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El Sereno

Tell us what El Sereno means to you

  • What makes this a good place to live? What are the downsides?


I'm glad to see there are others that remember as I do. There never used to be University Hills, Hillside Village, etc. That is all white washed nonsense. A revisionist history. Homeowner and neighborhood associations are rackets. do you know how much money they get? quite a bit. and it's all going into someone's pocket. I grew up in El Sereno during the 70's and 80's. moved away in the early 90's and recently moved back. I laughed when I saw University Hills because it never used to be called that. I remember Hillside Market (they used to have good deli sandwiches, owner was japanese I believe) but not Hillside Village. I remember when Valley Food Liquor was japanese american owned. I remember when Garfono's Pizza was italian owned, then Korean owned. I remember Tony's Hofbrau, biker heaven. I remember the original street around CSULA. they raised it to it's current level. CSULA sat atop a much bigger hill. I remember Valley Blvd was predominately Italian American, they all moved south toward San Clemente. I remember a place on Huntington Drive called Yo Momma's Pizza.

— mark
May 28, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.

Hi, I'm looking for someone who has posted on here in the past, signed G. Alcaraz from El Sereno....I'm thinking it's Gildardo Urtez Alcaraz.....Please email me with any info, has a brother named Jesus... Thank you so much....

October 19, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.

@ Miller--This has been an issue the community has been voicing for years. The councilmember in charge has allowed and encouraged the housing of these sick individuals within the community. We are very concerned and are tired of seeing El Sereno being used as a dumping ground for the trash nobody wants. Thank you for re-voicing the facts. It's time for a big change and we must throw them out with the rest of the garbage.

— Concerned Resident
October 14, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.

It sounds really cool to hear all these people talk so great about El Sereno. I come from a very large family that have all relocated except for us and we do not plan on relocating. I am 44yrs and El Sereno has been home for 40 of those years.

— KrazyKat
October 13, 2012 at 5:21 a.m.

I was doing some research on the neighborhood and surrounding area and was stunned when I learned of the number of sex offenders!

— miller
September 29, 2012 at 4:26 a.m.

I live in El Sereno and support all the local business. Its a city unlike others, everybody knows each other. It is my Beverly Hills and provides me and my family with services we need. I have nothing to "say I grew up there and moved on" or "not a bad city" its beautiful hillside, and homes are gorgeous and should be glorified as such!

— Lydia
August 24, 2012 at 3:42 p.m.

I grew up in el sereno bornn raised.. Not a bad city.. Actually I miss el sereno. Shop wise, the milk market, the tortilleria jims burgers!! The national... Lmao!! Now everything is different I cruise by it looks way netter than before;)

— The ditch
May 21, 2012 at 8:56 p.m.

What I remember most growing up in El Sereno was the pride and unity that the residents had for El Sereno. As I read the past posts, many comments made reference to El Sereno’s “good old days” and how much it has changed. Having grown up and now raising a family in El Sereno, I’ve realized that El Sereno has lost a lot of its luster due to a few people who live in El Sereno. I’m not talking about gangs. Much, much worse than the gangs are these small cliques trying to divide El Sereno to make their own “community”. The fact that a few people want to illegally divide our historic community is the real problem. Now you look around El Sereno and you see signs for “University Hills” and even worse “Hillside Village”. Why are we allowing El Sereno to be divided, especially when the great majority of residents in El Sereno do not want these divisions? We live on Catalpa, in the community of El Sereno, not “Hillside Village”. We’ve never considered the area to be anything other than the community of El Sereno. All of a sudden, signs for Hillside Village have gone up. Many of our neighbors do not want or like this “Hillside Village” either; we were never asked and don’t want the area to be renamed. A group called Hillside Village Property Owners Association is behind this illegal division of El Sereno. It makes no sense to allow a few ignorant people to divide up our historic community, yet that is what is happening right now. Another small group wants to illegally chop off another piece of El Sereno and call it “Rose Hills”. The current President of the Neighborhood Council (LA-32) is the primary advocate for this “Rose Hills”. But the real Rose Hills is located in Whittier, also known as Spy Glass Hill, so to rename part of El Sereno “Rose Hills” makes no sense. Why do need to have these communities? El Sereno is a community and illegally dividing it only weakens the community. El Sereno’s decline is the result of people using the Neighborhood Council to divide El Sereno, and try to create their own “communities”. It’s easy to see that these people don’t care or respect El Sereno. Neither “Rose Hills” nor “Hillside Village” are recognized by the City of L A as official or legal communities. Yet, Hillside Village has 6 signs posted around El Sereno’s symbolic and historic Wilson High School; all while circumventing the City’s renaming process. This is wrong, and neither the Neighborhood Council nor Councilman care do anything to stop this. Again, these illegal divisions are the real problem in our community today. El Sereno is on the chopping block and we need to stop this; we must keep our community of El Sereno united. If you stop and think, these illegal divisions only benefit a very few people, while having a great negative impact on the rest of El Sereno. People need to be proud of El Sereno, and those that are not-need to move out. If we want to improve our community of El Sereno, then we must Stop these illegal divisions.

— Chava
May 13, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.


I was wondering, what ever happened to Efren Medina?

I had a crazy crush over him while I was attending Junior High schoo.

— Barb
May 4, 2012 at 6:19 p.m.

The El Sereno Historical Society would like to present and invite the community of El Sereno, and the public, to our new community website, featuring the updated history of El Sereno. You may visit us at

El Sereno has a great and unique history. The El Sereno Historical Society would like to share our history so that everyone can learn about El Sereno and appreciate what it means to live, or have lived, in El Sereno. A big part of having pride and caring about your community is knowing its history.

We hope you enjoy the community website and share the information with others.

Thank you,

El Sereno Historical Society

— El Sereno Historical Society
April 25, 2012 at 11:45 p.m.

anyone interested in the history of El Sereno or some cool old pics,check out the web site

— J.Espinoza
April 25, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.

What I miss the most about El Sereno is the movie theatre that used to be on Huntington Dr. I recall as a young teen watching " Back to the future" and running out of the theatre in fear during "the excorcist".

— J.Meza
April 24, 2012 at 4:36 p.m.

if anyone is interested in the history of El Sereno or some cool old pics,check out the website

— J.Espinoza
April 23, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.

anyone interested in the history of El Sereno or some cool old pics,checkout the website

— J.Espinoza
April 22, 2012 at 7:04 p.m.

I loved growing up in El Sereno, went to Farmdale, El Sereno Jr High, then Wilson, I was able to walk to all three schools since we lived on Eastern across from the Temple before it was built. Everyday after highschool cruising with my friends, we would start on Eastern, go down Huntington to Poplar, then turn around, and you would be waving at everyone you passed. School was so much fun back then! Marching in the 4th of July parade with the Chatalaines with Jackie Thorp, and practiced every saturday on the corner of Druid and Eastern! At Farmdale, everyone would want to be in Mr. Oishi's class for 6th grade because of the field trip program! I was lucky to be in his class, we flew to Sacramento for the last trip. I was able to walk to and from my friends house by myself never worring about anything. The good old days. miss them.

— M.Garcia
April 18, 2012 at 11:53 a.m.

the dry cleaners next to el taquito... wasn't that called "bananarama" back in the day?

— anonymous
March 30, 2012 at 3:53 a.m.

I am currently a freshman at California State University, Long Beach but I graduated from Wilson High School in El Sereno in 2011.

Although, I lived on the East L.A. border next to El Sereno, all my friends and memories were made here. I spent my days afterschool hanging out at the skate park in El Sereno park, walking from McDonald's to a friend's house, and watching the fireworks every year on the 4th of July from a hill top or grassy area.

El Sereno is a very small town in a huge city like Los Angeles. You get the feel of an urban close-knitt community, while still being close to the big city. It truly is the best of both worlds.

— Marisol Samayoa
March 2, 2012 at 6:11 p.m.

I lived here my whole 32 now, and i think the hills are el sereno are a nice place to grow up and raise a family.

— Ruben
February 28, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.

Raised in El Sereno since age of five (1955).

Really learned a lot growing up there.

Still have friends from the old days (50's, 60's, & 70's).

I Went to All Saints Catholic School.

Most of the nuns sucked - but one who stood out as a real saint was Sister Hervè who ended up leaving the order and marrying my favorite priest (wish I could remember his name - Any Help?)

Mrs. Cassidy was my 2nd grade teacher and was great. Sister Thud (Thaddeas) was a strict 8th grade teacher - she liked the ruler across the fingers. God Bless Her.

My brother and I were quite the scourge of El Sereno known only as "The Conway Twins". If we came knocking on your door, it usually meant a "beating" for an older kid who was messing with our younger brothers (beating on them, bullying, etc).

My apologies to all who suffered at our hands and God bless you all. Hopefully you have forgiven us our child hood hooliganisms.

— A Conway Twin
February 21, 2012 at 7:26 p.m.

To my brother Bob Flores.... yes we did have some great times.

To Mom and Dad thanks for giving us a great place to grow up .

Dino Flores

Wilson High 73

February 10, 2012 at 12:50 p.m.

Moved to El Sereno in 1962, my parents lived on Templeton Street for 40 years. My brother Dan and I had a great childhood, running the streets of Templeton and Converse, going to Kays Market, Manny's burger stand and riding our Sting Rays to McDonald's in Alhambra, down the hill on Templeton, playing football at the Water and Power and buying 10 Taquitos for a dollar at the Tolteca. I met my wife of 40 years at PB Carrels. We had some great years didn't we Dan.........

Bob Flores

— Bob Flores
February 8, 2012 at 8:12 p.m.

I grew up in Lincoln Heights but moved to El Sereno in 2nd grade. I was very fortunate to grow up in El Sereno. So many good memories. Who remembers the house on Castalia draped in Christmas Lights? You could see the house a mile away. I lived a block from there on Castalia and Twining.

— Rene
February 7, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.

We moved to El Sereno around 69 or 70 into the three unit apartments on Locke Street. In the mid seventies we used to hang out in the front of the apartments and when we saw a low rider we did not recognize, we all ran to the rear of the apartments. We later moved over to Druid Street where I met new lifelong friends. I remember all the places and people that have been mentioned here and I am very proud to have been part of the community.

I moved out of El Sereno in mid 90s and I rarely visited. Last Summer I was in SoCal visiting family and decided to show my kids where dad grew up. We drove by my old house and I gave my kids a tour around town. It brought back many good memories and many bad memories. El Sereno has gone through some rough times and it looks like the bad economy has also taken its toll. My kids told me that they could never live somewhere like El Sereno, but they said they appreciated the large Mexican American culture that has been El Sereno for many decades. The smile on my girl’s faces said it all as we visited my old grammar school Our Lady of Guadalupe and what used to be Capital Market. They felt a connection that I could not instill in them, but that came from within them.

Growing up in El Sereno gave me the resiliency and determination that I have today and that I strive hard to impart in my children. No matter what your background, we all grow from our fears, experiences, and love for our communities. I love El Sereno and the community that was and still continues to be El Sereno today.

— El Sereno
January 31, 2012 at 12:32 p.m.

I was raised in El Sereno's Huntington Dr from 1980 to 1990.My best memory was walking home after school from Wilson High and bumping into Clint Eastwood and Charlie Sheen while they were filming "The Rookie" on Eastern Ave.So many great memories from El Sereno and the only down side was the gangs but there was so many great friends that I have lost contact with ever since I moved to Washington D.C.

— J.Meza
January 26, 2012 at 3:43 p.m.

I grew up in El Sereno in the 60's and 70's. It was a nice place back then, Beshes store, got my Levi's there. Jims Burger, hanging at Jack's after the football games. Hanging out at the park on Eastern ave. Left in the late 70's. Went back a few years ago to see a friend, the area was pretty bad. Wilson Mules 74

— GJ
January 24, 2012 at 2:42 p.m.

Good so far just moved to the community last year when i bought a home just 1 mile West of Fremont Ave. Who do you notify when a property is vacant and unkept, i heard the owner lives in Temple City and doesn't care about her inherited property. Please Help

— PRPhotoMan
January 23, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.

My grandparents lived at 5217 Navarro, then 3502 Copeland in the 1950s. I loved the neighborhood in the 50s. It was very mixed, Italians (like my family), Mexicans, Germans, English as well. My grandparents always listened to the Spanish-speaking radio since it was closest to Italian. We walked to stores and could go anywhere on the bus if we wanted to. My grandparents house at 3502 Copeland is now an apartment building. There was a ravine behind the house and we used to play cowboys and indians back there. Pepper trees lined the street of Copeland. My aunt lived at 2837 Phelps Avenue in El Sereno. I have many happy childhood memories of family life back in those days.

One sad thing I remember was that my dad told me in the early 40s my grandmother used to walk to a store in El Sereno to get vegetables. A Japanese family owned the store. One day he said they had to leave to go to an internment camp. My grandmother and the owner were hugging each other and crying and crying.

— ccastro
January 16, 2012 at 6:36 p.m.

