Griffith Park, Los Angeles 90027
Los Angeles 90027
“Griffith Park (in its entirety)”
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #942, 1/27/2009
Click here to see the Los Angeles Department of City Planning Recommendation Report, which has additional details on the Park’s cultural and historic significance.
Established in 1896, this 4,218-acre City of Los Angeles park is one of the largest interurban parks in the nation. The park is located within the eastern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and adjacent to a 4.9 mile stretch of the Los Angeles River. The majority of the subject area consists of rocky hills, canyons, gullies, and large areas of open, rugged, natural landscape. Seven peaks in the subject area exceed 1,000 feet. Plant species include coastal native trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, riparian vegetation, and non-native species. Throughout Griffith Park are lawns, picnic areas, camp grounds, landscaped areas, infrastructural buildings, recreational, entertainment, and educational amenities, as well as trails, roadways, and signage.
‘The Griffith Park historic monument was formed in 1896 by the donation of private land owned by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith and his wife Mary Agnes Christina Mesmer to the City of Los Angeles as a gift for use as parkland. This land was originally a portion of the Rancho Los Feliz, owned by Jose Vicente Feliz of Sonora, Mexico. As a corporal for the Spanish Crown, on June 1781 Feliz escorted the original eleven families from Sonora to the settlement that would become the Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles sobre el Rio de la Porciuncula (“Los Angeles”). Feliz became the pueblo’s Commisionado, the highest political authority at the time. Some time between 1795-1800, the Spanish Crown granted 6,647 acres of land to Feliz for his public service and loyalty, establishing the Rancho Los Feliz. In the1830s, the Feliz family constructed an adobe residence in the Rancho. The Feliz family later willed the Rancho to their family lawyer, Don Antonio Coronel, an early Justice of the Peace for Los Angeles. After California came under United States rule, Coronel became the area’s first County Assessor and later Mayor of Los Angeles, establishing the City’s first Department of Public Works. Coronel would also go on to become State Treasurer of California. In1883, Coronel helped establish the Historical Society of Southern California. Coronel would later sell the Rancho to John Baldwin, after which it was sold to Thomas Bell.
An immigrant from Wales, Griffith J. Griffith settled in San Francisco in the 1870s where he became wealthy investing in mining activities throughout the Southwest. After visiting Los Angeles in the 1870-80s, he resettled in Los Angeles and purchased a 4,071 acre portion of the original Rancho Los Feliz from Thomas Bell in 1882. Griffith began developing and selling sections of the southern portion of the Rancho land, establishing the residential communities of Los Feliz, Ivanhoe, and Kenilworth.
On December16,1896, Griffith presented to the City Council a property deed and letter donating 3,015 acres of the Los Feliz Rancho as a “Christmas present.” To secure water rights for the City, Griffith later donated an additional 1,000 acres alongside the Los Angeles River.
Because of the size, complexity, and diverse uses of the subject area, more than 30 key features were identified as “Historically Sensitive Resources and Areas” that appear to be historically significant and serve as contributing elements or character-defining features of the proposed Monument. Six of these are recognized historic resources that are locally designated Historic-Cultural Monuments (HCMs). Other buildings and structures in the subject area have been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and California Register of Historical Resources. Throughout the subject area are park infrastructural elements such as walls, barriers, drainage canals, stoppage dams, and water fountains constructed in the “Park Style” between the 1930s – 50s. In a style adopted by the Department of Recreation and Parks for most of the 1950s, rubble rock and ashlar set in mortar is used as a consistent design theme throughout Griffith Park. (Source: Los Angeles City Planning Department, CHC-2008-2724-HCM)
Type: Historic-Cultural Monument For Rent