We’re a cozy quiet valley in Northeast Los Angeles with a country feel – a continuous park on one side; a curve of hills defines the rest of the valley. 100 year old Sycamore trees shade the park and its tennis courts on one end, an award winning leash -free dog park on the other – so far apart that each is neither seen nor heard by the other.
This rural one-half-square mile pocket is accessed by foot, bicycle, and motor over bridges that span the Arroyo Seco river. The adjacent Arroyo Seco Parkway (110) provides two in and out auto ramps – Via Marisol and Avenue 60. A remarkable walled and lit “cut” through the hills leads to DTLA which, though City and citified, is but 10-15 minutes away from Hermon.
Hermon is primarily a residential community. At the center of the valley is the small church founded by the first settlers in Hermon – a few blocks away, a shielded commercial center includes a large neighborhood market with a community coffee/sandwich/bakery gathering place , pet grooming service, a do nut shop (also award winning…), cleaners, several small restaurants…
IN the beginning, which for Hermon purposes is 1903, a group of Protestants seeking an area where they could settle and form their own homogeneous community, crossed the Arroyo Seco waterway into this valley at what is now Avenue 60, believed God had led them there, and prepared to settle.
They quickly located the owner of this valley, a man named Ralph Rogers, purchased the valley and named it after Mount Hermon, an important geographical position in Jewish and Christian history, located near the Golan Heights on the border of Syria and Israel.
These 1900’s settlers were social rebels within the Faith; they had severed ties with their Methodist Church over the issues of slavery (all people should be free) and pews (they eschewed the practice of renting pews – church too should be free). They had retained their theological ties with the Methodists, and so named themselves FREE Methodists, and proceeded to re-cast the new church more in the image of the Amish than the east coast Methodists. The men wore no ties, the women no make-up, and no one wore jewelry. Instrumental music was banned during the first 50 years.
LA Free Methodist Seminary
The seminary became Los Angeles Pacific College in 1934, then merged with Azusa Pacific University in the 1960s. Currently, the campus is home to the popular Los Angeles Intl Charter High School, which also serves as the local community meeting area after a major disaster.
In 1926, better links were established between Hermon and the rest of Los Angeles with the construction of a bridge across Arroyo Seco at Avenue 60, the Monterey Road pass through Walnut Hill to the south in 1930, and the Hermon Avenue (renamed Via Marisol, over the objections of many community members, by Los Angeles City Council member Art Snyder in 1978 to honor his young daughter, Erin Marisol Snyder) bridge to the west in 1939.
Bushnell Way, Hermon’s elementary school public school serving 500 students in the local area, was previously the site of the old American School. It was named for Rose Bushnell, principal of the first public school in Hermon (American School). Community leaders wanted to name the school to commemorate Rose after Hermon became part of the city of Los Angeles, but leaders were aware that L.A. school district policies did not allow schools to be named after a living person. Cleverly, they arranged for the street in front of the school to be renamed “Bushnell Way,” then had the school named after the street itself. That’s Hermon’s ingenuity.
In the 100 years since its inception, the neighborhood has grown from 100 small lots into a community of over 3,000. Hermon is small, but mighty. The cohesiveness of civic endeavors, clean-ups, graffiti prevention, advocacy and education is strong. Hermon’s Emergency Preparedness efforts are arguably the best grass-roots plans in the entire City of Los Angeles.
- Rev. J. Emory Coleman
- Rev. Charles Bond Ebey
- Joseph Goodwin Terrill
COLEMAN AVENUE: Named for Rev. J. Emory Coleman, son of a Free Methodist bishop. In 1880, Coleman a school known as Evansville Seminary in Wisconsin and became its first principal. After 14 years given to the school, he resigned due to failing health and became a pastor. He died in 1906.
EBEY (“EE-bee”) AVENUE: Named for Rev. Charles Bond Ebey, founding father of Los Angeles Free Methodist Seminary. Born in Illinois in 1847, died June 1908 in Hermon of a heart attack. In 1888, on account of his wife’s poor health, they moved to the Los Angeles area where he was a preacher. He held tabernacle meetings, started 18 churches, and also took the initiative and largely directed the enterprise of founding the seminary in 1904. Rev. Ebey was said to be “a man who brought things to pass.”
TERRILL (“TEAR-ul”) A VENUE: Named for Joseph Goodwin Terrill, a protégé of Dr. Redfield. As a child, J. G. Terrill attended a series of revival meetings held in his mother’s kitchen and became known as the “boy local preacher.” He grew to become an eloquent minister of the early Free Methodist Church, a music composer, and author of many books.
And More Street Names
REDFIELD AVENUE: Named for John Wesley Redfield, an evangelist. A medical doctor and local preacher in the mid- through late- l 800s, Redfield was a strong abolitionist and a feisty influence in the early formation of the Free Methodist Church as a denomination (organized in 1959).
BUSHNELL WAY: Named for Rose Bushnell, principal of the first public school in Herrnon, the American School. Community leaders wanted to name the school after her afler Hermon became part of the city of Los Angeles, but were aware that L.A. school district policies did not allow schools to be named after a Jiving person. Cleverly, they arranged for the street in front of the school to be renamed “Bushnell Way,” then had the school named after the street itself. That’s Hermon’s ingenuity.