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EL SERENO HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S
RESEARCH ARTICLES

  The Little Arroyo that Forged El Sereno’s History

How El Sereno became the “Last of the ‘Independent” 

You might have heard members of El Sereno's Historical Society refer to El Sereno as "The Last of the Independent". This title is not meant to mean that El Sereno is somehow anti-social; on the contrary, the title is referring to El Sereno's unique history.  From the beginning of unrecorded history, up to today's modern age of technology, one thing has remained constant: the little known and under-appreciated historic Arroyo Rosa de Castilla.   El Sereno's long and rich history was greatly influenced by the role this small stream would play; helping to shape our enduring and unique history, giving El Sereno the special title of The Last of the Independent.    

The history of El Sereno stretches back to before the arrival of the Spanish.  It is noted that the ancient native village of Otsungna existed in what now is El Sereno.   Although no archeological records exist, the recorded annals left by the San Gabriel Mission Franciscans tell us that this village existed alongside a stream that ran North to South through the what is now El Sereno.  The village of Otsungna relied on the source of water to meet their daily life’s needs.

During the Spanish Mission period, the little Arroyo served its purpose as well.  One of the original 36 adobes was built next to the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla in 1776 by Spanish Vaqueros.  The San Gabriel Mission was said to be one of the best producers and growers of all that could be cultivated.  Its cattle herds brought in large profits to the Mission coffers; selling hides to the visiting foreign ships was a lucrative business, more so when it was done by very keen and business savvy Mission fathers. 

Soon after Mexico's Independence from Spain (1821), the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla was included in the 1831 land grant given to Juan Ballesteros.  He was the Regidor of the Pueblo of Los Angeles from 1823-1824.  He named the Rancho "Rosa de Castilla" after the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla which ran through the area.  This arroyo was the same one that had served the native village of Otsungna.  Rancho Rosa de Castilla included what is now El Sereno, parts of Lincoln Heights, South Pasadena, Alhambra, City Terrace, and Monterey Park.  After the secularization of the missions in 1833, the Rancho and the stream passed to Francisco (Chico) Lopez.  He had a home in Paredon Blanco (now Boyle Heights), but kept his cattle here.  In the late 1840s he obtained title to a ranch near Lake Elizabeth in northern Los Angeles County and moved his cattle from Rancho Rosa de Castilla to this ranch.  The Rancho and Arroyo become the property of one Father Anacleto Lestrade, a priest of Our Lady of the Angels Church on the Plaza. 


(Map above is courtesy of Ann Dove of the National Service and J. Hall/LA Creek Freak) 

The next big event in the Arroyo’s legacy comes in 1852, when Jean-Baptiste (Juan Bautista) Batz and his wife Catalina Hegui Batz, who had arrived in California from Argentina in 1850, acquired the adobe ranch house from Lestrade.   While the story of immigrants coming to the U.S. and becoming wealthy is not unique in and of itself, the facts behind how the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla allowed the Batz family to become wealthy land owners, has not been fully credited.  The fact that the Batz family had the Arroyo within their land allowed the family to be able to keep the Rancho’s sheep herds well tended and the crops well watered.  In fact, because of this little Arroyo Rosa de Castilla, the Batz family was able to continue acquiring land at the same time other Ranchos were being sold and sub-divided.

Jean-Baptiste engaged in farming and sheep ranching until his death on December 6, 1859.  Under the Homestead Act, Catalina Batz received official title to the 160 acres upon which the adobe stood in 1776.   Between 1860 and up to Ms. Catalina Hegui Batz’s death in 1882, Ms. Batz was able to expand the size of the Rancho; the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla afforded her the water needed to do so.  She proceeded to purchase land from the surrounding owners, eventually encompassing a total of 3,283 acres.  

It is important to note that water was very precious in early Los Angeles County history.  Not having a good source of water meant that you were at the mercy of the weather for your farm’s crops and cattle.  No rain meant disaster for many, causing farmers to take out loans or sell parts of their land in order to pay land taxes and get by till at least the next season.  Two or three years of bad rainfall meant the end of most farms and Ranchos; many Rancho owners were forced to sell off parts of the land in order to repay loans and/or pay the taxes owed on the land.  The majority of the Ranchos surrounding Rancho Rosa de Castilla fell to this fate.  The land was sub-divided and developed into housing tracts.

To the west of Rancho Rosa de Castilla was the community of East Los Angeles (later Lincoln Heights), subdivided in 1873 by Dr. John S. Griffin and his nephew Hancock M. Johnston. To the southwest was Boyle Heights, subdivided in 1876 by W.H. Workman.  To the east was the town of Alhambra, subdivided in 1874 by Benjamin D Wilson and Ramona/Shorb founded by James de Barth Shorb.  To the north was the community of Pasadena, subdivided in 1874. 

The Arroyo afforded the Batz Family with the means to their wealth, allowing them to resist falling into the pit of debt and the use of land to pay it off.  All of what is El Sereno today was once part of Rancho Rosa de Castilla, El Sereno’s boundaries with its neighbors made possible by the little known stream dubbed long ago-Arroyo Rosa de Castilla.   The Arroyo was largely allowed to continue its flow undisturbed up to the 1960s, when it was finally routed under-ground. 


One is still able to see part of this historic Arroyo today.  There is a short section alongside the 710, as you enter the freeway from Valley Blvd, which has been left uncovered.  A close inspection will reveal that the Arroyo is still flowing with the life giving liquid used by so many over the years.  Although the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla has been encased into a cement canal, this small portion was left uncovered, left open just enough to remind us that it is still there.  Maybe to help remind us of the important role it had in the shaping of our community and its history.  Maybe it’s time we gave this little always-flowing Arroyo the recognition it rightly deserves.  A plaque and its rightful place in the annals of LA’s and El Sereno’s history, is the least we can do for the Arroyo that has allowed us to be El Sereno: Last of the Independent.

2nd article written byJ. Garcia, founding member of the El Sereno Historical Society; featured in Our Town-El Sereno in August 2012.

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Support our effort to get our local El Sereno history recognized. Visit: SurveyLA.mindmixer.com and second our proposals for historic recognition.  It's one way we can share our long and rich history as well as help to preserve what we have today for the future generations.  

There is also a great article featuring the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla in The Eastsider LA website. 

For more information about LA's historic rivers and streams, visit: LA Creek Freak. (These folks also present a great post with unique pics and info about the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla).
Update:  
El Sereno Historical Society's Mission is to ensure the preservation of our community's historic landmarks for future generations.  Currently, the proposed 710 Extension poses a very real threat to the future of the Historic Arroyo Rosa de Castilla.  All the proposed Freeway Alternatives have El Sereno as the primary route for the 710's extension. 
 
If the 710 freeway is allowed to be built anywhere within El Sereno, there is a high probability of totally destroying the Arroyo Rosa de Castilla, given that it will have to be rerouted or tapped at it's source. 

The 710 extension will also impede any future efforts to restore the Arroyo as a naturally flowing stream.  All of the areas of the Arroyo that are currently still open will cease to exist.

The preservation of Arroyo Rosa de Castilla is another reason the 710 Extension needs to be scrapped and a more environmentally friendly and community sensitive alternative needs to be found.

  
ARROYO ROSA DE CASTILLA : ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

BELOW: In these 1948 aerial photos, you can follow Arroyo Rosa de Castilla's path; from the natural spring from which it flowed out of, down through El Sereno, along what is now the 710 freeway and into Monterey Park/Easl L.A.  There are breaks in the Arroyo's path, where the Arroyo is diverted into underground culverts, caused by the construction of major streets (Alhambra Ave & Valley Blvd) and Railroad tracks (Southern Pacific line).  Otherwise, the photos show the Arroyo's natural flow since before the arrival of the Spanish Missionaries.  Photo is property of El Sereno Historical Society. 

(Maps below are property of El Sereno Historical Society).





BELOW: The first half of Arroyo Rosa de Castilla's quiet and steady journey from where it sprang up from the under-ground spring and flowed down through the community of El Sereno.


BELOW: Close up of Arroyo Rosa de Castilla, as it continues pass Alhambra Ave., then Valley Blvd, and finally throufh what is now the 710 freeway.  The large empty hill in the bottom center of the photo is the area Cal State L.A. now occupies.
      
  

BELOW: A better view of Arroyo Rosa de Castilla as it flows past the middle of two hills.  The Arroyo is flowing through the area the 710 currently occupies.  
The large roadway on the left is the 10 freeway, known as Ramona Road prior to the 10 freeway's construction.  The area in-between the hills with the large clump of trees growing alongside the Arroyo, is probably very near the site where the historic adobe built in 1776 once stood.   
In 1955 t
he hills began to get bull-dozed and leveled down in order to way for what is now Cal State University L.A. (CSULA)  The hills/dirt was carted off and used as a source of fill material for freeway construction (Info from R. Lerner Archives/CSULA).

  
 
Caption reads:  Aerial view of hilly landscape in (El Sereno), Los Angeles. This area was a proposed site for public housing development. Date: 1950 April 10. (Photo courtesy of USC Digital Library) 
      

The Arroyo Rosa de Castilla was largely left free-flowing until the mid-1960s, when most of the Arroyo was diverted into concrete canals and buried underground.  Although still flows down what was once its natural stream bed, the only portions of the Arroyo that can still be seen are alongside the 710 S.   First, as you enter the 710 on-ramp from Valley Blvd, immediately to your right you'll see an open concrete culvert.  A careful inspection will reveal that there is still much water flowing in the Arroyo.  The second other portion of the Arroyo that can still be seen is also on the 710 S, on the right hand side, before the Cesar Chavez exit.

Below are a series of aerial photographs taken in the late 1950.  The Higgins Brick and Tile Company owned part of the land south of the 10 freeway.  The Arroyo Rosa de Castilla can be seen flowing down the center.  Cal State La was in the early stages of being built.  Photos are courtesy of USC Digital Library.  

Click on a picture to enlarge.


BELOW: Series of maps acquired from the United States Department of Commerce.  The maps show Arroyo Rosa de Castilla's current flow, most of which has been diverted underground, in concrete pipes and canals.  Only a portion of the Arroyo is still visible; That is what is left to honor El Sereno's historic and life giving Arroyo Rosa de Castilla.

Click on maps to enlarge.
    

     


 
Rancho Rosa De Castilla

The Historic Beginning of El Sereno  

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish missionaries, the area now called the San Gabriel Valley was populated by Native Americans of the Tongva Nation.  The Spanish renamed them the Gabrielinos.  The founding of the San Gabriel Mission by Spanish Franciscans took place in 1771, in the area that is now known as Whittier Narrows on the border between Montebello and Rosemead.  

In 1776, the mission was moved to avoid the spring floods that ruined the first crops, to its present location in the City of San Gabriel.  The El Sereno area, then known as the Mission Hills, was part of the lands owned by the Mission San Gabriel Archangel and was used for grazing cattle.  
That same year, one of the 36 original adobes in California's history was built on what is now the campus of California State University, Los Angeles.

BELOW:  Map of Rancho Rosa de Castilla, submitted for recognition in 1850 by Anacleto Lestrade.  Click on map to enlarge. 
 

 After Mexico's Independence from Spain (1821), the Rancho Rosa de Castilla (Rose of Castile Ranch) was granted to the prominent Californio Juan Ballesteros by Governor Manuel Victoria.  Juan Ballesteros was the Regidor of the Pueblo of Los Angeles from 1823 - 1824.  The land grant owned by Juan Ballesteros was christened Rancho Rosa de Castilla in 1831. The Rancho was named after the stream which ran (runs) through the area (This stream is the same one that still runs adjacent to Cal State LA and the 710 freeway.  You can still see the creek as you enter the 710 S on Valley Blvd). 

Rancho Rosa de Castilla included what today are the communities of El Sereno, parts of City Terrace, Lincoln Heights, South Pasadena, Alhambra, and Monterey Park.  After the secularization of the missions in 1833, the ranch passed to Francisco (Chico) Lopez.  He had a home in Paredon Blanco (now Boyle Heights), but kept his cattle here. 

In 1840 he expanded the adobe on the ranch which had been built by workers from the Mission in 1776 (the adobe was destroyed by a fire in 1908).  If the adobe was standing today, it would be located in what is now the City of Alhambra near Westmont Drive and Jurich Place (others give the location as the northeastern tip of Cal State L.A. campus, alongside the Long Beach Freeway at the Hellman Ave.-Gravois Avenue bridge; somewhere between these 4 streets is the best guess).  In the late 1840s he obtained title to a ranch near Lake Elizabeth in northern Los Angeles County and moved his cattle from Rancho Rosa de Castilla to this ranch.

            Following the Mexican-American War (1848), California became part of the United States.  A land claim for Rancho Rosa de Castilla was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1851 by Anacleto Lestrade, a priest at the San Gabriel Mission.  In 1852, the Rosa de Castilla grant failed to receive confirmation from the Land Commission.  The Board of Land Commissioners rejected the claim because of (a) unclear boundaries, and (b) that the original grantee, Juan Ballesteros, had not occupied the land continuously as required.  Since Rancho Rosa de Castilla had failed to receive confirmation, parts of it were sold off, creating a few smaller historical Ranchos as well as areas deemed “public land”. 

