History & Background:
At less than 2 square miles, this little neighborhood is packed with hundreds of houses stuck into the hillsides, winding and narrow European-like residential streets, and views to die for. Mount Washington will soon be one of your favorite neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
Before the railways brought people to Northeast L.A., they depended on automobiles. Unfortunately with the steep inclines in the area, that proved to be more difficult than it seemed because the cars back then lacked the horsepower to get up the hills.
Fun Fact: Eldred Street off Ave 50 is one of the Top Five steepest streets in the world with a slope of about 33%. Take the stairs at the end of Eldred for a workout and a great view of the San Gabriel Valley.
Developers like Robert Marsh saw the success of Angels Flight railway in Bunker Hill downtown and decided to do the same thing in Mount Washington. They built the L.A. & Mount Washington Railway Company. Back then, public transportation was pretty abundant. They had the Garvanza Line (also called Yellow Cars) that ran from Downtown along the Arroyo Seco, which is basically the same path that the Gold Line runs on today.
That means you could take public transportation from Downtown L.A. to the top of Mt. Washington in about 20 minutes. At the very top, Marsh built the Mount Washington Hotel. During the hotel’s heyday, it was very popular with filmmakers during the Silent Movie Era, but once movie makers moved towards Hollywood, so did all of the hotel’s business. The railway became worn and couldn’t afford to be maintained, so it closed down, had the tracks removed, and roads eventually paved over them.
A few years later, the hotel was turned into the international headquarters for the Self-Realization Fellowship. Check it out for an awesome view of Downtown L.A. and beautiful, shady gardens.
Fun Fact: The path of the old railway tracks has been broken up into several different zig-zag streets since it’s too dangerous to keep as one single street—it’s incredibly steep. The track started at Marmion and Ave 43 which is broken up by a pedestrian staircase up to Canyon Vista Dr all the way to the Self-Realization campus. Since they used to be railways, those streets are much wider than the rest of the neighborhood.
Similar the Hollywood Hills and Linda Vista in Pasadena, the houses were built on the hillsides. If you’ve every driven by some of these houses, most of them look very plain and minimalistic from the street. In fact, sometimes all you can see is a garage and a front door! I would encourage you to see the insides of some of these houses. You won’t believe what you’re missing. Aside from the incredible real estate, it’s also a coveted area because of the highly regarded Mt. Washington Elementary School. Excellent curriculum, a passion for the Arts (not exactly a surprise in NELA), and the campus is on top of a mountain! Quick
Disclaimer: While it’s not a huge issue, there are two school districts in Mount Washington, so double check the boundaries.
Entertainment & Nightlife: Due to how small the neighborhood is, there is no nightlife or restaurants here—strictly residential. However, Highland Park and Eagle Rock are right around the corner, you can be sitting down to dinner in just a few minutes.
Real Estate & Housing: Mount Washington is currently going through an exciting transformation and is gaining popularity. Investors are renovating older houses, and developers are continuing to build in the area.
This is truly one of my favorite neighborhoods for real estate in the entire city. The views are amazing, and the prices are very reasonable (by L.A. standards, that is). In my opinion, this is one of the best kept secrets in all of Los Angeles.
Can you see yourself hosting a sunset cocktail party on the deck of your new hillside home in Mount Washington?