Return to Retro…the Astro Loop

It is always a pleasure to return to a section of Los Angeles that sports a busy urban corridor rising to mansions on the hills, all replete with history and (more importantly) good eating.

This Thursday we returned to Silver Lake with hillside homes sometimes owned by  celebrities, crumbling staircases that once provided shady routes to the Red Car electric rail line that connected the city.

We started at the Astro Family Restaurant with its goofy star and retro dining room.  It offered excellent coffee and gigantic servings of eggs, potatoes, and French Toast.  Nothing to do afterwards but walk it off climbing those stairs … first 56 then 156…to a view of the LA basin and a house once owned by Judy Garland.

One of the great pleasures of these Secret Stairs walks comes when meeting residents who love to share stories about their celebrities.  This time, we heard about Tom Mix and the studio he built so he could film in the woodsy trees that are still home to grey herons and red-tail hawks that soar above the neighborhood.

We bypassed the Home Cafe and headed to Los Felix for lunch at Alcove.  No pictures…too eager to dive into my grilled vegetable salad…

On the way back to the car, we passed a beautiful Spanish style church with an appealing red door and a sign inviting passersby to visit.  There we were greeted by Sexton of  St. Mary of the Angels Church, Bruce, who happily shared the turbulent story of the small congregation that now calls it home.  Founded in l908,  St. Mary of the Angels was home to celebrities like Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.  The current building was completed in l930 but is an on-going project, as is the desired reunion with the Roman Catholic Church, the issue that caused the 4 1/2 year fissure that divided the original congregation of about 60.

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