In 1852, Basque émigré Jean-Baptiste (Juan Bautista) Batz and his wife Catalina Hegui Batz, bought a quarter of a section of land of what was once the Rancho Rosa de Castilla, owned by Juan Ballesteros.  Juan Bautista Batz and his wife Catalina were Basques who first immigrated to Argentina and later, in 1850, came to California.  The Batz's family settled in the original adobe home built in 1776, in what is now part of the Cal State L.A. campus.  Mr. Batz retained the name Rancho Rosa Castilla, inspired by the wild roses that grew along-side the stream since the Mission days.  A stream that once flowed south across the middle of the Rancho area, and never officially named, is today enclosed in a flood control channel that parallels the eastern boundary of the campus, alongside the 710 freeway (same stream mentioned earlier).

    This stream was essential to the Rancho.  Not only did it provide water for the grazing flocks, but it was also used for swimming by the children, by wild geese during migration, as well as the occasional wandering crane.   Drinking water for the home was provided by a nearby well.  Juan and Catalina Batz would eventually have a total of 7 children, six of which were born and raised on the Rancho Rose de Castilla: Domingo, Marta, Rafael, Jose Domingo, Francisca and Pedro Amado (the eldest daughter, Ana Maria, was born in Argentina).  The land was originally used as a sheep ranch, but as survival depended on the ability to adapt, droughts and other factors caused a gradual shift into agriculture; sheep gave way to hay and barley as the principal products.  Owing to their ancient Basque heritage of farming and raising sheep, the Batz family was able to thrive, adding more and more parcels of pasture land and rolling hills. Extensive interviews with the descendents of Juan and Catalina Batz, as well as the methodical and exhaustive research conducted by prior historians and research specialist paint life on the Rancho as a picturesque and independent existence.

BELOW: Early photo of Rancho Rosa de Castilla circa 1880.  Visible is part of the large herd of sheep owned by the Batz family.


“Although near Los Angeles, the ranch was not quite close enough to rely on city purchasing, and was self-contained with its own food supplies.  There were horses, cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and so on.  There was the outdoor horno (dome-shaped oven) for baking.  There was no smokehouse; they preferred to salt meat rather than smoke it.  Although grapes were not grown, they were bought elsewhere, and there were wine cellars and a place for making wine.  The half-dozen ranch hands all expected wine with their meals”.  

Juan Bautista engaged in farming and sheep ranching until his untimely death on December 6, 1859.  While returning from Los Angeles, Juan Baustista was reportedly killed by either being thrown from a wild horse or by a runaway team of horses.  However he was killed, the fact is he died at a relatively young age of 48.  Under the Homestead Act, Catalina received the official title to the land, to which she continued to purchase additional parcels of land in order to protect the family’s grazing land from encroachment. 

By the time of her death on February 22, 1882, at the age of 66, Catalina Batz had amassed a total of 3,283 acres of land, enough land to sustain the family’s massive flock of 2800 sheep.  At this point, the Rancho Rosa de Castilla covered what is now El Sereno, south across Valley Blvd, east to the edge of Los Angeles, and to the southwestern corner of Alhambra, including the area that was to become Cal State Univ. L.A.

BELOW: Before it was a campus, it was Rancho Rosa de Castilla, home of the Batz Family.  
Shown enjoying a summer garden party sometime between 1880 and 1890.

In 1882, after both Juan Baustista and wife Catalina had died, the Rancho was sub-divided among the 6 unmarried Batz children.  The Batz children assembled in the downtown L.A. law office of Henry O’Melveny.  Here, each one drew straws for their one-sixth portion of the estate.  Thus, the Rancho Rosa de Castilla was unceremoniously divided.  After 106 years, the last remaining area originally dubbed Rancho Rosa de Castilla by the Franciscan missionaries and part of the original territory administered under the San Gabriel Mission came to its final end.  The land remained undeveloped for much of the 1880s-1900s.  With the arrival of the Bairds brothers, land began to be acquired for the purpose of realestate development.  George Baird became a prominant figure in the area, buying up much of the land that was first developed into housing tracts. Through his friendship with Henry Huntington, the Baird's Railway Station was created along the Pacific Electric Line. Soon, more people began to settle in what was later known as Bairdstown.  On June 10,1915, Bairdstown was annexed into the City of Los Angeles and reunited with part of the Arroyo Seco annexation area to reform what was before known as Rancho Rosa de Castilla and is today El Sereno.  In 1917, the official name of this historic town was formally changed to El Sereno.


The History of El Sereno is brought to you by the dedicated members of the El Sereno Historical Society.  Our Goal is to bring the residents and public authentic, accurate, and reliable information concerning the history of El Sereno.

We would like to thank the staff of Our Town-El Sereno magazine (Julio Torres) for allowing the El Sereno Historical Society to feature some of our community’s long and unique history.  We hope to continue doing so every month.  We also want to acknowledge George Casen and Robert Lerner for their generous contribution and use of their historical research as well as for their professional support/guidance.  

First article written by J. Garcia, founding member of the El Sereno Historical Society; featured in Our Town-El Sereno, June 2012.
    

 
Research Projects in Progress

The Edison Barn

Said to be the oldest barn in Los Angeles, we are currently conducting preliminary research to find out more about this barn.  The property owner on which the barn sits has stated that it was used as a Pony Express Station and that it was built in 1890.  
Though it's doubtful that it was part of the Pony Express in these late years, it might have been part of a local Stage Coach overland route that provided passenger service from Los Angeles to other cities within California.  What is for certain is that the barn is very old and that the owner has taken steps to preserve it in it's natural state.  We hope to uncover more of it's history and be able to share it with the community and the public.

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  PICTURE OF THE MONTH ARCHIVE 
Below is our collection of previously featured Picture of the Month




LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (October 2020)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org or eshs.org@gmail.com).


This month we are featuring an El Sereno family story shared by Doreen Nakama and Adam Martinez of @eastlosmusubi.  This family legacy tells of love, war, adventure, and the meeting of two cultures.  Below is their story told in their words as well as treasured family pictures. 


The Love Story


Great Grandparents left Okinawa to Oahu to Elope in the 1900’s
Her Grandfather Left Oahu to fight in WW2 in the #442ndregimentalcombatteam
Met her Grandmother in Mexico while on leave,
They spent the day together and He vowed to come back and marry her.
He then Fought in the Korean War came back found her and
They got married and Moved to East LA.
My Grandfather Built their Family Home in El Sereno.
My Father Grew up in El Sereno a young Hapa cholo
who had to fight a lil harder to show he was down since his was of mixed race,
He met my mother in High School and
got marrieds when they had lil old me!
Growing up mixed race in LA wasnt always the easiest but we had a huge family and
as long as we were all together we didn’t mind!
Our family is Japanese, Hawaiian, Mexican , indigenous American,
Korean, Black, White, Portuguese, Filipino, Guatemalan,
so we have a deep love for everyone ��✨

@adam_el_cocinero Is From the Westlake Rampart District near Downtown and I ( @littlesweeties ) grew up here in El Sereno and LBC and Artesia ����
Our Food is a story ��✨

Recently, Doreen's daughter, Genai Nakama, was featured in L.A.Taco.  You can read the article here: MEET THE JAPANESE MEXICAN 19-YEAR-OLD MODEL FROM EL SERENO REPRESENTING LATINX BEAUTY IN THE MAINSTREAM

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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (July-August 2020)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org).


 
Bigotry and Racism in El Sereno’s Rose Hill


Although residents of El Sereno’s are aware of Rose Hill, an area within our community, most are unaware of the true history of this land -tract. There is a couple of folks who like to cut-and-paste history by claiming that Rose Hill translates to Rosa de Castilla (it does not) or that Rose Hill is named after the historic Rancho Rosa de Castilla which used to encompass all of El Sereno. This is false and far from the truth. The true origin of the name Rose Hill has a sordid and prejudiced beginning.

As reported on a previous post, the true story of Rose Hill begins in 1904, many years after El Sereno (then known as Bairdstown) had already been established. At the time, the western part of El Sereno was sparsely populated. There was a lot of open land and the promise of better trolley service from Pacific Electric Railway brought land speculators to the area. It was in 1904 that the first inkling of the name “Rose Hill” appears in El Sereno.


The new land tract in El Sereno is open for business, 1904. 

The historic facts are that in 1904, developers Grider and Hamilton bought a piece of land in northwest El Sereno. They subdivided the land into 132 lots and named their land tract ‘Rose Hill’, taking out ads announcing the opportunity to buy. Now, the name “Rose Hill” did not originate with Grider and Hamilton. As it turns out, Grider and Hamilton stole the name from the original Rose Hill development owned by G. Harlan. The original Rose Hill development was between Hoover Street and Vermont Avenue, and was doing very well by all accounts. There’s no doubt that Grider and Hamilton saw an opportunity to ride the coat tails of this well selling tract and decided to take the name for their use on the western end of El Sereno.

Mr. Harlan caught wind of the shenanigans and wasted no time in calling out the name stealing, posting an article in the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Harlan makes it very clear that the original Rose Hill predates the Rose Hill in El Sereno by eight years (since 1896), stating that, “I suppose their idea in stealing their name of our Rose Hill tract and applying it to their new tract was to reap the benefits and popularity of our tract, which was named ‘Rose Hill tract’ over eight years ago.”

These are the historic facts of how a small tract of 132 lots in El Sereno came to be Rose Hill. The new subdivision is off to a bad start.


The name Rose Hill is stolen from another developer, Mr. G. Harlan. who writes an article to complain: "I suppose their idea in stealing the name of our Rose Hill tract and applying it to their new tract was to reap the benefits and popularity of our tract, which was named 'Rose Hill tract' over eight years ago" (in 1896).


Sometime soon after, possibly right from the start, Rose Hill becomes a closed, prejudiced district, available only to those who meet the "standards" of the residents. This becomes very evident in 1921, when a developer representing “the higher class of Japanese in Los Angeles” tries to buy land in or near the district, with the intent of developing the land with homes for a Japanese district. The racist Rose Hill Civic Improvement Association is outraged at the thought of having Japanese neighbors. Again, these are well-off and successful Japanese/Japanese-Americans seeking to establish an area to call home. Other parts of El Sereno already had Japanese residents, so it didn’t seem too far fetch to build a well-planned Japanese district in northwest El Sereno. If these well-off Japanese were seen as a threat to this “white community,” there can be no doubt that other minority groups (Chinese, Mexicans, African Americans, or Jews) would not be welcomed as well.

Unfortunately for the Japanese, the ugly head of racism raised its head. It soon became an open fact that Rose Hill did not accept or want anyone of color living among them. Under the name of the Rose Hill Civic Improvement Association, the white-only district made this clear when they organized and paid for a banner that read
“JAPS! DON’T LET THE SUN SET ON YOU HERE. KEEP MOVING! THIS IS ROSE HILL.”

It’s clear that Rose Hill was a “Sundown District,” one of the worst forms of discrimination in history.



Article courtesy of Louis Salcido.

When the first banner is brought down by the city because it did not have the necessary permits to post it across Huntington Drive, as it is deemed public land, residents organized and soon put up a second banner on private property. Residents celebrated the occasion with food, fanfare and a brass band at the local Rose Hill Elementary, today Huntington Drive Elementary.

Wikipedia defines a Sundown District or Town as “Sundown towns, also known as sunset towns or gray towns, are all-white municipalities or neighborhoods in the United States that practice a form of segregation by excluding non-whites via some combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation, and violence.” This is evident in the Rose Hill district with the statement, “Just what action might follow in case the terse command of the sign was disobeyed was a matter of conjecture today, but it is generally conceded that any Japanese who might fail to heed the pointed warning would receive unwelcome attentions…”



Sadly, the discrimination and bigotry in this corner of El Sereno still exists. While not as overt as the days of the Rose Hill Civic Improvement Association, today bigotry goes by a new name: “Rose Hills Review.”  This small group targets and harasses street vendors, calling the cops on them and intimidating them into “leaving their community.” A self-labeled “historian” of this group even shares stories about this Sundown District, fondly recalling the “good ole’ days” of Rose Hill(s). He lumps those less fortunate street vendors into the category of “undesirables,” along with thieves, gangbangers and the homeless.   As for the homeless, the favorite tactic used by this group is to “throw the homeless out of Rose Hill(s).” How are the homeless made to leave? And where exactly are the homeless made to go? Drive by Lincoln Park or Huntington Drive/Van Horne and Maycrest, you’ll see where the homeless are thrown to.



  Yes, we still have lot of improvement to do here in El Sereno. More information to come.  Special thanks to Louis Salcido for contributing to this post.

 




LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (June 2020)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org).


 Official City Recognition of El Sereno Day

On June 30, 2009, the Los Angeles City Council adopted motion 09-1538 which officially recognized the community of El Sereno and its long and unique history.  As stated on this city document, El Sereno is recognized as being founded in 1771, 10 years before the City of Los Angeles was established in 1781.

