It is not likely that you will find the boundaries of Sycamore Grove defined on a map.
But long time residents instinctively recognize Sycamore Grove as the heart of Charles Lummis personal domain. It is a neighborhood most notably defined by Sycamore Grove Park, the Casa de Abode, Heritage Square, Hiner House and Sosa Nook, and Lummis' own home, El Aisal.
Sited amid towering and graceful sycamore trees, near the banks of the Arroyo Seco, Lummis began contruction in 1898 on this remarkable stone castle.
Charles Lummis passed in 1928; the Arroyo Seco was channelized (that is, lined with concrete for flood control) in 1938. The nearby Union Pacific Train line was abandoned in 1969. Apartments and small industrial buildings filled once open spaces.
After Lummis' death, El Alisal languished for several years. The property was eventually deeded to the State of California, but it was not maintained until the Historical Society of Southern California moved in. El Alisal was declared a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 1970.
A re-awakening to the vibrant history and culture of Sycamore Grove is also evident with the establishment of Heritage Square Museum in 1969.
Several historic Los Angeles homes were saved from demolition and transported to the Heritage Square Museum grounds, re-creating an elegant Victorian neighborhood on the museum grounds a very short distance from El Alisal.
The staff of Heritage Square Museum has reached out to the Sycamore Grove community, with fun and educational events such as Halloween Mourning Tours, Holiday Lamplight Celebrations, and of course, every summer, free weekly Concerts at the Square in July and August.
Here is an image from yesterday's (7/23/2009) concert:
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