An Afternoon In Old Monterey Park: El Encanto history tour

LAVA invites you to join us for an afternoon of historic discovery at the historic and breathtaking El Encanto, perhaps the most beautiful building in the San Gabriel Valley. This is a free, drop-in event; no tickets or reservations required. If you’d like to support LAVA’s free programming, click here.

El Encanto was built in 1927 by Peter N. Snyder, the visionary Greek developer known as the “Father of the East Side,” as a leasing office and community center for his ambitious development Midwick View Estates. Nestled in a natural valley on Atlantic Boulevard south of Garvey, it was to be the Beverly Hills of the East Side. The covenants on the lots required the fashionable Spanish Colonial revival as the architectural style, and Snyder took the lead with several showcase hillside homes that he built himself. The centerpiece of the Midwick View Estates’ opening ceremonies, El Encanto is ideally placed perpendicular to Atlantic Boulevard opposite “The Cascades,” a series of tiered fountains and statuary which recalls the ancient beauty and aesthetics of Snyder’s native Greece. Sadly, the stock market crash and great depression killed all chances for this development to thrive but through some astonishing quirk of good fortune, El Encanto survived almost untouched.

Tile historian Brian Kaiser and El Encanto’s own Richard Gorman will lead two tours, each beginning at fifteen minutes after the hour. Richard will discuss of the history of the site and its varied uses over the decades, as well as its current role as office for the Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce. Brian will give an overview of Southern California ceramic tile technology and design in the 1920s, and how El Encanto is a rare intact specimen of that golden age, with some very intriguing glazes and stylistic choices.