Good Day Neighbors, Happy Happy New Year. It is good to here stories of the past and great to share memories. What our community needs now is for you all to get involved to make where we live better, safer, cleaner so that our youth have a positive environment to become productive Citizens. I would like to reach out to 'Krazy Kat', and invite him to our meetings to assist in making a difference. I am the President of our Neighborood Council and Public participation is improving, we need to bring together our ideas so this year we can actually provide activities for the community that will continue to promote positive changes. I can be reached at ...... to give you the details of our meetings and the money we have to spend before May. Our next meeting will be on February 1, 2012 at the Senior Center off of Eastern Ave. at 6:00pm. Please make a point to attend to give back to the community and make our Neighborhhood a better place to live.

Rose Hills Review,

Anthony Manzano

January 14, 2012 at 11:18 a.m.

I have great memories of growing up in El Sereno. I remember watching Old Sierra Park Burning down, going to Jan's Market when my brother Frank worked there, buying penny candy (some two for a penny), my first date with Mark Rios at the Cameo theater, swimming at El Sereno Pool, the strong smell of chlorine and the sound of Mowtown playing on a transistor radio in the background. I remember the handsome Japanese butcher by Market Basket and going to buy tortillas at El Dorado with my mother. I remember Beshes and Mr Besh. I remember playing hide and seek with the neighborhood kids, the Ramirez, Lucero, family. Mrs Martinelli next door, the Harris Family on the other side, Mrs Weston across the street...all long gone. Great memories, great neighborhood!

— Norma Garcia Kachigian
January 14, 2012 at 10:14 a.m.

I grew up in El Sereno from the age 5. I am now 43. I remember my favorite store Beshes. A few of my family members and I became gang members from Locke St. and My family has lived on Locke for 38 yrs. Many things have change through the years good and bad and so have I, from a gang member to a alcohol and drug study major in college. I love El Sereno, Its my home and now I want to give back.

— krazykat1
January 7, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.

I don't think A. Manzano knows what he's talking about. El Sereno has had it's own unique history, and continues to. Rose HILL was never a part of El Sereno, nor are there "other" communities in El Sereno. All that propaganda about "University Hills" and "Hillside Village" needs to stop. No such historical evidence exist to these areas being independent "communities" at anytime. What this man is doing and propagating is the division of a beautiful community. You need to stay in Rose HILL and leave El Sereno out of your agenda. Just because Rose HILL was added to the 14th District in 1955 doesn't mean you have a right to include it to El Sereno's history. Your so called recognition and efforts are narrow-minded and not positive ones for the community of El Sereno. They are divisive and insulting. The residents of El Sereno need to come together and stop this fracturing up of the El Sereno community.

November 15, 2011 at 12:20 a.m.

born and raised in EL SERENO my family ties go deep in that city and ended up being a locke st gang member always loved the city but now have learned to hate it because of all the bad stuff ive experianced willfully and unwillfully !

— sereno gang member
November 9, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.

I find it interesting how many memories are reflected on this site..... Most of the Neighbors now days are realizing that the majority of El Sereno lies in the community of Rose Hills. Maps, Archives, and hard facts have shown that Rose Hills has been around for centuries before any other community in Los Angeles. OLG is in Rose Hills, so was Richman Lumber and Capitol Market, remember the owner FRED....?

I have written an extensive Portfolio about the History of Rose Hills and the area it covered. Evidence has been discovered showing that Rancho Rosa de Castilla is the first community in the City f Los Angeles. If you care for the truth about where we live, send me a message and I will share my findings. With a little effort to make where we live better, our communities will become far more positive in the years to come.

Over the years I have been recognized for my efforts and community involvement, if you want something done around here, all you need to do is ask. Make a point to take an active step in molding our communities and continue to build on our memories.

Anthony Manzano

November 5, 2011 at 11:07 p.m.

does anyone remember mays discount store on the drive we sold just about everything holloween costumes dickies, levis,yarn, cigs, pampers. although are community has changed over the years i still love it here. now working at el sereno middle school.

— rosemarie
October 27, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.

I am a resident of El Sereno; does anyone remember Richman Lumber off Huntington drive there was a stream that would run behind the lumber yard? I live close to Debs Park When I was a kid we could hike all day and not worry about people messing with you. Those were the days. I remember a place called baby jungle where it was an unspoiled part of the hills that is now part of Debs Park. We would hike to the back and there were Quails and Road Runners all over the place. We would go to the corner market called Henrys’ he had a soda cooler filled with water and if you touch the water you would get shocked have warmhearted memories of cruising too arroyo Seco Park during the long summer nights.. Oh and Capitol Market had the cutest girls working there. I also remember walking home from OLG there was a man who would make candy apples with the red hard candy on the outside not those fancy one we have now I still live in El Sereno I went to CHS phantoms.

— MJP Spider
October 25, 2011 at 1:01 p.m.

"SERENO" we all need to come together and start respecting the neighborhood it used to back in 1979,when people can walk the streets without having to worry on who's walking behind you or what be it,we all just need to behave and believe i god more!

— person of concern.
October 9, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.

i had never lived in el sereno untill i started to date and then marry my husband i always said i wanted to date an la when the time came for me to move to el sereno it took some getting used to its different from where i grew up at which was in phillips ranch the nicer part of pomona more by chino hills/diamond bar...anyways i do like living here i like having all the shops and stores close to my house we are off of huntington drive my husband grew up here and he tunred out to be ok there is a closeness here and i like it i live on a huge hill and have a great view of huntington drive i can see all the hustle and bustle from my lovely view..

— yolanda
August 31, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.

I grew up in El Sereno in the mid 60's thru the mid 70's; knew cool people (Pamie Amaya, Rick Escamilla, Linda Mesa) and although my hometown has changed drastically, one thing remains the same: there is still a Mongol's MC Chapter.

— accidental tourist
August 27, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.

Miss this place everyday! Went to Wilson, although Ive only been away from it for about a year every once in a while I get the chance to go home. Im now stuck in Camp Lejeune, NC. United States Marine Corps, As soon as im back from Deployment, I will be back! From Afghanistan I wanna say, Wassup El Sereno!

You can leave the hood but the hood dont leave you.

— Michael
August 25, 2011 at 11:05 p.m.

I lived here in El Sereno all my life and it means a small community where you can call home. From the local stores to the meat markets. I love it here, I'm also raising my son here. Some say it's dangerous but it's what you make of it and what you take with you that counts. What really gets me upset is I live on Van Horne Ave. and for those who don't know it's blocked by a walkway but no cars can drive through. South Pasadena is a white neighborhood and Asian community, they don't want Mexicans driving through their neighborhoods which is sad. This is telling our children that we are different because of the color of our skin. I have not brought my son to think this way. So shame on you South Pasadena......

— Lorie Canales
August 23, 2011 at 8:46 p.m.

Cool, place I grew up in the westside but all the pretty girls are in El Sereno, since junior high I love the girls,women from El Sereno. They are the most beautiful in the world. I have fond memories of all thet neighborhood. I still go almost every weekend to check out the fine girls there. Eastern ave is a good street I like to cruise through. I had a girlfriend from Wilson High that used to live in University Hills, I think thats still El Sereno, anyhow as you can see thats wuy I love that place, beautiful latinas! I stay in Orange County, but am in L.A. every weekend.

— Edgar Sanchez
August 23, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.

So im outside and then I hear gun shots I go see what happened and a guy was on the floor bleeding and called 911

P.S Kids it is the smart thing to do

— Edward Garcia
August 14, 2011 at 8:33 p.m.

Grew up in Hillside Village 1950-1966, attended Multnomah Elem., Wilson Jr. High then private girls high school and Pasadena CC.

It was almost 'crime-free' in those days, walked over the hills to the public pool, remember sheep every year munching the green grass on the hills, loved Portola Drug Store and bought 45-records, make-up, etc. Eddie's men's store on Eastern and Manny's drive in and of course the Cameo Theatre. Still have friends from back then, all have good values and happy memories of those days when we could play outside until dinnertime, ride the public bus to school, movies downtown L.A., never

any fear. Is there still a place like that

in the country? K.P.

— Ms. K.P.
August 9, 2011 at 2:45 p.m.

I can't tell you the years i lived there...but i went to sierra vista, sierra park, farmdale and Wilson when it was grades 7-12. graduated in 69. I remember going to Kays market on corner of Gambier and Easter, Lalos across the street, walking to the Drive...remember when all the neighborhood kids camped out at someones house with blankets, each one of us bringing some kind of snack, oranges, crackers cookies...kool aid NOT SODA. we never worried about predators etc. miss those days..

— Silvana Garcia
August 6, 2011 at 7:50 p.m.

Amazing display of water pressure yesterday when the would-be car thief crashed into a fire hydrant! Unfortunately, it took three hours to get it under control and by then it apparently caused much damage to at least one neighbor's home.

— Jeff Z.
July 21, 2011 at 2:04 a.m.

I was born and raised in El Sereno until I join the Navy in 2000. From Plaza de la Raza through Sierra Park School to El Sereno Jr. High. El Sereno is where I was trained as a young activist fighting against the 710 extension with mentors like Hugo Garcia, Jesus Granados and Pet Navarro; promoting local candidates like Hilda Solis, Antonio Villaragosa, Gloria Romero and Gloria Molina; and interning for then Councilman Nick Pacheco... I enjoyed Troy's Burgers and my family were frequent patrons of Shop Wise and Rancho Market, lol! Looking back it's almost comical, a random black kid running around El Sereno speaking Spanish. I miss it everyday...

— Lamar
June 19, 2011 at 7:43 p.m.

A shoe repair store on Eastern Ave that posted newspaper pictures, clipped out of the El Sereno Star of servicemen that served their country. A community that I was proud of being a part of. I have been asked! Where would you have liked to have grown up at? My response is "Nowhere but El Sereno" Does anyone know if this Shoe Repair still exist? Where have the clippings of Soldiers and Sailors gone?

— Joe Ruiz
May 5, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.

its simply home....

— iris
May 5, 2011 at 2:49 a.m.

El Sereno is a great city to raise your family :) You are close to everything, Work, Schools, Parks, Staple Center, LA Live, Beaches, Mountains, and so much more!! My family is Happy here.

— Carlos
April 23, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.

I grew up in El Sereno, I have a lot of great memories of it, From Farmdale to Wilson I still go back and visit and Our family still owns the house I grew up in. How the times have change the area some for the good and some not, but thats El Sereno for you, you take the good with the bad. I miss alot of my friends that I went to school. I guess thats the way life works we grow up and lose touch with some of the past. I graduated in 1983.

— Jeffrey
April 3, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.

I grew up in El Sereno right next to Guardia Park in the 80's and 90's. I love this city. This place is a crazy place to live, but you have to have the heart. I remember hanging out at Jim's Burgers with the homie Bullet. Hanging out at Fosters freeze was the place. I remember walking down to the original Milk Mart on Huntington across from Shopwise. The guy who owned it we called him Mushy Mushy. I moved out of there and now I have a family and am raising my kids. The streets of El Sereno made me the man I am today and I am pround of that. I go back and visit as often as I can cause "you can take the boy out the hood, but you can't take the hood out the homeboy".

— Sam
March 24, 2011 at noon

I grow up in El Sereno and I love it there. the people are great and my family still lives there. I had to move away so I could be with my kids in CT.

— yolanda
February 8, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.

My family moved to El Sereno in 1962 from Silver City, New Mexico. We lived on Locke Street by Gregory Perez and the Armendariz's; it was a simpler time, the palm trees the pretty yards and yes the Cameo Theatre. I graduated from Wilson High in 1975. I now live in New Mexico since moving out of El Sereno in 1977; went back to visit in 1990, of course not the same, the times have changed many things. I do remember Market Basket, Besh's Dept. Store, Shorty the ice cream man, many, many characters. El Sereno was a cool town to grow up in!

— Yvonne D
February 1, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.

Happy New Year to all those posting here, as well as reading the memorable times we all share in these prescious lands. I have invited all those reading to attend the local Neighborhood Council to make where we live a nicer place. I live in the community of Rose Hills, which covers a large part of the area here in the Rolling 'Rose Hills', between Lincoln Heights and Alhambra.

Our Neighborhood Council meeting will be held on February 2, 2011 at 6:00pm in the Senior Citizens Center right off Eastern. Share additional memories with attending Neighbors, make a difference in the community, give influence on where to spend the communities money $$$$$$$$, yes we have money.

If you have any questions about how you can participate in improving where we call home for your self or the children of this generation, e-mail me at

Anthony Manzano

January 17, 2011 at 7:07 p.m.

I had a wonderful childhood growing up in El Sereno between 79-91. I live out of state now. I remember the smells of the hills burning every summer and the ashes falling down like black snow. I remember the beautiful sunsets. Living in El Sereno you were able to walk everywhere! We used to walk to China Town, Pasadena, Highland Park, and Alhambra. The best part of El Sereno is running into your friends everywhere. It had a very small town feeling :)

— N.B
January 8, 2011 at 8:46 a.m.

I was born and raised in El Sereno,

I also remember Gil the Helms man and Shorty the ice cream man who drove down our street late on summer nights with his 5 cent ice cream bars... I even remember milk deliveries. Does anyone else remember the really fat mail man that would walk down the street and if you ran up to him he would give you the mail?

So many memories, as a child growing up there in the 60's, it was magic.

