History Corner

April 2, 2019

Volume 1; Issue 2; April 2nd, 2019

 

El Sereno is a wonderful and unique town located in north eastern Los Angeles. To most people it is just a small town but little do they know that this town’s past is as unique as its present.

 

Did you know El Sereno once had a race way during the 1920’s and 1930’s ? Formally, the raceway was known as the Legion Ascot Speedway, located along Soto St., Valley Blvd., and Multnomah St. The raceway drew massive crowds during its peak years with legendary racers racing on the track. Around twenty-four people were killed in motor related accidents on the track between 1924 and 1936. The race track closed down on January 25, 1936, after a race track accident left two people killed. Eight months after the raceway was abandoned, an unknown person or persons burned down the race track.

 

Legion Ascot Speedway, Thanksgiving Day 1924                

 

Full Day at Legion Ascot Speedway, 1935

 

Did you know Huntington Drive was once laid with train tracks rather than asphalt? That's right, Huntington drive back in the 1930s to 1940s was where trains once stood . Originally the Pacific Electric Railway once ran through Huntington Drive. Specifically the Sierra Vista line ran through present day Huntington Drive. Some 11,000 commuters took these train from Pasadena to Downtown Los Angeles on a weekly basis. Ever wonder why there are offshoots on the side of Huntington Drive? Those were the original course cars drove around the train tracks. As cars became ubiquitous, the railway began to lose popularity and on September 30, 1951, the railway was abandoned and years later the removal of the railway began to craft what is now known as Huntington Drive.

 

Two photos looking toward Eastern Ave and Huntington Drive.

 

Did you also know El Sereno had a military academy? Police academy and ROTCA aren’t the only academies in El Sereno. In the early 1910’s to 1920’s, a military academy was located at 4800 Huntington Drive. The military academy was well known in Los Angeles for its help to disciple the youth. Little is known about how the academy operated but one would think it functioned much like today’s police academy. The owners were community activists and loved the area so much that he helped change the town’s name to El Sereno when Los Angeles took  the town for its own. Did you know El Sereno wasn't originally called El Sereno ? Stay tuned for the next issue to find out its original name.

 

El Sereno Military Academy, Circa 1915

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Photography provided by:

Michael Sheu

4500 Multnomah Street

Los Angeles, CA 90032

Tel: 323-276-1600

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