Silver Lake

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Silver Lake is a community east of Griffith Park, adjacent to Los Feliz, and just 5 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. Silver Lake is inhabited by a wide variety of ethnicities and socioeconomic groups, but it is best known as an eclectic gathering of the creative class. Silver Lake is known for its bohemian vibe, mix of class levels, and neighborhood feel. Silver Lake contains some of the most famous modernist architecture in the United States.

The Neighborhood Nursery School 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.  Older children select from 3 elementary schools, one middle school and one high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Local public school Ivanhoe Elementary ranks in the top 10% of all schools in California.  Also in the area are several parochial schools and the Silver Lake Conservatory of Music.

Since the 1990s it has become the center of the alternative and indie rock scene in Los Angeles. The Sunset Junction Street Fair, a major event in August, is held there.  The Silver Lake Recreation Center provides a beautiful and suitable facility for this vibrant neighborhood.  In recent years the gentrification of the neighborhood has begun to intensify including the opening of many stylish indie boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants.

Many now-famous architects, including Neutra, Schindler, Lautner, Wright, and Ain, 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. There are more architecturally significant homes per square mile in Silver Lake than in other area of Los Angeles.

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HISTORY
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 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).  The reservoir is divided into an upper and lower section. The upper section retains the name Ivanhoe while the lower section alone is properly known as Silver Lake, named after Herman Silver, a member of Los Angeles’ first Board of Water Commissioner.

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 there 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 a Public Storage building.  The AM/PM gas station across the street is where the “cyclorama” 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 there, and many of the Keystone Cops chase scenes were shot along Glendale Blvd.  Not 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 1920’s & 1930’s developers  were encouraged to build by the city and were attracted by the hills and the blue jewel focal point that is the 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.

Source:  Silverlake Residents Association

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RESTAURANTS

Blair’s   2903 Rowena Ave.  (323) 660-1882
Comfort Cafe    2520 Hyperion Ave
   (323) 666-5616
Cru    1521 Griffith Park Blvd    (323) 667-1551
Edendale Grill   2838 Rowena Avenue   (323) 666-2000
El Caserio Silver Lake   401 Silver Lake Blvd (213) 273-8945
Garage Pizza    4339 1/2 W. Sunset Blvd.  (323-668-1190)
Tantra   3705 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026  (323) 663-8268
Vietnamese Soy Cafe   1997 Hyperion Ave   (323) 663-7888

SCHOOLS

PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Los Angeles Unified School District

School Finder
Click here to determine which school your child would attend based on your address.

High School
John Marshall High School    3939 Tracey St.   323-660-1440

Middle School
King Middle School     4201 Fountain Avenue   323-664-1176

Elementary Schools
Ivanhoe Elementary School    2828 Herkimer St.  323-664-0051
Mayberry Street Elementary School   2414 Mayberry Street   213-413-3420
Micheltorena Street Elementary
     1511 Micheltorena St
    
323-661-2125

PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Immaculate Heart Middle and High School  5515 Franklin Avenue   323-461-3651
Ribét Academy College Preparatory School
  2911 San Fernando Rd. 323-344-4330
Silver Lake Conservatory of Music  3920 Sunset Blvd. 323-665-3363
St Teresa of Avila School    2215 Fargo St.  323.662-3777

PRESCHOOLS
Lyric Preschool    2328 Hyperion Ave. 323 667-2275
Neighborhood Nursery School    2700 Telesa Ave. 323-665-0209