State Historic Park
The mission of California State Parks is
to provide for the health, inspiration and
education of the people of California by
helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary
biological diversity, protecting its most
valued natural and cultural resources, and
creating opportunities for high-quality
No other available
32 acres holds as much
opportunity to enlighten
us about the history and
culture of Los Angeles
and this region.”
California State Parks supports equal access.
Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who
need assistance should contact the park at
(213) 620-6152. This publication is available
in alternate formats by contacting:
CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS
P. O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
For information call: (800) 777-0369
(916) 653-6995, outside the U.S.
711, TTY relay service
Discover the many states of California.TM
State Historic Park
1245 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cover photo by Joshua White,
courtesy of Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio
© 2009 California State Parks
Printed on Recycled Paper
- Dr. Leonard Pitt
buildings of downtown L.A., the lush
green of Los Angeles State Historic
Park draws visitors to a unique pocket
of paradise. Nestled in the heart of
the bustling city of Los Angeles, the
park’s 32 acres provide an extraordinary
opportunity for recreation, education and
escape into nature’s beauty.
The climate in this area is mild, with a
summer average of 85° and frequent late
Archaeological evidence indicates human
occupation of the Los Angeles plain and
coastal strip dating back 10,000 years.
The park property is located in the known
territory of the Tongva people, expert
hunters and gatherers with a complex
social system. A prosperous, adaptable and
creative people, they were among the most
populous and wealthy of all California Indian
groups. Technological innovations and
specialized skills such as canoe-building
were highly regarded. Rituals, healing,
artwork, songs and extensive oral literature
were central to the Tongva culture.
Many Tongva villages occupied the fertile
basin that is now Los Angeles. One large
village, Yang-na, sat within a mile of today’s
park. The Tongva were renamed Gabrieleño
after Mission San Gabriel was founded
On September 4,
Felipe de Neve
founded El Pueblo
de Nuestra Señora
La Reina de Los
Angeles del Rio
Locomotive and workers
just over a mile
from what is now
the park. The pueblo founders used Native
American labor to build the Zanja Madre, or
main irrigation ditch, to bring the river water
to the growing pueblo and its fields. Remnants
of the bricked-in version of the Zanja Madre
can still be seen adjoining the park. The area
is part of the Los Angeles River watershed—
about 534,000 acres or 834 square miles.
Nearly 100 years later, in 1875, the new
Southern Pacific Railroad’s River Station
opened here. Many products and travelers
arrived at this site from across the country
and the world. In the 1880s, the River Station
included a roundhouse and turntable, repair
shops, a station depot and a hotel for traveling
Other industrial plants and company stores
were built around River Station. The Freight
House functioned as a cargo hub for the
railroad and later for transport trucks. Sam’s
lunchstand (later called Millie’s) served great
hamburgers to locals and workers.
Several historical buildings are within
walking distance of the park. On the north
side, the 1890 Flat Iron Building is the
second-oldest industrial building standing in
the city. The oldest, the 1883 Capitol Milling
Company building, stands to the south.
Neighboring areas include Chinatown,
Chavez Ravine, and Solano Canyon.
Chinatown was moved north, to the area
south of today’s park, in the 1930s after its
residents were evicted to make way for the
new Union Station railroad depot. Nearby
Chavez Ravine residents were evicted from
their homes in the 1950s; this area later
became the site of Dodger Stadium. The
adjacent Solano Canyon neighborhood was
settled in 1866.
Sanctuary in the City
California State Parks acquired the park
land in 2001. Before the development of
the Interim Public Use Park plan, L.A. artist
Lauren Bon planted 32 acres of corn on the
vacant parkland, creating what came to be
known as the “Not a Cornfield” project. The
remnants of the project, now called the
Anabolic Monument, functions as a vibrant
and dynamic public space.
Courtesy of California State Library, Sacramento, California
I n sharp contrast with the tall steel
Although open for public use and
enjoyment, the full design of the park is
still in the conceptual phase. With input
and direction from local and statewide
constituents and users, California State
Parks is creating a park to meet the needs of
residents and visitors alike.
Although surrounded by intensely
developed and populated areas, Los
Angeles State Historic Park offers a quiet
sanctuary with California sycamores and
lush green grass. Due to encroachment
on the natural habitat and the paving of
the adjoining Los Angeles River bed, local
animal species have diminished; however,
red-tailed hawks and kestrels still soar
overhead while killdeer and mourning doves
dart among the deer grass and soft chess.
Beechey’s ground squirrels inhabit the trees,
and nocturnal opossums and raccoons may
forage at night. The nearby Pacific Flyway is
used by a wide variety of migrating birds.
Recently landscaped with
lawns, picnic areas, and
native trees, the park
offers a variety of activities.
Within its 32 acres of open
space, park visitors can
wander pathways and enjoy
a view of downtown as they
discover and celebrate the
natural and cultural heritage
of Los Angeles. Visitors
can run, walk, bike, have a
picnic, fly a kite, rest under
a tree or look for urban
Programs and Cultural Celebrations
Free guided interpretive programs are offered
at the park, including Junior Ranger programs
and sunset campfires. A variety of interpretive
and cultural events and celebrations takes
place year round. For more information, see
the park’s website
at www.parks.ca.gov/lashp or call the park at
(213) 620-6152. To arrange a special event
at the park, please contact
• All natural and cultural resources in the
park are protected by state law and may
not be removed or altered.
• Firearms and weapons are prohibited on
State Parks lands.
• Please help us preserve the natural
features of the park by staying on trails.
• Dogs are allowed only on trails and must
be on a six-foot leash.
Nearby State Parks
• Rio de Los Angeles State Park,
1900 San Fernando Road, Los Angeles
• Pío Pico State Historic Park, 6003 Pioneer
Boulevard, Whittier (562) 695-1217
• Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
6300 Hetzler Road, Culver City
All pathways and restrooms are accessible.
An accessible telescope allows views of the
park and neighboring areas. For additional
information, please call the park at (213)
620-6152 or visit http://access.parks.ca.gov.
Brothers learn about animal skull replicas.
Family picnickers escape city bustle.