Surrounding a picturesque reservoir, with lush hillsides and gently curving streets, Silver Lake is an ideal combination of urban and natural beauty. Centrally located between neighbors Los Feliz, Franklin Hills, Echo Park and Glendale, mere minutes from downtown LA, its 35,000 residents are a diverse but tightly-knit community of artists, professionals, families and singles. Many trace their roots there going back for generations.
Silver Lake has several walking districts, with shops and restaurants along Rowena, Silver Lake Boulevard, and Sunset Junction. Known as an independent spirit and trend-setter, the area nevertheless maintains a friendly, low-key vibe. Local primary school Ivanhoe Elementary is among the highest rated in the city, and families also enjoy the recreational center, playground, and a popular dog park along the southern edge of the Silver Lake Reservoir. The annual street festival is a giant block party, yet another reason why Silver Lake is a very special neighborhood in LA.
Originally called “Ivanhoe” after the famous book by Sir Walter Scott, many of Silver Lake’s streets were given Scottish names taken directly from the novel: Herkimer, Kenilworth, Ben Lomond, etc. In the early 1900’s, “Silver Lake” was christened in honor of Herman Silver, the Water Board Commissioner who guided the development of the massive, man-made water basin that still serves the city to this day.
Starting in the 1920’s, developers were attracted by the seven hills of Silver Lake, with their stunning views of the reservoir and mountains beyond. Among these builders was silent film star Antonio Moreno who modeled his tract, the Moreno Highlands, after the Mediterranean villages he had seen on his honeymoon. His landmark house, the Canfield-Moreno Estate, set the architectural tone for many of the homes constructed on the reservoir’s coveted west side.
During the 1930s, Walt Disney built a studio at the corner of Griffith Park and Hyperion, where there now stands a Gelson’s Market and a nearby Trader Joe’s. Actors, directors, writers and animators settled in the area, and today Silver Lake remains a popular address for film industry professionals. Starting around the 1990s, 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 houses are as diverse at its population, and it is a point of pride that there are more architecturally significant homes there per square mile than in any other part of LA. Properties designed by famous Modernist architects including Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and John Lautner sit on streets among Spanish and Traditional homes of pre-war vintage. Prices for residences generally start at $200,000 and can be as high as $2,000,000 and more, depending on size, amenities and location. The majority of these are single family homes, though there is a small inventory of lofts and condominiums as well.