Los Angeles’ most famous buildings tend to be modern and flashy, but the city is also home to a high concentration of incredible Victorian-era homes.
If you drive north of downtown Los Angeles and cross the 101 freeway, you may find yourself suddenly in a curious spot: on a small hill, rows of grand Victorian era homes rise above massive trees and historic lampposts.
The neighborhood is called Angelino Heights, and it’s one of the city’s most architecturally interesting places. The neighborhood was founded in 1886, making it the second oldest in Los Angeles. (The oldest, Bunker Hill, has since been razed, so Angelino Heights is really the only place to see a bunch of homes that old in LA.)
The LA Conservancy describes Angelino Heights as the city’s “first suburb,” though at just a few miles from downtown it’s a far cry from what we think of today as a satellite or bedroom community.
The homes are concentrated on Carroll Ave. On a recent afternoon, I spent time wandering the area and saw incredible examples of Queen Anne architecture, as well as some later forms such as craftsman bungalows and an Art Deco apartment building.
Most of the homes in the area have been restored and are, apparently, meticulously maintained. But there are still a few waiting to be rehabbed, such as the one to the left which looked like something straight out of a horror movie.
Unsurprisingly, the neighborhood’s picturesque architecture has earned it a role in many film shoots over the years. According to the LA Conservancy, it was also featured in the video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the TV show Charmed.
Though Angelino Heights is well known and well regarded by most people in LA, it’s considerably less famous outside the city. LA is famous for its bungalows, post modern architecture, beach houses, and even Art Deco towers downtown. But the high concentration of Victorian mansions in the heart of the city remains largely overlooked by most visitors.
If you go:
Anyone can wander around the neighborhood whenever they want, of course, but the LA Conservancy also hosts walking tours. For more information, visit their website.
— Jim Dalrymple II