Remembering “LA’s Kiddieland”

A new book looks back at Beverly Park of La Cienega and Beverly.

Retro Publishing

If you were a kid in the Los Angeles in the middle of the last century, there is a very good chance you once sat on a pony at the corner of La Cienega and Beverly.

It's hard to imagine now, given that there's a multi-story mall on the triangular spot where La Cienega Boulevard, San Vicente Boulevard, Beverly Boulevard, and Third Street meet and crisscross; but the famously monolithic Beverly Center wasn't always there.

What was there, long ago: ponies and rides and birthday parties and cotton candy and little cars made for little kids and wee roller coasters and Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds. Yep, we're talking about Beverly Park, a long-gone play place that has been just a nostalgic memory for nearly four decades.

And yet, it is now back, in book form, via "Beverly Park: LA's Kiddieland." The just released publication from Retro Image Publishing is flush with fun photographs -- over 175 "never before published" snapshots, in fact -- that celebrate the place that entertained young Angelenos from 1943 through 1974.

Jay Jennings is the author.

If you're looking at that initial date and thinking about how Beverly Park preceded a certain Anaheim theme park by a dozen years, you won't be surprised to learn that Walt Disney and his daughters were regulars at the kiddieland back in its early days. Lots of stars were, in fact; Lana Turner and Ernie Kovacs are pictured on the book's Facebook page.

Call it one of the early places that almost guaranteed a star-sighting. But stars mingled with other visitors, just wanting to hang with their children.

Yep, the Beverly Center stands tall on that very spot nowadays, but we're betting at least once a day a mall visitor reminisces that they once rode a pony on that very site. And if you're that person? You can buy the memories, or at least a memory of the memories, from Retro Image Publishing, for $24.99.

And for more fun pics -- plus some great ones in color -- visit Jay's "Beverly Park: LA's Kiddieland" Facebook page. Will you see yourself?

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