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Arroyo Description

For years, one of the most popular excursions on the Esotouric tour calendar has been Richard’s unpredictable birthday bus adventure. While we’re not yet back “on the bus,” we are resuming this mid-November tradition with a very special walk back through time in one of our favorite historic neighborhoods: Highland Park, along the lower Arroyo.

We’ll begin the adventure at El Alisal, the Pueblo Revival / Craftsman style home of author, preservationist and civic booster Charles Fletcher Lummis. Following a tour of the house museum and tales of The Old Man’s advocacy for saving Southern California landmarks, documenting traditional foodways and folk songs, and recognizing Native American achievements in art and architecture, we’ll set out on a stroll around the lower Arroyo. Join us to hear tales of fascinating characters and visit remarkable buildings and places where the past is so very present you can almost kiss it.

We’re delighted to be able to take you inside the Arturo and Mabel Bilderrain House (1912) with California historian and neon sign maker Paul Greenstein. Paul has recently restored this unusual, transitional home that blends the then popular Craftsman and Mission Revival styles with elements that reflect the inward facing adobe culture of the Spanish Colonial-era.

We’ll stop at the one-time home of Florencio Morales, to honor the neighborhood hero folk artist whose wild holiday displays were a citywide sensation in the early 1990s.

And we’ll visit Heritage Square, the living history museum of rescued buildings, where historian Nathan Marsak and Bunker Hill native son Gordon Pattison will discuss the tragic fate of the two landmarked mansions, The Castle and The Salt Box, that belonged to Gordon’s family. And we’ll soothe our sadness with some much happier historic preservation success stories. Plus you’ll get to see Heritage Square’s vintage Los Angeles streetlight boneyard, packed with rare lamps awaiting future restoration.

All this and many more surprises are in store as we celebrate Richard’s birthday through good fellowship and discoveries that will forever change the way you see Highland Park and the Arroyo.

This walking tour is illustrated with rare photos you can view on your smartphone.