A grand Highland Park entrance to undergo a welcomed restoration

Photo by Martha Benedict

By Nicole Possert

“El Alisal,” the former home of noted author and editor Charles Fletcher Lummis, was built by hand a century ago along the banks of the Arroyo Seco in Highland Park. Visitors are greeted by a front door of wood timbers and iron hardware that makes an impressive first-impression to El Alisal, also known as the Lummis Home and Gardens.  That one-of-a-kind door is the focus of a critical historic preservation project intended to meticulously preserve the imposing front entryway to Lummis’ home.

The doors were handcrafted from yellow pine and red birch timbers and include wrought iron hardware with pre-incan motifs and a decorative “CL” monogram designed by artist Maynard Dixon.  A $10,500 project spearheaded  by the Historical Society of Southern California, which is headquartered at El Alisal, will support the cleaning of all wood and metal surfaces and hardware, as well treating rotted and deteriorated areas

The Historical Society of Southern California embarked upon the “El Alisal Front Door Preservation Project” as a result of the generous grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Los Angeles County Preservation Fund, with local matching funds raised in partnership with HSSC, Highland Park Heritage Trust, Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council and Arroyo Arts Collective.

An education video documenting the work will also be produced as part of the project (I am a writer on the  project team). Owned by the City of Los Angeles, El Alisal has been the headquarters of the Historical Society of Southern California for over 50 years.

“These funds encourage organizations and communities in the greater Los Angeles area to take creative action to preserve the buildings, landscapes and places they treasure,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a press release.

Nicole Possert is a contributor writing about home and history. Questions or ideas? just email her at hello@theEastsiderLA.com


  1. This is great news. El Alisal is such a cultural treasure and certainly deserves this preservation effort. I filmed the home of Charles Lummis for a film that I produced, Maynard Dixon Art and Spirit, narrated by Diane Keaton. I regret that I couldn’t have included more of the rich history of Lummis and this home where he hosted some of the most interesting characters ever to visit the Arroyo. Hopefully someday, I will be able to produce a film about Lummis and include footage of this timely restoration.

  2. Who’s doing the work?

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