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A Guide to the Historic Trees, Lakes, and Rocks of Los Angeles

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It's nice and gloomy out, making it perfect weather for exploring. Did you know that the city of Los Angeles sometimes designates natural features like trees, rocks, and lakes as Historic-Cultural Monuments? And thanks to the new HistoricPlacesLA website, it's pretty easy to find every single notable natural feature in the city, from a stretch of trees in Wilmington that were planted for the 1932 Olympics to that natural lake in Toluca Lake.


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1. Harrison Gray Otis Estate trees

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18500 Tarzana Drive
Tarzana, CA 91356

This "small grove of exotic trees" was probably planted in the 1910s by LA Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis on what was then "his large estate" in Tarzana. The estate is now gone, but the trees remain.

2. Eagle Rock

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Eagle Rock Historical Landmark
Los Angeles, CA

The 150-foot-tall, sandstone Eagle Rock "is considered to be one of the most distinctive natural landmarks in the city of Los Angeles ... It has remained a consistent visual landmark throughout Eagle Rock's prehistory, its incorporation as a city in 1911, and its consolidation to the city of Los Angeles in 1923."

3. Aoyama tree

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119 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dating from 1920, this tree used to shade the Koyosan Buddhist Temple; the temple was demolished but "the tree has remained untouched and has strong associations with the cultural and historical development of Buddhism and the Japanese American community in Los Angeles."

4. Cactus

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348 East 71st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90003

This cactus, probably planted in 1922, is completely nuts.

5. Edward Avenue street trees

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North San Fernando Road & Edward Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90065

These mature Mexican Fan Palms running from San Fernando Road to Avenue 32 are an "[e]xcellent intact example of subdivision improvements during the early part of the 20th century."

6. Toluca Lake

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9950 Toluca Lake Avenue
Toluca Lake, CA 91602

The six-acre Toluca Lake is an "excellent and rare example of a natural lake ... historically fed by underground springs." When the surrounding land was subdivided for a fancy neighborhood in 1923, "a series of community wells were installed along the lake's edge to maintain the water level."

7. Moreton Bay fig

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1420-1478 South Bundy Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90025

This Moreton Bay Fig dating to 1920 is rare for its age and size.

8. Seneca Avenue street trees

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Los Feliz Boulevard & Seneca Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90039

The Mexican Fan Palms on both sides of Seneca between Los Feliz and Glendale Boulevards "appear to have been planted by the city as a part of a streetscape improvement program. The trees are consistent, uniform, and extend for blocks."

9. Oak tree

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11631-11719 Bromont Avenue
Pacoima, CA 91331

This Live oak dating to 1920 sits on an island on Bromont Avenue and "predates the development surrounding it."

10. Hallett Avenue street trees

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North San Fernando Road & Hallett Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90065

These Mexican Fan Palms running between San Fernando Road and Avenue 32 are "an [e]xcellent intact example of subdivision improvements during the early part of the 20th century."

11. Moreton Bay fig

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Compton Avenue & East Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90002

This 1910 tree is an "[e]xcellent mature example of a Morton Bay Fig in a dense urban area that is generally lacking in street trees."

12. Valley Vista Live oak trees

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15964 Valley Vista Boulevard
Encino, CA 91436

This stretch of Live oaks between 15964 Valley Vista and Densmore Avenue is "[s]ignificant as an early designed landscape in Encino ... that appears to have been planted in conjunction with the Rancho El Encino subdivision (1916)."

13. Stansbury Avenue trees

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Ventura Boulevard & Stansbury Avenue
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

These "mature street trees," running between Ventura and Valley Vista, are "associated with the subdivision of the tract for residential development in the late 1930s." They're mostly Jacaranda, with some Pines and Cedars thrown in.

14. Avalon Boulevard Mexican Fan Palm trees

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East Lomita Boulevard & South Avalon Boulevard
Wilmington, CA 90744

The 218 Mexican fan palms lining Avalon from East Lomita Boulevard to First Street in Wilmington "were planted in 1931 by the City of Los Angeles as part of beautification efforts for the 1932 Olympic Games."

15. North Vermont Avenue Moreton Bay Fig trees

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North Vermont Avenue & Aberdeen Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

These figs were planted in 1913 by landscape architect Wilbur Cook "on land sold to developer William Mead by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, who donated Griffith Park to the City of Los Angeles."

