Noise is a constant companion to anyone who lives in Echo Park, whether it’s the barking dog down the hill, the police helicopter overhead or the teenager beating drums next door. Down by Echo Park Lake, however, some sounds that many would welcome – solemn church bells and soulful horns – are taking a toll on a few residents. One woman named Stacy who lives on the west side of the lake contacted The Eastsider last week to complain about the “horn blower,” a man who plays his horn, some say it is a trombone, to no one in particular while standing by the lake near Glendale Boulevard. Last year, Stacy said someone event posted flyers around the lake and on nearby Clinton Avenue asking how residents could get rid of the noisy nuisance. No action was taken and now Stacy wants some relief:
I‘m all for freedom of expression, but after a few years of his “neh, neh, neh, neh, neeeeeh, neh” over and over and over again, I’m looking to make it stop, or at least not start up at 7:30 a.m. I’m sure I’m not the only person that would love for this racket to stop.
But another nearby lake resident said the toots of the horn blower are not nearly as annoying as the bells tones from the Cathedral Center of Saint Paul, also known as St. Athanasius, the Episcopal church that has been located for more than a century on the east side of the lake. The bell sounds created by the church carillon seems to have become more frequent and they are never on time to boot, said the long-term Echo Park resident. Last week, the bells had become so bothersome that the bell-weary resident fired off an email to the church:
I live across the lake from the Church and now that the weather is warmer I have my windows open more, so I hear your bells loud and clear. As of this morning it appears that the bell schedule is seven minutes ahead of the correct time – in other words the hourly bell is sounding at seven minutes before the hour. The bells have also been sounding every fifteen minutes (is this really necessary?) since 8:08 this morning, and they too are seven minutes ahead of time. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
The email complaining about the noisy bells met with silence from the church. But The Eastsider had better luck getting a response. “No. They are not ringing louder, and, no, they are not ringing any more frequently,” said church spokesman Bob Williams, who works at the church, which shares the building with Episcopal Dioceses of Los Angeles.
Williams said the carillon at St. Athanasius – Los Angeles’ oldest Episcopalian congregation, founded in 1864 – has been operating since the new church buildings were constructed in the early 1990s. He assumes that bells tolled long before in the old church, which was demolished to make way for the new facility at Echo Park and Laguna avenues. The carillon’s daily repertoire includes “The Angelus,” when the bell strikes nine times in a centuries-old call to prayer. Williams said he would check to see if the carillon is sounding bells at the proper time.
Another Echo Park resident, Gloria Sohacki, who lives on Laguna Avenue near the church also said the church bells are not on time and do ring about every fifteen minutes at times. She, however, does not find it annoying:
I believe it is on a timer and I think it is set a little ahead of time. When I am home and paying attention when I hear the bells I always look at the clock and it seems to be ahead of time by about 10 minutes. Probably no one paid attention as it blended in with all the noise around the lake. I find it comforting. Reminds me of my childhood.