From a camp on the river of the Roses de Castille to a suburban Los Angeles community of homes, business and one of the leading universities in the state, El Sereno has come a long way in the more than 250 years since the first non-Native Americans set foot on the land.  Following is a summary of important dates in our community's history, cited and archived in the El Sereno Star. 

  • 1769 -- Under the command of Don Gaspar de Portola, Father Juniper Serra and Father Juan Crespi, with soldiers, came through the Native American village of Otsur (also known as Otsungna) on the banks of the river of the Roses of Castille, the present site of Cal State Los Angeles, at the Alhambra end of the Long Beach Freeway.
  • Founded in 1771, the community known today as EI Sereno was then known as Mission Hills, part of lands owned by Mission San Gabriel Archangel; and the land was used primarily for cattle grazing during that period
  • Farmdale School, built in 1885, was the first school in the area, and is still situated on its original site on Eastern Avenue 
  • 1900 -- Bairds Town.  George Baird began to subdivide and sell real estate while Llewellyn Baird had the first grocery store and post office.  A tent city developed with the homes built of wooden floors and sides with a tent top.
  • Jesse Yarnell, co-founder of the Los Angeles Mirror Company, which later merged with Los Angeles Times, purchased land to build his home on a hill now known as Rose Hill on the western boundary of present-day El Sereno
  • In 1902 the Pasadena Shortline was opened along Los Angeles-Pasadena Boulevard, now known as Huntington Drive
  • 1910-- Building of the Los Angeles Military Academy near the corner of Eastern Avenue and Huntington Drive.  El Sereno Avenue was named by the wife of the owner of the military academy
  • 1915-- El Sereno was annexed to the City of Los Angeles, but was then called Bairdstown
  • In 1917 the name of Bairdstown was officially changed to El Sereno, which is the Spanish word for serene-quiet unruffled place
  • In the late 1930s and early 1940s El Sereno experienced a major growth spurt, which saw an influx of families of Italian-American descent
  • From 1948 to the present time, a new wave of Mexican-American families moved to EI Sereno. Over the years, El Sereno continued to diversify with established African-Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese families.



The City motion 09-1538, adopted on June 2009, that officially recognized the El Sereno's long and unique history.  As stated on this city document, El Sereno is recognized as being founded in 1771, 10 years before the City of Los Angeles was established in 1781.

    
The caption reads: Bairdstown to El Sereno -- Decades of progress. 
Click on the newspapers to enlarge.



The Batz family home on the historic Rancho Rosa Castilla property, with original adobe built by the Franciscan missionaries of the mission San Gabriel about 1776.  Sheep raising was an important part of the local economy under the Batz family, originally of Basque heritage.















LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (May 2020)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org).


El Sereno’s Horse Race Track

Even before Santa Anita race track (built in 1904), there was a horse race track located here in El Sereno. It was owned by an early El Sereno resident named Captain Jacob Colvin Newton and was located between what today is Huntington Drive South and Navarro Street, in the area where Food 4 Less is located.

About 1870, Captain Jacob Colvin Newton purchased a 160-acre L-shaped ranch stretching from the present Eastern and EI Sereno Avenues on the west to Guardia Avenue on the east (Figure 7). In the late 1880s, he purchased the northern portion of the Batz Ranch from Francisca Batz Echeveste, a daughter of Catalina Batz. On the ranch was a modest cottage on the north side of what is now Huntington Drive at Van Horne Avenue.

Captain Newton grew hay and raised horses that would race at his race track, just south of Roses Road (now Huntington Drive) and east of Farmdale Road (now Eastern Avenue). Captain Newton and his family lived near Mission San Gabriel from 1870 to 1882, when they returned to their native Erie County, New York. After Newton served one term as County Supervisor, he returned to Los Angeles with his family about 1884. Later they moved their primary residence from the West Adams area of Los Angeles to South Pasadena.

In the same era, Jose Domingo Batz married Josetha (Josefa) Lifur, whose brother, Martin Lifur, eventually bought the acreage now known as Sierra Park. In 1890, Mr. Martin Lifur purchased 320 acres of the Batz Ranch—the part of El Sereno known as Sierra Park. Part of the 125-year-old ranch house can still be seen near the corner of Lifur and Navarro. Lifur Avenue and Martin Street were named after him, also Navarro, the province in Spain from which he came. Edna is another street named after the Lifur Family. He left a rich heritage and many memories. His son and daughter lived in the community for many years.

The Lifur children used to climb Navarro Hill and watch carriage races down below on the Newton Ranch circle race track that Captain Newton had built. This is another example of El Sereno’s vibrant and rich history in early entertainment. It wasn’t much later in the 1920s that El Sereno became home the Legion Ascot Speedway, an auto race-track that became famous in its own right. 


Historic map showing early settlements, landowners and locations. 
You can see the location of the old horse track on the top center of the map.



The caption reads: 15 years difference in time brought some changes to the community, as this comparative shot taken in 1919 shows.  Built between the two shot (left) was the first building for El Sereno Elementary School.  Field in foreground was used for horse racing, with people from surrounding areas standing behind the barricades. This is a better picture of the article clipping below.











LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (March 2020)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org).


The El Sereno-USC Connection


As we deal with surreal times of Shelter-In-Place in March 2020, here's a bit of history to distract our minds from what is going on.  The year was 1975 when Jimmy Quemada entered a contest sponsored by the USC Mexican American Alumni Association to create an emblem for the recently created club, founded in 1973. 

Wilson alumnus Jimmy Quemada topped out two other runner ups from Roosevelt High School.  Quemada stated that he used the Aztec calendar, a Spanish conquistador and Trojan figure to come up with the design.  The design was used on Mexican-American Alumni Association print material, such as brochures, stationary, envelopes and membership cards.

In 2011, to better reflect the broad reach of the association, the organization’s name was changed to the USC Latino Alumni Association (LAA). The new name includes the tagline, A legacy of the USC Mexican American Alumni Association since 1973, to commemorate its founders and history.   

Hope you enjoy our Pic of the Month.

We extend our gratitude to Dolores Sotelo, Associate Director, USC Latino Alumni Association, for her help in sharing the emblem on the stationary and programs.


















LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (January 2020)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org).


El Sereno Star

Death Takes Dr. Newman, longtime El Sereno Leader
(44 years ago, we lost a great community leader)

Excerpts from article by Charles Cooper, El Sereno Star, January 14, 1976


A memorial service has been scheduled for January 25 at 2 p.m. for D Newman, two-time school board president and El Sereno community leader who died Sunday (January 11, 1976) at the age of 54.
Private funeral rites were to be held this week at Rose Hills Memorial Park. The memorial service may be held at Wilson High, but further details will be forthcoming later.

In lieu of flowers, the family ask donations to the Dr. Newman Scholarship Fund, care of Wilson High School, 4500 Multnomah St., Los Angeles 90032.

Dr. Newman is survived by his wife, Mary; two sons, Steven and Mark; two daughters, Kathy and Patty; two brothers, Leon and Mathew, and two sisters Bessie and Gertude.

After an active day Saturday working on a women’s football game he had helped put together as a bicentennial fund raising even, Dr. Newman was stricken at his home Sunday morning and was taken to Alhambra Community Hospital, where he died of an apparent heart attack.

OHIO NATIVE

Dr. Newman, who had served on the Board of Education since 1969, was a native of Ohio, but lived virtually all of his life in the Northeast LA area, graduating from Lincoln High School.

He attended Loyola University and Cal Tech, before receiving a DO degree from the California College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. He later earned an MD degree at the California College of Medicine.

Dr. Newman enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was a veteran of combat in World War II, decorated at Saipan with the U.S. Marines.

His school board service began in 1969 when he was elected over incumbent Dr. James Jones. He won re-election easily in 1973, and twice served as board president, in 1971-72 and 1974-75.

While on the board, he became a recognized expert in school finance and held a variety of county and state posts, including President of the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association, member of the delegate assembly and of the finance committee of the California School Boards Association, and member of the Educational Congress of California.

BOND ISSUE

Prior to his service on the board, he was chairman of the Wilson High School advisory committee, of the neighborhood school bond committee which helped pass the last successful bond issue, which financed, among other projects, the new Wilson High School.

Dr. Newman also served as president of the El Sereno Coordination Council, and chairman of its juvenile justice committee; member of the board of the El Sereno Chamber of Commerce, and of the San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce, in which city he practiced as a physician; as a scoutmaster and as vice chairman and chairman of the Foothill District, Boy Scouts of America, receiving for his activities the Order of Merit and the Silver Beaver from the Los Angeles Area Council; and member of the board of directors of the Welfare Planning Council.

ORPHANAGES

While on the board, he continued such activities as providing assistance for orphanages in Tecate, Mexico, organizing regular trips down there with clothing, food and medicine, and his service as volunteer team physician for the Wilson High football team.

Vic Cuccia, coach of the Wilson team called Dr. Newman “the finest person I have ever met.” He said that in order to be with the team in the recent city 3A championships, Dr. Newman left a meeting in San Francisco, flew down to watch Wilson win its first city title, and then flew back to San Francisco at 1 a.m.

In recent years, he had concentrated much of his activities in two areas; serving as medical director of the Northeast Free Clinic, which he had kept open single-handedly in the last few weeks while trying to negotiate a solution for malpractice insurance problems of other doctors who had served as volunteers, and also his work as chairman of the El Sereno Bicentennial Committee.

FARMDALE

Major project of the committee was to refurbish the old 1889 structure which had housed Farmdale Elementary School, and which now stands on the El Sereno Junior High campus.

Dr. Newman had collected a number of early photos and artifacts for the project, and was engaged in writing a history of El Sereno, as well as working with Cal State Los Angeles on a commemorative booklet to be handed out at the Farmdale building when it was completed and open the public.

The school board suspended all but essential business Monday night in order that the members and Superintendent William J. Johnston might eulogize their late colleague. 

Dr. Johnston described the late board member as “a man of great compassion for all and particularly for those in need.”
He said Dr. Newman preferred to solve problems by working quietly with staff, and added, “It is difficult, if not impossible, to describe adequately his unique and significant contributions to this school district, to this community, to this nation. Don came as close to exemplifying our American ideals as any individual I have known.”

Dr. Newman was also eulogized by the four board members present: Philip Bardos called him a “unifying force in deliberations.” Richard Ferraro praised his “involvement with his community.” Diane Watson said that he had served as an example to her since coming on the board, and board president Dr. Robert Docter lauded his ability to communicate, his knowledge on the issues and his friendliness toward other board members.

The board ordered school flags flown at half mast until the funeral. City flags will also be flown at half mast on order of the City Council, which adjourned at the close of business Monday in honor of Dr. Newman.

SNYDER EULOGY

Councilman Art Snyder, a close friend of Dr. Newman’s moved for the adjournment, calling the late physician “a friend of the young people of the city, a friend of the community of Northeast Los Angeles, of El Sereno, a friend of each of us.”

Snyder said, “The needs of love and service and dedication to the community which he planted live and are growing and in turn casting off seeds—an investment in us and in the community he loved. And that investment is already paying off.”

LAUSD later dedicated a building in Dr Newman’s honor. It is located at 2310 Charlotte St., Los Angeles, CA 90033. Dr. Newman deserves this special recognition for all his work he did to improve our El Sereno community and LAUSD.



All old photos courtesy of William J. Johnston

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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (December 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)



Chadwick Country Club, El Sereno, 1912

While many have heard of the old El Sereno Country Club that was halfway built on what today is Woodrow Wilson High School, most have probably never heard of the Chadwick Country Club.

The Chadwick Country Club was formed by residents in 1912 as a way to promote the community as well as to provide many forms of outdoor amusements. Many of the community prominent residents were members of the club, such as Gregory Lifur, the youngest son of Martin Lifur. Gregory Lifur was an excellent athlete, a pitcher who lettered at Stanford University.  As you may recall from previous post, Martin Lifur was one of the founding families of El Sereno. Many street names are directly tied to the Lifurs, such as Navarro Street, Martin Street, and of course, Lifur Avenue.  

The Chadwick Country Club held its first tennis tournament in 1913, with Roy C. Wilson as the winner of the singles and Gregory H. Lifur (20 years old at the time) and his partner Eugene Weston Jr. “carried away the doubles after a close contest.” This same year saw an increase in the expansion of the Chadwick Country Club, as quoted from the article,

“This new country club is directly adjoining the Huntington Boulevard tract of the Janss Investment company, one of the prettiest subdivisions on Huntington Boulevard.  The main club house is to be of unique pressed brick architecture and will embody all the features of the popular country club with many added innovations for the comfort and entertainment of members and guests.
Tennis courts which will rival the fastest on the coast and parkings and gardens of artistic and rare shrubbery and trees are being laid out directly adjoining the club house, and the balance of the grounds are being arranged to accommodate a nine-hole golf links which is planned for the start.
This new club should mean a distinctly attractive added social feature to the residents of this district.”


