Highland Park, Los Angeles
|• City Council||Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León|
|• State Assembly||Kevin De León (D), Anthony Portantino (D)|
|• State Senate||Alex Padilla (D), Carol Liu (D)|
|• U.S. House||Jimmy Gomez (D)|
|• Total||9 km2 (3.4 sq mi)|
|Elevation||180 m (591 ft)|
|• Density||6,490/km2 (16,809/sq mi)|
|Population changes significantly depending on areas included and recent growth.|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (PST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|Area code(s)||213, 323|
The area was settled thousands of years ago by Paleo-Indians, and would later be settled by the Tongva. After the founding of Los Angeles in 1781, the Corporal of the Guard at the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, Jose Maria Verdugo, was granted the 36,403 acre Rancho San Rafael which included present day Highland Park. Drought in the mid-19th century resulted in economic hardship for the Verdugo family, which eventually compelled them to auction off Rancho San Rafael in 1869 for $3,500 over an unpaid loan. The San Rafael tract was purchased by Andrew Glassell and Albert J. Chapman, who leased it out to sheep herders. In 1885, during the 1880s land boom, it was sold to George Morgan and Albert Judson, who combined it with other parcels they had purchased from the Verdugo family to create the Highland Park tract in 1886. Two rail lines were built to Highland Park, which later helped the town to survive the burst of the property bubble. Highland Park was annexed to Los Angeles in 1895. In the early 20th century, Highland Park and neighboring Pasadena became enclaves for artists and intellectuals who were adherents of the Arts and Crafts movement.
With the completion of Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940, Highland Park began to experience white flight, losing residents to the Mid-Wilshire district and newer neighborhoods in Temple City and in the San Fernando Valley. By the mid-1960s, it was becoming a largely Latino district. Mexican immigrants and their American-born children began owning and renting in Highland Park, with its schools and parks becoming places where residents debated over how to fight discrimination and advance civil rights.
In the final decades of the 20th century, portions of Highland Park suffered waves of gang violence as a consequence of the Avenues street gang claiming them and the adjacent neighborhood of Glassell Park as its territory. At the beginning of the 21st century, then City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, a Highland Park native, intensified efforts to rid Northeast Los Angeles of the Avenues. In 2006, four members of the gang were convicted of violating federal hate crime laws. In June 2009, police launched a major raid against the gang, rooting out many leaders of the gang with a federal racketeering indictment, demolishing the gang's Glassell Park stronghold. Law enforcement, coupled with community awareness efforts such as the annual Peace in the Northeast March, have led to a drastic decrease in violent crime in the 2010s.
Starting in the early 2000s, relatively low rents and home prices, as well as Highland Park's pedestrian-friendly streets and proximity to Downtown Los Angeles attracted people of greater affluence than had previously been typical, as well as a reversal of the white flight from previous decades. Of special interest were the district's surviving Craftsman homes, many of which had been demolished in the mid-20th century. One architecturally significant home made its way to Heritage Square Museum, thanks to the efforts of local activists dedicated to saving Victorian homes scheduled for demolition. Like Echo Park and Eagle Rock, Highland Park experienced rapid gentrification.
In the 21st century, Highland Park has been economically revitalized, but its benefits have been experienced unevenly, bypassing many of the area’s longtime Latino residents. According to the 2020 United States census, the Latino population dropped by 10% since 2010.
Geography and climate
Highland Park’s boundaries are roughly the Arroyo Seco Parkway (California Route 110) on the southeast, Pasadena on the northeast, Oak Grove Drive on the north, South Pasadena on the east, and Avenue 51 on the west. Primary thoroughfares include York Boulevard and Figueroa Street.
|Climate data for Highland Park, Los Angeles|
|Average high °F (°C)||68
|Average low °F (°C)||45
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.94
The 2000 U.S. census counted 56,566 residents in the 3.42-square-mile neighborhood—an average of 16,835 people per square mile. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 60,841. The median age for residents was 28.
The self-identified ethnic composition of Highland Park in 2000 was 72.4% Hispanic and Latino; 11.2% Asian and Pacific Islander; 8.4% Black and African American; 11.3% European American and non-Hispanic White; and 2.6% "other". Among the 45% of residents born outside the US, Mexico and El Salvador were the most common countries of origin.
The median household income in 2008 dollars was $45,478, and 59% of households earned $40,000 or less. The average household size was 3.3 people. Renters occupied 60.9% of the housing units.
The 2000 census found that 21% of families were headed by single parents. There were 1,942 military veterans in 2000, or 4.9% of the population.
