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Thanks to a cooperative partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, City Council District 13, and the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy, we’ve achieved a major benefit for the community — bike racks and benches on the Meadow. The five benches and three bike racks were installed this week, just in time for the Labor Day Weekend. These benches join the three along the Tesla path that were placed through our relationship with the Department of Water & Power. So, now you have somewhere to sit after parking your bike! They are already popular.
These two photos show the Silver Lake Reservoir from the same angle, on a ridge just south of the dam and recreation center. The top one is from 1941, the bottom one from today. Both photos were part of a piece that ran on the popular BuzzFeed blog this week, “Silver Lake: Then Vs. Now.” Here’s the link:
Silver Lake was named the second best urban neighborhood in America (after Park Slope in Brooklyn), and the lede paragraph in the story says it all:
Pros: Want a snapshot of Silver Lake? Try the two-mile jogging path that surrounds the area’s reservoirs, where you’ll spot people of all ages and ethnicities walking dogs, working out, and pushing strollers.
Here’s the link to the article:
Ever wonder how Silver Lake — the Reservoir and the community — got its name? It is NOT because the shimmering waters of the Reservoir reminded some early denizen of that precious metal. Silver Lake is named after a guy named Herman Silver, a German Jewish immigrant who rose to prominence in Los Angeles to become the President of the Los Angeles City Council in 1896 (at a time when Jewish politicians were very rare) and President of the Los Angeles Water Commission (the precursor to the DWP) in 1902. He studied to be a rabbi, but immigrated to the US just before the Civil War, and eventually made his way west to California by 1887. That’s his picture above.
The source of Ivanhoe Reservoir’s eponym is a bit more literary (Ivanhoe is the smaller reservoir adjacent to Silver Lake on the north, the one filled with the black bird balls temporarily). The area was named by Scottish explorer Hugo Reid in the mid-19th Century, when LA was a small village nestled in wild country, long before there was a Reservoir here, who thought the then-unsettled terrain reminded him of the setting of Sir Walter Scott’s classic story “Ivanhoe.”
The Silver Lake community was called Ivanhoe before the construction and dedication of the Reservoir in Herman Silver’s name in the early 20th Century; then it was renamed. All this information comes thanks to local realtor and community activist Michael Locke; here are a couple of links to both Silver’s and Reid’s stories:
DWP project engineer Ruben Rosales was one of the agency staff providing information.Because we can’t fly, us humans can’t get to see the Silver Lake Reservoir up close and personal like these Canada geese do. But we had our chance on July 20th, when the DWP opened up the gates to the Reservoir property for self-guided tours. (Photos by Bruce Chan — www.jiachi.tumblr.com)
On Saturday, July 20th, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power opened the gates to the Silver Lake Reservoir complex and let the community and general public inside the big fence. The day gave people an opportunity for self-guided tours behind the fence along West Silverlake Dr., starting at the Moreno gate access point all the way up to the corner of Tesla.
There were five “stations” spread out along the path, where DWP project managers and engineers were on hand to address different aspects of the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex Bypass Project, which will see the Reservoir being drained for over a year beginning in late 2014. This will allow the DWP to lay a large pipe in the Reservoir bed, rather than tearing up West Silverlake Drive. When completed about 18 months later, the bypass pipeline will carry drinking water from the new Headworks underground storage tanks near Travel Town in Griffith Park to DWP customers in downtown and south Los Angeles.
The Reservoirs will then be refilled, although exactly how, and what the future use will be, remains to be determined. The DWP intends to temporarily make West Silverlake one-way during a portion of the construction, and to detour the pedestrian path behind the current fence line, so it goes right along the Ivanhoe Reservoir’s banks.
Bruce Chan and Dave Keitel from the SLRC were there. They were able to not only walk through the not-often-open path along the banks of the Reservoir, but to also witness the various birds nesting and feeding there, such as the blue herons high above in the eucalyptus trees and the geese who graze in the grassy meadow underneath the trees.