Walking L.A.

This winter break I took my brother on a guided walking tour from Erin Mahoney Harris’ Walking L.A. This particular walk (Walk #25) brought us to the City of Glendale on a sunny December afternoon. The tour began at Brand Park, named after Leslie Coombs Brand, who was largely responsible for working with Henry E. Huntington to bring the Pacific Electric “Red Car” to Glendale. The park encompasses the site of his mansion, El Miradero, (which, fun fact for planners, is a miniature reproduction of the East Indian Pavilion at the Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893) as well as historic Queen Anne-Eastlake style Doctor’s House, and a Japanese garden. The park was not very crowded that Friday before Christmas. I spotted mostly dog-walkers and parents with toddlers at the playground. It was a pleasant, quiet retreat away from all the Christmas planning and shopping going on elsewhere around the city.

Leslie Coombs Brand with his wife. Photo found at: http://glendalehistorical.org/history.html.

From there, we walked south through a quaint residential neighborhood towards Kenneth Village. Established in 1923, Kenneth Village is a one-block “main street” that has all your essentials—salon, yoga studio, pharmacy, pet shop, cafés, liquor store, key cutter, bakery, auto repair shop, etc. It has a unique small town feel that is hard to come by these days. My brother suggested that we stop in at the Village French Bakery for an afternoon snack.  We picked out a gingerbread man and a fresh fruit tart out of the 20+ kinds of pastries and cakes available. We enjoyed our treats outside next to a group of elderly friends who had clearly been meeting at that bakery for years.  From what we could gather, most of the patrons of the businesses in charming Kenneth Village seemed to be from the surrounding neighborhood, perhaps dropping in on their way home, or walking through on an afternoon stroll.

For me, Kenneth Village provides an example of the many secrets that Los Angeles holds. Although I have lived here all my life, I still cannot say I know L.A very well. Since I bought Harris’s book a couple of years ago, I have found that L.A. is like an old chest you find up in the attic. Surely it’s a pain to get to, but its surprises you cannot find anywhere else.

-Emily Hsiung
2nd Year MPL, Economic Development Concentration
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