Echo Park Lake Boathouse to lose its bronzed look

The $1.3 million renovation of the Echo Park Lake Boathouse that was completed  early last year  included new plumbing and electrical systems,  the installation of a new red-tiled roof and repairs and restoration of old wood doors and windows. Even the top of the lighthouse got new copper collar. But perhaps the most striking change to the boathouse was a new paint color:  a bold, dark shade of  what looks like either bronze or cinnamon.  But it turns out that color is not historically accurate, so a paint job has been ordered for the neighborhood landmark.

The boathouse and the entire lake have been designated as a city historic landmark in part to help preserve the most notable historic features  Old photos of the boathouse, which was constructed in 1933,  show a white or cream colored building. In the years before the renovation took place, the small building had been painted shades of beige.  Now, the city is preparing to paint the boathouse “Navajo White”  under a  motion sponsored by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. Says the motion:

The boathouse must now be restored to it historically correct color, “Navajo White,” as approved by the Cultural Heritage Commission and the Office of Historic Resources.

The change of color, which will cost $47,000 in addition to other maintenance, was approved by the City Council earlier this week.


  1. 1.3 million for a structure that must be around 500′ ?? $47000 for a paint job? Since 90% of painting a structure is in the repairs and preparation for paint… Maximum should be around $5000.. 1/2 that would even be reasonable.

  2. Seems like a bit of a waste… $47,000 for paint? I guess the “other maintenance” must be most of the cost.

  3. I’ve painted professionally and unprofessionally for many many years, and I’ve never seen a building of this size cost anywhere near $47,000. Truly wish I was hired for the job, but then I would feel guilty stealing the cities money.

  4. That $47,000 better include 50 years of upkeep. Still, glad to see this.

  5. $47,000 for a paint job? what a joke.

  6. This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. The approx. $40k difference between what the city is paying and what it should pay comes right out of our pockets in sales taxes, etc.

  7. Why is it important that the boathouse be a “historically correct” color? Should we also insist that the plastic paddleboats be restored to “historically correct” 1920’s style? (I admit, that might make them even more amusing.) Should we require that all visitors to the park dress in “historically correct” clothing?

  8. Historically accurate to the 1930s or 30 years ago, because nothing says “It came from The 1980s” like Navajo White when everything and its bathroom was painted in that specific shade of blandness as if it was something unique.

  9. While they have their ladders out, I hope they will replace the missing piece of copper molding from the east side of the lighthouse’s peak.

  10. $47,000.00 paint job! nothing says los angels corruption and nepotism like painting a shack for $47,000.
    Seriously who’s cousins sisters uncles son that sits on the city thieves/council got the job to paint the boat shack?

  11. The level of corruption is actually historically accurate in this deal at least!

  12. we should do a secret guerrilla paint job at night so then the city wouldnt have to pay that ridiculous price tag bc we’d have already painted it. anyone interested?

    • That would be considered Felony Vandalism. Penalties for vandalism in this case may include a jail sentence of between one (1) and three (3) years…and/or a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or even more if the damage is very extensive.

  13. Some of that money should at been allocated in removing graffiti in South LA, take the blue line and you will know what I am talking about.. Nonetheless I do like how they bringing back Echo Park.

  14. As the Eastsider LA reader who did the difficult and time-consuming research work necessary to disprove Project manager Ohaji K. Abdalla of the Bureau of Engineering’s incorrect claim that there was no way of knowing the correct historic color of the boathouse–in other words, spent ten minutes on YouTube looking for a vintage film clip, which I then posted to the March 2012 post on the topic–I think this is fantastic news. How refreshing to see such an ugly mistake rectified rather than simply lived with.

    Link including film clip is below

    • Thanks for that clip, but newsreel footage from the 1940’s doesn’t prove that it was originally painted white. It just proves that it was painted white in the 1940’s. Judging from the vintage postcards that I have of Echo Park Lake, very little of the “original park” is left, even the bridge is a different style from the original one. I’m glad that the boat house is still there, no matter what color they paint it.

  15. Ha! $47,000 for a paint job! Im a licensed painting contractor and
    I’ll do that job for a lot less then that! And since when is Navajo White historically accurate? What a crock.

  16. What else can be done about the price tag other than filling up the comments? Is there “receipt” transparency so residents can see the invoice?

  17. I was truly bothered by the new color, offended even. I’m even more offended by $47, 000 to repaint it. That is insane!!! It’s an outrage! Someone is probably getting kickbacks or else the people managing the project are not very smart, sorry. I don’t appreciate my tax money being spent like that. I think we should put up a stink about this.

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