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Our Mission Los Angeles 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 outdoor recreation. “ 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 www.parks.ca.gov Discover the many states of California.TM Los Angeles State Historic Park 1245 N. Spring Street Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 620-6152 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 winter rainfall. PARK HISTORY Native People 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 in 1771. Founding of Los Angeles On September 4, 1781, Governor Felipe de Neve founded El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula Locomotive and workers in Roundhouse 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 passengers. 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 1930s 2009 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. NATURAL RESOURCES 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. RECREATION AND INTERPRETATION 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 wildlife. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. PLEASE REMEMBER • 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 (213) 620-6152 • Pío Pico State Historic Park, 6003 Pioneer Boulevard, Whittier (562) 695-1217 • Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook 6300 Hetzler Road, Culver City (310) 558-4566 ACCESSIBLE FEATURES 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.