Hermon Car Wall
To keep debris from falling onto his property, one enterprising resident of the small Los Angeles neighborhood of Hermon built a retaining wall using concrete, bricks, locally sourced rocks, wagon wheels, and a variety of automobile parts.
One Man’s Love Affair with the Automobile
In 1932, a gent by the name of Albert Emmanuel Sederquist bought eight lots (numbers 4 – 11) in Block 21 of the Highland Park Addition between Terrill Avenue and the border of Debs Park. He named his purchase “The Dugout” and almost immediately, he started building a retaining wall to keep the unmaintained pedestrian walkway of Pullman Street from crumbling down onto his property.
It took him and his three nephews 10 years of working with just simple hand tools, but when complete the Hermon Car Wall served not only to keep the hillside from falling onto Sederquist’s land but also paid homage to the car culture of Los Angeles.
Sederquist was a big fan of automobiles — it’s said that he owned six when he started building the wall (and this was during the Great Depression) — and he used various car parts to bolster the wall’s facade. In addition to concrete, rocks, and brick, you can see rusty gears, steering wheels, engine casings, and even a rusty crankshaft all incorporated into the wall.
But he didn’t limit his materials to car parts alone. He also used a trip of wooden wagon wheels in keystone fashion and he seems to have sourced rocks from other places he visited in California. Specifically, he added 27 rocks from Painted Gorge and 17 from Barley Flats above the Angeles Crest Highway. He noted the quantity and location of where the rocks were gathered from in neat lettering in the concrete.
The Hermon Car Wall Versus the Elements
Today, much of the wall has been washed away in the wake of numerous mudslides and heavy rains over the years. All that remains of Sederquist’s legacy is a small section, about 10 or 20 feet long.
The remnants of the Hermon Car Wall only hint at its full glory. But what still stands has been recognized as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument Number 944 (granted on January 28, 2009) due to its status as a fabulous work of folk art that is very much in the spirit of Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers.
Finding the Hermon Car Wall
Sederquist, who passed away in 1959, built his wall at the base of Pullman Street, which was an unimproved pedestrian walkway at the time. Today, it’s still a pedestrian walkway, but it’s been paved. Unfortunately, because of the wall’s deteriorated condition, it can’t really be seen from atop the pedestrian walkway on Pullman.
The best way to see the Hermon Car Wall is from a paved road between 406 and 414 Terrill Avenue (a feature added by Lyle Peters, who bought the property from Sederquest’s estate in 1960). But this is technically a priovate drive, so there’s no parking. Park on Terrill Ave, Bushnell Way, or Monterey Road and walk in to enjoy the wall.
The Hermon Car Wall Donut Stop
If you choose to embark upon an exploration to visit the Hermon Car Wall, do yourself a favor and stop in at the nearby, recently re-opened Monterey Donut at 5930 Monterey Road (cash only). You won’t regret it.
Hermon Car Wall
- 400 Block of Pullman Ave, Hermon
- GPS Coordinates: 34.10088763, -118.18941237 [ Google Maps ]
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