Much of Northeastern Los Angeles was part of Rancho San Rafael, until 1868, when parts of it were purchased by W.C.B. Richardson, who renamed it Rancho Santa Eulalia. The entire region was subdivided and sold to home builders in 1902, with the Atwater Village portion being named as such due to its proximity to the Los Angeles River. The area was initially named “Atwater,” while the “Village” was added in 1986.
Initial residents included the newly created middle-class workers employed at the nearby DWP substation. Its location between the Los Angeles and Glendale city cores made it a highly sought after residential neighborhood beginning in the 1920s. The vast majority of the homes and structures in Atwater Village have never been demolished (although many have changed in use or have been renovated), resulting in the neighborhood having one of the highest number of structures built before 1939 in Los Angeles County.
Today, the neighborhood is among Los Angeles’ most rapidly gentrifying, with an influx of young creative professionals (sometimes called “hipsters”) and businesses catering to them, spilling over from the popular Silver Lake and Los Feliz areas.