16. Moraga Drive landscaped median

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Bellagio Road & Moraga Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049

This short median (just a block long) is home to seven established, giant Deodar cedar trees, all of which are "spaced evenly in a lawn." Cute! These seven trees guard the entrance to the Moraga Drive neighborhood.

17. Avalon Mexican Fan Palms

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East Florence Avenue & Avalon Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90003

Located in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood, the Mexican Fan palm trees that line Avalon Blvd between Florence and Manchester are considered an "excellent intact example of streetscape improvements from the period."

18. Studio City palm trees

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Ventura Boulevard & Carpenter Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

The mature palm trees on both sides of Ventura Boulevard run for a mile between Carpenter Avenue and Whitsett Avenue (Studio City's "primary linear commercial district). They were planted back in 1959 by the Studio City Beautiful Committee; the first trees went in at Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards. The project was part of a broader effort to spruce up the Valley's commercial areas that extended into the 1960s.

19. Palm Tree Allee of 55th and 56th Streets

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South Normandie Avenue & West 55th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90062

These Washingtonia robusta palm trees likely date back to 1908, "the time of subdivision of the residential tract in which they are located." They line 55th and 56th streets between Normandie and Denker.

20. 43rd Street palm trees

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East 43rd Street & McKinley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90011

These old Mexican Fan Palms could date back to 1905, as they're thought to be connected to the development of the subdivision that rose around them. The palms are considered an "[e]xcellent and intact example of subdivision improvements during the early part of the 20th century." They can be found on 43rd Street between McKinley and Avalon.

21. Santa Monica Forestry Station Eucalyptus Grove

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601 Latimer Road
Santa Monica, CA 90402

This grove planted at the Santa Monica Forestry Station (the nation's first experimental forestry station) was studied by scientists and was later partly responsible for the introduction of the eucalyptus tree into SoCal. The original eucalyptus were planted sometime between 1888 and 1920, while the station was in service.

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1. Harrison Gray Otis Estate trees

18500 Tarzana Drive, Tarzana, CA 91356

This "small grove of exotic trees" was probably planted in the 1910s by LA Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis on what was then "his large estate" in Tarzana. The estate is now gone, but the trees remain.

18500 Tarzana Drive
Tarzana, CA 91356

2. Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock Historical Landmark, Los Angeles, CA

The 150-foot-tall, sandstone Eagle Rock "is considered to be one of the most distinctive natural landmarks in the city of Los Angeles ... It has remained a consistent visual landmark throughout Eagle Rock's prehistory, its incorporation as a city in 1911, and its consolidation to the city of Los Angeles in 1923."

Eagle Rock Historical Landmark
Los Angeles, CA

3. Aoyama tree

119 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dating from 1920, this tree used to shade the Koyosan Buddhist Temple; the temple was demolished but "the tree has remained untouched and has strong associations with the cultural and historical development of Buddhism and the Japanese American community in Los Angeles."

119 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

4. Cactus

348 East 71st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90003

This cactus, probably planted in 1922, is completely nuts.

348 East 71st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90003

5. Edward Avenue street trees

North San Fernando Road & Edward Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065

These mature Mexican Fan Palms running from San Fernando Road to Avenue 32 are an "[e]xcellent intact example of subdivision improvements during the early part of the 20th century."

North San Fernando Road & Edward Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90065

6. Toluca Lake

9950 Toluca Lake Avenue, Toluca Lake, CA 91602

The six-acre Toluca Lake is an "excellent and rare example of a natural lake ... historically fed by underground springs." When the surrounding land was subdivided for a fancy neighborhood in 1923, "a series of community wells were installed along the lake's edge to maintain the water level."

9950 Toluca Lake Avenue
Toluca Lake, CA 91602

7. Moreton Bay fig

1420-1478 South Bundy Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90025

This Moreton Bay Fig dating to 1920 is rare for its age and size.

1420-1478 South Bundy Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90025

8. Seneca Avenue street trees

Los Feliz Boulevard & Seneca Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039

The Mexican Fan Palms on both sides of Seneca between Los Feliz and Glendale Boulevards "appear to have been planted by the city as a part of a streetscape improvement program. The trees are consistent, uniform, and extend for blocks."

