Sunday in the dungeon with Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne shares stories about his Highland Park family home during a stop in the dungeon. /Photo by Martha Benedict

Severin (left) and Jackson Browne/Martha Benedict

From a bell tower and chapel to a pipe organ and a dungeon-like basement, the nearly century old Abbey San Encino, a Highland Park landmark clad in Arroyo Stone, is filled with surprises. But, for a group of visitors touring the home today, the Abbey San Encino’s architectural and historic treasures were upstaged by an unexpected tour guide: rock legend Jackson Browne, who grew up in the home built by his grandfather.  Browne stopped by to visit his brother, Severin Browne, at the family homestead while it was open for tours and a fundraiser for the Highland Park Heritage Trust. Martha Benedict, who was on the grounds to photograph the event, described how some tour goers ended up with a celebrity docent accompanying them into the stone and brick basement dubbed the “dungeon”:

He fell into the tour in the chapel area where Severin was already helping the docent with details. He just followed us down to the dungeon, which was the end of tour. He was telling family stories and things he knew about the construction.

What exactly happened in that dungeon?  Maybe Jackson Browne will drop by the next tour share the details.


  1. Small typographical error. …stopped by to visit “is” brother…

  2. So did anyone find out what was up with the Pagoda House? Just curious.

  3. I know what happened in the dungeon.

  4. did’nt know jackson browne was from highland park. awesome.

  5. Not hating on Mr. Browne here, but Jackson Browne went to Fullerton High School in the OC. His “growing up” in HP probably consisted of spending time with his grandparents.

    • He lived there until he was 13. He wrote about the house in a great song. Also, he refers to a meeting with Bob Dylan and how he came to be a songwriter.

      Here is the link..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACoW7KtsG3k

    • Kathie Delahanty Henry

      NO NO NO!!! Jackson went to Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, CA. NOT Fullerton High School in Fullerton, CA! I went to 8th grade with Jackson thru high school. I believe he moved to Orange County just before 8th grade started. He attended Wilshire Junior High School. Sadly, Wilshire is no longer functioning as a junior high school. It is however, part of Fullerton College.

  6. I know this is a bit off-topic, but I wanted to share an interesting version of Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes” – recorded by another Jackson:


  7. Jackson spent much of his childhood living with his family at the Abbey in Highland Park until he was around 12 or 13 when he and his family moved to OC.

  8. He wrote “Running On Empty” about his time in Highkand Park,

  9. Browne is an old douche singer from the late 70s. Washed up hippie who sang of depressing topics. Typical happy idiot who drank the Kool Aid of the drug era. Too bad he wasted such talent on banal tunes about Pretenders, Those Who Have No Eyes and Staying with The Roadies. And now as his life wastes along life’s highway, he move closer to the Day that the Father will say to him “Depart, I never knew you.” Tragic.

    • Thankfully, there are people like Jackson Browne (still) among us with creative spark. Though they can sound depressing to those of limited imagination who need to let others do their thinking for them, theirs is one of hope, overcoming adversity, and redemption.

  10. The Pretender ,7th and Broadway, Downtown, LA.

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