To truly experience the essence of the Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway, it's important to discover a truly historic movement that significantly influenced its culture. The Arroyo Seco was the center for the Arts and Crafts movement on the West Coast. The movement started in the United Kingdom between the late 1850s and early 1860s and is characterized by a disregard for industrialization, with followers of the movement building their own houses out of as many natural materials as possible and handcrafting as much of their environment as possible.
By the late 1890s, the movement had worked its way over to America, having significant influence on the Arroyo culture throughout the first two decades of the 20th century. The movement gave rise to thriving enterprises, including furniture design and manufacturing, home plans and kits, ceramics, glasswork, metalwork, and textiles. You will see evidence of the movement's influence in the architecture of many of the structures along the byway. Bungalows along the byway are built of all natural materials and feature wide porches and long roof overhangs. Many of the area buildings feature native Arroyo cobblestone trim, collected from the river of the valley.
The Arroyo Seco Parkway Scenic Byway, in addition to the many private homes and businesses reflecting the Arts and Crafts movement, contains a number of museums, parks, and other sites devoted to or reflecting the movement. Visit the Lummis House and Gardens, once home to Charles Lummis, recognized as the father of the Arroyo culture. The home offers tours and educational workshops on the Arts and Crafts movement. Next, visit the Gamble House, located in Pasadena, an internationally recognized landmark of the California Craftsman style of architecture related to the movement. A real treat for visitors is the Highland Park Historic District. Comprised of buildings from the first two decades of the 20th century, the Historic District is the largest in Los Angeles. Also be sure to visit the Oaklawn Waiting Station, another product of the movement which features enormous boulders of native arroyo rock, a hallmark of regional Craftsman design.
- Public domain. Photo by Diane Kane of Caltrans
- Copyright © May 21, 2010 waltarrrr.