A Visit to the Past: Charles F. Lummis Home & Garden

No visit to Highland Park is complete without a trip to El Alisal - "Place of the Sycamore Trees"- home to famed author and conservationist Charles Lummis.


Constructed on two adjacent lots next to the Arroyo Seco over a 12 year period, Charles Lummis built the home with his own hands using wood, concrete, and stones from the Arroyo Seco. In tradition with the Arts and Crafts Movement, Lummis designed El Alisal to reference its natural surroundings and provide a haven from the rapid industrialization of Los Angeles. Completed in 1910, El Alisal was consistently a hub of activity due to Lummis' rousing parties - called "noises" - that attracted an eclectic mix of residents, eccentrics, and intellectuals. After Lummis' death in 1928, the home fell into disrepair under the care of the Lummis children and was almost razed when the Arroyo Seco Parkway was constructed.

After decades of community efforts to save it, the home was finally acquired by the L.A. Historical Society and declared a California Historical Monument in 1970. Today, El Alisal serves as an emblem of Arroyo culture, which is celebrated annually by the Arroyo Arts Collective Discovery Tour. Admire the home's Mission architecture influence and its exposed wooden cross beams, hand-crafted wooden furniture, and concrete floors. To see more historical structures that reflect the ethos of the Arts and Crafts Movement, make sure to take a tour of the homes along Sycamore Terrace. Before you leave, swing by Taco Fiesta, a favorite neighborhood taco stand, and eat your meal on a picnic table in the gardens just outside of El Alisal.

NOTE: The home is open Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information call (323) 222-0546.

BIKE: Ride North on Figueroa and make a right onto Ave 43. There will be an entryway on the right.

TRANSIT: Take the 81 Bus towards 81 Eagle Rock Plaza. Get off at the Figueroa/Ave 43 and walk south along Ave 43 for about 2 minutes. The entrance to the museum will be on the right.

CAR: Take the 110 North toward Pasadena and exit for Ave 43. Make a sharp left onto Ave 43. Drive over the parkway and the destination will be on your left.

Audubon Center
Located in Debs Park, this site is a state of the art environmental education and conservation center for the local community.
4700 North Griffin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 221-2255

Heritage Square Museum
This site in Montecito Heights provides a home for many Victorian-era structures that have been saved from demolition, thanks to the work of preservationists and historians.
3800 Homer Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 225-2700

Sycamore Grove Park
This park offers barbecue pits, a children's play area, picnic tables, lit tennis courts, a bandshell, and concession stand. In the summer, the park is the site of a performing arts festival.
4702 N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Hermon Park
This small park in the Arroyo offers barbecue pits, a children's play area, picnic tables, and lighted tennis courts.
5566 Vía Marisol
Los Angeles, CA 90042
(323) 255-0370

Ernest Debs Park
This mid-sized park in the Arroyo Seco has 100 picnic tables and 20 barbecue pits.
4235 Monterey Road
Los Angeles, California 90042

El Buen Sabor Restaurant
Customers delight in this establishment's brightly colored Mayan-themed murals and Salvadorian dishes of papusas, rice, and fish. Complement your dish with a sweet Horchata!
4306 North Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(323) 225-1805

Taco Fiesta
A cherished neighborhood taco stand, Taco Fiesta serves up flavorful carnita tacos, veggie burritos, a knockout orange bang, and a enticing batch of avocado fries.
4501 North Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(323) 223-5478

La Abeja
Simple Mexican food is served in this cozy neighborhood establishment. Don't forget to check out the Three Stooges memorabilia and mural painted by Leo Limon!
3700 North Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(323) 221-0474 

Banner Image: J. Jakobson/Flickr/Creative Commons

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