I grew up , right across from Sierra Park. I remember when it was torn down and the new one was built. I graduated from Wilson on the hill.... But I have to say,I was glad to leave that town . I have gone back a few times and it is not home to me anymore... just a memory of times long ago.

— Ms. K
January 7, 2011 at 5:13 p.m.

Ollie's name was Allen Scott, they had to put him in a home because someone slashed his face open with a broken glass bottle. He had the mentality of a 4 year old and did not understand that people were being mean to him and not playing with him. He was trying to tell you his name was Ally and you all insisted on calling him Ollie . All he wanted to do was play cowboys and who was the idiot him or you.

— anonymous
January 7, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.

I love El Sereno. This is my city, i grew up here. This past year i must say has brought me to have a bit of hatred towards the place I call home. In December of 09, an important person was killed here in El Sereno right there on Warwick! Not even a year later in October of 2010 another important person to me committed suicide on that damn bridge they built right there by Troys! >:|

— anonymous
January 5, 2011 at 3:22 a.m.

Remember sierra park elem. Old cafeteria that place was great ,food home made! Riding bikes all day playing and smelling like wet grass cool aid stains and all .Helms bakery those drawers pulled out at nose level and yummy!!! We are Blessed to have such memories CHUY 1-3-10

— chuy
January 3, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.

I really loved that school sometimes i can smell the school hall is that so crazy or what i lost my yearbook and it really mad me more sad i would love to buy some of the year books that i missed and buy the one i lost.miss thoes caffe cake to..class of 1970

— Rosalinda Maldonado
December 23, 2010 at 3:40 p.m.

Went to Huntington Drive Elementary, El Sereno M.S., and NOT Wilson H.S. as much as I wanted to go there after I graduated El Sereno. I ended up going to Lincoln H.S. and it's not as bad as what other people would say about it or what they say now... I was able to take honors classes and meet requirements to attend a well known 4 yr. college (not cal state LA) :) Now, most of my friends are working and have kids, while I have a degree. I feel left out, but I'd rather keep my degree :) Goal: Give back to this community and help the youngsters get out there to earn an education. I remember when my dad use to take my bro and lil sis to AM-PM and we use to love putting lots of sprinkles on our ice cream cones, memorable times :D

— A.M.
November 15, 2010 at 12:39 p.m.

I have very fond memories of El Sereno. As a child I recall it being a pretty community with golden hills everywhere. Sierra Park elementary was instrumental in my education which prepared me for my eventual attendance at Oxford University, Harvard School of Business and my degree from Berkeley University. El Sereno is a jewel.

— Rene Quintana
November 15, 2010 at 11:33 a.m.

its dope !!!

— kassy
November 10, 2010 at 10:31 a.m.

lived in El Sereno about 30 years my wife & I both went to wilson so did my children Iwill always call it home i coached baseball & basketball at El Sereno park in the 80's and have verry fond memories .

— Nick Barraza
October 14, 2010 at 3:16 p.m.

I still live in elsereno and i have no intentions of leaving. my mom has been there for years i think ill use the last of my days here my oldest sister bought her house in elsereno too i have no regrets of all them old party dayz! ! ! the swimming pool everybody went swimming at all hours of the night and the haunted house at holloween and the camping trips the park offered too bad they dont have those camping trips for kids now a days it would make a difference . It would be nice your hearing that any of you wanna be "politions"

— ramona frias
September 27, 2010 at 7 p.m.

No, actually the original owner of Johnnie's market was the Costentino family back in the 1950s.

— wiley coyote
August 25, 2010 at 1:02 p.m.

I was born and raised in El Sereno, actually the Hillside Village area. I remember the original Johnny from Johnnie's Market he was a nice Japanese guy, then Kim bought the store and never changed the name. My mom still lives their, I moved away in the 90's when I got married. When i was a kid we found a whistle that sounded like the Helms truck so we would hide and blow it and watch all the people come out looking for the Helm's truck. I remember all of the regular stops Market Basket, Portola Drug Store, Newman's Hardware, Kaz Camera's, Besh's. I remember running through the tunnel under Huntington Drive were the Jack in the Box was. Or what about the crazy bend Eastern had at Farmdale before they straightened it a bit. I remember the little bar called the Green Frog near Johnnie's Market were the Mongols would hang out before they moved to Valley Blvd. We used to make fun of guys who got their hair cuts at Estrada's. I could go on forever. Some friends formed a band called Rhapsody and we played at the talent show at El Sereno Jr. High. Some of those guys went on to form the Heavy Metal group "Armored Saint". Or what about the Sherrif of El Sereno Park "Ollie". I understand he passed away a few years back. Kids would sing "I shot the Sherrif" to get him upset. Or what about Friday Nights at the Wilson games. Great memories.

— Mark P
July 31, 2010 at 11:31 a.m.

Where exactly is Rose Hills?

— C. L.
July 30, 2010 at 2:56 a.m.

I lived here for four years from 2002 thru 2007 and it brings back so many memories when I hear El Sereno. I live in Texas now but I will never forget living there. I lived in Echo Park prior and that too is where a good majority of my memories too but El Sereno was special. I went to El Sereno Middle School and two years at Wilson. Neighbors are really close there and thats what I liked most. People here stay to themselves and thats it. I am 20 now and I now understand why we moved. There are better oppurtinites elsewhere.

— Eddie Hernandez
July 26, 2010 at 10:19 p.m.

My family lives here, one of the few African Americans in the neighborhood. While there are some times when the Latinos in the area are not friendly, or don't speak when spoken to, I sometimes attribute that to the language barrier, while other times it is just ignorance, I find most in the neighborhood are friendly.

We have been here about 12 years and have had no major problems although my sons have encountered situations at school where a group singles African American students out, fortunately that doesn't happen often.

The main reason I want to move is that we live in an apartment and we want to be in a more diverse neighborhood(hard to find nowadays) so my boys and others can experience all types of cultures.

Crime is here and there, but used to be worse when we first moved here, we kind of befriended young people who knew those who were breaking into the apartments and cars and we haven't had problems since. I guess it really is "who you know."

— Mani B
June 24, 2010 at 3:06 p.m.

I would like to help all the neighbors in the community understand where each community boundaries lie and what we can do to bring back the lifestyle of the generations in the past. I have been elected to serve as President of LA-32 Neighborhood Council which serves the communities in the 90032 zip code. Please make a point to attend or inform your neighbors about the upcoming meetings. They are held on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:00pm at the El Sereno Citizens Center right off of Eastern. To assist the concerned neighbor that says that Rose Hills has no "S" in our Title, look at the blue City sign on Mercury Ave. in front of the Church. Now yes at one time it may have not included an "S", but in todays time we cover several hills and the Library also shows our Title with an "S". We are the community of Rose Hills and I am the most active and influential resident in this part of the City. Reach me if you have any questions or if you would care to see some archives that date this community to the year 1769. Thank you all for remembering the great times, I will do my best to deliver many great years and memories from here on out.

LA-32 Neighborhood Council President,

Rose Hills Review,

Anthony Manzano

June 8, 2010 at 7:25 a.m.

I notice that many refer to Rose Hill as Rose is NOT Rose Hills...i am surprised that many have lived there a long time & still call it Rose Hills....interesting.

— P. Contreras
May 26, 2010 at 4:14 p.m.

Wow. Reading all these comments about El Sereno brings back so many great memories I had growing up. I see so many people shared the same experiences I had in this small commuity. We would walk or ride our bikes everywhere - to the Cameo, Yol Mamma's pizza, McDonalds, Foster Freeze, Johnny's Market, El Sereno park and we played in the hills and wouldn't come home until dark. The El Sereno I knew was a safe and fun place to grow up. Families looked after one another. And I can't believe someone remembered Gil the Helm's man. Great memories!

— Rick
May 17, 2010 at 1:53 p.m.

I lived in hillside village raised there and remember all the beautiful memories yes climbing the hills and sliding on the cardboards watching my dad and uncles ride the motorcycles in the hills playing with friends from different blocks attending the parades at multnomah elementary school walking to school and home going to the dairy and hillside village market and the produce stand and off of valley and boca the fresh meat market i use to like to put the white jacket my mom use to put on me to keep me warm and loved to see the cows and later moved to el-sereno my self and raised my kids and later moved but still go down and visit friends love goes along way and is very deep in memories of family friends now and loving memories.

— edibhurtado
April 23, 2010 at 12:44 p.m.

Wow! Stumbled upon all the delightful comments and memories of El Sereno. I lived in El Sereno from 1966 to late 80’s and it was a great time to live in the community. No one was afraid in the barrio and we played into the evening in the streets with no worries. Some of the fondest memories I have is walking with my siblings to the Milk Market Dairy (next to Gloria’s Top House) buying candies and paper kites and flying them in the empty hills where the water towers sit. I remember the wind blowing the kites so high and we had no cares in the world amongst all the dry bushes. Saturdays were spent going to the movie at the Cameo and eating McDonalds or walking to Fosters Freeze…and we walked everywhere! That’s why we were all fit and thin! Summers at the El Sereno pool were so fun. It was a beautiful time…families were rock solid and respect for parents, elders and teachers were a given.

Does anyone remember Mr. Kuwano? He was the teacher in El Sereno Jr. High who had a long ponytail and dressed in a military jacket?

— Clara
April 20, 2010 at 1:46 p.m.

I Love EL Sereno!!! I grew up in El Sereno (1978 - 2005). I grew up on Druid St. down the street from Wilson HS. I have wonderful memories of growing up there like, Johnnie's Mkt, El Sereno Park Carnivals & Concerts, playing outside til 11:00pm... There are so many more. I am saddened by all the people on here bashing EL Sereno for what it has become, instead we should be people who give back to our community! Let's be a part of the change!

— Rhiannon
April 11, 2010 at 8:58 p.m.

Hello, fellow El Sereno residents. Please remember to call 3-1-1 to report graffiti on public spaces such as electrical boxes, bridge underpasses, traffic signs, etc. Also, they can pick up such public nuisances as couches and other furniture that have simply been left curb side for weeks on end. If we show our pride and call in such things, we're more likely to keep up the quality of living in our neighborhood for all. Let them know at the city government that we care about our neighborhood and want our due share of city services. I think it also sends a message to those individuals who deface our public spaces.

— Jeff Z.
April 9, 2010 at 8:36 a.m.

What a place to grow up in. 1958 thruogh 1983. Family and friends that were so close and would watch out for one another. I loved El Sereno, Golden State Baseball, 4th of July parade as a Cub Scout, Wilson High football games. I do remember the Helm's man Gil, how could you not forget the smile on his face as he opened up the long drawers. I have not been back in years but from what I see every once in a while on the news it dosen't look like the El Sereno that I remeber. May be it's time for a road trip to get a first hand look at the town I once was so proud of. I feel I was lucky to grow up in El Sereno, it taught me about strong families and great friends that you can never replace. We respected our elders and learned from our parents and teachers, and have developed friendships that you can never replace. I don't know what I would have done without them. Thank you El Sereno.

— Billy Smith
March 30, 2010 at 1:37 p.m.

Here’s a little El Sereno flashback: In the late 1940’s, there were only a couple of TV channels, and they only broadcast about 6 hours a day. Moreover, TV sets were very expensive and few people owned them. In those days, there was a music store on the South side of Huntington Drive – I seem to remember it was about opposite the Alamo Market, but not too sure – and it had a television set on display in the window, that the store owner left turned on. About sundown, a small crowd of people would converge on the shop, carrying their aluminum lawn chairs, bowls of popcorn, etc., where they would get comfortable on the sidewalk facing the store window, and settle down for some free entertainment; usually wrestling or the occasional variety show. If anyone remembers the name of the store or its location, I would like to know those details.

March 28, 2010 at 7:14 p.m.

the helmsman on gurdia his name was bill. remember? yea u member. penny candy stews market oh god good memories

— jj
March 23, 2010 at 11:31 a.m.

We moved to El Sereno in 1986. We lived in the hill up on Almond Street, by the stairs... We enjoyed living there, all my kids grew up there, went to Sierra elementary and Wilson Jr. High... I used to bike with my little son Christopher to the Park, by the Junior High and on our way back, we always stop at the remodeled McDonalds... I also remember going at least every weekend to the Panaderia El Aguila, my beloved Library, Franco's Auto Parts... We moved to La Feria, Texas in 1999, but I still remember my neighborhood, Chuy and his family who lives, I think, just in front where I used to lived... Pizza Trio, on Main St., in Alhambra, still my favorite pizza...

— Santos Garcia
March 17, 2010 at 6:38 p.m.

Moved to El Sereno in 1939, lived on Budau Ave., right across the street from Sierra Park Elementary School(the original one). As kids, we spent most of the time on the school grounds after school, on week-ends (climbed the fence) and in summertime. Great place to grow up, plenty of empty lots, played all over the neighborhood, only came home when it got dark. It was safe. Went to the movies at The Cameo, had sodas at the soda fountain at Portola Pharmacy, spent time at the Library near Portola, went on the streetcar to downtown, either walked to the "Drive" or took the little local bus on Templeton, loved going to Curries. Went to Wilson from 7th to 12th. Great childhood in El Sereno!

