Edendale and Silver Lake History

Content on these pages was generated by students in HST 371, Southern California History, at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in Spring 2013.

The community of Edendale was originally named Ivanhoe. In modern times this area is known as the Silver Lake and Echo Park neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The neighborhood is located north of downtown Los Angeles and just East of Hollywood.

In the early twentieth century, Edendale was a rural underdeveloped area with scattered hidden staircases among the rolling hills. Known for its safe and secure seclusion from downtown Los Angeles, people came to Edendale to escape the city uproar with prospects of cheap housing featuring small quaint cottages. Throughout the decades, Edendale was the center of an eclectic variety of architectural styles and modernist experimentation.

Famous architects such as, John Lautner, Richard Neutra, and Rudolph Schindler were able to showcase their different styles within the Edendale housing community. Some of the varieties of styles were Mission Revival, Streamline Moderne, French Chateau, and Tudor. (SLNC History Collective website)

The Pacific Electric Railroad connected Edendale to downtown Los Angeles which allowed commuting for work easy as well as allowing the population to grow more substantially over the decades.

Although the commute was only about fifteen minutes to downtown, film studios in the early 1910s and 1920s took advantage of the isolated and underdeveloped basins for film production.

Following the migration of most film studios were artists, musicians and writers who continued to transform the Edendale community into a true bohemian district of Los Angeles.

During the 1930s and 1940s people sought out the community of Edendale as a safe haven from the political powers in downtown Los Angeles. Progressives and Communists came to settle in the area as well as union organizers, civic activists and political party leaders.

Edendale had grown to be not only racially diverse but Edendale has also become a place where new identities, actions and opportunities could be constructed. (Hurewitz, 13)