Murry Burns and Planaria Price were the subject of a People Issue profile by Los Angeles Weekly four years ago, and now they've landed on NBC talking about how Burns led a private effort that rehabbed and saved the most extensive enclave of Victorian mansions in all of Los Angeles, Angelino Heights.
A formerly rundown and crime-ridden knoll near Echo Park lake, not far from Sunset Boulevard and Dodger Stadium, Angelino Heights is now one of the hottest places for urban pioneers with enough moola to buy a spectacular home. It's mini-San Francisco, and it's just off the 101:
On May 12, Burns received a major honor from the Los Angeles Conservancy for his years-long effort to buy, rehabilitate and meticulously restore dozens of grand old homes that without people like him could have been turned into cookie-cutter and soulless Archstone security complexes.
Burns, inspired by his wife Price's earlier restoration work and knowledge, did it without the red tape and idiocy and waste that would have unfolded had it been a Los Angeles city government “Community Redevelopment Agency” project.
Now the privately renovated neighborhood thrives under its own steam, with neighbor after neighbor copying Burns and Price, buying their homes and lovingly returning them to the grandeur of a different century.
In the process, Angelino Heights has become THE go-to place for Los Angeles children on Halloween, a true haunted hill filled with mysterious mansions, fine old carriage homes and thousands of untold tales.
The interesting kicker to all this is the value brought to the land and homes by the artists, teachers (like Price), musicians (like the Mighty Echoes' Harvey Shield) and other creative types who made Angelino Heights their home during the past 25 years.
Through force of will they overcame the crime and neglect, and you just don't see that too often in Los Angeles.
The gang-bangers, once so prominent around Angelino Heights, now find it a very uncomfortable place to be. Instead, you see parents with strollers and neighbors tending their gardens.