A nine-hole golf link…this would have been in the area of what is today Warwick Ave and Navarro.

Thanks to Louis Salcido for researching and contributing this story.




Chadwick Country Club article, September 1, 1913.


Janss Tennis Cups article, November 1, 1913.



Presentation of tennis trophies to the winners.  Gregory Lifur stands in the background, 1913.




LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (October 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


What's in a Name: Rose Hill 

While many have heard Rose Hill area of El Sereno, the truth is that the majority of residents are unaware of how exactly Rose Hill got its name. There are those that falsely and erroneously believe that Rose Hill has something to do with the historic Rancho Rosa de Castilla, which encompassed what today is El Sereno, parts of Alhambra, Monterey Park and City Terrace. That assumption is false.

The true story of Rose Hill begins in 1904, many years after El Sereno (then known as Bairdstown) had already been established. At the time, the western part of El Sereno was sparesly populated. There was a lot of open land and the promise of better trolley service from Pacific Electric Railway brought land speculators to the area. It was in 1904 that the first inkling of the name “Rose Hill” appears in El Sereno.



Rose Hill lots go on sale, dated October 11, 1904.


Ad for Rose Hill lots, dated October 3, 1904.


The day is October 3rd 1904 when the land speculators Grider and Hamilton begin to promote an area of El Sereno as Rose Hill. The name Rose Hill comes with a lot of controversy, since the name of the development is not original to the area. As it turns out, Grider and Hamilton stole the name from the original Rose Hill development owned by G. Harlan. The original Rose Hill development was between Hoover Street and Vermont Avenue, and was doing very well by all accounts. There’s no doubt that Grider and Hamilton saw an opportunity to ride the coat tails of this well selling tract and decided to take the name for their use on the westside of El Sereno.

Mr. Harlan caught wind of the shenanigans and wasted no time in calling out the name stealing by posting an article in the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Harlan makes it very clear that the original Rose Hill predates the Rose Hill in El Sereno by eight years (since 1896), stating that, “I suppose their idea in stealing their name of our Rose Hill tract and applying it to their new tract was to reap the benefits and popularity of our tract, which was named ‘Rose Hill tract’ over eight years ago.”

And this is the true story of how a tract in El Sereno came to be Rose Hill.


G. Harlan's Article written in the Los Angeles Herald newspaper, clarifying that the true Rose Hill is located in 
Hoover Street and Vermont Avenue, dated October 9, 1904.


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (August 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


5th ANNUAL ASCOT HILLS CHALLENGE 5K
Saturday, September 28, 2019

Join us on the best 3.1 mile trail course in East Los Angeles! The 5th Annual Ascot Hills Challenge 5K will take you on a journey through the rolling hills of El Sereno where the legendary Ascot motor speedway of the 1920's and 30's hosted crowds of 10,000 and more to witness weekly auto races that brought in the biggest and best racing stars of their time!

The 5k course will challenge all levels of runners, walkers and hikers.  The race is chip-timed for those seeking friendly competition and/or a chance to win a commemorative LAFD challenge coin.

This year, the El Sereno Historical Society is sponsoring the Multnomah Elementary Team, consisting of students and staff.  It's important to support healthy and positive events in our community, especially our youth.  This event has become a community favorite, as well as being popular with runners from all over the county! 

If you enjoy trail running, walking or hiking, you'll be certain to enjoy this event with spectacular views of Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood sign, all visible from within the park.

The 5th annual event kicks off on Saturday, September 28, at 7 am. The race begins at 8 am.

To register and more information visit the Ascot Hills Challenge website at:  https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/LosAngeles/AscotHillsChallenge5K 







Ascot Hill Challenge 5K Course Map

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (July 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


Historic Cameo Theater, El Sereno

Our Picture of the Month features the historic Cameo Theater.  Many long-time residents fondly remember growing up and enjoying numerous movie outings with friends and family at Cameo.  The Cameo was the second of three theaters that served Sereno.  The Cameo Theater, along with stores and offices, was built in 1924, with J.T. Payne as the architect.  

During its early days, the Cameo featured silent movies.  These movies included famous actors, such as Lionel Barrymore, from the famous Barrymore family and great uncle of actress Drew Barrymore.  

Throughout its history, the Cameo Theater had been a community social gathering place.  Today, the Cameo Theater is relegated as a 99 Cent Store.  But its place in our local history has not been forgotten. 

Included below is a 1926 advertisement and photos of the Cameo Theater throughout its history of service in El Sereno (photos dated 1956, 1971, and today).

Footnote: The first theater and brick store building in El Sereno, was erected on Huntington Drive in 1922, and was designed by architect A. Godfrey Bailey. The third theater was built in 1940, at 3355 N. Eastern Avenue, the structural engineer was William Bostock.  This theater was called the El Sereno Theater before being renamed the Mazatlan Theater in the 1980s. 



1926 advertisement for the Cameo Theater, with movie featuring Lionel Barrymore.



The Cameo Theater, 1956.



The Cameo Theater, 1971.


The Cameo Theater today.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (June 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


60th Independence Day Parade
"Celebrating El Sereno"

Our Picture of the Month features the historic El Sereno Independence Day Parade.  This is the 60th year of the parade which theme is "Celebrating El Sereno."  The parade has been a community staple for many years, bringing together schools, businesses, artists and community organizations as participants.

The parade will end at El Sereno Park.  There at 5 pm, the community will enjoy the 12th Annual Concert in the park as we wait for the traditional Fireworks Show.  There will be music, food, community booths and activities for children.  

Included below are some historic newspaper clippings from El Sereno's
16th Annual Independence Day Parade, 1973.  






Plans and participants for El Sereno's 16th Annual Independence Day Parade.


Woodrow Wilson Senior High Drill Team, July 1973


El Sereno Branch Library Float, 1973


The Sally Savedra Dancers, from Rosemead, 1973
Best Marching Unit, Cub Pack 507, Multnomah Elementary, 1973



To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (April 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


Historic El Sereno Middle School Library
(Formerly Woodrow Wilson Senior High)

Our Picture of the Month features the historic El Sereno Middle School Library.  Originally opened in 1937 as Woodrow Wilson Senior High, the school's library has served countless students over the past 8 decades of service.  As a special footnote, the library still has the original chairs!!

Special Thanks to Gilbert Talancon for contributing to this post.



Woodrow Wilson Senior High school library, 1941.  It was described as "one of the best libraries in the city."


Woodrow Wilson Senior High Library, 1942.
Woodrow Wilson Senior High library, 1954.
The original library is still in use today, the school having been renamed El Sereno Junior High in 1970,
after the "new" Wilson opened its doors up on the hill. (Photos courtesy of Gilbert Talancon)

El Sereno Middle School library today, with its original chairs. (Photos courtesy of Gilbert Talancon)

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (March 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


Remembering the Walkouts
This month we are featuring a video commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Student Blowouts, or walkouts that took place on March 1, 1968 at Woodrow Wilson Senior High (today it is El Sereno Middle School).  The students across the Eastside had been planning a walkout to protest the inequitable educational opportunities. However, the students at Wilson ended up walking out before the planned date. The spontaneous walk out was due to administration cancelling the student production of the play Barefoot in the Park. The rest is history.

In 2018, the El Sereno Historical Society organized a series of meetings to plan the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Student Walkouts.  These meetings culminated with the unveiling of a mural and the installation of a bronze plaque on March 1, 2018, exactly 50 years from the day the Wilson students walked out.  In this video, the artist of the mural, Carlos Callejo, 






LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (February 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)



This month we are featuring the Powered by Innovation - Benefit Gala, hosted by the Wilson Mules Alumni Association.  Please help support this great cause that aims to raise $50,000 for the 3D-EV Capstone, which will invigorate the Wilson High School S.T.E.A.M. Program.  

The 3D-EV Capstone is a 16-week Electric Vehicle Assembly course and curriculum for schools. It is designed for grades 9-12th and secondary technical students.  You can help by making a donation, buying a ticket to the Gala, or buying an ad space for your business in their program. 

Video of the 3D-EV Capstone


“Powered by Innovation” Benefit Gala
Hosted by Wilson Mules Alumni Association

Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 6 PM

Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center
901 Via San Clemente, Montebello, California 90640

Tickets: www.wilsonmulesaa.org   

Wilson Alumni, Parents and Community Partners:

The Wilson Mules Alumni Association, a 501 (C)(3) nonprofit organization, invites you to attend its Inaugural Benefit Gala “Powered by Innovation” to be held on March 30, 2019 at Quiet Cannon Conference and Event Center. Attendees will be comprised of dedicated Wilson alumni, as well as community partners committed to innovative academic achievement. The evening’s program will include the distinguished recognition of Wilson’s “2019 Outstanding Alumni Award” recipient, Willie Zuniga ‘75, President of Grifols.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics (“STEAM”) program at Woodrow Wilson High School. Our goal is to raise $50,000. A portion of these funds will be used to provide Wilson students with an electronic vehicle kit which includes a project based curriculum that teaches electronic vehicle technology. This hands-on, life size apparatus will enhance student understanding of alternative fuels, sustainability, electronics and evolving technologies. Students will also benefit by developing collaborative problem solving skills.

It is our hope that you will join us in this meaningful effort to help Wilson students gain practical experience and exposure in STEAM fields. Hopefully more young women, students of color, and first-generation college bound students will be inspired to become the makers and innovators of the future.

 Visit the website https://www.wilsonmulesaa.org/gala to:
✅ Secure your Benefit Gala reservation
✅ Learn about the various sponsorship levels available
✅ Donate a silent auction gift
✅ Purchase an ad in our event program
✅ Make a donation of any amount to help us reach our goal

If have any questions, you can direct them to our Gala Committee Chairperson, Julio Torres at julio@ourtownelsereno.com, or Carmina Gomez at crgomez.usc@gmail.com, or Peter Cabrera at p.cabrera@wilsonmulesaa.org







LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (January 2019)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


Lifur Dairy Farm- El Sereno
This month we are featuring the Lifur Dairy Farm that was once located on Harriman Ave.  and Pullman Street, on the northwest-side of El Sereno.  The owner was Frank Lifur, a Basque emigrant from Spain.  He traveled to France and took a ship across the ocean, where he landed on Ellis Island, New York.  He then made his way west and settled on what was then known as Rancho Rosa de Castilla.  It later became the community of Bairdstown, before being changed to El Sereno.  Frank Lifur married and raised four daughters on his dairy farm.  The Lifur livestock was said to roam all around the hills, especially Elephant Hill.  The Lifur dairy farm was said to have existed right up to the 1940s.

The Lifur name is well known in El Sereno, as there are several streets named after a founding community member, Martin Lifur.   Martin Lifur was a large landowner and farmer who lived on the east-side of El Sereno, in the area around Sierra Park Elementary. 

There are several streets in El Sereno that are directly influenced by Martin Lifur: Navarro Street, named after the town in Spain that Martin Lifur came from; Martin Street, named after himself; and Lifur Street, named after his family name.

While we haven't found any evidence that directly connects Frank Lifur's Dairy Farm and Martin Lifur's farm, it's easy to conclude that these two Basque families helped each other in times of need.  The Basque were a tight-nit community who helped each other out. 

We thank Louis Salcido for his help, research, and contribution to this post.



Shown here is a partial receipt and record book of the Lifur Dairy Farm


Picture of "Anderson" a prized and loved cow on the Lifur's dairy farm in El Sereno.  
Frank Lifur was known for keeping meticulous notes on each cow on his dairy farm.  
The hills in the background is what is now known as "Monterey Hills".


Milk bottle from the Lifur Dairy Farm.


Photo of Martin Lifur with his horse "Queenie".



El Sereno Star article on founding community member Martin Lifur.


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (December 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


El Sereno Historical Society: Last Project of 2018 and Recap 

As this 2018 year draws to an end, the El Sereno Historical Society (ESHS) continues working on making our community a more beautiful and better place for residents. 

Our most recent project of 2018 reflects ESHS efforts to preserve the arts of El Sereno.  A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that the mural on Lombardy and Alhambra Ave had been badly hit with graffiti.  The mural was created in 2014 by Wilson's Urban Visionaries students and teachers, with well-known lead artist Kristy Sandoval. 

The mural was made possible with support from Asian American Advancing Justice. The mural depicts the struggles of immigrant students and their families.  We have unofficially adopted this corner as one of our yearly clean up spots as well.  Therefore, as soon as we saw the graffiti on the mural we got to work.  After the necessary phone calls and emails, we went out and started painting.

A big Thanks to local artist, El Sereno resident, and Wilson teacher, Eladio Chavez, for taking time out of his day and donating his talent and supplies needed to clean up the mural. 

RECAP OF 2018 

ESHS started off the year collaborating with Wilson Mules Alumni Association (WMAA), InnerCity Struggle, LAUSD, Councilmember Huizar, County Supervisor Solis, community members and artist to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1968 Student Walkouts. A series of events were carried out to commemorate the 1968 walkouts and our community's role in the student walkouts.  The highlight of these events was the unveiling of a landmark mural and plaque recognizing the role of Wilson High School students in sparking the 1968 Chicano walkouts and movement.

