Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

El Encanto and The Cascades

Jardin El Encanto located at 700 El Mercado Avenue in Monterey Park is a historical landmark built by Peter Snyder, a Greek immigrant, in 1928 as his sales office for the Midwick View Estates. The development was named after the Midwick Country Club and its famous polo fields. Mr. Snyder, who died in 1942, deeded El Encanto and El Portal to the city.

The Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles Visionaries Association hosted a tour of El Encanto and El Portal on June 22.



The front entrance features a water fountain on each side of the building. The front doors are set between two Spanish galleons that decorate the walls.

Richard Gorman, a member of the Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, provided a short history of the famous building that was used as a private residence, a wedding chapel, the Oneonta military academy and the USO during World War II. The Chamber office is the current occupant. The building is opened to the public during business hours.





Mr. Gorman pointed out the stain glass ship in the loft at the top of the stairs and a ship above the doorway of one of the rooms.  The building has two fireplaces, beautiful heavy, hand-embellished wood beams in the ceiling, tiles on the stair case, baseboards and around the main fireplace. The original light fixtures are ornate and the handcrafted wrought ironwork give visitors a view into Peter Snyder’s dream of California living.

Richard Schave from Los Angeles Visionaries Association led a tour to Peter Snyder’s El Portal that is at the top of the hill across from his sales office.  The City of Monterey Park renamed the waterfall The Cascades, which is part of the city’s seal.




The waterfall in a park setting is reached by climbing the stairs located on either side of it. The top of the waterfall houses a statue of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and Military Victory, and also the Patron of the City of Athens, was Hercules’ half-sister. Her parents were Zeus and Metis, a Nymph.

The original statue was stolen so the Historical Society of Monterey Park purchased a copy of the statue for The Cascades.

Mr. Schave also pointed out the various ceramic tiles that decorate the waterfall.  He provided a brief history on the companies that created the ceramic tiles for California construction.

Brian Kaiser, a specialist in ceramic tile, provided a brief history on the antique ceramic tiles used in the construction of El Encanto and El Portal.

He pointed out that El Encanto and El Portal were designed and built with Spanish influence as reflected by the main fireplace, ceramic tiles and the Spanish galleons throughout the building.

Please call the Chamber at 626-570-9429 to arrange for a tour of El Encanto.

Cascades Park, located at South Atlantic Blvd. and El Portal Place is opened to the public to enjoy the view during daylight hours.

The Monterey Park Historical Society located at 781 S. Orange Avenue has additional pictures and additional history on El Encanto and El Portal. For museum hours please call 626-307-1267.

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