Highland Park has a number of longtime local businesses. Galco's Soda Pop Stop has been owned and operated by the Nese family for more than a century. Another cultural landmark is Avenue 50 Studio, a nonprofit community-based organization grounded in Latino and Chicano culture.
In the 2010s, Highland Park experienced significant job growth, especially with businesses along Figueroa Street and York Boulevard. Its educational, health, and social service careers also developed robustly during this period. However, most workers employed in Highland Park do not live there but commute from surrounding areas instead.
Government and infrastructure
Highland Park is a public transportation hub which is well connected to light rail and bus services. The L Line connects locally at the Highland Park Station. Built upon the same site as another preexisting rail station which was demolished in 1965, the new Highland Park Station was opened in 2003 and was one of the original stops for what was then called the Gold Line.
The district is also served by Metro Local bus lines 81, 83, 176, and 256, which connect to the surrounding areas of Pasadena, South Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley, and Downtown Los Angeles, among others. Local bus service is provided by LADOT's DASH Highland Park/Eagle Rock bus line, which begins in San Pascual Park and ends near the city limits with Glendale. The route connects several local schools, shopping districts, and the Eagle Rock Plaza.
Libraries and museums
The Los Angeles Public Library is represented in the district by the Arroyo Seco Branch Library, which sits at the intersection of Figueroa and Piedmont Streets. Prior to the construction of the Arroyo Seco, the district was served by a series of public libraries starting with the first one in 1890, which housed a collection of 50 books at the now demolished Miller's Hall, formerly located on York Boulevard between Avenues 63 and 64. As the library's collection grew, it was moved to other locations along nearby Avenue 64 in order to accommodate. A grant from Andrew Carnegie made possible a purpose-built facility which eventually became the original Arroyo Seco Library. Its location was decided upon in 1911 as a compromise between the competing residential centers of the district, as well in order to adhere to the stipulations of the grant. The library was opened in 1914.
On October 17, 1960, a newly constructed Arroyo Seco Library was opened to the public, replacing the original building after 46 years of service. Designed by architect John Landon, the second Arroyo Seco Library was the base of operations for the entire northeast region of the Los Angeles Public Library system. It also was equipped with rooftop parking which had access to the library's front door, a feature that was first of its kind among public libraries in the United States. This building would itself be replaced by another, modernized facility in 2003.
Highland Park is home to a wide array of religious practitioners. The St. Ignatius Church has been the house of worship for followers of Roman Catholicism in the district since the early 20th century. Originally located on Avenue 52, the church was moved to its present location on the corner of Avenue 60 and Monte Vista Street in 1915.
Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock was founded in Highland Park in 1923 and constructed its building in 1930. It is the second oldest synagogue in Los Angeles still operating in its original location, after the Wilshire Boulevard Temple (built in 1929).
Zoned elementary schools include:
- Aldama Elementary School
- Annandale Elementary School
- Buchanan Elementary School
- Bushnell Way Elementary School
- Garvanza Elementary School
- San Pascual Elementary School
- Saint Ignatius of Loyola School (K-8)
- Toland Way Elementary School
- Yorkdale Elementary School
- Monte Vista Elementary School
- Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet School (K-8)
- Isaac Colton Ash, City Council member, 1925–27
- Maggie Baird, actress and screenwriter
- Jackie Beat, drag performer and comedian
- Beck, musician
- Jackson Browne, musician
- Rose La Monte Burcham (1857-1944), medical doctor and mining executive whose Highland Park house still stands
- Zack de la Rocha, musician
- Rocky Delgadillo, City Attorney of Los Angeles, 2001–2009
- Daryl Gates, police chief from 1971 to 1992
- Billie Eilish, musician, singer, songwriter
- Edward Furlong, actor
- John C. Holland, Los Angeles City Council member, 1943–67, businessman
- Diane Keaton, Academy Award-winning actress, brought up in Highland Park 
- Mike Kelley, artist
- Marc Maron, comedian and actor
- Finneas O’Connell, singer, songwriter, record producer, musician, and actor
- Ariel Pink, musician
- Fritz Poock, artist
- Skrillex, musician
- Emily Wells, musician
- David Weidman, silkscreen artist and animation background painter
- Miles Heizer, actor
In popular culture
Motion pictures that have been shot in Highland Park include:
- Reservoir Dogs
- The Lincoln Lawyer – location for the bar The York on York
- Gangster Squad – in early 2012 the entire Highland Park downtown area along Figueroa Street was redone to look like post-WWII-era Los Angeles for the film.