Simultaneously, we continued working with WMAA and LAUSD to celebrate Wilson High School's 80th Anniversary at the "old" and "new" Wilson campuses.  The celebration entailed tours of the campuses, a collection of memorabilia, historic photos, and a program highlighting Wilson's history. The synergistic role El Sereno has had with its beloved high school cannot be described with words.  Wilson is truly an indispensable institution of El Sereno.

We continued El Sereno traditions by participating in the annual El Sereno's Fourth of July parade, firework show, Wilson High School College Feria, Ascot Hills 5K Challenge, and Dia De Los Muertos events.

Our mission to share El Sereno's history and keep the community informed was made possible through our monthly newsletters, Facebook, website, El Sereno Branch Library bulletin board, community events, and work with our local schools. This year, ESHS provided tours and presentations to the staff and students of Wilson High School.

We continued beautifying El Sereno through community clean-ups and maintaining areas/streets in need of TLC. 

As we come to a positive and successful close of 2018, we at ESHS look forward to an even bigger and better 2019. 

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to ALL!!



Mural on Lombardy Blvd and Alhambra Ave marred by graffiti.  



Working on restoring the mural.  Big thanks to local artist and Wilson teacher, Eladio Chavez, for dedicating his time and talent to this project. 



Final product. Happy helpers taking a moment for a picture. We know this mural is a community favorite and
we hope the community will continue to enjoy the mural into the years to come.


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (November 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


El Sereno History Tour with Wilson High School: 
We are so pleased to have the opportunity to work with Wilson High School 9th grade students.  These students are working on their IB Projects.  The IB projects focus on finding solutions to issues in our community, ranging from land use to homelessness. 

  The El Sereno Historical Society presented to four classes over a 2-day period.  Some of the topics that we shared with the students were:

Native American Village-Otsungna
The Rancho Period-Rancho Rosa de Castilla
Early Days (Post-Rancho Period)
Pacific Electric Railway Company
Ascot Speedway
Farmdale/Wilson & Cal State
Interesting Facts

The presentations were followed by a bus tour of El Sereno, where students were able to see first hand important historical sites, buildings, and general history of El Sereno.  Important issues affecting our community were also discussed.  Our community tour included a stop at the local El Sereno Library Branch, where students learned more about our community's history and were advised by the librarian, Gene Estrada, of all the free services that the library has, especially for students. 

The classroom presentations and community tours were gratifying, as many students were eager to discover and very surprised to learn that our community has a deep and rich history.  Early in the new school year, we also had the pleasure of giving a community tour to Wilson High School teachers, staff, and administration.

A special thanks to everyone who helped make these events possible:
Gilberto Martinez- Wilson High School Principal
Erica Welsh-westfall- Diploma Program Coordinator
Peter Hyde- Ethnic Studies teacher
Gene Estrada- El Sereno Branch Librarian



Classroom presentation were very informative for the students.  So many were surprise to learn that El Sereno had such a deep and rich history!!



Visiting the community room at the El Sereno Branch Library.  Students continued their discovery of El Sereno's history through photos and articles featured in the community room.


Very grateful to our Librarian, Gene Estrada, for accommodating our schedule and sharing all the information
students can access when they visit the library. 

Happy students and staff enjoying a tour of El Sereno.

 


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (October 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


El Sereno Dia de los Muertos: 
Join us as we celebrate a free annual  community event in El Sereno, celebrating the tradition of Dia de los Muertos. This is a family friendly event.  Come enjoy the free music, have a taste of El Sereno from various community restaurants, and the vendor booths as well as the various community altars.

Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 3 pm to 10 pm
Huntington Drive between Pueblo and Portola Ave, 90032 




Below is an amazing video featuring last year's El Sereno Dia de los Muertos Festival.



 
To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our 
Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (September 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)


Pacific Electric Railway Relic 
Fern Place Pedestrian Tunnel Turns 100 Years 
1918-2018



Fern Place Pedestrian Tunnel, 1928 and today.  Top photo courtesy of USC's Digital Archive.

Many residents of El Sereno (and neighboring communities) have driven by this location and probably rarely noticed or questioned the reason why there is a pedestrian tunnel on Fern Place, running under Huntington Drive.  If you have noticed it, you probably also wondered why only one tunnel was placed along this stretch of road within El Sereno.  One would think that the obvious location of the tunnel had a lot to do with the fact that it leads to the front of Huntington Drive Elementary School.   The truth is not as simple as it may seem.  

First of all, to understand the need for a pedestrian tunnel at this location, one should know that the Pacific Electric Railway had a four-track system that ran through Huntington Drive North. Next to the outside tracks, motorists drove on Huntington Drive North. As one can imagine, trains, cars, and pedestrians all at one site creates a dangerous environment, especially for pedestrians. The tunnel was built for the safety of common folk.  Not only did a person have to be wary of the ever present Pacific Electric Railway cars that ran on Huntington Drive to shuttle commuters, they also had to use extreme caution when crossing the gauntlet of speeding motorist.  
It seems that during this time period, there was a real problem with aggressive and rude drivers speeding during rush hour.   Local residents of El Sereno who dared cross this section of roadway during rush hours could be greeted with a very nasty scare, or worse.  Subsequently, the location of the tunnel served Huntington Drive Elementary, a historic school that was built in 1908. 


Huntington Drive Elementary, 1927.  You can see Fern Place (center) ends right before the Pacific Electric 4-track system.  The pedestrian tunnel can be see at both ends.
 

Ironically, though the Pacific Electric Railway cars and tracks are long gone, not much else has changed in terms of the dangers a pedestrian faces when crossing this stretch of roadway.  It came as no surprise to see that this pedestrian tunnel in El Sereno is still very much in use today.  More than anything, having this tunnel open for pedestrians has probably saved a countless number of our local students from being injured, or worse, while attempting to cross.  The dangers pedestrians faced in 1928 are not as bad compared to the high volume of cars that use Huntington Drive today.  If anything, today's higher traffic volume has brought with it a greater danger in the number of rude or reckless drivers that pedestrians are bound to encounter.    

We can see from the two photos, taken in 1928 and 2012 respectively, that some modifications have been done to the Fern Pl. pedestrian tunnel over the years (Fern was called Ferntop in 1928). The most obvious one being the relocation of the stairs leading up to the street.   Other than this, the Fern Pl. tunnel remains the same, especially when it comes to the reason it was built: to save lives. It's great to see that a life-saving relic of El Sereno's past--is still serving our community as a life-saver today.


SurveyLA's 2017 report on Fern Pedestrian Tunnel

 
To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our 
Picture of the Month archives
.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (August 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

4th ANNUAL ASCOT HILLS CHALLENGE 5K 
Saturday, September 15, 2018

Join us on the best 3.1 mile trail course in East Los Angeles! The 4th Annual Ascot Hills Challenge 5k will take you on a journey through the rolling hills of El Sereno where the legendary Ascot motor speedway of the 1920's and 30's hosted crowds of 10,000 and more to witness weekly auto races that brought in the biggest and best racing stars of their time!

The 5k course will challenge all levels of runners, walkers and hikers.  The race is chip-timed for those seeking friendly competition and/or a chance to win a commemorative LAFD challenge coin.

This year, the El Sereno Historical Society is sponsoring the El Sereno Elementary Team, consisting of students and staff.  We think it's important to support healthy and positive events in our community, especially our youth.  This event has become a community favorite, as well as being popular with runners from all over the county! 

If you enjoy trail running, walking or hiking, you'll be certain to enjoy this event with spectacular views of Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood sign, all visible from within the park. 

To register and more information visit the Ascot Hills Challenge website at:  https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/LosAngeles/AscotHillsChallenge5K

See you there!
 

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (July 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

HONORARY MAYOR OF EL SERENO 2018
Dr. Amed Lopez, OMD

Our Picture of the Month features the Honorary Mayor of El Sereno for 2018-2019.  Starting in January, the El Sereno Bicentennial Committee reaches out to community members and asks them to run for the position.  The individual who raises the most funds towards the Independence Day Parade earns the title of Honorary Mayor of El Sereno.  

This year, Dr. Amed Lopez has earned this title for the second consecutive year.  Here is a little more information on Dr. Amed Lopez:

Dr. Amed Lopez, a graduate of South Baylo University, carries a passion and devotion for helping others.  He sees education as a method to improve the standard of living.  All these years living in the United States of America has taught him to respect and value the privileges afforded to us by the constitution.  As an immigrant, coming to the USA alone, he experienced the meaning behind "it takes a village to raise a child."

Amed Lopez came to the United States as a young man with a dream.  While living in the streets, he was found by an American family who took him in and made him feel at home.  The hospitality and kindness of his new family transcended blood lines.  The American family inspired this young man to live with a new mantra: family first.  "I see how important it is to grow personally and to see how beautiful our community is and to grow with the community," says Dr. Lopez.

We thank Dr. Amed Lopez for his work in the community, as well as for his support of El Sereno's annual Independence Day Parade.  Special thanks to the El Sereno Bicentennial Committee for all the great work they do as well.

 




LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (June 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Pride of El Sereno
Woodrow Wilson's Top Students of 2018

Our Picture of the Month features two of El Sereno's best: 
Itzel Melgoza, (GPA 4.4 & IB Diploma Candidate) Class of 2018 Valedictorian 
and
Stephen Sills, (GPA 4.397) Class of 2018 Salutatorian.

Special thanks to EastsiderLA for their contribution to this post.


Itzel Melgoza (GPA 4.4 & IB Diploma Candidate)
Woodrow Wilson High School, El Sereno


The STEM  (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field inspires Itzel, so she joined the Robotics and STEM club at Wilson. Itzel searched for ways to improve Wilson as an elected student body official during all four years, including serving as Student Body President this year. She demonstrates the same desire for the city as a member of Mayor’s Youth Council. While Itzel will be heading to New York to major in neuroscience and behavior and Columbia University, she plans to return to the Eastside to help others.

To read more about Itzel Melgoza visit Woodrow Wilson's website



Stephen Sills (GPA 4.397)
Woodrow Wilson High School, El Sereno

Stephen remained strongly connected to his beliefs while remaining open to other perspectives as president of the Bible Club, Debate Club, and MCASA of Urban Visionaries at Wilson. His faith keeps Stephen optimistic about his community and his future. Motivated by the C.S. Lewis quote, “There are far, better things ahead than any we leave behind,” Stephen will make the most out his summer by taking an economics course at a community college, work at the East Los Angeles Courthouse and write a book. In the fall, he will attend Stanford University as a Gates Millennium Scholar.

To read more about Stephen Sills visit Woodrow Wilson's website.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (May 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

El Sereno: Then and Now
2734 Eastern Avenue, 1953 and 2018

Our Picture of the Month features an El Sereno commercial building on Eastern Avenue which has seen its share of changes over the years.  Back in 1953, it was Fuller's Television Sales and Service shop.  The shop also sold appliances and sporting goods, including fishing and hunting licenses.

Today, residents know this business as Dough Box Pizza. 





LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (April 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at
info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Woodrow Wilson High School
80th Anniversary Celebration

Join our Celebration 
Saturday April 28, 2018
El Sereno Middle School
10:00am - 11:30am
Wilson High School
11:00am - 1:00pm


Begin your journey at Wilson's original location El Sereno Middle School where we will begin with coffee cake, entertainment, tours of the Old Farmdale School House, library and the campus. Then transition up the hill to WHS permanent location where we will honor 80 years of legacies, 80 years of building traditions, 80 years of learning, and 80 years of service to our community. 


Let us never forget,
“Once a Mule, Always a Mule”




Old and New Woodrow Wilson High School




LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (March 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

1968 Legacy Plaque Unveiled

Today (March 1, 2018) marks the 50th anniversary of the Chicano Walkouts that took place at Wilson HS,
Lincoln HS, Roosevelt HS, Garfield HS, and Belmont HS.

Wilson students were the first to walkout on March 1, 1968. Their actions kicked off what is now historically known as the Chicano Walkouts. These walkouts were the start of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement.

The historic plaque was unveiled today at the site of the old Wilson High School (present day El Sereno Middle School) in honor of those brave students who decided to take their educational future into their own hands.

Thanks to our fellow partners who helped make this event possible:
InnerCity Struggle, Wilson Mules Alumni Association, El Sereno Middle School, Wilson High School, LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, and Councilmember Jose Huizar.

The beautiful mural that will accompany the plaque will be completed by April 28,

in time for Wilson 80th anniversary.

Video courtesy of Councilmember Jose Huizar



Great turn out at today's plaque unveiling at El Sereno Middle (formerly Wilson High School).
March 1, 2018


Close up of the historic plaque at the El Sereno Middle School auditorium.


Members of the El Sereno Legacy Committee. 
Thanks to everyone who put in the work and effort!!


