Climbing Los Angeles One Step at a Time

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Walk #12 : Echo Park Lake Victorians

Distance: 3 miles
Steps: 428
Difficulty: 2.5
"This is a mostly flat walk past venerable Echo Park Lake and through Angelino Heights, home of the city's oldest Victorian and Queen Anne mansions. It includes panoramic views of Downtown and a lot of Los Angeles history." Taken from Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming.

We did this walk on January 16 and I'm a little behind on my posts due to school getting really tough with plenty of homework. We met at Echo Park in front of the statue to Jose Marti and no sooner had we congretated than we were met (more like accosted) by an anti-Castro gentleman. Everyone scattered and I was left to deal with him. He invited us to a rally in the next few weeks but I don't think I'll be able to make it. We have done several walks in Echo Park and this one is noteworthy given the high number of Victorian architecture structures in the Angelino Heights part of the neighborhood. I'm not an architecture expert but 'Victorian' includes the Queen Anne-style in addition to many others.

From left: Charles, Julie, Enrique, Ines, and Jessica.

Joining Charles and me on this beautiful, clear, and warm January day were Julie and three of my classmates from UCLA Extension: Enrique, Ines, and Jessica. We spend all day Saturday in class and it's nice to relax on Sunday by being outdoors and enjoying the sights. The Angelus Temple (pictured below) is located across the street from Echo Park and is where Amy Semple McPherson founded her Foursquare Church in the 1920s. It is one of the early 'megachurches' and draws thousands every week. The Angelus Temple, Echo Park
We walked briefly on Glendale Blvd heading south towards Downtown and found the 'mobile home' pictured below.We soon found our first staircase on a busy stretch of the boulevard across the street from the park.

A walkway leading to the last 12 steps.

At the top there is a walkway overlooking the street with amazing views of the park, the mountains, and nearby Downtown Los Angeles. We soon found the stairway pictured below. I'm guessing the mural (or what's left of it) was painted for the 1984 Olympics that were held here.
We crossed the street and walked through Echo Park. It's very scenic and I can't count the number of times I've seen it featured on film. Lotus flowers used to grow in a corner of the lake but they are gone. The Lotus Festival is still held there every year.

Once out of the park we found our next stairway on nearby Laguna Avenue. It had 84 steps and was not in such good shape.

This is sooo LA.
Soon we began encountering interesting houses, one after another. There is a high concentration of Queen Anne houses in this area and many of them have been kept up. I took way too many pictures to post but will include a sampling of what we came across.

Okay, not Victorian but an interesting multi-unit housing complex.

A Colonial - one of my favorite styles.
Reminds me of the house from Fantasy Island.

Straight from Psycho, the movie.

While Carroll Avenue in Angelino Heights is the more well-known street in the area, Kellam Avenue a block away is also a treat. This stretch is truly a feast for the eyes. So many architectural details (widow's walks, scalloped shingles, multicolored, etc.) to take in and they make a real impact when seen together.

Hitching post from back in the day.

This picture shows the house pre/post remodel. So much work to redo them but the results are impressive.

Hitching post #2.

A view of Downtown LA from Angelino Heights

These beautiful homes are just blocks from Echo Park and we headed in that direction but not before descending these 57 wide stairs to take us down to Wallace Avenue.

Our last staircase took above Glendale Boulevard once again and we walked briefly around this area before ending the walk.

We ended our walk at a local hipster coffeeshop - The Brite Spot on Sunset Blvd.

Feel free to join me as I discover hidden parts of Los Angeles and tackle the remaining 10 stair walks.
Steps walked to date: 17,222.

Follow me on Twitter: @ClimbingLA


  1. Sorry, didn't mean to leave you alone to deal with the guy. If I had heard what he was promoting I would have definitely said something to him! LOved the rest though! Ines

  2. The houses are beautiful, dude!!! I would totally spend the night in the Psycho House. This has to be the most scenic of all of your walks, in regards to architecture.

    Thanks for sharing your walks with us. And tell Charles I said "nice hat!!!!"

  3. This walk was so amazing because of all the Victorian and Queen Anne homes. I've seen them several times before but never tire of them. Thanks for leading us on yet another great stair walk.

  4. Okay this goes down as a personal favorite. So incredibly cool with the houses and the hitching posts. Great narrative! Thanks

  5. I just love Angelino Heights. Love all those houses. I'm counting this as a walk, since even though we didn't do it with the book, we've walked through here many many times before. Is that cheating?

  6. Aunt Snow, of course it's not. Just getting out there and exploring with or without a book is what it's all about.