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Is Mt. Washington a Historically Significant Los Angeles Neighborhood?

While scouting out homes for this year's Progressive Dinner one of our hosts posited that the Mt. Washington neighborhood is one of LA’s more significant historical neighborhoods, especially in terms of the architecture. 

I love this little neighborhood.  Yet I found her claim to be a tall order.   This city is so vast and huge.  It seems nearly impossible to narrow down this town to certain historically significant neighborhoods, Mt. Washington being one of them.  And let's face it.  Los Angeles is rarely promoted as a city of landmarks and architectural wonders.  As of late, I’ve seen more action by city officials bent on blessing the destruction of historical landmarks (e.g., the Superior Market signage) than the celebration of this vibrant city.  So why would someone find Mt. Washington to be so special, architecturally speaking?

When pressed for an explanation she argued that throughout Los Angeles' history when young "creative types" came into a little money and were in search of a home with more individualistic style, they would look for affordable empty lots or easy tear-downs.  Back in the day, such affordable empty plots were easily found here on the hill.  And we do seem to attract the creative types. 

She further explained that with this “creative type homeowner set” came the hiring of cutting-edge burgeoning architects who were more willing to take chances and to build in a way not found in the more "established" neighborhoods.  And, of course, we do have the views. There just might be something to this theory after all. 

As the chair of this year’s Mt. Washington Progressive Dinner (organized by the Mt. Washington PTA), I’m hopeful this year’s dinner embodies the celebration of individualism in body, mind, spirit and shelter, in a style that can only be described as “very Mt. Washington.”  Our tour features everything from a mid-century modern home designed by architect James DeLong to a 1912 Craftsman with its very own outdoor performance area (the last two owners were musicians, after all).   And then there is the food. 

With courses featuring locally sourced ingredients prepared by our own Mt. Washington residents  "local" will be done right on this night.   And then there is the school.

Funds raised from the dinner will go to support our local school, Mt. Washington Elementary, recently designated a Distinguished School by the state of California in 2012.  

To get a closer glimpse of what Mt. Washington offers this city in architecture, culture, and cuisine, come join us on the Progressive Dinner tour.  Tickets available for purchase at:  http://mwpta.org/progressive-dinner/

About the author:  Nina Zippay is a Mt. Washington resident, writer, and founder of Radical Cooks, offering cooking classes for kids and adults, private consults, and more.  She blogs regularly at www.radicalcooks/blog/


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