— Virginia S.
March 15, 2010 at 12:07 a.m.

market basket, shop wise, froster freeze, jims burgers, the alamo, two guys, wow those were the days. I grew up on henderson st which crossed van horne. We lived in el sereno all our lives and i remember the breadman would pull up in his van ( 1950's) and we'd buy grab bags and bread. The milk man would drop off our milk to our door step. the milk was in a glass gallon container. The houses did not have fences like they do now. everything was beautiful. El sereno was not blocked off from Pasadena like it is now. It was such a great place to live. my mom used to shop for us at Two Guys and everything was on layaway.. miss those days

— raul espinoza
March 11, 2010 at 11:18 p.m.

I lived in EL Sereno from 1953 to 1970 Wwhen I left for military service. I attended Our Lady of Guadelupe Grammar School and Cathedral High. I lived on Harriman Avenue and remember Bob, the Helms Man, patching our bike tires at Gordon's SeaSide Gas Station, shopping with my folks at Capitol Market and Market Basket. Anyone remember Raymond's Trim Time? Newland's and Schuster's Hardware? Dr. Giraldi's office? Those were the days! It really was like living in a small town, everybody everybody else and took care of their yards. It's a shame to see what the old neighborhood has become.

— Joe The Geez
March 10, 2010 at 4:53 p.m.


I was raised in El Sereno from birth in 1949 to 1970 when my parents moved to Temple City.I loved all the articles here, but no one mentioned the beautiful fresh water creek that ran under Edna street near Dorchester ave,A deep gorge tree lined where street were dead ended,just south of Edna street. It was closed to cars and walkers had a nice wooden walk bridge there,we crossed it to go to sierra park school (the old building before they tore it down),

The creek ran all year long, spring fed,we`d catch polywags in the creek.North of Edna street was a swampy part where snunks and other critters


People complained about the open ravine next to there house were people could dumped things and the city promised to cover the creek.They did it was probably early sixty`s,big cement pipes were used and they buried all the life out the the natural El Sereno resourse.Back then people did not want to save nature things,most people were from the mid west and wanted city life.

The creek ran under Oakalnd street,Navarro St.and somerset dead ended on the creek,there was also another branch that ran into the creek, it ran in back of Copeland came from the hills where there was a lake,lots of water,beautiful place, my favorite memorie where i played as a child,now its covered,and only a great memorie.

John Boyko

— John Boyko
March 2, 2010 at 9:52 a.m.

Once again I am pleased to see so many residents recalling what this town once was like. We have a chance to renew our community by participating in the community. I have filed to be a candidate for the upcoming elections of the Neighborhood Council. If you have not heard of the Neighborhood Council, we are residents of the community that promote the best City services for the rest of the neighbors.

Come out and vote on Thursday April 29, 2010 and make a positive change. I will continue to do the best I can to make where we live a better place. For information purposes, I live in Rose Hills, and things have improved.

Rose Hills Review,

Anthony Manzano

March 1, 2010 at 7:58 a.m.

El Sereno.. Has Changed so Much its Sad.. What Most of you don't Understand, That El Sereno was Called Little Town back in the Late 40's and 50's the Streets were Clean and Gangs almost didn't Exist in this area. The Community was mostly Italian's which made their way from North Broadway, then to Alhambra. On Huntington Dr. There Was the El Sereno Club which was Nice at one time.. Eastern Ave.. Look like a Post Card. Wilson High was on Eastern, now its the Jr. High. During the 60's Wilson had One of the best Football Teams in LA. Kuesha was Coach. and his son the Quarter Back. Which then he went on to Norte Dame, Where he didn't do to well because of his Height. Then after the 60' then 70's Little by Little the Braceros starting Moving in, and the Rest is History.. it looks like a Dump Now!! Then you Wonder why ? the Mexican People Get Stereotype :( Take Pride in Yourself and your Neighborhood and Stop the Stereotype.. Take it for what its worth. Im a Los Angeles Native,from all the way Down to My Great Grand Parents.. Los Angeles Has Changed and believe Me its not for the Better.

— R .Garcia
February 19, 2010 at 8:02 p.m.

We came here from Mexico City. The Romeros. Open up shop in South Central. Iron works & Car repair shop.It was my Granfather & Dad.We moved to El Sereno in the 70's. I went to Huntington Drive,El Sereno Jr high,became a product of my enviroment at 15, and did not graduate Wilson High School,Instead I got a job at Vans Tennis shoes in Alhambra. Living in a place called the Highlands was a living hell to most, However to us it was scary and fun at the same time.Yes there was cholos in our neighborhood but they were our friends and protectors from the outsiders. My father taught us to have fun in other ways. We would buy records from a small record shop on Eastern, 45's for a dollar 12" for about $3 or $4 and that's how we got into music, before you knew it we were going out to a club called The Copacabana on S.Huntington Dr. My brother started DJing all over El Sereno,Highland Park,East LA. I loved growing up in El Sereno,going to the pool in the summer,buying chips and a coke with a dollar at Nates.Most people think of El Sereno as a bad place to live..but that's only cause they are the outsiders who did not live there. To me is a fond memory of my chilhood. Yes I have moved on, however I still go back to buy Pan from El Aguila or we stop by at different taco trucks or El Taquito, I take my kids to the New McDonalds and run into a lot of people from my chilhood there... I LOVE EL SERENO & miss it's part of who I'am Today. A Survivor,Loving Wife & Mother of 2.One day I will take my kids to show them where their father & I grew up. The Highlands were we had lot's of house parties for the kids in the nieghborhood and try to keep them out of trouble.

— Myriam
February 19, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.

i was told about this site by my tia who now lives in Chicago. i was so xcited untill i read more, i see that alot of ppl write & complaine about the trashy bus stops, the crackheads & hypes. i know this will upset many but oh well...those gangsters with there graffitti & addicts are the product of a los city. those are the children of your old nieghbors. most of us grew up & moved on & have forgotten about the struggles there. or maybe you really only resided in El Sereno? theres a difference 2 being a true nattive of el serenoas to being someone who lived there for a while. you see i was one of those addicts. society & politicians forgot about Sereno a long time ago. Our schools, parks etc. have fallen 2 nothing because of lack of concern. Of cours we weren't taken care of like s. pasadena & our other neighbors. think about the differences of population or are most of you that blind? i wonder? well i am no longer that addict & am a responsible mother, wife, sister & member of society, i pay my taxes & do what i am able to and help the youth and the addicts that still suffer in their addiction find help. maybe instead of complaing you shuld ask youself, "what can i do to help?" stop complaining about what other don't do, get up & do sumthing yourself. or you can keep your noses up to the air and remember that if you ever come back to try to get some of that great yo mamas pizza or a tamale from the tamale man or need to stop for a red bull at El cafetine, lock you car doors. because it will all still be there unless we do something about it. Absolutely no didrespect inteneded to anyone.

February 15, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.


— regina ibarra
February 15, 2010 at 12:58 p.m.

i do remember the helms man back in 1971 or 72 when he opend his back door of that 1950"s van on harrimen ave and i remember gordons gas station and al's liqur store

— frank
February 9, 2010 at 10:21 p.m.

Jan, I do remember the Helms Truck for El Sereno, It was Gil, the Helms Man


— Jimmy "D"
February 9, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.

Does anyone have any stories about Hollister Ave? My family moved here in 2001 and I am very curious about how my neighborhood used to be. Thanks.

— Alexander
February 3, 2010 at 9:17 p.m.

watching E.T. At El Cameo, grabbing a snow cone at Foster Freeze, an awsome burger at Jims burger or a slice of heaven at Yo Mammas Pizza and get to watch as a scene of the movie "the Rookie" be filmed at the old dry cleaners, thank god El Taquito is still standing !

— J Cesar Lopez
January 30, 2010 at 5:51 p.m.

what do I rememeber about El Sereno...okay here it goes, the plunge,Sierra Park Elementary burning down when I was in the 6th grade, Wilson High School grades 7-12, the walkouts in 68, Axtell St(where I lived from 3-8 grade, Market Basket, Arthur who lived in a brown shack on Navarro Ave. Basically, it's my childhood. So many memories not enough time. My parents moved from there to Chino, it was like moving to another world. The memories are all good!

— Camila Medina
January 28, 2010 at 7:49 p.m.

I remember when this happened it took half my roof ...I came out on tv cause i saved my dogs LOL..

— RR
January 21, 2010 at 10:08 p.m.

Where was the Alamo Market located, street name and stores that were right near to it, can't seem to remember where it was. Johnnie's Market over by Valley Blvd, yes I remember that. The "Kings" club with the bright pink and black long jackets, what kind of club were they?? The Skylighters Band, they played at everyone of the dances Wilson had as I remember. The first drive-by shooting was in El Sereno Park in about 1958 late on a Wednesday evening.

— Wiley Coyote
January 15, 2010 at 2:14 p.m.

el sereno, my childhood backyard, im 37 but still got a chance to see a movie at el cameo.

— erick rosales
January 12, 2010 at 7:07 p.m.

Ah, that fresh urine in the "pee" tunnel under Huntington Dr, to Huntington Dr school, the memories!

— PaunotGausol
December 30, 2009 at 3:17 p.m.

Amasing; this site has become much more than a simple compendium of memories through the years. I have been re-united with a long lost son feared dead. A long-time friend searching for me; & now, asking about a child-hood neighbour & friend, a positive response. This has truly been a wonderful Christmas. Pushing the envelope, &, your patience, does anyone recall a Joyce Farrar who attended El Sereno Lutheran school on Eastern AV? She always helped me through my studies in a one room classroom containing many different grades under one teacher.

Blessings, Frank DeCleve

— Frank DeCleve
December 28, 2009 at 8:01 a.m.

Frank DeCleve. I know your old neighbor. I am at

— Mr. Munhoven
December 27, 2009 at 1:21 p.m.

What a wonderful site for us to share memories. Thank you for arranging it. I lived in a little hollow in the hills right off Monterey Dr. on Oakhill AV. I have been searching for my neighbour for many years. His name is Chuck Marsh. Does anyone know him, recall him?

Frank DeCleve

— Frank DeCleve
December 26, 2009 at 6:48 a.m.

What a Christmas gift. I was viewng this web-site again when I ran across a message from my long lost son who disappeared in Mexico over 5 yrs ago. He was assumed dead as his last contact with me stated he was going into Guatemala. This makes two people who have located me because of this forum. Thank you for being so kind as to print a message not about El Sereno.

Frank DeCleve

— Frank DeCleve
December 25, 2009 at 7:09 a.m.

Great memories of good 'ol El Sereno. What about highlights of what's good today? The community garden on Huntington, the new library, the Barrio Action facility, the indoor pool and skate park at El Sereno Park, and great business people like Kim and Winnie at Johnnie's Market.

Ascot Hills Park is oficially open, we're working on getting its improvememnts finished asap.

— m lopez
December 24, 2009 at 9:26 a.m.

Con permiso senior loco, I am glad to see everything turned out for the better for you. You know with a computer and internet access , you also seem to have very good reading and writing skills. Know all we have to do is pass it on to all our little pollito's. Stay up big pollo!

December 23, 2009 at 9:56 a.m.

I WAS the Pollo Loco chicken guy! Standing there, doing my job. Trying to raise a little feria. I know who it was. It was a notorious gang that goes by the moniker KFC.

— The Pollo Loco Chicken Guy
December 21, 2009 at 2:53 p.m.

Hey Paul,

I remember that tornado! That was crazy, I was at Sierra Park. Please email me any old El Sereno photos to:


— Julio T.
December 15, 2009 at 11:51 a.m.

Wow, what great stories! El Sereno has many memories for many people and as we get older we seem to reflect about our childhood and how we grew up. There will be a new publication in El Sereno starting January 1st called "Our Town El Sereno" and will focus on positive articles on residents, local youth, and local businesses from El Sereno. Please pick up a copy from one of the many businesses, churches, and library in El Sereno. There will be a section devoted to old photos of past businesses and people from back in the day. What I need are photos that you might have sent to me via email so I can share it with the community. Thank you

— Julio T.
December 15, 2009 at 11:18 a.m.

Remember When someone shot the pollo loco chicken in his chicken suit on Huntington drive and eastern, on the little Island . He was O.k, good thing he had his super chicken outfit on huh. How about the tornado that ran through El sereno,yup it happend . How about metal shop or wood shop?the heads remember. Lots of memories and still going. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See ya, Touch back in a couple months.

December 14, 2009 at 12:31 p.m.

Mr. Frank Decleve: I am a friend of your son Eric. He is trying to get a hold of you so u can meet his daughter. U can contact me at To the mods for the site: please don't erase this post. It's christmas.

— John P. Vallenilla
December 12, 2009 at 7:58 a.m.

If any of you have a facebook account, this is a great fan page to join. "I survived growing up in El Sereno" Over 800 members and plenty of memories. Enjoy!

Copy and past the link below.

— Mando51
December 11, 2009 at 3:31 a.m.

I want to give many thanks to the local neighbors that have brought back many memories. At ths moment I wish to share a Holiday Activity that will take place on December 19 along Huntington Drive and say Happy Holidays to you all.

