Exploring Silver Lake on Two Feet

Views from the top of Silver Lake. Photo courtesy Sarah Stone

Last Sunday, Los Angeles Walks led a walking tour of Silver Lake. Part of the second annual Found LA: Festival of Neighborhoods organized by L.A. Commons, our walk was just one of many exploring neighborhoods across the City of Los Angeles this past Sunday.

As several of our steering committee members live in Silver Lake & Echo Park we chose to highlight the history, architecture, and many public stair streets in the neighborhood we live in. Roughly 25 folks from around LA County, both near & far, joined us for this walk. With Los Angeles Walks founder Deborah Murphy as our guide our tour began at the Sunset Triangle Park. Deborah shared the history of the small park, how the neighborhood worked to transform into a public green space and gave the history of the Streets for People project that transformed one block of Griffith Park Blvd into public plaza.

Deborah leading the tour. Photo courtesy Sarah Stone

We learned how L.A.’s trolley lines shaped the neighborhood and gave Silver Lake the famous Sunset Junction intersection, previously known as Sanborn junction back when the trolley lines still ran along Santa Monica and Sunset Blvds. We stopped by the Black Cat Tavern on Sunset Blvd, where a raid & resulting riots drew attention to gay rights in the 1960s two years before before Stonewall in New York and touched on the importance of Silver Lake residents in the history of gay civil rights movement in Los Angeles & beyond.

Along our walk Deborah shared her passion for architecture and highlighted many of the modernist apartments and houses scattered throughout Silver Lake including the several homes and apartments designed for RM Schindler, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra.

Outside of the Salk Apts designed by Schindler. Photo courtesy Alissa Walker

No Silver Lake tour would be complete without exploring some of the many stair streets that connected people living up in the hills down to the main boulevards to catch the trolley to downtown jobs.

photo courtesy Sarah Stone

Sign up for our newsletter to learn about future Los Angeles Walks neighborhood walks. We’ll likely host another Silver Lake tour as a fundraiser in the near future and we hope to do more of these free walks in partnership with L.A. Commons and other non-profit organizations around Los Angeles.