Where to see the ancient trees of Los Angeles - Orcutt Ranch
If you know Los Angeles, you know that its history goes way back. And I mean before the local mall was built, before the '50s, before the '20s, back into the 1800s, 1700s and even before that. And that includes my favorite part of Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley.
Time travel with me. Let's go to Orcutt Ranch. The address, by the way is 23600 Roscoe Boulevard. That's Roscoe between Valley Circle and Woodlake, west of Topanga. The area is called West Hills, and the ranch is just south of the Chatsworth Reservoir. Let's start in the 1920s when William Orcutt decided to build a vacation home in the shade of the giant oak trees. He called it the Rancho Sombra del Roble, which just means the ranch of shady oaks. Let's look around. Most people are interested in the story of Orcutt, or the architecture of the house - so here it is, he was rich and he build an elaborate mission revival house there in 1927. Now let's go look at the trees.
Since Southern California has been transformed so much, it's hard to imagine what it was like in the 1920s. There were hills with chaparral and Live Oak trees, not much more. It was a bleak and windy place. And the trees had been there for a long time. Hundreds of years, in fact.
Now waitaminute, don't jump to the conclusion that the entire San Fernando Valley was like that, it wasn't. It was mostly what we would consider just weeds nowadays, with maybe a sprinkling of Live Oaks. But in the northwest valley, there were ancient Live Oak trees, and they're still there.
The Live Oaks aren't the biggest trees in the valley, but they are definitely the oldest. They grew from acorns that fell to the ground hundreds of years ago, and when you see them, it's astonishing.
Thank you for time-traveling with me.
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Posted by Brad Hall