I have noticed a couple of postings indicating that our community of 'Rose Hills' has no "s" in the Communities Title. I have done ample research over the years and have found that Rose Hills originated years before Los Angeles was a City. As far back as 1769 and it caried a spanish sense of the current name our community carries. Meaning Rose Hills is older than our Country.(Also much bigger...... once included-Alhambra, South Pasadena, Monterey Park, City Terrace and parts of Lincoln Heights and Highland Park.)

I will once again add my name to the ballot for the upcoming elections to continue to serve the neighbors that depend on my abilities and capacities. Happy Holidays to all Los Angeles Residents.

Rose Hills Review

Anthony Manzano

December 7, 2009 at 1:12 p.m.

Frank DeCleve: please contact Lawerence Kalfayan, he has my email adress. I hope your well. I am better than ever. My daughter wants to meet you, and so does my wife. Are you still at the beach house?

— E. Francisco
December 7, 2009 at 7:47 a.m.

Please call 3-1-1 to report graffiti, illegal dumping of trash and old furniture. Also, you can call 3-1-1 to report all sorts of other public eyesores and non-emergency disturbances. Give 'em a try! Send a message! In my experience, they're very good at responding.

Tell this to ten El Sereno residents who are tired of apathy and watch your property values increase!

— Jeff Z.
December 4, 2009 at 9:01 p.m.

I lived in Hillside Village in the early 50s till I married in 1960. It was a very nice little neighborhood back them, of course we had those certain neighbors that just did not get it, like barking dogs all nite long, and foreign type loud parties, but all in all it was fun. The hills in the spring time, the sheep and trying to find them after school was so much fun. Digging for crystal looking rocks and sliding through the high weeds on big cardboard pices was fun also. That is where the old Ascot Speedway was located before closing it down to build all these track homes from Indiana Ave to Jones Ave, Ditman, Rome Dr. Yellowstone, Hatfield, the Excelant Tamale Factory down the street from Almadale and Indiana Ave. Multnomah grammer school, Helms man, the best cream puffs, the good humorman, great ice cream, the milkman, Hillside Village Market who delivered groceries to our home. Imagine going from 6th grade to big old Wilson Hi grades 7th thru 12th, my kids look at my annuals and say those girls in the 12th grade look like old woman. It is true. I remember the Besh's Store, Leon's Italian Mkt. Legion Statium where Art Laboe put on a show once. The Cameo where the seats where all ripped up. The best was the La Totaca (spelled wrong) best tacos and then the restaurant opened in later years and would all go after a wedding reception. The laundry mat where they actually washed and folded your clothes for a price. on Huntington Dr. and Eastern at Bus Stop. The huge train crash down on Valley Blvd sometime in the mid 50's close to Alhambra, but you could hear it from our home. Many people killed and injured. The big explosion around late 50's in the middle of the night up by Mariana St. in ELA but you could see the flames from the front yard as all the neighbors were out also. The little library on Huntington Dr., I used to take the bus downtown after school to go shopping all by myself see the street people and just keep on walking, would never let my daughters do such a thing back when they were in teenage years. Said too much already as I could go on and on.

Former Hillside Village Resident as a child. By the way the "Whitehouse" up in the middle of the hills by El Sereno was originally going to be a great county club built by a very wealthy person. The pool was already ready to be filled as I hear because I was afraid to go up there, he ran out of money and it was just left there as it stood empty for many, many years.

December 4, 2009 at 9:45 a.m.

I posted memories on Nov. 11. Returning to share a few more about growing up in El Sereno in the late 40's, 50's. In the hills bordered by Collis AV on one side, Monterey RD on the other, there was a mysterious cave called 'Iron-Door Cave.' It had a dark opening that seemed to lead downward. Visiting daily with my dog beside me, I never summoned the courage to enter. Does anyone know about this mysterious cavern? In 1962, a fellow was discovered digging in these hills for 'Geronimos gold;' He was interviewed by the LA Times & his story was told. I knew this fellow; he was also feeling presence of ghosts. Does anyone recall this? Needless to say, one did not lock their doors in the 50's; there was no reason to.

Thanks for the opportunity to share memories. Frank DeCleve

— Frank DeCleve
December 1, 2009 at 7:05 a.m.

I lived in El Sereno 1945-47. Remember the Helms truck? The ice truck, where we'd grab chips that tasted like frozen burlap. The tar truck, good for globs you could chew on all day. The bonfire at Halloween and costume parade. The Mayday pageant at Farmdale - my class wore poppy hats and sang California Here I come. And a 6 yr old could run the grass hills all day, as long as you came home just before dark. I wonder if any of our dirt caves remain.

The Red Car cost a nickel, and went right into LA, to the Pig n Whistle. We didn't have much, a Victory garden for veg and our own rabbits for meat, but we could always scrape up a penny for candy.

— Jan
November 28, 2009 at 5:24 p.m.

Mr. Manzano, Years back my wife and I purchased burial property in Rose Hills (Memorial Park), Now it seems Rose Hills is coming to me...will my plot be included?

— Gilbert Lopez
November 28, 2009 at 9:07 a.m.

To Mr Jeff Z. get real...this is L.A. We are on our own. Why waste your time calling for city "services" Now that's an oxymoron!..get it? "City Services" lol

— gilbert Lopez
November 28, 2009 at 8:57 a.m.

I too live in El Sereno and love our proximity to Alhambra, and South Pasadena as well as easy freeway access to travel to and shop in communities which are safer, cleaner, and tend to attract better businesses not just taco trucks. It is nice to know I need only drive a short distance to leave this "jewel of a community" behind.

— Gilbert Lopez
November 28, 2009 at 8:41 a.m.

To BOYD ZUMWALT.....Are you related to Janet and did you guys live on La Calandria? If you did, Do you remember the Zavalas who had about 25 kids?

— Metate Alkulo
November 26, 2009 at 12:46 p.m.

Sorry, I meant Anthony Marrano, not David Marrano. Wanna be politician who wants to change community names. What an azzle.

— Imember Yumember
November 26, 2009 at 11:13 a.m.

What the previous poster added rings true. El Sereno has declined, you can tell by all the furniture left out in the streets for months. Maybe residents feel sorry for all the addics who hang @ Huntington Dr & Guardia, so kind of them to put couches & old stained oxidized toilets at bus stops for them to utilize. So compassionate to lay out old stained "colchones" so that hypes can catch some warm rays of sunshine with a quick nap until their next fix. One can call the district to complain, but the "Wanna-be" politicians like David Marrano are too busy trying to rename communities like Rose Hill to Rose HillS. It's disgusting to see where there was once an immaculate Huntington Drive, you now see abandoned shopping carts & strewn used pampers up & down "The Drive", oh and corn cobs too! I think the crack addics use the corn cobs as TP. There are still some lovely residential "pockets" in El Sereno on and around Monterey Rd, Hillside Village, Collis Ave, & the nice clean homes that intersect with Cudahy Ave. These areas are still clean and lovely, My guess is, the residents of these areas have retained their sense of pride in community.

— Imember Yumember
November 26, 2009 at 10:17 a.m.

Please call 3-1-1 to report graffiti, illegal dumping of trash and old furniture. Also, you can call 3-1-1 to report all sorts of other public eyesores and non-emergency disturbances. Give 'em a try! Send a message! In my experience, they're very good at responding.

Tell this to ten El Sereno residents who are tired of apathy and watch your property values increase!

November 26, 2009 at 7:14 a.m.

Why do people now furnish busstops in El Sereno with sofa's , toilets, and matresses? I remember walking the streets as a child (when it was safe) and looking down at the sidewalks. They glistened as if they had gold flakes embedded in them. My mom used to tell me fairytales of the gold in the sidewalks. Such a shame that a different class of folks moved in, and really trashed the place. I grew up in the Disco Era...used to party at the Great Gatsby (until they opened them on every corner) and the Copacabana...located by the Food Bargain Market. University Hills and Rose Hill were considered El Sereno. Phone numbers started with CA as in Capitol CA1-8228, etc.

— Marie Malone
November 25, 2009 at 9:10 p.m.

For DAVID SOLIS who attended HUNTINGTON DRIVE SCHOOL....Did you live on Lomitas Drive? As far as the school goes, it is STILL THERE, But as you can imagine, THE DEMOGRAPHICS HAVE CHANGED. Most of the children in that school speak SPANISH as their primary and in some cases ONLY language. As for the spelling of the small community enclave known as ROSEHILL, NO "S" in that name. Just goes to show that small time wanna be politicians have no interest in learning the history of the community nor it's constiuents. IF ONLY THEY WOULD DO THEIR HOMEWORK, They would realize that ROSEHILLS is a CEMETERY in WHITTER,CALIF. Wake up, it's ROSEHILL and NOT ROSEHILLS!

— Ino Huh
November 25, 2009 at 6:05 p.m.

I grew up in El Sereno, lived there from 1962 to 1990. We lived next door to the Aversain family, the owners of Dick's TV on Eastern Ave. I remember going to their store with my parents to pick out first color TV. The old black & white TV went upstairs for us kids. Those were the days, rabbit ear attennas, watching TV until it went off the air. El Sereno was a family community then. I remember walking through Jack in the Box while it was under construction, no fences or security at the property. The fireman barbque on Sundays at the Fire station across from Market Basket.

— Patricia Hernandez
November 25, 2009 at 2:27 p.m.

I saw a posting on 11/11/09 at 7:04 pm from a 70 year old Frank Decleve. If you are the same 70 year old Frank Decleve that I worked with at Champion International, please contact me. I am still at the same place as when we last spoke.

— mike ryan
November 24, 2009 at 9:17 p.m.

CONTINUED... On the corner of Huntington Drive and Collis was the "Seaside" gas station, owned by Gordon Spencer. It was a cute little Art-Deco building and should have been declared a historical building, but too many immigrants started moving in and never appreciated the history of El Sereno. Across from the Seaside Gas station was an old structure that resembled a boat, I think it actually a boat at one time. It always reminded me of Noah's Ark. Down the street from there was the Akron, where one could get drapes, kitchen and bathroom, and bedroom decor. I remember the old Nate's Liqour store. Nate did home delivery until one night, on a delivery his son was murdered during a home delivery. It was then we knew the community was starting to decline. I remember the old saloon like building on the corner of Huntington Drive and Monterey Rd, it actually still had the tie-ups for horses, it was where the Fire Station stands now. There was a Hot Dog stand across from that old saloon building, it is now a gas station. I remember the Cameo, which later became "El Cameo" (such a stupid name), I remember the little brick fire station which reminded me of Norman Rockwell, that building too, should have been declared historical. I remember the Alamo Market, which is now "El Taquito". I remember the old 4th of July Parades, man those were the days! Those parades were so "mom and apple pie", now they are soo "Menudo Y Pupusas". I remember the Dillingham Ticket Company which is now a mecca for welfare recipients to buy get their WIC and EBT cards. I remember Curry's Ice Cream, which later became Hi's coffee shop, then later, a series of fast asian food restaurants. I remember Manny's Drive-In and Hank's Cocktail Bar next door. I lived on Lomitas Drive off of Monterey Rd, respectively Lomitas Drive and Carnegie. That neighborhood was very rural. We had Coyotes, Skunks, Horses, Goats and Roadrunners. I think the Roadrunners died out in those hills 40 years ago when the city "developed" the canyon there. I remember Gloria's Top House which was rumored to have been a house of Ill rupute. I remember National Dollar STore and Besh's and the little mom and pop store nestled there in. That little mom and pop store is now a mexican store that always smells like stinky feet. I remember when the sidewalks were squeeky clean, now they are so filthy with gum and gosh knows what else, one could probably get stuck to them like a mouse would to a "humane" sticky trap, LOL! I remember when all of us kids spoke English as our first and only language, these days most of the kids do not speak English. Oh how long for the good ol days when El Sereno was a jewel.

— Ino Huh
November 24, 2009 at 7:39 p.m.

CONTINUED...... They were never caught. Believe it or not, she only sustained a nick which left a permanent scar on her forehead. Needless to say, they sold out soon after and the little building with it's little castle-like turrets stood vacant for many years until a flower shop made the effort to start a business. Needless to say, their business never FLORISHED, NO PUN INTENDED. Just up the street was another little mom and pop store, it was called PATTERSON'S MARKET, it was on the corner of Reser Drive and Monterey Road. On the corner of Monterey and McKenzie used to be an old fashioned gas station with the antique gasoline pumps.

— Ino Huh
November 24, 2009 at 7:36 p.m.

BEFORE IT WAS CORTEZ' MARKET, The little mom and pop store on Monterey Road was actually NORM'S MARKET, on the corner of Cassatt and Monterey Road. Norm had to sell his business after Capital Market opened up which was the second SUPERMARKET in El Sereno, Market Basket was the first. After NORM'S MARKET closed, a MEXICAN COUPLE bought out the store, their last name was CORTEZ, and they did not speak English, they seemed very distrustful of the predominantly "CHICANO" community, being that they were from Mexico. Mrs. CORTEZ was held up at gunpoint but REFUSED to give up the $12 in cash she had in the register, so the robbers shot her POINT BLANK in the forehead and ran off with the $12 and change.

— Ino Huh
November 24, 2009 at 7:33 p.m.

