With the news that Exposition Park will soon become the home of George Lucas's huge, flying saucer-y Museum of Narrative Art, now seems like a good time to take stock of what's already in the park—and what's on the way.
Officially named Exposition Park in 1910, the space was previously known as Agricultural Park and served as a popular fairground and racetrack starting in 1872. The prevalence of alcohol and gambling in the park eventually convinced some of Los Angeles's Victorian-minded officials that a thorough transformation was necessary, and in 1909, the city, state, and county began making plans to overhaul the park.
The result was a public space planned in the City Beautiful tradition: open, neatly organized, and architecturally impressive. Of course, the park has undergone a lot of changes since then.
Now broken up by narrow roadways and dotted with parking lots, the park is somewhat difficult to navigate and conspicuously lacking in green space. Though it features many individually popular attractions, the park itself is rarely treated as a destination unto itself.
But could that be changing? As news came in about the new museum's arrival, Mayor Eric Garcetti told the LA Times that the new institution could help transform Exposition Park into Los Angeles's version of Central Park (though, with an eclectic mix of architectural styles and multiple surface lots, many New Yorkers would probably argue that it already is). He went on to call the Lucas Museum the "jewel in the crown" of the park's continuing evolution.
With that very optimistic assessment as a starting point, let's dig into the park's history and future by breaking down its individual components.Read More