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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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Harrison Gray Otis Estate trees

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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.

Eagle Rock

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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."

Aoyama tree

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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."

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

Edward Avenue street trees

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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."

Toluca Lake

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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."

Moreton Bay fig

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

Seneca Avenue street trees

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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."

Oak tree

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

Hallett Avenue street trees

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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."

Moreton Bay fig

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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."

Valley Vista Live oak trees

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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)."

Stansbury Avenue trees

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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.

Avalon Boulevard Mexican Fan Palm trees

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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."

North Vermont Avenue Moreton Bay Fig trees

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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."

Moraga Drive landscaped median

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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.

Avalon Mexican Fan Palms

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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."

Studio City palm trees

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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.

Palm Tree Allee of 55th and 56th Streets

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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.

43rd Street palm trees

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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.

Santa Monica Forestry Station Eucalyptus Grove

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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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Harrison Gray Otis Estate trees

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.

Eagle Rock

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."

Aoyama tree

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."

Cactus

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

Edward Avenue street trees

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."

Toluca Lake

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."

Moreton Bay fig

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

Seneca Avenue street trees

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."

Oak tree

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

Hallett Avenue street trees

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."

Moreton Bay fig

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."

Valley Vista Live oak trees

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)."

Stansbury Avenue trees

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.

Avalon Boulevard Mexican Fan Palm trees

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."

North Vermont Avenue Moreton Bay Fig trees

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."

Moraga Drive landscaped median

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.

Avalon Mexican Fan Palms

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."

Studio City palm trees

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.

Palm Tree Allee of 55th and 56th Streets

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.

43rd Street palm trees

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.

Santa Monica Forestry Station Eucalyptus Grove

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.