Highland Park, Los Angeles, California

Highland Park, Los Angeles, California

Highland Park is a district of North East Los Angeles. It includes the Garvanza and San Pasqual neighborhoods, and some would argue, Mt. Washington.

Geography and Transportation

Highland Park is located along the Arroyo Seco. It is situated within what was once Rancho San Rafael of the Spanish / Mexican era. Its boundaries are roughly the Pasadena Freeway (California Route 110) and the city limits of South Pasadena on the southeast, the city limits of Pasadena on the east, Oak Grove Drive on the north, and Avenue 50/51 on the west. The district's neighbors include Mt. Washington on the southwest, Montecito Heights on the south, Hermon and Monterey Hills on the southeast, South Pasadena on the east, Pasadena on the northeast, Eagle Rock on the north, and Glassell Park on the west. Primary thoroughfares include York Boulevard, Avenues 50, 54, and 64, Monte Vista Street, and Figueroa Street. Highland Park is served by the Gold Line, a light rail system that largely runs at street grade parallel to Figueroa Street until turning east into South Pasadena at Avenue 61. The district's ZIP code is 90042.

The neighborhood

One of the oldest settled areas of Los Angeles, Highland Park is also one of the most scenic due to its architecture and location between the Mt. Washington hills, the San Rafael hills and the Monterey Hills, Los Angeles, California. There are large sprawling parks in the area, including the Arroyo Seco Park and the Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. The Southwest Museum , with one of the largest and most significant collections of Native American artifacts in the country, is located in adjacent Mt. Washington. The light rail Metro Gold Line from Union Station to Pasadena (traversing all of Highland Park) is one of the most enjoyable and dynamic public transportation journeys in the city, because of views offered by the parks, hills and valleys along the meandering route.

Despite these advantages, Highland Park experienced an exodus of white residents beginning with the development of Mid-Wilshire district beginning in the 1920s. By the mid 1960s, it was becoming a largely Latino enclave as the phenomenon of white flight, coupled with relentless over-development, caused land prices to drop. By the mid 1970s, it had emerged as a predominantly Latino area. But in keeping with its tradition of being a haven for immigrants, the shift in demographics never fully homogenized as it did in East L.A., leaving room for many races and ethnicities to find a place in Highland Park. Indeed, some residents find the mix of people to be one of the most appealing aspects of the community.

During the 1950s and continuing into the 1960s, many of Highland Park's grandest and oldest homes were razed. Witness, for example, Heritage Square: a Highland Park museum started by local Los Angeles activists hoping to save some of the Victorian homes which were scheduled for demolition to make room for gas stations and parking lots. One of the fine and architecturally significant homes was the only one saved from this era. A hint of gentrification sprouted in Highland Park in 1984 when large tracts of the district were set aside for historic preservation under Los Angeles' pioneering Historic Preservation Overlay Zone ordinance.

Before the skyrocketing of Southern California housing prices from 2002 - 2005, many arrived to Highland Park to seek out, buy, and revitalize Craftsman homes that had suffered neglect over the decades. Although this quiet movement continues, Highland Park has not undergone the dramatic changes that Silver Lake, Echo Park and Eagle Rock have experienced. The district's proximity to those neighborhoods (coupled with low rents), have made it increasingly popular among "hipsters". Local dive bars have become fashionable nightclubs, with doormen and velvet ropes. (see below) In another sign of neighborhood change, the Old LA Certified Farmers Market opened in 2006, operating adjacent to the Highland Park Gold Line Station and providing a new nexus of community activity. It remains to be seen whether gentrification in the area will continue. Some contend that the poor quality of Highland Park's schools will ultimately make it less a attractive destination for young affluent couples, noting that the better school districts in Mt. Washington, Eagle Rock and South Pasadena made these destinations attractive for upper middle-class Angelenos seeking alternatives to suburbia.

The area is also served by the Arroyo Seco Journal [ [http://www.asjournal.net Arroyo Seco Journal] ] politically-oriented monthly publication, founded in 1999 by Edward Rivera, a local journalist/activist.

From the late 1950s until around the early 80s, Highland Park and neighboring Eagle Rock were known as a haven for Hot Rod builders. While most of the original hot rod shops have now disappeared, McGibbons Auto Body still exists at 5251 York Blvd. McGibbons shop was the creator of many of the hot rodder and low-rider graphics and paints from the 1970s onward.

Highland Park is home to NELA bikes, a more genteel and law-abiding version of Echo Park's Midnight Ridazz.

One of the last typewriter shops in the City of Los Angeles, the U.S. Office Machine Company, is located in Highland Park at 5722 N. Figueroa. They specialize in repairing antique typewriters, and have restored a few for movie studios. It is one of three businesess located in the old Sunbeam Theatre, one of the earliest in the area, much older than the Highland Theater.

The clothing retail chain Forever 21 was founded in Highland Park in 1984. The first store is still located in its original location at 5637 N. Figueroa and bears the original name of the company, Fashion 21.

