Come take a walk back through time in one of our favorite early Los Angeles suburbs: Highland Park, down around the 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 recipes and songs, and recognizing Native American achievements in art and architecture, we’ll set out on a stroll around the lower Arroyo, for tales of fascinating characters, remarkable buildings and places where the past is so very present you can almost kiss it.
On our walk, we’ll explore Griffin Avenue, part of an early subdivision, and share stories of crimes and oddities that took place there. And 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.
We’ll stop outside the Arturo and Mabel Bilderrain House (1912), an 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, to learn about the famous pet rooster, and ascend 40 steps to see the landmarked Young-Gribling Residence (R.B. Young, 1885) and enjoy fabulous city views in the company of California historian and neon sign maker Paul Greenstein, who restored both homes.
And we’ll visit Heritage Square, the living history museum of rescued buildings, to hear about the tragedy of the landmarked mansions The Castle and The Salt Box that were moved from Bunker Hill. And we’ll hear some much happier historic preservation success stories. Plus you’ll get to see Heritage Square’s vintage Los Angeles streetlight boneyard, with rare lamps awaiting future restoration.
This walking tour is illustrated with rare photos you can view on your smartphone.
Tour begins at 10:30am sharp, with check-in time 10am at Lummis House, 200 East Avenue 43, Los Angeles, CA 90031. Please arrive on time to get signed in and logged in to the smartphone slideshow, and take a stroll around the grounds. Scroll down for tour rules and recommendations.
There is ample unmetered street parking with no time restrictions along Carlota Boulevard, by the East gate of Lummis House. Please read any posted signs before parking. The nearest Metro stops are Heritage Square / Arroyo and Southwest Museum. If using public transit, this link can help you plan your trip.
BE PREPARED: This is a walking hour lasting 3 hours, over mostly level ground moving at a casual pace, however, halfway through the tour we will walk up 40 steps to get to an late 19th century home. We will have to go back down those same 40 steps as well to leave. Total distance walked is about 3 1/2 miles. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Bring your smartphone so you can view the tour slide show. We will have a cooler with cold water, and you’re encouraged to bring a full water bottle. A restroom will be available at the start and end of the tour. If you need more information about what to expect, please email us.
COVID SAFETY: At this time, we no longer require that masks be worn on walking tours.
CAMERA POLICY: No video- or audio-taping unless it has been pre-cleared with us, please. Still cameras and sketchbooks are fine.
Emailing is the best way to communicate with us, but after 8am on tour day you can call or text Richard on his mobile phone, 213-915-8687.
If you feel like you’re getting sick, if you test positive for Covid-19, or if you have knowingly been in contact with a positive case of Covid-19 in the last 7 days, please do not attend the tour. Let us know not to expect you. If notified at least 72 hours before tour departure, we can refund or reschedule your booking. If notified at least 24 hours before departure, we can honor the booking on a future date. You may also gift your ticket to someone else—we will need their name, email address and phone number to make this switch.