Los Feliz Boulevard & Seneca Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90039

9. Oak tree

11631-11719 Bromont Avenue, Pacoima, CA 91331

This Live oak dating to 1920 sits on an island on Bromont Avenue and "predates the development surrounding it."

11631-11719 Bromont Avenue
Pacoima, CA 91331

10. Hallett Avenue street trees

North San Fernando Road & Hallett Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065

These Mexican Fan Palms running between San Fernando Road and Avenue 32 are "an [e]xcellent intact example of subdivision improvements during the early part of the 20th century."

North San Fernando Road & Hallett Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90065

11. Moreton Bay fig

Compton Avenue & East Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90002

This 1910 tree is an "[e]xcellent mature example of a Morton Bay Fig in a dense urban area that is generally lacking in street trees."

Compton Avenue & East Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90002

12. Valley Vista Live oak trees

15964 Valley Vista Boulevard, Encino, CA 91436

This stretch of Live oaks between 15964 Valley Vista and Densmore Avenue is "[s]ignificant as an early designed landscape in Encino ... that appears to have been planted in conjunction with the Rancho El Encino subdivision (1916)."

15964 Valley Vista Boulevard
Encino, CA 91436

13. Stansbury Avenue trees

Ventura Boulevard & Stansbury Avenue, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

These "mature street trees," running between Ventura and Valley Vista, are "associated with the subdivision of the tract for residential development in the late 1930s." They're mostly Jacaranda, with some Pines and Cedars thrown in.

Ventura Boulevard & Stansbury Avenue
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

14. Avalon Boulevard Mexican Fan Palm trees

East Lomita Boulevard & South Avalon Boulevard, Wilmington, CA 90744

The 218 Mexican fan palms lining Avalon from East Lomita Boulevard to First Street in Wilmington "were planted in 1931 by the City of Los Angeles as part of beautification efforts for the 1932 Olympic Games."

East Lomita Boulevard & South Avalon Boulevard
Wilmington, CA 90744

15. North Vermont Avenue Moreton Bay Fig trees

North Vermont Avenue & Aberdeen Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

These figs were planted in 1913 by landscape architect Wilbur Cook "on land sold to developer William Mead by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, who donated Griffith Park to the City of Los Angeles."

North Vermont Avenue & Aberdeen Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

16. Moraga Drive landscaped median

Bellagio Road & Moraga Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049

This short median (just a block long) is home to seven established, giant Deodar cedar trees, all of which are "spaced evenly in a lawn." Cute! These seven trees guard the entrance to the Moraga Drive neighborhood.

Bellagio Road & Moraga Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049

17. Avalon Mexican Fan Palms

East Florence Avenue & Avalon Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90003

Located in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood, the Mexican Fan palm trees that line Avalon Blvd between Florence and Manchester are considered an "excellent intact example of streetscape improvements from the period."

East Florence Avenue & Avalon Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90003

18. Studio City palm trees

Ventura Boulevard & Carpenter Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604

The mature palm trees on both sides of Ventura Boulevard run for a mile between Carpenter Avenue and Whitsett Avenue (Studio City's "primary linear commercial district). They were planted back in 1959 by the Studio City Beautiful Committee; the first trees went in at Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards. The project was part of a broader effort to spruce up the Valley's commercial areas that extended into the 1960s.

Ventura Boulevard & Carpenter Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

19. Palm Tree Allee of 55th and 56th Streets

South Normandie Avenue & West 55th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90062

These Washingtonia robusta palm trees likely date back to 1908, "the time of subdivision of the residential tract in which they are located." They line 55th and 56th streets between Normandie and Denker.

South Normandie Avenue & West 55th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90062

20. 43rd Street palm trees

East 43rd Street & McKinley Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90011

These old Mexican Fan Palms could date back to 1905, as they're thought to be connected to the development of the subdivision that rose around them. The palms are considered an "[e]xcellent and intact example of subdivision improvements during the early part of the 20th century." They can be found on 43rd Street between McKinley and Avalon.

East 43rd Street & McKinley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90011

21. Santa Monica Forestry Station Eucalyptus Grove

601 Latimer Road, Santa Monica, CA 90402

This grove planted at the Santa Monica Forestry Station (the nation's first experimental forestry station) was studied by scientists and was later partly responsible for the introduction of the eucalyptus tree into SoCal. The original eucalyptus were planted sometime between 1888 and 1920, while the station was in service.

601 Latimer Road
Santa Monica, CA 90402