Rich past puts Glendale's Adams Hill forward

Special to The Times

In Adams Hill, an eclectic hillside neighborhood in southeast Glendale, the architecture is as diverse as the population. Vintage 1920s homes sit between mid-century moderns, and button-down and bohemian residents live alongside working-class immigrants.

A tropico delight

From 1911 until 1918, Adams Hill was part of an independent city known as Tropico. In 1918, Tropico was annexed to Glendale, but the independent spirit prevails. "We march to our own drummer," said Arlene Vidor, an Adams Hill resident and president of the Glendale Historical Society. "We look and feel different from other parts of Glendale."

Drawing card

Residents like the "best of both worlds" qualities of Adams Hill. The views, diversity and minimal setback of the homes give the community an urban feel, while the serenity, low crime rate and accessibility to local government add a sense of community in the neighborhood. The period architecture and rich history introduce yet another dimension to the mix.

Report card Adams Hill is part of the Glendale Unified School District. John Muir Elementary, the neighborhood school for kindergarten through fifth grade, scored 681 out of a possible 1,000 on the 2002 Academic Performance Index. Roosevelt Middle School scored 634 and Glendale High School scored 622.

Stock report

Adams Hill has about 1,000 homes and, in late July, four were on the market. The lowest-priced listing was a 672-square-foot home for $269,900. The highest-priced was a 1,382-square-foot "fixer" listed for $449,750, according to Shirley Ann Hill of MacGregor Realty.

Insider's view

Adams Square, the commercial center that is the entryway to Adams Hill, was launched in 1928 with the Adams Square Building, a landmark Art Deco structure. The building, along with other nearby treasures, is undergoing a face-lift, and a new Art Deco-style public plaza is nearing completion.

Residents hope to create the same vibrancy that existed in 1945, the year Irvine Robbins opened the Snowbird Ice Cream Store, which later became the first Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors store.

Good news, bad news Steep and narrow winding streets can be difficult to maneuver, especially when cars are parked along them. It's not uncommon to see cars backing up or pulling over to make room for an oncoming vehicle, but in spite of the tight driving quarters, residents keep their cool.

"You rarely hear a horn honking or see tempers flaring," said resident and real estate agent Hill. "Instead, people wave and smile."

Since many of the homes have single-car garages, street parking is at a premium.

Historical values Single-family detached resales:

Year...Median Price 1990...$223,000





*year to date

Sources: DataQuick Information Systems; Glendale Unified Schools Web site, ; Shirley Ann Hill, MacGregor Realty; Arlene Vidor, Glendale Historical Society; Glendale Historical Society Web site, ; Adams Hill Homeowners' Assn. Web site, .

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