I was born and raised in El Sereno. El Sereno, as we knew it, covered areas from Monterey Road to Eastern and Valley...and more. Rose Hill (not Rose your research) was the official name. I guess it took unaware folks to decide to change the name. Take Our Lady of Guadalupe for example, it is located in Rose Hill...never was it Rose Hills, some people just like to add the S , I guess. My fond memories are of the 4th of July parade starting my Shop Wise and ending at the Park...followed by a carnival with fireworks. I remember Hy's Coffee Shop and later E&J Burgers. I worked at Fosters Freeze. I remember Mario, the manager of McDonalds offering me a job because I would visit every day when they first opened. I recall Gordon's gas station at the corner of Collis & Huntington Dr. I remember Capitol Market and the Wong Family. I remember Al's liquor store, the Saratoga Bar on Monterey Road and Club Royal. I recall Besh's, National Dollar, Market Basket, the Alamo, The Cameo (not El Cameo). I remember Duran's...was it a fabric shop?Boy, I recall the old Wilson High School, when they had Summer and Winter graduating classes. I loved the outdoor swimming pool at El Sereno Park. I remember Halloween at Rose Hill park...and the grease pole. I think they used to place a $20 bill up there. Our parades were the best, our community was clean, nary a couch on the side walk, or tagging. I remember Nate's liquor store and the day his son was murdered. I love El Sereno and will take the good with the bad. Thank you for this trip down memory lane.

— R. Maye
November 24, 2009 at 6:10 p.m.

My uncle, Wayne Smith, used to work as a short order cook at Hy's Coffee Shop at the corner of Huntington Dr. and Eastern Ave. right before he was drafted and sent to Vietnam. He died in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne near hill 882, west of Hue.

— bloomer
November 20, 2009 at 4:12 p.m.

I see tht Hillside Village is part of El Sereno, that's pretty funy since most of the people who lived there when I did during the 60's were trying really hard to show they were better than the people who lived in El Sereno.

I grew up on Gateside Dr before Wilson was built- it was the last street that backed up to huge open spaces- green fields, great for exploring as kids.

The streets were narrow and some of the houses had huge backyards (or at least it seemed like it when I was a little girl) and a couple of neighbors even had swimming pools.

We would grab our carboard boxes and slide down the hillsides, especially after the grass was wet.

The Helms man and ice cream man came almost everyday-some of the boys terrorized the poor drivers-

We would go to El Sereno park for the fireworks and carnival. It seemed like Rose Hills would catch on fire every year.

Most people kept their yards clean, or everyone would talk about you.

Halloween was the best. Every house would decorate, the streets were full of kids carrying paper bags or pillowcases-- families would show movies or cartoons in their garage, another had a haunted house, a lady gave out popcorn balls and another - my favorite-gave out pomegranits--When our bags were full, we 'd go home and get another one-we had enough candy to last all year, or until mama took it away to fill the pinata for somebody's birthday. We didn't check the candy, or only eat things in wrappers, we knew everybody and they knew us. If you stepped out of line, someone would call your mom to tell on you.

In the summer we rollerskated for hours at Multnomah ES-- we had a talent show-it was a lot of fun.

We would sneak out of mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe to go to the hall to get something to eat. I think tacos were 10 cents. On Sundays we all went to the Cameo and watched two movies and cartoons and news clips-- my older brothers would leave a seat empty between them so they could pickup a girl. Someone would always throw popcorn down from the balconey--

As for the gangs, yes they were around-- but they were different back then. They fought with eachother and left the rest of us alone. They wouldn't push around or bully the older people or the little kids-- the played baseball and football (we didn't play soccer) with us--we knew people who drank too much, took drugs, and went to jail-- they were the losers, not the heroes. their families were ashamed. Today, a lot of families look the other way because they want the money they bring in. Almost everyone spoke English-at least all the kids did--

and if you didn't know it, you learned it fast--not like today when kids spends years in school and barely know English and have a strong accent-

I loved growing up in Hillside Village- we really were a village- where everyone knew everyone -we played in our front yards and the streets instead of hiding away in the backyard or inside because we were afraid.

Those were the good old days.

— Sally from the Valley
November 16, 2009 at 2:10 p.m.

Mr. DeCleve's post brought back a lot of old memories. One in particular: That Shell station at the corner of Eastern and Gambier (or was it Templeton?) was called "Gene's." He used to hire about a half dozen high school kids to work part time evenings and weekends. They would swarm all over the customer's car, cleaning the windows, checking tires, oil, wiper blades etc. I used to drive my old '35 Ford in there, buy 25 cents worth of gas and get the full treatment. When they were in school, Gene would do all that himself.

November 16, 2009 at 8:58 a.m.

I moved to El Sereno in 1949; lived on Oakhill AV. just off off Monterey Rd. moved in 1960. There was a Cortez Mkt. just off Huntington a block down Monterey Rd. I read all of the memories posted, but, have not seen 'Manny's pastrami stand' mentioned; it was the hang-out for good food & visiting with friends. His son had been killed in Korea in 1952. A Dick's Mkt on Huntington close to Collis AV. Richard Chung was the owner. How may I post these memories along with the rest? There were open air square dances on certain nights across from Mkt Basket. Many times rode the red street-car to down-town L.A. There was a pool Hall (El Sereno club) above the Cameo theater. Friend Russ Salazars grand-father owned it. I remember sheep grazing on the hills overlooking Monterey RD. Would sic my dog on the sheep dogs (Border Collies) until the Basque sheep-herder scared me with dire threats. Highland Park was my hang-out. Later, it became unsafe to visit (at least I thought so) Us kids would have Roman Candle fights each 4th. BB-gun fights daily. (We were latch-keys) Jr High was a little Lutheran church-school on Eastern before Wilson High. Last time visited was in the early 80's. Two groups were aproaching one another in hostile fashion. One fellow had a pistol in his back pocket; this, on Huntington Dr. where Lou's shoe store would have been. Lou, of Lou's shoe store had been in the RAF during WW2. He flew in Lancaster bombers. Beshe's was the only place in town for nice clothing; he kept up with the latest styles. The Shell station on Eastern close to Wilson High was owned by a fellow who did not like kids buying cigarettes from his machine. We had a plan; one of us would drop a quarter into it & keep walking; another would pull the handle & get the pack. Cigarette dangling from the mouth (James Dean style) was our entry into cool. We all listened to Hunter Hancock playing black R&B. (Very cool)

Thanks for the web-site, the memories of so long ago; I am 70 now. It has been a journey of nostalgia.

Frank DeCleve

— Frank DeCleve
November 11, 2009 at 7:04 p.m.

i lived in el sereno in the and my friends use to work at yo mommas pizza...the owner would have us assemble the boxes in the back patio.....after we were done, he would give us $5.oo in quaters..a large pizza and all you can drink sodas!!!!!!!i use to love it.....until they caught him selling drugs from the pizza joint....thats why they shut him down!!!!!does anyone remember the ditch behind shopwise???? thats use to be my click!!!!sereno the ditch lokos!!!!!!lets not blame the gangsters only....their was alot of crooked people to.....remember texas video on huntington drive.....he use to steal the empty cases from another store in alhambra!!!!!!!or the glass store on huntington.....they use to hire people to break windows!!!!!!!so remember....everyone is guilty of something.........but in the end......el sereno will always be el serewno!!!!

— misterdee
November 11, 2009 at 4:08 p.m.

Hello, fellow El Sereno residents. Please remember to call 3-1-1 to report graffiti on public spaces such as electrical boxes, bridge underpasses, etc. Also, they can pick up such public nuisances as couches and other furniture that have simply been left curb side for weeks on end. If we show our pride and call in such things, we're more likely to keep up the quality of living in our neighborhood for all. Let them know at the city government that we care about our neighborhood and want our due share of city services. I think it also sends a message to those individuals who would deface our public spaces.

— Jeff Z.
November 9, 2009 at 9 p.m.

The hot dog stand at the corner of Eastern and Gambier was originally known as Sam's Hot Dogs. I believe it was built by Sam in the late 1940's and he sold it sometime in the 1950s (I never did know Sam's last name). It was a thriving business because Sam was good company; very witty with a huge supply of jokes. He was very popular with Wilson High students and knew very many of them by name.

November 9, 2009 at 2:49 p.m.

I remember Lalo's Hot Dog stand. It was one block from my house. I was maybe 4 years old,but I remember the two swinging doors to walk in. What a flash back! As I remember it was very small with just a counter and stools.

— Steve
November 7, 2009 at 7:49 p.m.

I went to 1st grade at huntington dr.elementary,anyone know what it is called now? i attended around '71

— David Solis
November 7, 2009 at 10:40 a.m.

I grew up in El Sereno. We moved there in 1957 and lived on Gambier St. We briefly moved to La Puente then moved back. We lived at 4839 Gambier St and rented from Mr. Russo. We then moved to 4823 Gambier St. In 1965 we moved to 4631 Twining St, in the El Sereno Highlands. We lived there until 1973. Living in El Sereno was like living in Idaho. I remember Kaz Cameras, Besh's, Rasco, Market Basket, Dick's TV, the Richfield Station, the American Legion Hall on Eastern by Val's later Hy's coffee shop. Do you remember Good Joes, Saldana's bakery, the library, Millie's Pizza, the record shop. How about Lalo's Hot Dogs at Eastern and Gambier? I marched as a cub scout in the 4th of July Parade. What ever happened to that town? It seemed like in the early 70's it became overrun with gang bangers. Back in those days if LAPD saw 2 cholos together the braced them. Today you can have a crowd and they just drive by. I take my kids there all of the time.

— Boyd Zumwalt
November 4, 2009 at 6:18 p.m.

We moved to El Sereno as newly weds and we are still here as senior citizens. We live in what must have been Aurant. It was news to me.

Yes, I remember Beshes, Rascos, Carrolls Fabrics, Lou's Shoes. All the Italian Deli's. Market Basket, Portolla Drugstore with the fancy gift department. Trick or Treating on Collis . The Christmas Party at the park, with Santa and candy for all the children.

There was the Bi-Centennial Committee. The Co-ordinating Council. The 4th of July Parade. The queens contest and the Honorary Mayors Contest. Willies Los Pochos. Mrs. Ruth Swiggett and Art Snyder. Mr. Phil Breskin of El Sereno Junior High and Mr. Hahn of the new Wilson. Dr. Donald Newman. And the fiesta at All Saints. We read The El Sereno Star and delivering the paper was my sons first job.

There are a lot of old pictures of this area at the old Farmdale one room school house on the campus of ES Middle School. At least they were there several years ago.

All four of our children have been successful and two have returned to El Sereno to raise their families here. They have always been proud of being from El Sereno, and no matter where they go, they are happy to return home. As a Puerto Rican," El Sereno" means night fall and the dew that comes with it. It has always sounded magical to me.

FYI: Charlies Trio is in El Sereno.

— Roxanna Raya
November 2, 2009 at 11:01 p.m.

Wow! I just came across this posting about El Sereno. I lived on the corner on Eastern and Templeton in the big white house across from Estrada's barber shop. I lived there untill I was 29. Does anyone remember the mexican restaurant La Torteca? How about The Cameo Show? The Hot dog stand the other person was talking about was named Johnnie's Hot Dogs on Huntington Drive. I remember Lou's shoe stores alson on Huntiington Dr, right next to Major G's store. There was Bob's drug store right by El Sereno liquor store. I can go on and on with this.If anyone wants to chat about the old El Sereno add your post. Take Care!

—  Steve
November 1, 2009 at 7:51 p.m.


October 21, 2009 at noon

I just stumbled upon this comment site while trying to find out the status of Ascot Hill Park, and greatly enjoyed all the comments, epecially the historical ones! I have lived here for 9 years, in an 80+ year old house with view of Ascot Hill, and wonderful neighbors. Along with being adjacent to downtown and Alhambra/Pasadena areas, the area is a hidden gem, with rolling hills, some dirt roads still(!), trees, interesting independent folks, and on some weekends, you can hear people partying down! (Don't think that would fly in some snobbier areas.) Where I am, can hear the trains pulling through, and love hearing them. I am hoping that E.S. does not get "discovered" and yuppi-fied like so many other places have. I will continue to try and find out about Ascot Park. Thanks for this site.

— S. Ross
October 18, 2009 at 3:05 p.m.

What a pleasure it is reading many of the stories from past and present residents. I have a small collection of photos of the area and would like to have more. If you own or know how to aquire any archived photos, can you please help me out. Send me an e-mail to so we may be able to continue keeping this great history.

I would like to thank all the neighbors for the input provided here and it makes great reading. I hope the times collects the information and does the best with it, including proper community identification.

Rose Hills Review,

Anthony Manzano

October 16, 2009 at 2:34 p.m.

If you remember the Pacific Electric streetcars that used to travel in the median between North and South Huntington Drive, then you probably remember the little Pacific Electric Bus that made a continuous circuit through the neighborhoods south of Huntington Drive. It was painted in the same red&orange motif as the P.E. streetcars. It waited at a little canopy at Eastern Ave. and Huntington Drive, where it picked up passengers coming from downtown L.A. on the Sierra Vista streetcar, and carried them to within a block or two of their homes, free of charge. I don't recall the exact route but they went south on Eastern Ave., East on Templeton, then made their way through lots of turns back to Huntington Drive somewhere near the Alamo Market.