- Yes Man
- Tuff Turf
- Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments on the East and Northeast Sides
- List of districts and neighborhoods of Los Angeles
- "Los Angeles Times Neighborhood Project". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
- Los Angeles Department of City Planning, Highland Park-Garvanza Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (2010-12-09). "4.1 History of Highland Park & Garvanza". Highland Park-Garvanza HPOZ Preservation Plan, Including Garvanza, Highland Park, Montecito Heights and Mount Angelus Neighborhoods (Report). Los Angeles Department of City Planning. pp. 17–20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-03. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
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- Mozingo, Joe; Quinones, Sam; Winton, Richard (February 23, 2008). "A gang's staying power". Los Angeles Times.
- Rubin, Joel (September 22, 2009). "Major police raid targets L.A.'s notorious Avenues gang". Los Angeles Times.
- Quinones, Sam (February 5, 2009). "Avenues gang bastion is demolished". Los Angeles Times.
- McDonald, Kathy A. (June 18, 2008). "Edgy neighborhoods attract frosh buyers". Variety.
- "Experience an alternative Los Angeles". London Evening Standard, February 22, 2012. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012.
- Bogado, Aura. "Dispatch from Highland Park: Gentrification, Displacement and the Disappearance of Latino Businesses". Colorlines. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
- Lazo, Alejandro (March 11, 2012). "Highland Park becoming gentrified". Los Angeles Times.
- Logan, Tim (December 21, 2014). "Highland Park renters feel the squeeze of gentrification". Los Angeles Times.
- Juliano, Michael. "A guide to Highland Park". Timeout. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
Of all the neighborhoods in Northeast L.A.—if not the entire city—none have changed as rapidly as Highland Park.
- Kamin, Debra (October 22, 2019). "Highland Park, Los Angeles: A Watchful Eye on Gentrification". New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
But [Highland Park’s] transition is complicated. Highland Park is historically Latino, and as housing prices have crept up, a slew of Spanish-speaking panaderias, bodegas, and businesses have shuttered.
- Sanchez, Jesús. "2020 Census describes a shrinking Eastside". The Eastsider. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
In Highland Park, the population dropped 7% to nearly 51,000. Latinos accounted for 66% of the population—down 10% since 2010.
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- "Avenue 50 Studio | Art | Highland Park Field Guide". KCET. 2008-12-13. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
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- "Arroyo Seco Regional Library". Los Angeles Public Library. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
- Dellquest, Wilfred (August 11, 1957). "Northeast Pictures: Arroyo Library result of sacrifice and determination" (PDF). Highland Park News-Herald and Journal. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
- "Branch Library Location Pleases Some—Not All!". Highland Park News-Herald and Journal. September 23, 1911. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
- "Public spirit builds library". Highland Park News-Herald and Journal. October 17, 1963. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
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- "History". Archived from the original on 2009-04-29.
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- Los Angeles Public Library file
- O'Connor, Pauline (2016-07-31). "Drag queen Jackie Beat's eye-popping pad is up for grabs". Curbed LA. Retrieved 2020-01-26.
- Hochman, Steve (1994-02-20). "Don't Get Bitter on Us, Beck : Thanks to his rap-folk song 'Loser,' the 23-year-old musician is one of the hottest figures to emerge from the L.A. rock scene in years. But now that he's going national, how will he hold up under all the attention?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
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- Bradford Caslon, "Rose La Monte Burcham -- 4900 Pasadena Avenue" A Look Back at Vintage Los Angeles (November 9, 2011).
- "A Chicano Art Collective Needs Help Bringing This Massive Highland Park Mural Back to Life". Retrieved February 22, 2017.
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- "Marc Maron Learned the Meaning of "Feral" from a Cat". 2012-08-06. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
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- "Fritz Poock's Water Colors". Los Angeles Times. July 2, 1933.
- Glazer, Joshua. "Skrillex: Strictly Laptop". Hot Topic. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011.
- "The Evolution of Emily Wells, New York Phase". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
- Saperstein, Pat (2014-08-07). "David Weidman, Animation Artist Whose Work Appeared on 'Mad Men,' Dies at 93". Variety. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- Berlinger, Max (2020-02-21). "Connor Jessup of 'Locke & Key' Gets His Nails Done". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
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- "Tuff Turf (1985)". iMDB. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
- "Tour Location: 6045 York Blvd, Los Angeles, California". The Movieland Directory. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Highland Park, Los Angeles.|
- History of Highland Park—Occidental College Sociology Department article
- Audubon Center—Audubon Center at Debs Park
- Southwest Museum—Autry National Center, Southwest Museum of the American Indian
- Heritage Square Museum—Historic Rescued Homes
- York & Fig—a reporting project by Marketplace on the gentrification of Highland Park