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Echo Lake Park

Mar 08, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Established as a city park in 1892, Echo Park, a thirty-three acre municipal lake, used to be a reservoir. In fact, Echo Lake was originally part of the Los Angeles Water system. It’s hard to imagine a time when the city diverted the water from the Los Angeles River into man-made reservoirs, but originally, Echo Lake was known as Reservoir #4.

Echo Lake Park

The park’s design, including the lake’s existing shape, was first established in 1892 when a previously existing reservoir was re-designed into a picturesque English style park. Amazing to note, during the fiscal year 1892-1893, the Los Angeles City Council allocated $5,000 toward the maintenance of Echo Park.

Today, one wide pathway encircles the entire lake, serving as a single uninterrupted conduit and circuit for walkers and joggers. While I was there, I saw quite a few of both.

Walking the Jogging Path

Constructed in 1895, an irregularly shaped island was built using 5,000 yards of dirt excavated from the lake bottom and about 275 loads of rock from quarries in Elysian Park. Although there is a cute rustic-style bridge connecting the surrounding park to the lake, the bridge is currently closed.

Echo Lake Bridge

Also located at Echo Lake Park is the sculpture, The Lady of the Lake, by sculptor Ada May Sharpless, a prolific local artist. Placed in the park in 1935, its an Art Deco stylized cast stone figure of a woman in a long dress standing on pedestal with three steps.

Officially named “Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles,” the Lady of the Lake sculpture was commissioned by the Depression-era Public Works of Art Project, or (PWAP).

Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles

Another feature of Echo Lake Park is its boathouse. Built in 1932, the boathouse consists of a combination of wood-frame and poured concrete construction, and has a rectangular plan. It was designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.

Echo Park Boathouse

Echo Park’s first boathouse opened with fanfare in June 1896. Announcements in the Los Angeles Times encouraged city residents to visit the park via the Temple Street cable car at Spring Street, where they could enjoy free rental of a sailboat or one of the boathouse’s six rowboats in celebration. Open daily between from 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., the boathouse also housed a small concession stand stocked with candy, nuts, lemonade, and other sundries for purchase. Source: Historic-Cultural Monument


Turtles on the Bank

Ask any local and they’ll tell you the same thing, spending time at Echo Park Lake is relaxing. With its shade, cool breeze flowing off the water, its plentiful park benches and green grass, the sometime kids that are fishing, and its quiet peacefulness in the middle of the city, I’ll attest to the same–Ech Park Lake makes you feel like you’re not in the city anymore. I took a few minutes to sit down and just listen and watch the birds and the turtles, even though I’m not quite sure that turtles make noises!

Another point of note is that the Echo Park Lake is part of the greater Echo Park neighborhood, as the local’s and residents here take great pride in their neighborhood. /p>

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4 Responses to “Echo Lake Park”

  1. Rosemary says:

    Wonderful write up and gorgeous pics! My boyfriend and I often go “the long way” when he’s driving just so we can pass by this beautiful park.
    Rosemary´s last blog ..Capture the Flag My ComLuv Profile


    Lisa Newton Reply:

    @Rosemary, It is an amazingly beautiful park, isn’t it. I hadn’t been there before, but I’ll be back. Next time, I’ll bring my walking clothes and get some exercise. :)


  2. Ebie says:

    This is a very popular park, and I love the huge fountains!We used to attend their Lotus Festival and the dragon race. I hope they will revive it this year!


    Lisa Newton Reply:

    @Ebie, Oh, I’ll have to look for that. I did see lots of people there, so I assumed it was a popular park. I had no idea how old it was until I did a little research.


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