Friday, January 20, 2012

San Fernando Valley Historical Landmarks

Our game plan yesterday was to complete our tour of the historical sites of the valley. There is not much left of the Shadow Ranch which was active during the 1880s, presently a small portion of it is park. The ranch home is now a preschool and much of the grounds have been turned into sports fields. However, the fine grove of eucalyptus trees, said to have been the first ones in the valley brought over from Australia, are still standing. We detected their odor immediately when we walked toward them. In San Diego we stayed at a park surrounded by those trees, so we recognize that smell very easily. It is not a great smell, but not all that bad either.
Our next stop was Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center. It has nearly 100 of the oldest live oak trees in the valley. While walking on the nature trail we found one of them with a marker stating its age as 700 years old. The knars on its trunk as well as its height is quite impressive! It looks every bit its age.
While walking on the trail the distinctive call of a bird caught our attention, I researched that bird later and it may have been an oak titmouse. In that same area I espied a woodpecker. We also saw two blue jays chasing each other around a tree. It was a short nature trail but there was a lot to see. The Orcutt Ranch was built in the 1920s. W.Orcutt and his wife designed it with styles and symbols of the American Southwest. There is an inclusion of the Native American swastika above the door lintels. On that wall is also a series of pictures depicting two cocks fighting, a sport which is popular in Mexico.
As we were heading to our last spot of the day, a homestead acre and pioneer home, we drove on Woolsey Canyon Road which overlooks the San Fernando Valley. What a great view we had on that drive!

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