New Park Celebrates the Indigenous Tongva People of Los Angeles

TongvaPark

One of the perks of living in the Venice/Santa Monica area is of course the access to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean, the Boardwalk at Venice Beach, 3rd Street Promenade and, of course, the famous Santa Monica Pier. The city of Santa Monica in the last 30 years has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for Europeans, Asians and other tourists, in addition to being a magnet for Angelenos in Southern California.

The original inhabitants of the city of Santa Monica were the Tongva people, who named the area “Kecheek” in the indigenous language. In 1769 the Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolá set up camp near the present location of Barrington Avenue and Ohio Avenue, which began the history of the European conquest in this area. The Tongva people who inhabited the Los Angeles Basin and the Channel Islands off Ventura were also known as the Gabrieleño, Fernandeño and Nicoleño, which were the Europeanized names given to these indigenous people after the arrival of the Spanish and the beginning of colonization.

A new park named “Tongva Park,” celebrating the origins of the area and its people, has been built connecting the Santa Monica City Hall, Courthouse, the Civic Auditorium, parking and the very popular pier. Although not large in size and at a cost of $42.3 million dollars, the 6.2 acre park provides plenty of amenities such as children’s playgrounds, gardens, picnic areas, public art, an amphitheater and several lookout spots that offer scenic views of the ocean and the pier, and makes for great people watching.

The park was dedicated on Oct. 13, 2013, and it was built by James Corner Field Operations, the firm behind New York’s High Line, an adaptive re-use of an old one-mile section of a New York Central Railroad line transformed into an elevated linear park.

For more information, visit smciviccenterparks.com.

Humberto Capiro is a Contributing Writer for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter: @HumbertoCapiro

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