HISTORY OF THE PARK
Nestled in the heart of the country’s largest urban forest, Beverly Hills
was once hailed as the “garden city of the world” by Wilbur D. Cook, the
landscape architect credited with creating the City’s first streets. Central
to this garden city is Beverly Gardens Park, steeped in rich history - from
its original design to the philanthropy and community uses through the
years that have preserved it as a favorite destination.
As part of the original subdivision of Rancho Rodeo de los Aguas, the
park was first created in 1911 with an eye toward function, dividing the
commercial and residential districts. The park was later designed by
Ralph Cornell with a master plan aimed at integrating innovative style
for multi-purpose recreational needs.
The park’s long-lasting support through philanthropy started with the original
gift of the land itself. It continued with the Electric Fountain - a gift from Harold
Lloyd’s mother, with installation funding from the Women’s Club of Beverly
Hills - which pays homage to the area’s Native American Tongva tribal roots,
represented in the Gage sculpture at the top. Another piece of art, donated years
later, came from a more personal source. “Hunter and Hounds”, the war-riddled
bronze by French sculptor Jacquemart, was originally transported to Beverly Hills to commemorate local resident Longyear’s son, killed in battle during WWI.
More recently, the famed Beverly Hills monument sign, which had gone the way
of the lily pond in years past, was recreated in a community-backed project led
and funded by resident and author Robert S. Anderson in cooperation with the
Rotary Club of Beverly Hills.
It is now time to continue this rich history of philanthropy, for the community
to come together and do our share to leave the park better than we found it
for the next generation.
Prolific landscape architect Ralph Cornell pioneered ideas about preserving
native plants and indigenous landscapes, championing the necessity of green
space for enlightenment and refreshment of the soul. He was at the center of a
small group of landscape architects who anticipated rapid urbanization and
designed for both function and growth. Among some of his most prestigious
work were the master plan commissions of the college campus at UCLA, the
Torrey Pines Preserve, and the Beverly Gardens Park in the 1930's.