Anybody want a century-old Echo Park Lake wagon wheel?

Photos from Greenwood & Associates

They found no bodies when Echo Park Lake was drained for an $85 million clean up. What did turn up were shopping carts, skateboards and parts of an approximately 100-year-old wooden wagon wheel and axle, which might have been part of a wagon used during the construction of the lake or for other neighborhood purposes.  Some residents have been asking what the city was going to do with the wagon wheel and assembly, which even attracted the attention of L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez. Would it become part of a historical display at the lake? Nope. It turns out the city wants to get rid of the relic.

But so far there have been no takers and the old wagon wheel might be carted off to a dump.

The muddy wood wheel and axle and corroded metal tires, now stored in a building at Echo Park Lake, have been offered to a numerous groups “that might be interested in its acquisition and display”  after the city officials  showed “no intention of keeping”  the pieces, according to an email sent out by archaeologist Michael Kay with Greenwood and Associates, a history and archeology consultant working on the lake project. Said the email:

We are inquiring whether your organization may have any use for the remains of the wagon axle assembly. At this point, the remains are corroded and show their age.  However, organizations such as yours may find them to be of value as an ornamental or educational feature that reflects the early history of Echo Park and surrounding Los Angeles communities, and with the encouragement of the City, we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to preserve and display the assembly.

“It’s up for grabs,” Kay said in an interview today. ” No one has expressed interest.”

The city wants the wheel and axle of the property by the end of the week. Any takers would have to arrange for picking up and transporting the wheel, which won’t be easy. “It’s a huge assembly,” said Kay, who authored a report on the wheel. “It’s very heavy.”

There is nothing unique or valuable about  axle, wheels and tires in themselves but they would help tell the story about the lake and Echo Park.  ” In the context of the development of Echo Park Lake and the lake, I think it’s significant.”

If you are interested in the wheel and axle,  Kay asks that you leave your name and contact info in the comments section.


  1. I’ll take it and put it in my back yard in a heartbeat. But it sounds like they’d prefer for it to be in a public space.

  2. I think it’s terrible the city wants to get rid of it! it can so easily be apart of some display! They need to stop being lazy and preserve our cities history! There is a short book called the history of Los Angeles (found it on my kindle) so interesting and that wagon wheel was probably around that time. the city needs to make more of an effort to see if any local museums want it, or take it to La Placita Alvera that would help tell the story of the history of our city. And geez if i didnt live in an apartment i would take the thing!!!

  3. Hi all —

    The Echo Park Historical Society is making arrangements to preserve the wagon wheel until we can find a way to suitably display it in the park, or somewhere else. Hopefully our local politicians, CD13 and the Neighborhood Council will work with us to arrange the display.

    Anyone who has any thoughts on how to best display the wagon wheel, please post them here in the comments.


    Rory Mitchell
    Echo Park Historical Society

    • Rory, has the Heritage Square, near the Lummis House, been approached about
      displaying the wheel.
      Best, Susan

    • Silver Lake resident

      The Natural History Museum is opening a “History of LA” exhibit this summer. Perhaps they will take it??

  4. That is great to hear!

  5. I am just a local in love with preserving our city and representing what we once were. I think it should be displayed at the park somewhere and in a way to keep it from weathering anymore than it already has the last 100 years. but I think it would be beautiful in a garden surrounded by flowers. and if someone could make some artwork out of the metal wheels as like a hanging backdrop that would look awesome!! good luck I cant wait to see it displayed!

  6. Uh , no thanks , it does not fit my mid century modern , faux eames , shag rug , hanging bubble lamp, danish emsemble dining room set, look .

  7. Possibly Heritage Square would be an appropriate place to display the remains of
    the wheel?

  8. I think we should hang in phone lines over the intersection on Sunset and Alvarado. Kind of like an old pair of shoes but much more historical. And then….

  9. Think of all the disappointed Hipturds that could have used it for some form of ironic transportation.

  10. Or maybe the window dresser of Out of the Closet could build a display around it? just kidding … very cool that it will be saved.

  11. I don’t believe that to be some kind of lake history. Reason I say that, as I recall the lake was drained back in 88 and cleaned up. I even played on the dirt that was their to refill the lake. I just think that this is old from history but not from the lake history.

    • your conscience @ ep

      I think it is possible that this wheel wasn’t uncovered during the lakes clean up in the 80’s… Those clean up weren’t as extensive as this one, and also not as deep. Just saying though! Maybe my grand pappi threw in there…

    • Yes I dont believe they dug deep enough back then.

  12. Agree, the lake wasn’t dredged as deeply in prev cleanup, something Lopez indicated in his article. Am glad the wheel will be ‘given away,’ as it will have another life now and hopefully under wing of historical-minded.

    I will now claim credit — I saw wheel/axel from street, climbed fence and took pics. I then alerted Lopez. Rest is (preserved) history. Keeping the old model boat I found.

  13. I would like to take it if no one else wants it!

  14. I WANT IT!!! I live above the lake with an amazing view of the entire lake and park. I would LOVE to have it as display in my backyard! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!

  15. I have not stopped thinking about this. I am a history and culture fanatic. I would LOVE to honor this piece of LA history. I have a great house on the East hill above the lake (Angelino Heights side). I would have to check dimensions, but I think I have a perfect place in my front yard; from here, everyone could see the piece, even from Glendale Blvd as they drive by. It would be a perfect way to honor LA’s history, and the history of Echo Park. People could see it from the lake and the park.

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