Silver Lake is a district east of Hollywood in the City of Los Angeles, California. Silver Lake is inhabited by a wide variety of ethnicities and socioeconomic groups, but it is best known as an eclectic gathering of the creative class. Silver Lake is known for its bohemian vibe, mix of class levels, and neighborhood feel. Silver Lake contains some of the most famous modernist architecture in the United States.
Architect Richard Neutra, designer of many homes in the area, built his own home on Silver Lake Boulevard. The house still exists, and is visited by many architecture fans and students. Neutra's offices were located one block away from his home on Glendale Boulevard. The sign in front of the building bears the name of his firm.
Silver Lake is divided between the Zip Codes of 90039 and 90026, with part of Sunset Junction in 90029 and with parts of Hyperion and Fountain Avenues in 90027.
Silver Lake has a fair share of businesses but is better known for its residential areas. It has a wide variation in ethnicities and subcultures, including a large gay population. After the two zip codes in the West Hollywood area, 90046 and 90069, Silver Lake's 90026 zip code has the highest number of same-sex couples in the Los Angeles metro area.
Silver Lake is bordered by Echo Park to the east and southeast, Atwater Village to the north, Historic Filipinotown to the south, Virgil Village to the south-west, East Hollywood to the west and Los Feliz to the northwest.
As of the census of 2000, there are 44,351 people in the neighborhood. The racial makeup of the neighborhood is 40.53% White (21.24% non-Hispanic white), 2.74% African American, 1.10% Native American, 16.58% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 33.25% from other races, and 5.65% from two or more races. 57.35% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Originally named "Ivanhoe," the neighborhood was named after the man-made reservoir which lies at its center. The reservoir was named "Ivanhoe" after the Scottish Sir Walter Scott 1819 novel Ivanhoe by land speculator and Gabrieliño Indians advocate Hugo Reid. Many of the streets in Silver Lake are named for characters in Ivanhoe including Rowena and Herkimer, or after Scottish names such as St. George.
The reservoir is divided into an upper and lower section. The upper section retains the name Ivanhoe while the lower section alone is properly known as Silver Lake. "Silver Lake" was named in 1906 not for its color, but after Herman Silver (1830-1913), a member of Los Angeles’ first Board of Water Commissioners. The reservoir is operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Currently it provides water to communities in South Los Angeles but is in the process of being decommissioned. Silver Lake's water resources will be replaced by an underground reservoir in Griffith Park, while the existing lake will be converted to recreational use. The transition is underway with a walking/running track being completed around the perimeter and a dog park and a nursery school on the East side of the lake.
During the 1930s, Walt Disney built his first large studio in Silver Lake, at the corner of Griffith Park Blvd. and Hyperion, on the property now occupied by Gelson's Market. A few blocks away on Glendale Blvd. was the studio of Tom Mix, on the property now occupied by a shopping center named Mixville. It is rumored that Mix buried his fabled steed, "Tony, the Wonder Horse", at the center of the property. The famous flight of stairs in Laurel and Hardy's classic film The Music Box is located on Descanso Drive.
In recent years the gentrification of the neighborhood has begun to intensify including the opening of many stylish indie boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants.
The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council was formed in the early 2000s and certified in February, 2003. Its 21-member Governing Board has been elected each September thereafter. Recent projects have included a street Street Medallions (created by artist Cheri Gaulke) and ArtCans created by several different artists and groups.
The SL Residents Association, SL Improvement Association, Committee to Save SL's Reservoirs, the SL Chamber of Commerce and Neighbors for Peace & Justice are all active in the area.
Since the 1990s it has become the center of the alternative and indie rock scene in Los Angeles. The Sunset Junction Street Fair, a major event in August, is held there. It also is — or has been — the home of musicians such as Saint Motel, Bret McKenzie, Mr. Criminal, Roddy Bottum, Tom Waits, Beck, Karen O, Eels, Irving, Autolux, Earlimart, Dios Malos, Giant Drag, Porno for Pyros, Jane's Addiction, Scarling., Piebald (who relocated from Andover, Massachusetts), Mia Doi Todd, Moving Units, Henry Rollins, Bon Harris, Rilo Kiley, Pavement, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lou Barlow, Chuck Ragan and the late Elliott Smith. The band Silversun Pickups took its name from the strip mall at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Silver Lake Boulevard. Since the indie rock music scene is particularly prominent in this neighborhood, comparisons are often drawn between Silver Lake and New York City's Williamsburg district. Dangerbird Records was founded in Silver Lake, and is currently located in the Sunset Junction neighborhood. The label is home to Silver Lake bands Sea Wolf, Darker My Love, Silversun Pickups, Eulogies, The One AM Radio and others.
The area is served by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Schools serving Silver Lake include:
- Ivanhoe Elementary School
- Micheltorena Street Elementary School
- Thomas Starr King Middle School
- John Marshall High School
Famous residents past and present
- Tim Armstrong
- Lou Barlow
- Michael "Flea" Balzary
- Cheri Gaulke
- Ryan Gosling
- Maynard James Keenan
- Danny Carey
- Jason Lee
- Kelly Lynch
- Rachel McAdams
- Bret McKenzie
- Richard Neutra
- Anaïs Nin
- Parker Posey
- Zachary Quinto
- Christina Ricci
- Henry Rollins
- Adam Scott
- Elliott Smith
- Bon Harris
- Kiefer Sutherland
- Patrick Stewart
- Bill Pullman
- Clementine Ford
- Meghan Toohey
- Joey Castillo
- Silver Lake Neighborhood Council
- Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce
- LA City Council District 13
- Silver Lake Improvement Association
- Committee to Save Silver Lake's Reservoirs
- Silver Lake Residents Association
- Historic Photos of Silver Lake
- L.A. Almanac (statistical data)
- The Silver Lake News
- Alegria, HIV/AIDS Housing and Child Development Center
- ClubFly Silverlake: Gay bars, clubs and a google map
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