Los Angeles Historic Hidden Gem Los Encinos Adobe, California
A great place to take your kids in the San Fernando Valley is Los Encinos State Historic Park. You can feed the ducks at the pond for a quarter. Lay on the cool grass and listen to the fountain. If you’re lucky, you may see the Turtle King sunning on the shore.
Los Encinos State Historic Park, in Los Angeles California sits near the intersection of Ventura and Balboa Blvds in the San Fernando Valley. The buildings have undergone major earthquake restoration since the Northridge earthquake. I thought it would be fun to put up a few photos I took on my last visit there. It is small, as State Parks go, but is a beautiful little oasis right off busy Ventura Blvd.
Brief History of Los Encinos
The Park sits on the ancestral lands of the Tongva Nation. The surrounding area was the site of a huge settlement extending under Ventura Blvd. and the office buildings across and down the street. The numerous oak trees provided acorns for bread and other food. A spring on the land was a water source for the village. Los Encinos is at the northernmost boundary of the Tongva, whose ancestral lands extend south past Laguna Beach. In the lands north of the Tongva lived the Chumash, whose region extends north past Gaviota.
Explorers originally named the village ‘Los Encinos’ after the numerous oak trees growing in the area. Later, the area became known as the ‘Lost City of Los Encinos’. The Tongva were split up and renamed the “Fernandenio” and “Gabrielino” Indians after the missions they were sent to by the Spanish.
The California Bell denotes this as as stop on Old Spain’s King’s Road (El Camino Real). Ventura Blvd. was part of this old indian footpath followed by Portola and other Spanish explorers on their way north. The road starts in San Diego and ends in San Francisco. I found an interesting site about the California Bells at CAHighways.
The next time you’re on a trip along the 101, it might be a fun idea to see how many State Bells you can find along the way!
Here’s my glamor shot of the two buildings. The De La Osa Adobe, built in 1849 is in the foreground. In the background, under a towering date palm is the two story Garnier Building, built after 1868.
Here’s a not-so glamorous storage house. It is made of limestone, not adobe, so it doesn’t need to have a protective layer of whitewash.
California Pepper (Schinus) trees grow on the grounds. Pepper is a pretty (albeit messy) tree with lacy leaves and long clusters of white flowers that turn into the red berries of commercial pepper fame. The wood smells spicy and the branches droop down like willow trees. The trunk becomes gnarled and the branches grow in interesting directions.
Another idyllic view of Los Encinos. The trees near the benches are olive. In the background are pine trees. Both were a vital source of food.