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (February 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

5013 Alhambra Ave, El Sereno
1955 and Today

Our Picture of the Month features a building located at 5013 Alhambra Avenue.  In 1955, the location was known as OK Termite Control.  Today, this building houses the well known Maya's Beauty Salon. 






LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (January 2018)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Legion Ascot Speedway, El Sereno

Our Picture of the Month features our new bulletin at the El Sereno Library.  On display are photos of the race track, which operated from 1924 thru 1936.

Here is a video with more history of El Sereno's Legion Ascot Speedway.








LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (December 2017)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Martinsen & Burchill Ford Dealership
Huntington Drive, 1932 and Today

Here are a few pictures of the Martinsen and Burchill Ford Dealership that was located at 5087 Huntington Drive.  We have included pictures showing the location in 1932 and today.

Martinsen and Burchill Ford Dealership, 1932.


Martinsen and Burchill Ford Dealership, view from Van Horne, 1932.


5087 Huntington Drive North, 1932 and today.



Looking from Van Horne Ave., 1932 and today.



View from Huntington Drive and Van Horne, 1932 and today.

Research by Jorge Garcia


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (November 2017)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

1202 Harriman Ave, El Sereno-1928 and Today

Here is a before and today picture of 1202 Harriman Avenue, cross street Cudahy, in El Sereno.


1928


Today.  Photos courtesy of Louis Salcido.

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (October 2017)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Woodrow Wilson High School, El Sereno-1963

Beautiful picture of the front of Woodrow Wilson High School in 1963.  "Old" Wilson was both a Junior High and High School.  The school was renamed El Sereno Junior High in 1970, after the "new" Wilson High School opened its doors on the hill in El Sereno.


Wilson High School, 1963.  Courtesy of Belinda Arce.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (September 2017)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Before El Sereno-We Were Bairdstown

You may or may not know that El Sereno was once known as Bairdstown.  Many people have asked, “Why was El Sereno called Bairdstown?”  Before answering this question, it is important to understand the rural setting prior to El Sereno’s development.

From about the 1850s to early 1900s, El Sereno was a collection of farms and ranches. Some of these early families included the Batz and Lifur.  These families were Basque immigrants who became large land owners of what once was the historic Rancho Rosa de Castilla.  It was around this time that Llewelyn Baird made his way west. 

The Baird family was originally from New York and then moved to Janesville, Wisconsin.  There were five brothers, but through research only four names have been obtained: Joe, George, Arthur, and Llewelyn.  It was Llewelyn at the age of 17 who decided to come west.  Portland, Oregon was his first stop and he remained there for a short time.   He then moved to San Francisco where he met Abbie. After a true lovers’ courtship, they were married and moved to El Sereno in 1901.

Llewelyn’s mother had followed him west and was already here in El Sereno with the three other Baird brothers, Joe, George, and Arthur.  They quickly bought land and built homes here, including one for their mother. 

Although all the brothers were endowed with a shrewd sense of business, Llewelyn had the greatest confidence in the future of this small, remote little settlement, surrounded by rolling hills, with wild barley fields stretching out on every side.

The first Baird subdivision was in the vicinity of Academy Street and was called Baird Park. That proved to be the "little acorn from which the mighty oak grows,” because then one subdivision followed another.  Llewelyn built a really far-reaching real estate business and then later combined it with an insurance business.

Both George and Llewelyn began to develop a subdivision around 1900.  George Baird subdivided and sold real estate, while his brother Llewelyn had the first grocery store and post office.  The grocery store also sold tickets to the Pacific Electric line. 

Llewelyn Baird was known for his active role at Farmdale Grammar School. He was the first board member, and later became President of the Farmdale School Board.   For many years, Llewelyn Baird constantly advocated for new buildings and adequate staff of teachers. Transportation was a very sore spot, even then, in this little "neck of the wood ' and Llewelyn was instrumental in getting the Pacific Electric Railway to run a short line here.  In 1938, Mr. Llewelyn Baird died working at his desk.  He was 76 years old.

The Baird brothers were also influential in the development of other communities and businesses throughout Southern California.  George Baird owned land in Redondo Beach and built the Redondo Beach Hotel. 

The eldest brother, Dr. Joe Baird, started the Free Methodist Seminary that still stands atop one of Hermon's hills and turns out hundreds of Free Methodist ministers, missionaries and other Christian workers.

Brothers Arthur A. Baird, Llewelyn Baird, George W. Baird, and G.H. Prentice (of Bairdstown) were also directors of The California Vineyard and Improvement company, whose purpose of the organization was “the manufacturing of grape juice and denatured alcohol, to furnish water to the residents of North Cucamonga, and other improvements.”

In addition, the brothers George, Llewellyn and Arthur were in the produce business at Third and Los Angeles Streets.  Together, they later entered the real estate business and contributed much to the initial conversion of the fields and farms into an urban area.


George W, Baird, Arthur A. Baird, Llewellyn Baird from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce book, 1886.  Courtesy of Louis Salcido

The “Bairdstown” Name

Naming of the area as Bairdstown came about more as an accommodation to the brothers than as a deliberate effort to designate a township or district. It seems that about the time the Baird family was settling here, the well-known Henry Huntington was building a home in what is now known as San Marino. The Baird brothers and Huntington were among the first members forming the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Huntington, a man of substantial means, decided to build, for his personal convenience, a railway from downtown Los Angeles to his home in San Marino. That railway was the predecessor of the Pacific Electric Railway that so recently passed through El Sereno.

Naturally enough, Huntington was more than willing to accommodate his fellow club members—the Baird brothers, and permitted them to make the same personal use of his railway as he himself enjoyed. However, it was a bit difficult for the engineer motorman who operated the train to determine just where, on the unmarked terrain of rolling hills and valleys, to stop the train to permit the Baird brothers to board or disembark. Huntington took care of that detail simply by having a small sign erected at the proper spot.  This sign bore the name "BAIRD" as a reminder to the motorman.  And that's how the area came to be known as "Bairdstown."


Research and photos by Jorge Garcia. Another warm thanks to Louis Salcido for contributing to this post.


George Baird






Bairdstown Pacific Electric Railway Station, ca. 1907.  By this time, the Bairdstown station had become more than a simple sign along the P & E Railway.



Bairdstown grocery, post office, ticket office.  Llewelyn Baird, his wife Abbie, and daughter Grace stand under the sign.  Picture above was loaned to Dr. Don Newman, local historian, by Grace Baird Nutsch, who resides in Canoga Park.

The commercial center of El Sereno in 1905 was the Bairdstown grocery and post office on the corner of Huntington Drive North and El Sereno Avenue.  Tickets for a ride on the Pacific Electric Railway, which ran along Huntington Drive, could be purchased there.  The store was operated by Llewelyn Baird, brother of pioneer real estate developer George Baird.



El Sereno—when lots started at $100

You can buy a lot for $100 to $900 in El Sereno when this photo was taken in front of the Baird Park Track office on North Huntington Drive and El Sereno Avenue back in 1905.  The man at the right with legs crossed is Llewelyn Baird, whose brother George was the pioneer real estate developer here.  Man in center was identified as a Mr. Houghton, while the man on the left is unidentified.  Photo was loaned to Dr. Don Newman of El Sereno by Mrs. Grace Baird Nutsch, Llewelyn Baird’s daughter, who resided in Canoga Park.  Llewelyn Baird lived here on Hillsdale Avenue until his death in 1938 but, never owned a house in the local community. 

NOTE: Name above door frame reads “G. H. Prentice.”  Thanks to the dedicated research of Louis Salcido, we now know a lot more about Mr. G. H. Prentice.  You can read about the interesting life and death of George H. Prentice at this link.  


Advertisement for Llewelyn Baird, courtesy of Louis Salcido



Newspaper clipping of California Vineyard and Improvement Company.  Courtesy of Louis Salcido


El Sereno ca. 1905



Bairdstown was annexed into the city of Los Angeles in two parts, one in 1912 and 1915.  Map courtesy of the Los Angeles Central Library, History Department; special maps collection.




Professor Joe Baird was influential in the growth and development of our our next door neighbor, 

the community of  Hermon.  

Sources:
1) Historic Farmdale Schoolhouse Museum
2) Gossage, Rosalind: "Sereno Scrapbook", 1948, El Sereno, CA
3) MacDougall, David H. "El Sereno Reporter News" Thursday, February 28, 1957. El Sereno CA
4) Anderson, Chester B. "Royal Reporter" Vol. 1, No. 1, January 1965. El Sereno CA
    Chairman of the Board Royal Savings & Loan


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (August 2017)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

The Palms Auto Tourist Camp

Our Picture of the Month features the Palms Auto Tourist Camp.  It was located in El Sereno at 4200 Huntington Drive South.  Today, there is an apartment complex and the former Rancho Market at this location.   

Dr. Frank D. Williams was the builder and owner.  He and his wife, Sara A. Williams, were also residents of the camp.  Frank D. Williams was a native New Yorker & Sara A. Williams was a native West Virginian.  Another resident, Lenard McFarland, was the manager.

Another warm thanks to Louis Salcido for contributing to this post.


The Palms Auto Tourist Camp, circa 1932.  Photo courtesy of Louis Salcido


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (July 2017)

       As part of our mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month also gives residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

California Metal Enameling Company, Bairdstown, CA

Our Picture of the Month features the California Metal Enameling Company that existed in El Sereno (then called Bairdstown).  It was located near the northwest corner of El Sereno Ave and Huntington Drive.  It operated from the early 1900's up until the 1920's.  

Today, a lot of the enameled advertising signs are collectables.

A warm thanks to Louis Salcido for contributing to this post.




News clip courtesy of Louis Salcido


News clip courtesy of Louis Salcido



This enameled sign sold for over $1000.00 at auction. Photo courtesy of Louis Salcido





LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (June 2017)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Our Picture of the Month features a video of Wilson High School teacher and students talking about the International Baccalaureate Diploma at Wilson High School, as well as what College/University they will be attending.

Wilson Graduates are Ready for College!

Congratulations to Woodrow Wilson High School's first cohort of 26 students who have successfully completed the rigorous requirements for an International Baccalaureate Diploma. Those students who are awarded an IB Diploma have the potential to earn up to a year of college credit for their efforts. The IB Diploma Program at Wilson High School was launched in 2015. It is a two year program that is available to all 11th and 12th grade students. 

In this video, several students speak of their Extended Essay, which is a comprehensive research project required of all IB Diploma graduates. Despite the strenuous academic demands of the IB Program, all of these students learned to effectively manage their time to allow for a variety of club, music and sport participation. Wilson High School is one of ONLY three LAUSD high schools that offer the renowned International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

In June 2017, a total of 340 students graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. 96% are going on to college. 163 students will be attending 4 year colleges/universities. 20 students had a GPA above 4.0. 35 students earned the Superintendents Honor Cord for having a GPA of 3.8 or greater. The graduating class earned over $90,000 in PRIVATE scholarships. 

Wilson graduates will be represented at all of the UC's and most of the CSU's (112 will be attending their local CSULA). 55 graduates earned the Biliteracy Award. 45 graduates received the Golden State Merit Seal Award. 36 graduates had perfect attendance this past year.

For additional information about Woodrow Wilson High School's IB Diploma Program, please contact Program Coordinator, Erica Westfall at erica.welsh-westfall@lausd.net

Video is Courtesy of:
Peter Cabrera, President of Woodrow Wilson Alumni Association and
Jorge Garcia, President of El Sereno Historical Society



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (May 2017)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

El Sereno Chalk Fest 2017:

This month we are presenting photos of the 3rd Annual El Sereno Chalk Fest hosted by folks of El Sereno Community Arts.  The El Sereno Chalk Fest was held at Wilson High School.

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.

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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (April 2017)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

El Sereno:
A Documentary, a Video, and a Song

This month we are presenting a documentary "Somos El Sereno//We are El Sereno" by Torianne Schiff,
a music video shot in El Sereno by the musical group Quetzal,
and a song featuring El Sereno by RT N' the 44s.

Below: picture link to Somos El Sereno//We Are El Sereno documentary by Torianne Schiff.



Below: link to music video shot in El Sereno by Quetzal


Below: link to song about El Sereno, performed by RT N' the 44s


A retirement celebration will be held for Warren Straley in April 2017.

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (March 2017)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

El Sereno Resident Warren Straley:
The locksmith who holds the keys to USC’s kingdom

80 year old and a long time resident of El Sereno, Warren Straley, will be retiring after 51 years of service with USC. He has worked as a locksmith at both main University Park and Health Sciences campuses for the last 45 years.  
Mr. Straley is a stroke survivor who continues to be active and enjoys travelling around the world.   

Thanks to El Sereno resident, Megan Kanipe, for sharing this story about her father. 

Click on photos to read USC's article celebrating Mr. Straley's long and distinctive service.

