The Rose Park neighborhood of Long Beach has steadily grown in popularity and it’s easy to see why as this neighborhood maintains its small town feeling even in its urban setting. Named by This Old House as one of the nation’s “Best Old House Neighborhoods” in 2012, Rose Park has continued to attract residents who appreciate its rich history, diversity, convenient location, and close knit community.
“It’s a hipper, expanded version of Mayberry, a place where locals gather in the park for picnics or yoga classes and where impromptu concerts might break out on porches on summer nights,” This Old House noted. “Rose Park is also adjacent to Retro Row, a three-block commercial strip that’s home to pubs, shops, and a restored 1920s Art Deco movie house.”
History of Rose Park
Rose Park is about as Long Beach as it gets, originally beginning in the early 1900s with Victorian homes. Between 1910 and the 1920s, the community expanded with tons of Craftsman-style homes which were in vogue at the time. Craftsman architecture is still the primary styles of home in the area. Primarily inhabited at the time by second generation British and Scandinavian immigrants that worked in the oil fields and shipyards, Rose Park would later grow to include Spanish Revival and Mission Revival homes as well.
Rose Park was officially declared a historic district in 2002, and Rose Park South, below 7th Street, later also became a historic district. Together, the two historic districts make up one of Long Beach’s largest historic areas. The neighborhood gets its name from a small circular park at the junction of Orizaba and 8th Street, in the center of a roundabout. Characterized by its gazebo and roses, the park was restored in 2009, and is now home to many neighborhood events as well as a great place to have a seat and enjoy the shade of some of the larger trees, or appreciate the view from inside the gazebo. The Rose Park Neighborhood Association is very active in planning events for the community as well as maintaining the historical properties that make the area unique.
The Legacy of Locally Owned
Rose Park includes multiple locally owned, independent businesses, with everything from food to clothes to furniture along 4th Street and 7th Street. Once considered simply the poorer cousin of Belmont Heights, Rose Park has developed its own identity and is now considered by many to be a hip area of Long Beach. It attracts coffee shops, small vintage boutiques, and unique indoor and outdoor eateries on all sides — along with creative, artistic types who enjoy frequenting the businesses.
Retro Row, a portion of 4th Street dominated by small vintage specialty shops, is one of the local highlights for the area. Home to the 1950’s designer-furniture store InRetrospect, vintage clothing store Meow, and many other popular boutiques with classic finds from every modern era, Retro Row is a bohemian center to the neighborhood and in many ways Long Beach itself. Looking for entertainment? Catch a movie at the restored Art Theatre, sip wine at Vine on 4th, or rent roller skates at Moxi.
Along with entertainment, you’ll find modern eateries like Restauration, The Social List, and Number Nine, making the perfect dinner getaway without the long trip and traffic you’d encounter heading to Melrose in Los Angeles. Lola’s brings refinement and excitement to classic Mexican food dishes and a fantastic weekend brunch that invites you to sit outside and enjoy the weather. Portfolio Coffee and Rose Park Roasters make for perfect places to spend an afternoon working or people watching with a good espresso in hand.
Getting Around Rose Park
Rose Park is an extremely walkable neighborhood and most of the area boasts very high WalkScores. If you’re going to get groceries or just going to get quick bite to eat, a short stroll will take you where you want to go without having to scramble for parking. In addition to the attractions within Rose Park, other nearby neighborhoods such as Bluff Park, Carroll Park, and Belmont Heights are just a short walk away, as is the beach.
The neighborhood is also extremely bike-friendly. The Long Beach Bike Share program has found its way into Rose Park as well, with cheery blue beach cruisers that can be rented for a low rate and take advantage of Long Beach’s bike-positive neighborhoods. When riding by bicycle, East Village, Belmont Shore, Bluff Park, and Downtown can be reached quickly and easily, with dedicated bike lanes scattered throughout. For those looking for interesting architecture and a casual ride, Carroll Park also sits very closely to the Rose Park area, with more unique Colonial and Craftsman homes to admire.
Rose Park Homes
Many homeowners are drawn to the Rose Park neighborhood by its large lots and Craftsman bungalows, which are by far the predominant style of home. Some of the homes have been lovingly restored while others are still opportunities for buyers looking for a home they can fix up and make their own. Spanish style homes and an occasional Victorian homes are also found in the area, along with multi-unit properties that sprang up during an era when more affordable housing was sought and higher density was allowed. Much of the area has since been down-zoned, and with the historic district, it’s no longer possible to tear down a bungalow and put up a multi-unit structure. Modifications to homes within the historic district require that homeowners follow city design guidelines.
A Couple Oddities
The Skinny House on Gladys Avenue near 4th Street is a fascinating slice (literally) of Long Beach. This three-story home that is no wider than 10 feet came to be when Newton P. Rummonds built the house in 1932 after taking on a bet that he wouldn’t be able to build anything on the tiny plot of land he had been gifted. A fun side note: this was the first home I sold in Long Beach back in 1999 after the client asked for charm, history, and a good match to her small budget. This home ended up being a perfect fit, and continues to draw interest to this day as a Long Beach landmark and for being a fascinating thing to run into in Rose Park. The first time I sold this home, it was just $100,000, the second time it listed for $225,000. Currently even small condos in the area would go for more than that.
Have you ever driven by and wished you could take a peek inside the Skinny House? Here’s a clip from the Early Show from 2001, the second time I sold it.
The Long Beach parrots also are known to drop through the neighborhood, munching on tree fruits and chirping their way through the afternoon. While they are best known for their presence in Belmont Heights and along Belmont Shore, they don’t shy away from the larger trees of Rose Park and nearby Recreation Park. You’ll recognize these birds by the sounds they make long before you see them, as many locals have learned to live with and love them as the parrot population has grown over time.
Want to Move to Rose Park?
Proximity to the beach, stores, parks, and entertainment makes Rose Park look pretty appetizing to many homeowners and first-time buyers that want to have both the urban lifestyle and a comfortable single family home with a yard, particularly if they enjoy old homes. Rose Park homes are in demand due to their affordability, value, and the quality of life they bring.
The local real estate market has shown positive growth for the last three years, and homes for sale often sell above list price when in move-in ready condition. If you’d like more information on Rose Park and the real estate market in Long Beach, we’d be happy to help with your needs.