Silver Lake is a lovely residential neighborhood nestled right in the center of Los Angeles, and built around a glistening waterbasin which gives the district its name.
The neighborhood itself was named after 1906 Water Board Commissioner Herman Silver, who was actively involved in the creation of the actual Silver Lake Reservoir, located in the district. Silver Lake is legendary for its inimitable restaurants, coffee shops, studios, boutiques, art galleries, and unique style. Several innovators, luminaries, and artistic people have made their homes there, thus giving the neighborhood its appealing vibe.
Silver Lake is surrounded by Atwater Village, Elysian Valley, Echo Park, Westlake, and East Hollywood. The fact that Silver Lake is surrounded by several freeways for easy commuting makes it even more desirable for young professionals.
The region around the lake itself is known by realtors as the “Moreno Highlands,” developed by the silent film star Anthony Moreno from the 1920’s.
During the 1930’s, Walt Disney built his first large studio in Silver Lake at the corner of Griffith Park Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue, now the site of Gelson’s Market.
A few blocks away on Glendale Boulevard was the studio of famous silent western star Tom Mix. The location is now occupied by the Mixville shopping center, which prides itself not only in its history, but unique architecture.
Actors, directors, writers and animators settled in the area, and today Silver Lake remains a popular address not only for film industry professionals, but also for aspiring talent in all fields of entertainment. In the1990s, a thriving music scene took root. Bands and musicians including Beck and the Silversun Pickups have called Silver Lake their home, giving rise to recording studios, performance venues, and the acclaimed Silver Lake Conservatory of Music.
Silver Lake is crisscrossed by numerous municipal staircases that provide pedestrian access up and down the neighborhood’s signature hills. Among these are the Descanso Stairs, Redcliffe Stairs and the Music Box Stairs. The famous flight of stairs in Laurel and Hardy‘s film The Music Box are located between lower Descanso Drive and Vendome Street, as it winds up and around the hill.
Within the grounds of the reservoir are several popular recreational facilities — the Silver Lake Recreation Center, which includes an adjacent city park; the Silver Lake Walking Path, which circumvents theSilver Lake Meadow, modeled after N.Y.C.’s Central Park Sheep Meadow.
On the northeast corner of the property is the Neighborhood Nursery School, which since 1976 has been at the corner of Tesla Avenue and Silver Lake Boulevard. The uniqueness of the Nursery School is that it is a parent participation cooperative preschool, affiliated with the California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools. Ivanhoe, the elementary school, and Thomas Starr King middle school are considered some of the highest ranking public schools in the LAUSD.
The Silver Lake houses are as architecturally diverse at its population. The neighborhood prides itself in that there are notable homes there than in any other part of Los Angeles. Properties designed by famous Modernist architects including Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and John Lautner proudly stand on streets amongst Spanish and Traditional homes of pre-war vintage. Prices for residences generally start at $800,000 and can be as high as $2,000,000 and more, depending on size, amenities and location. The majority of these are stunning single family homes, though there are charming lofts and desirable condominiums as well.