Warren Straley


A retirement celebration will be held for Warren Straley in April 2017.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (February 2017)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Gravois Avenue School

Gravois Avenue School once existed in El Sereno.  The now demolished school was located at 5400 Gravois Avenue, where the enormous Cal State LA's parking lot stands today.  The school was built in 1928 and closed on June 16, 1972.  All that remains from the school are some school photos, maps marking its location, and personal memories.  The school was located on land that was part of the Batz's historic Rancho Rosa de Castilla (http://www.elserenohistoricalsociety.org/Spec_Coll.php#ESHS_Research_Articles).

Thanks to Louis Salcido and Chris Miasnik for helping us update our information on Gravois Avenue School. 


Gravois Avenue School class picture, 1950s.


Map from 1936-1937 showing Gravois Avenue School's location (brown area in the center).  The white and green area directly below the school became Los Angeles State College in the 1950s.  Eventually, the school would be demolished to make way for an expanding Los Angeles State College.  Los Angeles State College was renamed California State University, Los Angeles in the 1970s.  
Map is courtesy of The Huntington Library, Rare Books Department.


Another map indicating Gravois Avenue School location.  You can see an orange star in the center of the map and the name Los Angeles State College, Ramona Campus directly below it.  
Courtesy of HistoricMapsWorks.com, 1957.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (January 2017)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Pacific Electric Red Cars Bulletin

In collaboration with the El Sereno Branch Library, we have created an informational bulletin board featuring the historic Pacific Electric red cars that once ran down the middle of Huntington Drive.  The bulletin board is displayed at the main room in the El Sereno Branch Library.




LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (December 2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Pacific Electric Red Cars-El Sereno

After much researching, we compiled and created this video with rare and historic footage of the
Pacific Electric red cars running through El Sereno, circa 1930s and 1940s.
Click on picture to view video:



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (November 2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Stairway: Williams Place to O'Sullivan Drive-El Sereno

Originally built in 1929, the "rickety" stairway was condemned by the city.  It was replaced in 1968 and still in use today.  The stairway is said to be the longest of the many stairways that dot El Sereno, totaling 226 steps (give or take a step or two that I might have missed in-between catching my breath).


Below: A series of photos as I toured the Williams Place - O'Sullivan Drive Stairway. 

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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (October-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Los Angeles Military Academy-El Sereno
In 1910, Col. and Mrs. Carson purchased 44 acres from Mr. Baird between Eastern and Fithian Street, abutting Huntington Drive, to build the well known Military Academy.

Mrs. Carson was so captivated with the beauty and serenity of the community, she spearheaded a movement to have the area officially re-named El Sereno. When the area was officially made a part of Los Angeles, the name became El Sereno.   The Los Angeles Military Academy was located at 4800 Huntington Drive.  It operated from 1910 to the early 1920s.  Thanks to Louis Salcido for helping us locate this picture (undated).


Here is a 1910 LA Times Article about the Los Angeles Military Academy moving from Westlake Park area to El Sereno (then known as Bairdstown).


Below: Location of the Los Angeles Military Academy.  It was bordered by Huntington Drive South, Eastern Ave (then known as El Sereno Ave), Twining St and Minto Court. 


Below: Short article about the Los Angeles Military Academy, El Sereno.
Courtesy of Northeast Newspapers, 1981.


Below- Photo of young cadet from the Los Angeles Military Academy, El Sereno.
Courtesy of Northeast Newspapers, 1981.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (September-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Original Northeast City Boundary-El Sereno
One of four plaques marking the original boundary of the City of Los Angeles can be found in
Debs Park/El Sereno border.  

From Northeast Newspaper article, September 24, 1980.
Click on pic below to read entire article.


Below is the location of the northeast marker (one of four markers), indicating the northeastern border of the original four-square leagues that became the City of Los Angeles.
It is located as you enter Debs Park (at the border of Montecito Heights and El Sereno). 




Below- Northeast Corner plaque, marking the farthest east point of the original four-square leagues of the City of Los Angeles.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (August-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Classic Video of Woodrow Wilson High School-El Sereno
Directed  by Art Garcia, Wilson class of 1988


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (July-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Huntington Drive and Monterey Road- El Sereno, 1959- Part 2
A view towards Huntington Drive and Monterey Road from Waldo Ct.  You can see Huntington Drive North in the background.



 El Sereno's Huntington Drive and Monterey Road: Today
View of Huntington Drive and Monterey Rd today, from Waldo Ct.  El Sereno's Fire Station 47 can be seen behind the huge Ficus Tree.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (June-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Huntington Drive and Monterey Road- El Sereno, 1959
A view towards Huntington Drive and Monterey Road from Edloft Ave and Waldo Ct.  You can see the Rose Hill Courts in the mid-background.



 El Sereno's Huntington Drive and Monterey Road: Today
View of Huntington Drive and Monterey Rd today, from Edloft Ave and Waldo Ct.


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.

LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (May-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Old Huntington Drive Bridge, El Sereno 1925, 1932.
Before the automobile became popular, the Pacific Electric Red Line served as the primary transportation mode for the majority of people.  These pictures depict a snapshot of the Pacific Electric Redline that ran through El Sereno, as well as the long-gone Huntington Drive Bridge that once traversed above the four-track Pacific Electric lines.



Looking west at old wood bridge over the Pacific Electric four-track line, at Harriman Ave, 1932.  
The railroad tracks below would later become Huntington Drive.



Looking east at old Huntington Drive wood bridge, right before Harriman Ave, 1925.


Maintenance work being done on the old Huntington Drive wood bridge, 1932.


BONUS PICS
 El Sereno's Huntington Drive and Harriman: Then and Now.

Below, looking west right before Huntington Drive and Harriman-1932 and today.


Below, looking east towards Huntington Drive and Harriman-1925 and today.  
Notice how much the roadway has been leveled over the years.


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our 
Picture of the Month archives.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (April-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Before Guardia Park, El Sereno 1938

Looking north (towards South Pasadena) at Newtonia Drive and Guardia Ave.
Remstoy Drive is now located on the foot of the hill to the right.  
In the far background (where the two hills converge) is South Pasadena. 

Van Horne Ave and Portola Ave will be on the left, with Elephant Hill in the left background.


Below, close up of Newtonia Drive and Guardia Ave street signs.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (March-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

You Tube video of El Sereno's History
By Melissa Dominguez, Woodrow Wilson High School Student


Melissa Dominguez is a sophomore at Wilson High School.  Since Wilson High School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, students are required to do a personal project which begins in the 9th grade and  completed in the 10th grade.

For her project Melissa chose El Sereno's History, her culminating product was a video.  Melissa acknowledges that "this wouldn't have been possible without your (ESHS) website and dedication to keeping El Sereno's history alive."  

Furthermore she states, "the purpose of this video is to teach the residents of El Sereno to appreciate their community and to help others steer away from stereotypes that El Sereno is just a place of violence and gangs.

We, ESHS, are proud to present Melissa's video as our Picture (Video) of the Month!


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (February-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Valley Blvd and Soto Street, El Sereno (1936)

Photograph of Valley Blvd and Soto Street Bridge, El Sereno, 1936.  Looking west towards Lincoln Park.

Notice that Soto St. used to cross over the tracks (on the left of picture).  This street is now closed.  Also notice the stairs that gave pedestrians access to and from Soto Street.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (January-2016)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Southwest El Sereno (1940)


Photograph of an aerial view of Southwest El Sereno, 1940.

Hilly terrain of La Calandria hill marked by winding roads is visible in the foreground. In view on the left bottom is Alhambra Avenue/Valley Boulevard. Valley Blvd and Eastern Ave intersection can also be seen on the middle left of the picture.  The Title Insurance Company Archives Building (now the Korean Church) can be seen at 2241 Eastern Avenue. A housing subdivision can be seen at center, note that Druid Street and Richelieu Ave has not been developed yet.  Also seen is the old foundation of the El Sereno Country Club, site where the new Woodrow Wilson High School was built in the late 1960s.  Behind the Wilson hill can still be seen remnants of the old Legion Ascot Speedway.

Note:  Ramona Gardens and General  Hospital are also visible in the picture.  Further in the distance, Los Angeles sprawls out into the background.

Courtesy of USC Digital Library


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (December-2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Snow, Snow, Snow...in El Sereno (1949)

This month we are graciously featuring a classic photograph submitted by Patsy Lala.  The picture shows Patsy, age 10, in her snow-covered front yard on Tampico Ave in 1949.  The unusually cold weather that year presented Southern California with three days of snow.  It was so cold that there is even a news report of snow falling on Catalina Island!!



We have also include a couple of recent photos (below) showing the same home as it stands today, courtesy of the Quintero Family.

     

Here are a few more LA Times articles describing the snow storm that took place in early 1949...

Wind Driven Snow
Snow Paints an Old Fashioned Picture in Elysian Park
That White Stuff Has Funny Effects
Trees Bend Under the Weight of Snow in Overnight Storm
Fantastic View From Air


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (November-2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Murals of Huntington Drive Elementary in El Sereno 

This month we are featuring the murals designed and painted by the 6th grade students of Huntington Drive Elementary. Since 2010 the culminating class has been involved in an extensive process of planning, designing, and painting a mural with the guidance of staff member Juan Martin. Each mural is unique, featuring a spectrum of themes, memories, and culture.  The tradition of murals started prior to 2010.  With the help of artist Juan Martin, the murals have become an annual tradition at the school.

Huntington Drive Elementary is located in the Westside of El Sereno.  It serves students from grades K-6.  It is home of the Panthers.


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.

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The picture below shows the historic East Los Angeles Dirigible Transport Lines station that was located in El Sereno, right next to the historic Soto Street Bridge.  Both historic landmarks have been demolished, despite community opposition.  With the help of artist Juan Martin, the class of 2013 paid homage to these historic landmarks.  To read more about the ELA Dirigible Transport Lines visit the link: atomikaztex.wordpress.com



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (October-2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Fear the Walking Dead in El Sereno 

This month we are sharing a few photos from Season 1 of Fear the Walking Dead, which features El Sereno and our local Wilson High School.  We are also sharing a little clip from the show which has a bit of El Sereno's history and even uses the 'G-word' (Gentrification).

Click on pic below to view the short clip...photo courtesy of Esmeralda Perez

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.

Below is a short photo album featuring El Sereno on Fear the Walking Dead.
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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (September-2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Ascot Hill, El Sereno-1972

This month we are featuring an aerial photo of El Sereno's Ascot Hills, from 1972.  You can see El Sereno residential areas that surround Ascot Hills, the newly built Woodrow Wilson High School on the center-left of the photo, as well as a snip-it of El Sereno Park.  

Reminder: El Sereno's Ascot Hills Challenge 5K Run/Walk/Hike 2015 will be on 
Saturday, September 19, 2015 @ 8:30AM
Address: 4371 Multnomah St., Los Angeles, CA

TO REGISTER VISIT WEBSITE: Ascot Hills Challenge 5K Run/Walk/Hike 2015


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.

LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (August-2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Historic Arroyos in El Sereno

This month we are featuring a map of the arroyos that made up El Sereno's historic watershed.  
The map, courtesy of L.A. Creek Freak, shows two prominent arroyos:
Arroyo Rosa de Castilla and Arroyo de las Pasas.  

Arroyo Rosa de Castilla is the best known of the two.  This arroyo is actually a perennial stream which comes from an underground spring and flows year-round.  El Sereno's historic Rancho Rosa de Castilla got its name from this arroyo due to the abundance of wild roses that grew along its bank.  It was also the source of water which allowed the rancho to flourish during the 1800s, when the Batz Family took over the rancho (for more in-depth info about this arroyo and its impact on El Sereno, visit our Special Collection page). 

Although most of this arroyo has been channeled underground, a portion of it can still be seen running along the 710 south freeway as you enter it from Valley Blvd.  The stream eventually drains into the Los Angeles River.

The second is Arroyo de las Pasas, a seasonal arroyo that flowed down from Monterey Road/Collis Ave, to Huntington Drive and into Eastlake Park (today Lincoln Park).   Many believe the name comes from the dried grapes (raisins) encountered along this creek during the Spanish exploration.

There are several other minor seasonal creeks on the map as well.  The unnamed creek in-between Arroyo de las Pasas and Arroyo Rosa de Castilla has been previously featured in our November 2013 Picture of the Month (see Special Collections page).  

The red circle shows the location of the historic Pacific Electric Bridge at Soto Street and Mission Road.  The blue lines on the map indicates former creeks, now drained or buried.  The tan colored lines indicate where a creek's original flow has been made into a concrete channel.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (July- 2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Guillermo (Willie) Zuñiga
Honorary Mayor of El Sereno
 

Our Picture of the Month features Guillermo “Willie” Zuñiga, current president of Grifols Biologicals Inc. and this year’s Honorary Mayor of El Sereno.   Grifols Biologicals Inc. is a manufacturer of biological products derived from human plasma that are used as lifesaving therapies for individuals worldwide. Grifols is located at 5555 Valley Blvd, El Sereno.

