As part of our Mission to share the history of El Sereno with the community and public, we plan to present a new picture/historic document every month. This will allow us, the El Sereno Historical Society, to continue sharing recent historic discoveries.
But more importantly it will allow you, our readers and supporters, the chance to have any hidden or long-forgotten historic gems be shared with our great El Sereno community. Sharing and learning about our history is a community effort, and we thank all those who contribute and add to our growing historic community's website.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com, or Carmina Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Peter Cabrera at email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Above: Chadwick Country Club article, September 1, 1913.