LA Designates 4,200-Acre Historic-Cultural Monument

LOS ANGELES -- Griffith Park, the largest urban park in the country, was designated an historic-cultural monument Tuesday by a unanimous vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

Monument status allows the Cultural Heritage Commission to delay the issuance of a demolition permit for up to 360 days, providing staff with time to evaluate preservation alternatives. It also requires an environmental review to determine how historic buildings may be adversely impacted by construction.

In finding that Griffith Park is an historic-cultural monument, the council exempted major parts of the park -- the Los Angeles Zoo, Autry National Center, Toyon Canyon Landfill, Marty Tregnan Gold Academy, Roosevelt Municipal Golf Course and the freeways and ramps that cut through the area.

"What we have here before us is a great designation of the greatest gift, the greatest gift that ever was given to the city of Los Angeles," said Councilman Tom LaBonge."This beautiful park is truly the heart of Los Angeles, the heart of Southern California."

Col. Griffith J. Griffith and his wife donated 3,015 acres of Los Feliz Rancho to the city in December 1896. Griffith later donated another 1,000 acres along the Los Angeles River.

The Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and Greek Theatre are among the three dozen elements that make the 4,217-acre park culturally significant, according to the Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust.

Griffith's great-grandson, Van Griffith, said he was astonished and delighted by the passion Angelenos have for the park.

"Hopefully this (designation) will just add another layer of protection against development to the future of the park so that future generations can enjoy the park the way we all have," he said.

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