Willie is a product of El Sereno through and through. He attended Huntington Drive Elementary, El Sereno Junior High, and Wilson High School. He went on to attend El Sereno’s local University, Cal State LA, graduating in 1986, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Willie has worked for years to build a strong relationship with the El Sereno community in an effort to increase community relations. Willie has established a partnership with Wilson High School’s College Corner, exposing our local students to various college and university options nationwide. Through Willie Zuñiga’s dedication, Grifols has given 2 scholarships to Wilson High School graduates every year for the last 8 years. In fact, 3 scholarship recipients now work at Grifols, one of them residing close enough to walk to work. In addition, Willie has worked for years to build a strong relationship with Cal State L.A. and, specifically, the College of Natural and Social Sciences. He has visited Cal State L.A. classrooms to introduce students to careers in the industry.
 
In line with his belief that education is the key, Willie has been recognized as a “Hispanic Hero” by the Hispanic College Fund. He has spoken to students at the annual Hispanic Youth Institute to promote self-growth and the importance of education.
 
Willie has also given grants to the El Sereno Stallions, paid for the iron fence that encloses the El Sereno Arroyo Playground, and has donated time and refreshments to various community events. Most recently, Willie opened Grifols’ doors and hosted the El Sereno Chamber of Commerce’s kick-off meeting and gave a $3,000 grant for the 5th Annual El Sereno Dia de los Muertos.

Willie began his career in the Bio-Medical field as an entry-level Process Operator for Alpha Therapeutic Corporation in 1979, where his career included Management and Director level positions. Recognized for his leadership abilities, he was promoted to vice president, and later, senior vice president of manufacturing. When Grifols acquired Alpha Therapeutic, Willie was offered the presidency.
 
The ESHS appreciates all that Willie Zuñiga has done and continues to do for our community of El Sereno. He truly is an outstanding role model.



 LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT
Picture of the Month (June- 2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

El Sereno: 100 Years as part of Los Angeles
 
Though El Sereno's history dates further back, June 10, 2015 marks El Sereno's 100 year anniversary as an official community in the City of Los Angeles (part of it was annexed in 1912 and second part annexed in 1915).  Here are 100 photos showcasing El Sereno's 100 years as part of the City of L.A.


To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.
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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (May- 2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Prehistoric El Sereno: Once A Coastal Area
 
Here is an article from 1958 Scientific Journal featuring a unique fossil found in El Sereno by two boys on a shale embankment on Round Drive near Chester Street.  The fossil was so unique that it was sent to the Los Angeles County Museum and was classified as a new genus (Palaeosula) of the SULIDAE Family (medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish and similar prey) 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulidae.

Here is a PDF of the article, the El Sereno fossil find starts on page 11.  Miocene Sulids In El Sereno

Below are photos sent to us by Megan Kanipe, showing sea shells she found near her home in El Sereno in the 1980s.  Just more proof of El Sereno's prehistoric coastal history.

 

LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (April - 2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Aerial View of El Sereno, 1972
 Picture includes El Sereno's Ascot Hills, El Sereno Park (including the historic El Sereno pool, a.k.a. "The Plunge"), the historic El Sereno Clubhouse, Farmdale Elementary, part of the original Wilson High School, as well as many recognizable local streets.


 

LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (March- 2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Proposed Short-Cut Through El Sereno's Ascot Hills
Back in 1938, the City of Los Angeles was seriously considering creating a roadway through what is today El Sereno's Ascot Hills.

Sketch and article courtesy of Los Angeles Times, March 28, 1938.

 

 

LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (February - 2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Presidents' Day in El Sereno
President Jimmy Carter pays a special visit to El Sereno.

On May 5, 1979, President Jimmy Carter "was in town for Los Angeles' Cinco de Mayo celebration and, as he often done in the past, wanted to stay in the home of an average American family, in this case a Mexican-American family."  El Sereno residents Stephen and Gloria Rodriguez, of Rhonda Drive, played host to the president.

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times, May 6, 1979.  The above and below pictures show President Jimmy Carter out for a morning jog, coming down from El Sereno's Woodrow Wilson High School.





Sources: Los Angeles Times
-Carter Visit: The Guest Made His Hosts Feel Right at Home, May 6, 1979
-The Carter Visit and Mood in El Sereno, May 8, 1979

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.

LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (January- 2015)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

EL SERENO--1905-1967-2015


This month we are featuring a slice of El Sereno's long history with three photos from the same location.  It's amazing to see the development and growth of El Sereno over time.


Photo courtesy of El Sereno Branch Library


Photo courtesy of El Sereno Branch Library





LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (December- 2014)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Community Pride & Holiday Spirit
For the third year in a row, the "Picture of the Month" will feature homes/businesses in El Sereno, where the Christmas lights shine bright and the Community Pride remains strong. We will continue to add pictures to our El Sereno Community Pride and Holiday Spirit 2014 album throughout the Christmas Season. We don't know if we'll be able to photograph every home & business showing Community Pride and Holiday Spirit in El Sereno, but we'll try our best.

To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.

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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (November - 2014)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community event/issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Pasadena Model Railroad Club--Fall Open House
(Model Railroad Museum in El Sereno)
 


Pic and info courtesy of Pasadena Model Railroad Club, Inc. 

Located at 5458 Alhambra Ave. in El Sereno, the Pasadena Model Railroad Club operates the Sierra Pacific Lines, one of the largest HO Scale operating Model Railroads in the world covering almost 5000 square feet. The railroad has over 30,000 feet of hand laid steel rail. The 1700 foot single to four track mainline with ten cabs allows for operation of multiple 30+ foot trains (up to 60 cars long). Yard panels throughout the railroad allow for operation of another 15 to 20 trains.

Sierra Pacific Lines operates trains from all eras: steam, diesel and electric motive power, old and modern freight, classic passenger trains and Amtrak; with each train being prototypically accurate for that railroad and era. Breathtaking scenery, operating semaphore signals, and theatrical lighting all combine to make this Model Railroading as you always dreamed it could be - with the long train physics and vistas that just cannot be found on any other layout. Every locomotive is powered... and there's a reason for that. Power changes en route, helpers and multi-unit consists and DPU are not just for show - they are for physics. Come on by for the show of a lifetime.

OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE



To view previously featured Picture of the Month, visit our Picture of the Month archives.


LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (October - 2014)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

El Sereno’s University: Cal State LA

Los Angeles State College (now California State University, Los Angeles) was created on July 2, 1947 with the passage of Assembly Bill 586. It was the first state college to be established in California since 1913 and was known as Los Angeles State College. The founding of Cal State LA was spurred by returning World War II veterans who could not find space in an already crowded southern branch of the University of California, at the time Southern California’s only four-year public college.

Cal State L.A. held its first classes for 136 students on September 1947, on the Vermont campus of the Los Angeles City Junior College. In June 1948, seven students, all of them transfers from other colleges and universities, made up the first graduating class.

From 1949, the student body increased at the rate of 1,000 a year. With the fifties came an urgent need to establish a permanent home for Cal State L.A. That site, the former Rancho Rosa Castilla (today El Sereno), a 100-acre hilltop in northeast Los Angeles, hosted its first classes on February 6, 1956, in temporary bungalows. 

Below is a collection of photos depicting the El Sereno hills before, during, and after they were leveled to construct Cal State LA.  Also included are early architectural models of Cal State LA. 
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Below are more images of Cal State LA during its growth in the 1960s and 1970s. 
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Since its humble beginning in 1956, Cal State LA has been part of the El Sereno community. In fact, during the school’s expansion in the 1960s, many El Sereno homes and even a local elementary school (Gravois Elementary) were sacrificed in order to make way for the college. The institution was given University status in 1972.

Articles below are from the El Sereno Star
   
   

CSULA in El Sereno, 2013.  Click on articles for full pdf.


Before adopting the Golden Eagle in 1980, Cal State LA's mascot was the Diablos.


Special thanks to historian Robert A. Lerner and California State University, Los Angeles, John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, CSULA Collections, for the photos and information.


FROM WIKIPEDIA--Today, CSULA has a student body over 23,000 students primarily from the greater Los Angeles area, as well as more than 215,000 alumni. CSULA operates year round on the quarter system with four quarters, each 11 weeks in duration. In Fall 2016, CSULA will convert to the semester system as part of a system-wide conversion of all quarter campuses. CSULA is organized into eight colleges which house a total of four schools and approximately 50 academic departments, divisions and interdisciplinary programs offering a variety of majors. CSULA is home to the critically acclaimed Luckman Jazz-Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 11.

The 175-acre (71 ha) hilltop campus core is home to the nation's first Charter College of Education, a NASA-funded SPACE program, Rockefeller-supported humanities center, a National Science Foundation funded environmental research center and other award-winning engineering programs. U.S. News has ranked CSULA's undergraduate business program as one of the best in the nation. The School of Nursing is considered to be one of the best in the state of California. CSULA offers 129 types of Bachelor's degrees, 112 different Master's degrees, 3 Doctoral degrees including a Ph.D. in special education, Doctor of Education (Ed.D), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and 22 teaching credentials (Wikipedia).

Below is a collage of pictures showing Cal State LA today.

To view past Pic of the Month, visit our Pic of the Month archives.
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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (September - 2014)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), documents, or current community issue.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

El Sereno's Rancho Rosa De Castilla:
Hispanic Continuity in Greater East Los Angeles


Did you know El Sereno's historic Rancho Rosa de Castilla development and growth, was largely influenced by women?

Did you know El Sereno's historic adobe, built in 1771, was occupied and destroyed by U.S. soldiers during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848)?

We are glad to present this well researched article, written by John R. Chavez, which holds many little known facts and historic information about El Sereno's historic Rancho Rosa de Castilla.

Click below for pdf




LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (August - 2014)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), current community issue, or historic documents.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

El Sereno's Berkshire Craftsman and Revival Bungalow District

Below is a map of the contributing homes of El Sereno's future Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ)


The Berkshire Craftsman and Revival Bungalow District is the best example of Arroyo culture in El Sereno, with significant architectural design and distinguished landscaping of early 1900s-style railway subdivisions. The preservation of this historic neighborhood is a priority for the community of El Sereno.

The proposed HPOZ is a neighborhood which features many architecturally distinctive homes that create a neighborhood of unique character and charm. This unique and historic neighborhood constitutes a significant cultural and architectural resource. The preservation and enhancement of the unique and positive characteristics of this residential neighborhood.

http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2014/14-0257_mot_2-26-14.pdf



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (July - 2014)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), current community issue, or historic documents.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

The Adobe House Built By Chico Lopez 

This month's picture is courtesy of Louis Salcido, who found this wonderful piece of El Sereno's history while searching Gene Autry Museum's online site (TheAutry.org).  The painting is part of the Autry's collection called Capturing California's Romantic Past: The Watercolor Works Of Eva Scott Fenyes.


The painting is dated 1916, which more than likely means the painting was done using a picture of the adobe-farmhouse (see photo above Picture of the Month). The adobe-farmhouse burned down in 1908 during the making of an early silent movie.

Here is a great link with more information about the historic adobe and Rancho Rosa de Castilla.

A special Thanks to Louis Salcido for sharing this great find.



LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (June - 2014)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture(s), current community issue, or historic documents.  
The Picture of the Month will also give residents the opportunity to share historic photos and information with the rest of the El Sereno community.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has contributed to the website.  
(Have a photo to share...contact us at info@ElSerenoHistoricalSociety.org)

Sierra Vista Elementary: 100 Year Celebration 

On June 2, 2014, Sierra Vista Elementary celebrated 100 years of service to the community.  Many Sierra Vista alumni of various graduating classes were at hand to take part in the special celebration.  Members El Sereno's Eastside Cafe entertained students, parents, and guests with live music.  The rhythmic beat was too much for a few students, compelling them to join the Eastside Cafe up front and dance along.  

The great event was followed by the opportunity to grab a bite and a cold drink, then make a bee-line to the school's library in order to enjoy many decades of yearbooks and school pictures. Although Sierra Vista has always been a small school, we know it will continue to serve El Sereno for generations to come.

Designed in the Craftsman style, the Sierra Vista School was built in the Short Line Villa Tract in 1913.  The Short Line Villa Tract was annexed to the City of Los Angeles as part of The Arroyo Seco Annexation on February 9, 1912.  Below are a few pics from the 100 Year Celebration and the school's historic collection.  
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LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT

Picture of the Month (May - 2014)

       As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, every month we will present either a historic picture, current community issue, or historical documents.  This will allow us to continue sharing current and/or historic information concerning El Sereno.
But, more importantly, it allows residents to share hidden or long forgotten gems with the rest of the community of El Sereno.  Sharing and learning about El Sereno’s history is a community effort and we thank everyone who has helped and/or contributed to the website.

EL SERENO'S Art Corridor

May’s “Pic of the Month” is a collection of photos featuring the different street art/murals found along El Sereno’s Alhambra Ave and the alley that runs parallel to Alhambra Ave (on the side of the Southern Pacific train tracks). 

We are not condoning the spray painting of businesses without permission or the use of aerosol cans that damage our Earth’s ozone. We are simply sharing the amazing art-work that is found along this corridor of El Sereno. It shows the artistic talent that exists as well as the need for these artists to express and share their skills in a more constructive manner. 
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