October 15, 2009 at 2:15 p.m.

I'm really enjoying the comments. My mother-in-law and her sisters grew up on a dairy farm in El Sereno. They moved to Alhambra in 1942, so this quite a while ago. I have lots of old photos of the dairy farm which was located in the hills near Collis and Pullman - which are still undeveloped. Wish I could go for a walk up there and see it for myself.

— Edith Wentz
October 14, 2009 at 4:18 p.m.

EL Sereno is my ancestral homeland! We moved from "Rose Hills" to El Sereno in Spring 1964, when I was 13. We lived up in the hills practically on the highest street right above the DWP Ascot Reservior. What a magnificent view we had of the San Gabriel Valley back in 1964. It felt like country living with all the rolling hills surrounding us. The grass would grow at least three feet high during the months of Oct., Nov. and Dec. (no global warming back then) and the hills were awash in bright green colors. The hills were our playground. We would make sleds out of cardboard boxes and slide down the slippery slops. In the early 60's, El Sererno was like living in "Leave It To Beaverland". My sister, friends and I would walk down the "Drive" to the Library at night without a care of worry about our safety. We all went to Wilson - my sister and I to the "old" Wilson; my younger siblings to the "new" Wilson. For my 8th birthday my parents took me to the "Kress Five and Dime" Store on Huntington Drive and I got to pick two birthday presents! We did our grocery shopping at "Market Basket". We would get our gas at "Don Shell's" on Eastern Ave. I even remember when Huntington Drive had a wide center dirt divider - left over from the old Red Railroad tracks. Later Huntington Drive was widen and a sign was placed over the intersection of Huntington Dr. and Eastern saying "Watch El Sereno Grow". The annual 4th of July parade, carnival and fireworks show (at El Sereno playground - even though we called it "park") was the big main event during summer. And, yes - there was Art Synder in the parade every year. It seemed that El Sereno loved him. The Camero Theater on Eastern had seen its best days by the early 1960's. But it was still open and we went there a couple of times. Later it was closed and re-opened during my high school years. Going to Hy's Coffee Shop (on Eastern and Huntington Drive) was also a big deal. There was a hot dog place about 50 feet from Huntington Drive and Easter - can't remember the name - but they made the best hot dogs. They snapped when you bit into them. Everyone used to take good care of their homes and yards. Today, it's sad to see how people just don't care about that anymore. My parents still live in their hill top home and we make sure their front/back yards stay neat, trim and pretty. El Sereno is a reminder of the warm, happy childhood I had. Sure, things weren't perfect back then. But there was a big sense of community, safeness and pride. You were proud to say - "I live in El Sereno". And today, I'm still proud to say "I grew up in El Sereno".

— Celia C.
October 2, 2009 at 10:31 a.m.

I am a mother of 7 children, I have been in this neighborhood all my life, i was born here, lived in rose hills, my family played a big part in this community. I went to Our Lady of Guadalupe, when i was in kinder, then my parents divorced. We moved to, alhambra, and in my teen years, we ended up, back here, but this time in university hills. I love this place, I got married, and then lived near lombardy. I had my first 2 children. I then divorced, and lived on van horne. I am now married with 5 more kids, and moved back to university hills. This neighborhood is filled with generations, everyone knows everyone, my kids plays with old friends kids, and I enjoy the wonderful veiws we have up here. The only negetives is gang members and taggers, that ruin it. Back in our days, it was not this bad. I hope for the best, for my children and am against them being any part of that rif-raf. I have 2 girls and 5 boys, my youngest was diagnosed with Autism a few years ago, and we need awareness and services for this mind-boggling, disorder. So if you see me in my hood, with my, angel of autism, and we annoy, bother, or simply, catch an eye, please excuse, and If you are ever hit with this in your family, being aware will help. But as for Autism and were it comes from, i am still looking for answers. Live, Love, and Laugh, always my community

— Miss Mary
October 2, 2009 at 9:49 a.m.

Also, nobody mentions the El Sereno Theater on Eastern Ave. at Huntington Drive. We used to go to Saturday Matinees...two cowboy features, five cartoons plus a serial.

September 28, 2009 at 2:16 p.m.

We moved to El Sereno in 1949 when I was 7 years old & I lived there until 1964. I went to All Saints. Lots of places have been mentioned, but no one has mentioned Curries on the corner of Eastern & Huntington. There also used to be some sort of pottery place just before Market Basket. I loved going to the library close to Portola, it was small & intimate.

— Jo Cowley
September 26, 2009 at 11:28 p.m.

I grew up in El Sereno in the 70's & 80's and moved back last year after being away for most of the 90's and00's.

I remember Yol Mama's Pizza, the Alamo (me and my brother used to sell Kool-Aid and Lemonade in front of it during the summer), Foster's Freeze, the Lark, El Copa de Oro, Model Liquors, Market Basket, Capitol Market, the Cameo, Franco's etc......

Me and my brother went to McDonald's the day it opened to meet Ronald McDonald......Jack in the Box soon followed....

There are a lot of dummies that live in El Sereno w/no common sense and a thuggish mentality.. That's the biggest downside to the place......

Other than that it's a great place w/the best views in L.A. and a lot of long time residents that are good people. It could really use some new businesses and restaurants a diner, a decent Chinese place and a Mom & Pop neighborhood Italian place would be a good start on the food front.....

And perhaps a gallery or two. And please, someone open a decent bar that serves food and shows games like Charlie's Trio or something comparable....

Anybody remember gangs that faded away over time like the Gambier Locos or MNC (midnight cruisers)?

Or that crazy fad in the 80's where groups of guys formed football teams and played against each other and they were named after metal bands or street names.......JP (judas priest) boys, Haven Boys, Maiden (Iron Maiden) Boys etc........??

I love El Sereno but the business corridor needs a serious face lift.

Oh, El Taquito is a stone cold has the greatest hidden lazy Saturday afternoon patio hangout.....grab some food and have some beers there and relax...........I remember when they first opened and it was a 1/4 of the size of what it is today. I think when they first opened the Alamo was still in business.

to P. Sanchez - Please update when/if you hear more info. on Antigua in the old Franco's Mechanic spot. Thanks.

— Billy
September 21, 2009 at 10 a.m.

To Alberto V. and anyone who's interested in the Antigua Coffee Shop. Don't quote me on this, but I heard that the owner of Antigua will be opening a coffee shop at the Cal State LA Credit Union that recently opened on Huntington Dr. and Pueblo.

— P. Sanchez
September 17, 2009 at 2:44 p.m.

I grew up in the housing tract that was Legion Ascot from 1946 until 1976 and would like to share a few memories. One activity I always enjoyed during the early 50's was watching the sheep herds that were brought in to control the vegetation on the hillsides in the spring time. As kids we use to hear the popping of gunshots that came from an LAPD pistol range that was located at the base of Ascot Reservoir, after it was closed off sometime in the late 50's the neighborhood kids would go and dig the slugs out of the impact area. There was an abandoned concrete building that overlooked Eastern Ave. where the 'new' Wilson High School is located. That building with its unfinished swimming pool served as a kind of playground for the adventurous kids of the neighborhood. We called it the 'White House' or the 'Castle', I never got a definitive answer about its origins from my parents. They would mutter something about a country club or golf course. Many the times I would ride my bike down Multnomah Drive, Indiana St. and Yellowstone Drive never realizing it was part of a world famous race track!

We attended All Saints catholic school and would take a bus to get there, sometimes though we would ride our bikes or even walk the whole distance. The hills were a kind of wild life preserve for us at that time. We would see hawks, meadow larks, trapdoor spiders, tarantulas, lizards, rabbits and one of the neighbors even saw a deer early one morning in the early 60s. A different neighbor taught us boys how to flush rabbits from the brush while he waited with his bow and arrows, great fun! Over the hill on Cyril street there used to be an open creek that we would visit to catch tadpoles and toads in the summertime.

I met a Dr. Newman in the mid 70s who was compiling a book about the history of El Sereno. He had a lot of interesting information about it but I don't know if he ever got the book published, perhaps his family could be contacted about whether it ever made it to print.

— Jay Schmittendorf
September 12, 2009 at 11:29 a.m.

I grew up in El Sereno and lived there up until my mid 20's. My grandparents purchased their first home in 1954. I really appreciate the posts on the history of El Sereno and would enjoy reading more. It is refreshing to know that residents are interested in discussing the hidden treasures and landmarks. Hopefully, a book or website can come out of this discussion. Like other local areas, El Sereno does have an important history. I have shed a few tears on the wonderful childhood memories. Although, there have been problems with drugs and gang activity, there are still positive aspects to the community.

Growing up in El Sereno in the 80's, I remember the Market Basket, the Capital Market and the Newland's Hardware store.

There seems to be a strong trend in Los Angeles to recognize its historical significance and restore historical homes and landmarks. I am hoping that there is more discussion on El Sereno and that a movement will occur to beautify the area. El Sereno is in a prime location and close to affluent areas. There is major potential for the area to be a prospective place to live if people are able to see the positive aspects in the community. With this, property values will go up and those long time home owners would benefit.

Sadly, my grandparents have passed and I am unable to ask them how it was when they moved in. So, I appreciate the posts.

I have a three year old and want to be able to show her the hope that her great-grandparents had when they moved into the area in 1954.

— Lisa
September 7, 2009 at 11:39 a.m.

I really wish our community would use spell check more often.

It is especially discouraging when elected officials (Mr. Manzano) fail to use this most efficient can we take someone seriously when they cannot even spell simple words such as barely, traveled, please, truly...maybe there is a problem with the "e" key on his computer??!!

Also, I agree with Edgar, El Sereno means night watchman...not everything translates "literally" in any language!

— Elsie
September 6, 2009 at 8:34 p.m.

Naybody know where I could find old vintage pictures of El Sereno? I would love to see old pics and remember the good ole days.

— Jesse
September 3, 2009 at 12:38 p.m.

I remember the Alamo..I grew up in El Sereno from late 70's to late 80's till I got married and moved. My mom and dad still live there on good ole Oakland St..remember going to Yo Mamma's pizza and getting paid .25 cents per pizza box made..the we would go across to the alamo and play video games..Still love going there and hanging out at my parents with my a kid loved to wake up early 4th of July and see the horses and bands in our block..Anyone remember when the Dodgers came to Big Savor Markets and signed autographs..Mota, Duncan, Revino, Stubbs..

— Jesse
September 2, 2009 at 2:01 p.m.

There is a prominent concrete structure on a hilltop on the west side of El sereno, which we used to refer to as the "White House." I first moved to El Sereno as a child, in 1942, and it was there at that time. Nobody was ever able to tell me who put it there or what is was for. Does anyone know?

— Chuck
August 31, 2009 at 12:31 p.m.

Anyone remember "Yol Mama's Pizza" on Huntington Drive at Portola Ave?

How about the Alamo Market on Huntington Drive?

— Midwest Bob
August 26, 2009 at 11:25 a.m.

i just read your comments on el sereno. my family lived there in the 60s to n'71 and it brought back some good memories, it actually brought a smile to my face. remembering the cameo, market basket, roscoes, leeds,etc,etc. unfortunately for me the last time i went to el sereno it left little to be desired. nevertheless the good memories live on

— patricia
August 26, 2009 at 8:24 a.m.

Im surprised to find el sereno on the map!.. It makes me glad to see people speaking of the place. It does hold its respective position amongst the other towns. its naturaly nice with its hills and naturally uggly because of the graffiti so common in all major cities. All of north east los angeles is beutiful and in your mind if you collect all the high school students with in it we recognize there is so much potential for these kids to succede.but how do you cultivate them when they are doing things they are not supposed to and when they grow up around ghetto tire shops;taggers hanging out probably on something and people who mind their own bussiness driving all fast and loud in our back streets not carring for nothing. aside from that the beuty of el serene is in the peaceful opportunity you have to live, with no real gang prescence, great hill top views and a great park to skate in or throw a baseball around, it even has a pool. the streets are ok and the filipino lady that works in the liquor store on el sereno and hunting ton is realy nice and so are the librarians further down hunting town. my little brother thinks its ghetto but i like it just as much as highland park where i grew up near occidental college and i like it better than eagle rock because its home. thank God for North East Los Angeles.

— alfred. L
August 25, 2009 at 10:27 p.m.

I grew up in El Sereno,My Mom & Dad moved here back in early 60's if i can remember.Grew up on Guardia Ave,Where ElSereno north park is now,Everyday there was something to do,play football,baseball or "hide & seek for those who remember,Like normal neighborhood's there was always something to do,never a dull moment growing up there,with all of your friends.Since I been back there a couple of years ago "El Sereno had changed over the years since i left,but never forgotten.My good times in Sereno going to house party's,friday football games at Wilson,,And just hanging out with friends something like I'll never forget.

— Arnold Johnson
August 25, 2009 at 8:17 p.m.