In the media

Because of the picturesque neighborhoods in and around Highland Park, many movies are filmed here. Reservoir Dogs was filmed largely in Highland Park. "Cutter's Way", starring Jeff Bridges was filmed for the most part, on Aldama Street. The dance hall scene in "La Bamba" was filmed at the VFW hall on Avenue 57.

An illustration in the booklet for Quasimoto's album "The Further Adventures of Lord Quas" depicts the area of Highland Park on Figueroa St. between Aves 26th and 56th.

Tuff Turf starring James Spader was shot in Highland Park.

Parts of the short lived TV show were filmed here.

Notable residents

*Philip Ahn, Korean-American actor from the Kung Fu TV series
*Ricardo Cruz, attorney, activist
*Daryl Gates, former LAPD chief (currently lives in South Pasadena)
*Steve Sax, former Dodger baseball player
*Sharon Tay, newscaster
*Alan Arkin, Academy Award-winning actor
*Gene Roddenberry, writer and creator of Star Trek
*Bobby Riggs, athlete, tennis
*Rocky Delgadillo, Los Angeles City attorney
*Porntip Nakhirunkanok, 1988 Miss Universe (representing Thailand)
*Diane Keaton, Oscar-winning actress, was born in Highland Park.
*Mike Kelley, artist
*Jackson Browne, singer and songwriter
*Beck, performer song writer
*Zack de la Rocha, activist performer
*Carlos Almaraz, (Though he made his home in Echo Park, he lived in HP for one summer) painter
*Quetzal, band, formerly of legendary folk label Vanguard Records
*Clyde Browne, grandfather of Jackson Browne and Arts and Crafts movement era printer who built the "Abbey San Encino," a smaller-scaled replica of a California Mission building, which still stands, serving as one of the Browne family homes.
* Edward Furlong, actor (was growing up in the San Pascual neighborhood of Highland Park when he was "discovered" by a casting agent searching for a boy to play John Connor in "").
*Sonny Moore, ex vocalist for post-hardcore band From First to Last
*Carlos R. Lopez, Jr., black belt Muay Thai fighter
*Devin Neil Oatway, Actor, Artist
*Mary Lopez poet/writer, activist, plus-size model. (Sister of World Famous Black Belt Muay Thai Fighter Carlos R. Lopez, Jr.)
*Wyatt Earp
*Robinson Jeffers

Fire service

Los Angeles Fire Department [http://www.lafd.org/fs12.htm Station 12] is in the area.


Highland Park has a train station, Highland Park (LACMTA station), along the Metro's Gold Line. The station is an island platform located near the intersection of North Avenue 57 at Marmion Way, (one block north of North Figueroa Street).


Highland Park is zoned to schools in the Los Angeles USD [ [http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/printedition/la-re-guide12oct12,1,7214993.story History hopes to repeat itself in Highland Park - Los Angeles Times ] ] .

Zoned elementary schools include:
* Aldama Elementary School
* Annandale Elementary School
* Buchanan Elementary School
* [http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Bushnell_EL Bushnell Way Elementary School]
* Garvanza Elementary School
* San Pascual Elementary School
* Saint Ignatius School
* Toland Way Elementary School
* Yorkdale Elementary School
* Monte Vista Elementary School

Residents are zoned to Luther Burbank Middle School [ [http://burbankms.lausd.k12.ca.us/index.php Luther Burbank Middle School] ] and Franklin High School.

External links

* [http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/news/communities/2003/la-re-guide12oct12,0,7619503.story?coll=la-realestate-communities-2003 "Los Angeles Times", Real Estate section, Neighborly Advice column: "History hopes to repeat itself in Highland Park" (12 Oct 2003)]
* [http://www.yorkblvd.com York Boulevard]
* [http://www.nelanet.org/reportsmaps/hphistory/ History of Highland Park]
* [http://www.audubon-ca.org/debs_park.htm Audubon Center]
* [http://www.judsonstudios.com/gallery.htm Judson Studios] -
* [http://www.friendcalib.org/lit-landmarks/pasadena/star2-2.html The Arroyo Culture]
* [http://www.invitesite.com/white_pages/the_abbey/abbey_san_encino.html# The Abbey San Encino]
* [http://www.bob-taylor.com/dev-hist.htm Development History of Highland Park]
* [http://www.southwestmuseum.org/ Southwest Museum]
* [http://www.heritagesquare.org/ Heritage Square Museum]
* [http://www.socalhistory.org/Socalhistory.org%20_mainfolder/Lummishome%20and%20garden/LummisHome.htm Lummis Home (El Alisal)]
* [http://www.historichighlandpark.org/ Community News and Events in Historic Highland Park]
* [http://www.nelaart.org/ Northeast LA Arts Organization]
* [http://www.laweekly.com/ink/05/34/features-pelisek.php LA Weekly story on the Avenues gang]
* [http://www.laphs.com/ Los Angeles Police Museum]
* [http://www.lacity.org/council/cd1/ L.A. City Council District 1]
* [http://www.lacity.org/council/cd14/ L.A. City Council District 14]
* [http://www.asjournal.net]
* [http://www.vintagetattoo.com]


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