Park Coven Novels book series written by Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Amber Benson which includes #1 The Witches of Echo Park (2015), #2 The Last Dream Keeper (2017), and #3 The End of Magic is a trilogy of fantasy novels about a coven of young witches that live in Echo Park. [111]


  • Keith Barbour released an album, Echo Park, in 1969, which hit #163 on the Billboard 200,[112] and the title track, written by Buzz Clifford, hit #40 on the Pop Singles chart.[113]
  • The 1980s song "Echo Park" by Brian Setzer is a studio outtake released in 1999 and references the local lake, "I used to swim in Echo Park lake all night."[114]
  • The 2004 song "Echo Park" by Ryan Cabrera is about Echo Park with lyrics such as, "Today it rained in L.A....I'm leaving my heart here in Echo Park."[115]
  • The 2017 song "Scott Street" by Phoebe Bridgers is about Scott Avenue. It’s a quaint residential stretch that the song’s subject, Marshall, travelled to make a daily pilgrimage to buy cigarettes.[116]
  • The 2018 song "King of Echo Park" by TV Girl is about Echo Park including the lyrics, "As the sun sets on Sunset" (Blvd), and "Now she’s playing pool at the Little Joy." (a local bar)[117]
  • The 2019 song "Echo Park" by Bedouine is about Echo Park with lyrics including, "Where everybody's avant-garde," "Long as my rent don't climb, I'm living in Echo Park," (Echo Park's demographic began heavily shifting in 2000[118] and rents reached an all time high by 2017)[119] and "Oh, I long to be at the fountain and the lake."[120]


  • The Netflix series Love is primarily set in Echo Park.[121]

See also

Notes and references

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