Master Plan Associations
Silver Lake Community, Los Angeles, California
/ Early Film Connection / Architecture / Red Car Lines /
Schools / Recreation Center / Residents
Associations / Neighborhood Council
The Silver Lake area is located just five
miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles and just east of Griffith Park. The district
gets its name from the Department of Water and Power's Silver Lake Reservoir, which was
named after Herman Silver, a member of Los Angeles first Board of Water
commissioners. The Department of Water and Power established these reservoirs in the early
1900s as part of the city-wide system of water storage & delivery that today has only
10 open reservoirs remaining.
One reservoir that
was taken out of is the Rowena Reservoir at the intersection of Hyperion
and Rowena. The reservoir was replaced by an underground storage
tank, but the Department of Water and Power agreed to restore the water
views residents had.
See Old Real Estate Flyers
See Old Newspaper Articles
Silver Lake Reservoir, December, 1999
1941 View of Silver
The area was originally called "Ivanhoe" before
the turn of the century. A Scotsman named Hugo Reid, upon seeing the rolling green hills
of the area, (obviously this was in the winter!) thought they reminded him of the hills of
his homeland in Scotland. He named the area after a famous Scottish novel Ivanhoe, by Sir
Walter Scott. Many of the streets in Silver Lake have Scottish names, or names that are
related to characters from the novel, such as Herkimer, Rowena, Kenilworth, Ben Lomond,
Hawick, St. George (as in St. George and the Dragon).
Early Film Connection
|The Silver Lake
and adjacent Edendale and Echo Park areas were home to many
early motion picture studios. The Mack Sennett Studios,
Tom Mix, Disney, Monogram (which is now KCET) Talmadge (ABC), were located here and drew
creative people to the area.
According to the Echo Park Historical Society, the Mack Sennett studios were on both sides of Glendale
Blvd and one of the old studio buildings is now Public Storage
building. The AM/PM gas station across the street is where the
was located. This was a revolving set which provided a moving
landscape for the performers, who could run in place.
Many locations in Silver Lake and Edendale/Echo
Park appeared in these early
motion pictures. For example the famous Laurel and Hardy short film "The Music Box" was filmed
here, and many of the Keystone Cops chase scenes were shot along Glendale
Blvd. Many of these early films are still showing at nearby theaters.
only was area home to many of the early studios, numerous filmmakers actors,
directors, etc. also lived in Silver Lake. These included Gloria Swanson, Laurel
and Hardy, Antonio Moreno, and many others.
The City Planners saw the potential of a premium,
residential development and made the investment in underground utilities and cement
streets. In the 1920s & 1930s developers were encouraged to build by
the city and were attracted by the hills and the blue jewel focal point that is Silver
Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs. Probably the most well-known developer was the silent
film star Antonio Moreno. He modeled his development (the Moreno Highlands) after
Mediterranean villages he visited while on his honeymoon and his landmark home, the
Canfield-Moreno Estate set the architectural theme for many of the homes in the hills on
the west side of the reservoir.
more Studio photos
Box Steps then
|Many now-famous architects, Neutra, Schindler, Lautner, Wright,
Ain, to name a few, were commissioned to build residences. While many of these architects
created avant garde buildings in the 1930s, Spanish Mediterranean, with stucco,
arches, and roof tiles, is the defining style in Silver Lake. Local realtors point out
that there are more architecturally significant homes per square mile in Silver Lake than
in other area of Los Angeles.
Red Car Lines
Visit more Red
Car Line Photos
|In addition, the Red Car lines
were located along Riverside Drive (Route 66) and along Sunset Blvd providing good public
transportation that was essential to attracting residents. Some of the Red Car bridge
foundation still exists at Riverside Drive & Fletcher. This attractive, Mediterranean
style community, overlooking the water continues to attract those who want an oasis in the
|While the primary purpose is both a water
storage and delivery facility, the reservoir property provides both a focal point and
affords quality of life benefits to the community. In addition to the obvious open space,
water and greenscape view shed, the Neighborhood Nursery School (at the corner of
Armstrong & Tesla) serves to help bind the community together. It has been in
existence for over 50 years, and children of children of children of early attendees are
happily participating at this parent-owned cooperative school. See other schools in the Silver Lake area.
Neighborhood Nursery School
Click picture for
a larger view
|The Silver Lake Recreation Center just below
the Silver Lake dam, represents 10 years of joint effort between the community, the
Council office and the Department of Recreation and Parks. This new building provides a
beautiful and suitable facility for this vibrant neighborhood. In the same manner that the
Silver Lake community worked with the Department of Recreation and Parks to build a new
recreation center, the community is working with the Department of Water and Power on a Master Plan for the Silver Lake Reservoir complex.
As evidenced by the Recreation Center and Master
Plan activities, Silver Lake citizens have a reputation for being active on community
The residents take a lot of pride in their
community and care what happens to it.