I lived in El Sereno, off and on, from 1942 to 1952. If I picked one memory above all others, it would be August 15, 1945, the day World War II ended: The air raid sirens sounded continuously and, with some trepidation, we turned on the radio to see what was going on -- there had been talk of a last minute effort by Japan in the form of bombing the west coast-- and learned that Japan had surrendered.

We went over to "the Drive" and saw the streets full of people hooping and hollering. Businesses along Eastern Avenue and Huntington Drive had closed and put previously prepared signs on their doors: "Closed -VJ Day."

People were using rolls of toilet paper as streamers, throwing them over the big red streetcars as they speeded down the middle of Huntington Drive blowing their air horns and trailing reams of toilet paper.

And then the tremendous realization that for the first time we could leave our window blinds open and our porch lights on as much as we liked.

— Charles Moffitt
August 24, 2009 at 2:34 p.m.

Everyone interested in participating in a Brain Storm unofficial concerned citizens meeting on the best approach to maintain and improve Ascot Hills is encouraged to meet at the main entrance parking lot of the property on Sunday September 20, 2009 at 5pm. Other proposals accepted. grunt11b00@hotmail

Your actions are your value.

— G. Alcaraz
August 19, 2009 at 12:39 p.m.

I've lived in El Sereno about nine years and there are many things I enjoy about it, such as its proximity to downtown, South Pasadena, Alhambra. I love that we have rolling hills, many nice people, several Mexican and Asian places to eat and Food 4 Less for shopping. The negatives about this area is that it seems to be a drop off area for ex-cons, that many of the youth here decide to be gang members generation after generation simply because there parents were or are. In regards to improving the neighborhood I think we should strive to bring inn the artsy fartsy crowd because this is a great place for them and they tend to make a neighborhood more chic and desirable. I also feel we should strive for more ethnic diversity and stop building multi-unit dwellings and build some higher end housing that will bring residents with more purchasing power. We should not be satisfied with the status quo because El Sereno has so much potential.

— Carlos
August 19, 2009 at 11:23 a.m.

Yes, I am also concerned about what's happening or more importantly not happening in Ascot Hills. Someone announce the neighborhood meetings around this issue.

— Albert
August 17, 2009 at 11:19 a.m.

I have a special interest in maintaining Ascot Hills as natural as possible, it is my back yard. It is important for El Sereno residents to maintain and improve this gift of nature for self mental sanity. It is a great place for a work out or an afternoon or early morning family walk.

Anyone else willing to join? lets meet and discuss the best approach to improve and preserve it.

— G. Alcaraz
August 17, 2009 at 10:37 a.m.

Hello everyone, I am young resident of El Sereno only 25. I experienced this strange Los Angeles community to only find it stranger. There are many mentally ill people that walk along Eastern avenue as well as many drug dealers near the middle school. This place couldn't be more random.

The main feature of El Sereno I would like to talk about is the large piece of property that is currently be taken care of by the LA department of water and power. This land is called Ascott hills. Half of this large chunk of land was recently turned into a park in 2006, and since then has recieved little to no attention. It was part of Villaraigosa's political achievements for the environment. This park is significant because it is home to some of the last California native plants and wildlife that reside with the city. The LADWP has destroyed much of native vegetation that grows along a NATURAL creek that runs through the center. They have mismanged it to the point where you can't barely recognize that there is anything even there. I want the residents of Los Angeles to know that there is a hidden jem of nature waiting to be rediscovered in those hills. They should be protected for future LA residents, especially for kids who never seen how LA should really look like. Some examples of animals found there are redtailed hawks, California towhees, aubudon's cottentail, coyotes, and ground squirrels. Also this hills are intensly disturbed from exotic species and in in need of native restoration. Currently no one cares about the state of Ascott hills except for me, Vincent Nieto.

Take back Ascott Hills from the DWP! Pressure city hall. We owe it to ourselves and nature!

— Vincent Nieto
August 15, 2009 at 10:50 a.m.

******* NO 710 FREEWAY TUNNEL *******

A 710 -Coalition Meeting will be held on

Saturday, August 29th at 10:30a.m. at 3750 N. Verdugo Road, Glassel Park CA 90065 (Glassel Park Community Center)

The community is concerned with the effects the proposed 710 freeway extension will have on the comunities of North-East Los Angeles- (El Sereno , Cypress Park, Mt Washington, Glasell Park, Montecito Heights, Lincoln Heights, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Eoch Park) and the adjacent cities- Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, South Pasadena, Pasadena

Visit for more information and upcoming events.

— Rafael
August 13, 2009 at 3:56 p.m.

I moved to El Sereno in 2003 and love it. It's a very friendly, tolerant, supportive community with neighbors who look out for each other.

— Ed
August 13, 2009 at 10:31 a.m.

I moved into El Sereno just over a year ago in May 2008. My wife and I are enjoying the proximity of the neighborhood to our jobs in downtown and Boyle Heights. Can't beat that awesome commute. We are enjoying a lot of the neighborhood businesses and take strolls around the neighborhood on occasion. We are disturbed by the acts of violence that have occured and when the occasional police chase rolls through the neighborhood with a helicopter and once it was even on the news! The 4th of July fireworks shows in the neighborhood numbered about twenty from our count and ran from about 8 p.m. to well past midnight. It's like the largest cache of fireworks I've ever seen in one neighborhood. All our neighbors are pleasant, hard-working, and usually private citizens who aren't above saying hello or chismiando a little. I miss the speed bumps that were taken out when they repaved the streets on Gambier and Bowman. Cars drive by way too fast there and there's a lot of kids that play on that street. Son of a Vet is one of our favorite stores. They've got some good stuff there though we tend to donate all our used items to Victory Outreach which does some noble work. I can go on. El Sereno obviously has its ups and downs. More ups than downs for us, with the exception of our home value, but who wasn't affected by that? Almost no one in L.A. Oh, and I miss, miss, miss Antigua Coffee Shop. I heard the lease was not renewed. Shame on them. It was a highlight of the neighborhood. Another cool coffee house, please or even better, bring them back!So long as they got King Torta operational and good recreational facilities for kids, I think I'll stick around a while.

— Alberto V.
August 13, 2009 at 12:23 a.m.

The Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel, a Spanish speaking church affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, has been doing ministry in El Sereno since 1926. This church has been part of El Sereno history for eighty three years. The church has been in its current location on Huntington Drive South, since 1954. Every Sunday many families from El Sereno attend the lively services at the church. Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel is a landmark of El Sereno.

— Ruben
August 11, 2009 at 2:42 p.m.

Hey, my mistake...there is no Santa Fe railroad museum! I had'nt been in there in is actually the Sierra Pacific Lines - Pasadena Model Railroad Club....located in the Aurant area of El Sereno!

Go to for more info.

El Sereno means "The Nightwatchmen." It ain't El Sewer-no either Mr. Manzano.

Thanks to Jimmy 'D' by the way for posting that link...I took the old route and had a blast!

— Edgar
July 23, 2009 at 9:40 p.m.

Remembering the 4th of July parades, Mayor Tom Bradley as Grand Marshall, Councilman Art Snyder from the 14th district, The musical groups War, Tierra, Malo Playing at the Carnival at El Sereno Park. The final concert at The Cameo Theatre with Armored Saint as one of the Artists who performed.

July 1, 2009 at 6:44 a.m.


Technically not in Lincoln Heights, Rosehill, or El Sereno. However, it should be noted for its proximity and historical importance.

Opened 1924 and closed in 1936.

See Aerial pictures from or at this Source:

The racetrack was located along Soto Street from Valley Blvd. to Multnomah St. The five-eighths mile Ascot Speedway began life as the New Ascot Speedway on January 20, 1924. The banked oval that was originally dirt but constant applications of road oil soon produced a surface that was similar to pavement. The cars that raced at Ascot throughout the years were the ancestors of what we today call "sprint cars".

In 1928 the Glendale American Legion Post took over the promotion and brought in the cars and drivers of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The AAA was the leading racing organization in the country and controlled all the major speedways including Indianapolis. The hard working Legionnaires did an excellent job of race promotion and soon crowds of 10,000 and more were flocking to races held on Sundays in the winter and under the lights on Wednesday nights.

During the days drivers would travel around on what is now known as South Huntington Drive and go over the hill at Gambier, right at Eastern Ave left on Lynnfield to Chadwick Circle and race in circles, same with La Calandria Drive at Lombardy.

The big crowds brought big purses and torrid competition, so the drivers were daring and attracted the best drivers in the country and Legion Ascot was creating its own stars. Men like Bill Cummings, Al Gordon, Ernie Triplett, Kelly Petillo, Wilbur Shaw and Rex Mays tangled in hard fought and crowd pleasing races.

Winning a feature race at Legion Ascot could pay up to $800---a figure that would come close to buying a house in Los Angeles in the 1920s and '30s.

Legion Ascot, was popular for top movie celebrities to have their pictures taken with their favorite racing heroes. Movie stars rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous and

served in honorary capacities.....they sought the honor.

The speed and competition came with a price. From 1924 to 1936 some two dozen drivers lost their lives in spectacular crashes. The death toll was one reason the Glendale American Legion bowed out of race promotion in early 1935---the other reason was that the emergence of midget auto racing that was cutting into the crowds at Ascot.

The track became Ascot Motor Speedway and racing continued. On January 25, 1936 the final tragedy struck during a race for two man Indianapolis cars as Al Gordon and riding mechanic Spider Matlock were both killed in a crash. This ended racing at Ascot.

Eight months later the grandstands of the abandoned speedway burned down. Ascot was gone 1936.

— Jimmy "D' DiChirico
June 27, 2009 at midnight

It is GREAT to read about those neighbors that remember Market Basket or the Cameo Theater which I remember as well. Pease disregard what the Times has put together as it is not truelly reflective of where we live. I am a well recognized community member and Neighborhood Council Representative. If you are not aware of LA-32 Neighborhood Council, please stop by our next meeting on the first Wednesday of every Month @ 6:00pm at the El Sereno Senior Citizen Center.

As a matter of fact I have performed and been Honored in the 4th of July parade which will host it's 50th year anniversary in a couple of weeks.

University Hills IS NOT in El Sereno. Hillside Village IS NOT in El Sereno. I live in Rose Hills, and IT IS ALSO NOT in El Sereno. The true name in English, translates to...... 'the Serene Place'.

I have traced the archives extremly well and have asked the Times to reach me for clarification, which they have not. Archives indicate that this entire area dating back to 1769 was all called... 'Rancho Rosa de Castillo' - Rose of Castile Ranch', later called Rose Hills.

For research purposes and for those that have interest in history reach me or visit the Library. Huntington Drive used to have a train running down the center of the corridor, before that it was a dirt road traveld mostly by horses called Roses Road.

El Sereno got it's name shortly after annexation to the City of Los Angeles on June 10, 1915. Check out the records. I wish the Times did actual research rather than just guess at it's home work. They barelly get a passing grade of "D" for the work presented so far.

I am capable of remarking in such a fashion because I am an Elected Official on the Neighborhood Council and I have done my home work.

Rose Hills Review,

Anthony Manzano

June 24, 2009 at 7:40 a.m.

I grew up in El Sereno in the 1960s and 1970s. It was like living in a small town. At that time, there was one coffee shop, Hy's Coffee Shop on the corner of Huntington Drive and Eastern Avenue. There were two supermarkets, Shop Wise and Market Basket. We had one movie theater called El Cameo. The American Legion on Eastern Avenue was very prominent in the community. There were two dry cleaners, Sloan's and BB Cleaners. There was a five and dime store where my mom bought me toys. Besh's Department Store was the place where everyone bought their Levi's. The best part of living in this community was the 4th of July parade that started on Eastern Avenue, turned onto Huntington Drive, and ended at Shop Wise Market. El Sereno Parks and Recreation had baseball every summer for the kids. Pop Warner football was also offered for the kids. My brothers played baseball and football and I was a cheerleader. It was a good place to live at that time. Everyone knew everyone.

— L. Chavez
June 19, 2009 at 12:52 p.m.

Whats the deal with Aurant? How did they get their name? Their on the map, but I have not found the street sign for it as University Hills and Hillside Village do (whom for some people are their very own small neighborhoods apart from El sereno). Ironically, these two neighborhood are not on the map.

You can tell were Aurant might begin down Alhambra Ave. with the cool looking old green street lamps. Why dont they give them a more visible sign already?! Its looks like an old neighborhood wedged at the very edge a city's official limits.

And, as for hidden treasures, there is a Santa Fe railroad musuem that has an impressive large room-sized model train/miniature town display in this section.

Also, Ive seen another street sign for a small neighborhood in the hills right across from Happy Valley. Its exact name escapes me, but its something like "Olympus Heights" or "Olympian Heights".

Anybody got any info on this?

El Sereno literally means "The Nightwatchmen" in English. It also used to be the mascot and logo of El Sereno Middle School. Why they changed it I dont know.

— Edgar
June 15, 2009 at 6:06 p.m.

El Sereno aka South Pasadena adjacent!

— Alan
June 3, 2009 at 2:57 p.m.

El Sereno

is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the Eastside region of Los Angeles County. It contains Hillside Village and University Hills.
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El Sereno is one of the 272 neighborhoods in Mapping L.A., The Times’ resource for crime, neighborhoods, demographics and schools.
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