The lotus that have grown in Echo Park lake for almost a century were supposedly planted by that charismatic evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, whose Angelus Temple is right across the street. In 1972 a Lotus Festival was established and it was a very popular mid-summer event attended by people from all over the city.
Then a few years ago the Asian lotus, Nolumbo nucifera, which had died back every winter, failed to be reborn. No one seemed to know what happened to them. Was it pollution? Old age? (Plants don’t live forever, folks) Or something else. There was a huge uproar in the neighborhood and finally one man who lives in the San Fernando Valley admitted he had–several years earlier–taken shoots or tubers or whatever–from the Echo Park lotus and been growing and reselling them. He announced he was happy to SELL some of these lotus plants to the L.A. Parks Dept. to restore the lotus to Echo Park Lake. SELL??!! Sell back what he had taken??!! More uproar!!
All this, however, has brought about a renewal at Echo Park lake, which has always been a place with a lot of activity–joggers, walkers, sunbathers, etc.
What appears to be lotus have been planted in the north end of the lake. The leaves are still underwater so I’ve not included the murky photo. New water lilies have been planted in other parts of the lake. The city now regularly puts bass and trout in the lake for fishermen to catch.
I don’t remember if the people who run the little boathouse use to rent boats to paddle around and canoe rides, but they do now. They also have a little cafe for breakfast and lunch. The island in the middle of the lake is now closed, but I think it has been closed for a long time.