Conditions Governing Use
Conditions Governing Access
Scope and Content
Title: Silver Lake Neighborhood Council History Collective/Bob Herzog Memorial Archives
Collection number: 0393
USC Libraries Special Collections
Language of Material:
1.0 linear ft.
Date (inclusive): 2005-2011
The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council History Collective was founded in 2005 by community activist Bea Gold. Its mission is
to preserve the oral histories of long-term residents, business owners, artists and other interesting residents of Silver
Lake and nearby communities to create an archive of the unique history of the neighborhood for future generations. By the
beginning of 2012, the committee had done over fifty video interviews involving more than seventy people. The breadth of the
interviews is extraordinary. They include memories from the great-grandchild of a slave, a Japanese-American doctor who was
interned at the Santa Anita racetrack during World War II as well as many people who have lived all their lives in Silver
Language of Materials:
English (with some interviews in Spanish)
Herzog, Robert, 1940-2011
Silver Lake Neighborhood Council History Collective.
[Box/folder# or item name], Silver Lake Neighborhood Council History Collective/Bob Herzog Memorial Archives, Collection no.
0393, Regional History Collection, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
The collection was acquired from Robert Herzog and Michael Masterson on behalf of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Board
Conditions Governing Use
All requests for permission to publish or quote from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Conditions Governing Access
Advance notice required for access.
The DVDs of taped interviews are arranged in chronological order, but listed alphabetically by interviewee in the finding
Scope and Content
The archive documents the oral histories of long-term residents, business owners, artists and other interesting residents
of Silver Lake and nearby communities. It includes over fifty video interviews involving more than seventy people including
memories from the great-grandchild of a slave, a Japanese-American doctor who was interned at the Santa Anita racetrack during
World War II as well as many people who have lived all their lives in Silver Lake. The History Collective continues its work
as of this date in 2012, interviewing 6-8 subjects each year. Those videos will continue to be sent to USC to further expand
The Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, California is located northeast of downtown, in an area once known variously
as Edendale and Ivanhoe, a beautiful landscape of hills and glens southwest of the Los Angeles River. The region became known
more popularly as Silver Lake, after a central reservoir was implemented by City Water Commissioner Herman Silver in 1907.
The reservoir itself, designed by William Mulholland, enhanced the area and reflected the aspect of the surrounding hills
north of the city's original 28-square-mile land grant, creating a desirable setting for residential construction despite
the difficulty of the terrain. There are actually two reservoirs contiguous to each other in the system, the more northern
one retaining the former developer's name of Ivanhoe. Many streets (Rowena, Angus, Elsinore, Kenilworth, etc.) have Scottish-inspired
names from this period.
By 1904, the Pacific Electric Railway was in operation in the area and the right-of-way that is now the terminus of the Glendale
Freeway permitted transportation to the hills, where many small cottages were built on step streets in the early years of
the century. Glendale Boulevard, finished in 1915 and connecting Los Angeles and Glendale by a bridge across the river, further
encouraged building in Silver Lake. Several film studios were sited to take advantage of the year-round sunshine and undeveloped
vistas between Echo Park Lake and the Los Angeles River.
One of the first was Selig Studios in 1909, located just south of what is now the 2 freeway terminus; it was followed in 1912
by Mack Sennett's on Sunset and in 1916 by Tom Mix's Mixville, 12 acres of stables, western sets, and sylvan landscape at
the corner of Glendale and Silver Lake Boulevard. Mabel Normand also had a sound stage (now named for Mack Sennett) on Hyperion
across from Thomas Starr King Middle School. These were used in the production of many films that helped to launch the careers
of Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Gloria Swanson, Antonio Moreno, the Keystone Kops, and other silent stars. The Walt Disney
Studios on Hyperion grew from a tiny garage on Kingswell Street and expanded to occupy the site of the current Gelson's shopping
center. The Mixville blocks would remain the major commercial area of the eastern side of Silver Lake, with markets, shops,
small factories, and even a trailer court in the sites now occupied by banks, condominiums, shopping centers, and, most recently,
the Silver Lake Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.
The majority of the neighborhood's streets were laid out in the 1920s, following the contours of the hills. The subsequent
development of individual lots resulted in a great variety of architectural styles and modernist experimentation. Private
homes and apartment complexes by Rudolph Schindler, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Gregory Ain, Harwell Hamilton Harris, Raphael
Soriano, Allyn Morris, and other modern innovators are well represented. Many architects such as Lautner, Neutra, Morris,
and Eugene Kinn Choy designed and built their own homes in the area. There are also numerous representatives of Tudoresque,
Chateauesque, Mission Revival, Italianate, Streamline Moderne, and other eclectic styles.
Culturally, Silver Lake has always had a reputation for being home to artists, musicians, writers, and other creative people,
unique in its acceptance of a racially and ideologically diverse as well as politically progressive population. Innovators
and celebrities such as Anais Nin, Raymond Chandler, and Woody Guthrie, at one time resided here, as well as such current
notables as Jorja Fox, Katy Perry, Giovanni Ribisi, Daniel Lanois and author Janet Fitch. Harry Hay's Mattachine Society and
the Black Cat Bar, thought to be originating points of the gay rights movement in Los Angeles, were also located in the neighborhood.
In October 2011, the SLNC History Collective transferred all interviews to date to the USC Libraries Special Collections so
that they would be made available to interested researchers and scholars in perpetuity. Longtime committee co-chair Bob Herzog,
a USC graduate, worked tirelessly to make this a reality. After Bob’s untimely passing the next month, the History Collective
asked that the archive be renamed in his honor. Bob Herzog was also given, posthumously, the SLNC History Collective Award
that honors people and/or organizations that have made substantial contributions to our community either through history preservation
or significant community involvement.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Gold, Bea -- Archives
Herzog, Robert, 1940-2011 -- Archives
Masterson, Michael -- Archives
Silver Lake Neighborhood Council History Collective. -- Archives
Oral histories (document genres)
Silver Lake (Los Angeles, Calif.)--History--Archival resources