FIVE POINTS ART MONUMENT
For the past several years, the intersection of Burbank Boulevard, Victory Boulevard and Victory Place has been known as “Five Points”. Under the guidance of then Mayor Vander Borght in 2006, the City Council approved the development of this gateway public art project at the Five Points intersection and appropriated both Public Art Funds and Golden State Bond proceeds to fund this effort. In addition, a Site Specific Art Committee was appointed by Council to move the project forward and conduct a nationwide artist search for the Five Points Art Installation. The Committee included members of the existing Burbank Boulevard Beautification Streetscape Project Committee, representatives from the City Manager’s Office, Community Development, Public Works, Park, Recreation and Community Services Department and the project Landscape Architect. In addition, representatives from the Heritage Commission, Art in Public Places Committee, the Burbank Boulevard business district, and two community members formed part of the Committee.
In January 2007, Council selected South Pasadena based artist Andrea Favilli to create the “slightly larger than life” 10 foot bronze sculpture of Dr. David Burbank. The City of Burbank takes its name from this “larger than life” man who drove the great migration westward in the mid 1800s’. The sculpture of Dr. Burbank was hand fabricated in Italy.
The statue of Dr. David Burbank was dedicated on January 12, 2010. Dr. David Burbank stands in front of a fifty foot flagpole on a large pedestal which features iconic that directly relate to Burbank’s history. Surrounding Dr. Burbank, at the base of the statue, are four plaques commemorating the long relationships that Burbank has with its four sister cities: Solna, Sweden, Incheon, Korea, Gaborone, Botswana and Ota, Japan. Buried beneath the stature is a time capsule.
Members from the Heritage Commission, along with assistance from the Park, Recreation and Community Services facilitated the creation of the 2009 Burbank time capsule with the goal to convey a snapshot of everyday life in Burbank and generate a window into the past for the futures residents of Burbank.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN PARK
Abraham Lincoln Park was named in recognition of the former use of this site as the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, which opened its doors in 1923. Originally, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School consisted of two classrooms and one kindergarten plus an office and a teacher’s room. The addition of grades 4,5 and 6 necessitated two new classrooms to be built in 1927. Further growth required additions at three other times. Abraham Lincoln Elementary School was closed on June 30, 1979. After closing as an elementary school, the facility served as the adult education center from 1979 to 1983. The site served as the Burbank Unified School District administrative offices from December 1983 through April 2000. Abraham Lincoln Park and the Buena Vista Branch Library were dedicated and opened to the public on December 7, 2002.
BEL AIRE BALL FIELD
Discussion were initially held in 1955 regarding the future use of the propose Bel Aire reservoir as a recreation site. In 1969, funds were appropriated for the installation of a ball diamond to be located at the intersection of Bel Aire and Cambridge Drives.
BRACE CANYON PARK
Discussions began in 1953 with the Public Service Department regarding the possibility of placing ballfields on their Reservoir #5 location. Subsequently, plans for a park facility were proposed and Brace Canyon neighborhood park was developed. Although the park was opened on May 5, 1955, it was dedicated on January 25, 1963 as Brace Canyon Park after the naming of the surrounding canyon by the U.S. Geological Survey. The rose garden at the entrance to Brace Canyon Park was dedicated in memory of Robert Lundigan shortly after his death in 1990.
Daisy Wong Tennis Court (Tennis Court)
Daisy Wong was a contract tennis instructor who served the City and her class participants for many years. She was instrumental in developing team tennis programs, was a tennis advocate and was often seen providing maintenance to the tennis courts as well. During her long career, she taught most of her classes at Brace Canyon Park.
In 1991, the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, now Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) purchased the Burbank Branch (Chandler Boulevard) railroad right-of-way from the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. The Cities of Burbank and Los Angeles agreed to jointly purchase the right-of-way with MTA. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company has officially “abandoned all rail service along Chandler Boulevard, except for a portion of track that extends 300 feet west of Victory Boulevard”.
Along Chandler Bikeway, there are three bronze sculptures that have been installed along the Chandler Bikeway. The first piece, “The Wagon Pull”, a bronze sculpture designed by W. Stanley Proctors, was installed in December of 2005. This art piece is located at the corner of Chandler Boulevard and Keystone Street. The second piece along the Chandler Bikeway, “Family Outing”, a bronze sculpture designed by Gary Lee Price, was installed in May 2007. The most recent installment was a bronze sculpture designed by local Burbank artist Shiela Cavalluzzi. Tthe “Trackwalker” was dedicated in April 2011.
PERMANENT CHARITIES EARTHWALK PARK
Permanent Charities of the Entertainment Industries was founded by Samuel Goldwyn, Warner Brothers, James Cagney, Joan Crawford and other industry leaders. Their mission is to coordinate the philanthropy of the entertainment industry in order to achieve maximum social impact within the community.
COMPASS TREE PARK
According to history, 4 sycamore trees were planted in 1817 by Spanish Padres to mark a landmark resting point situated halfway between the San Gabriel and San Fernando missions. Each tree denoted the 4 points of the compass and were used to navigate the route between the missions. Although the original trees are no longer standing, 4 sycamore trees were planted to mark this historic site. The small park site was dedicated Compass Tree Park on April 26, 2002.
DEBELL GOLF COURSE
Joseph A. DeBell was a philanthropist, humanitarian and California pioneer. He owned hundreds of acres of land that extended into the foothills of the Verdugo Mountain wilderness. In 1954, Mr. DeBell, a Southern California developer, tended an offer of property to the City for the golf course. As of 1956, the City’s acquisition of land by means of gift, purchased and eminent domain amounted to approximately 1,008 acres.
In 1958, construction commence for the 18 whole golf courses (DeBell). The 18-hole "DeBell" course at the DeBell Golf Club facility in Burbank, California features 5,633 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71. The course rating is 68.8 and it has a slope rating of 114 on Kikuyu grass. Designed by William F. Bell, ASGCA/William H. Johnson, ASGCA/(R) Richard Bigler, the DeBell Golf Course opened in 1959.
The original clubhouse, built in April 1970, had served its economic life and was functionally obsolete; therefore, an effort was undertaken to replace the building with a more updated and modern building. The total estimated cost to complete the new clubhouse in 2006 was $8 million. On January 5, 2009 the newly renovated DeBell Clubhouse was opened to the public. The Clubhouse, which was designed in a craftsman style, features an art piece sculpture of a golfer in bronze commissioned by local Burbank resident Sheila Cavalluzzi. In addition to a newly renovated clubhouse, the DeBell Golf Course celebrated its 50th year anniversary as a Burbank Municipal Golf Course in June of 2009.
GEORGE A. IZAY PARK
In 1935, the City approved the purchase of land at this site in the 1940/41 budget year. Subsequent acreage was approved for purchase from Gene Autry. Discussions were held in 1941 with respect to the increase in the defense industry in Burbank. The Lockheed and Vega plants anticipated an increase in their employees by approximately 50,000 by the following year. As a result, certain portions of the property were authorized for lease to the U.S Government to construct a community building (Olive Recreation Center) on site.
This building was to be used primarily for the benefit of defense industry workers. In 1942 the City of Burbank purchased the recreation building from the U.S Government for use by the community. The Superintendent of Parks then presented plans to the Park Commission for the development of a recreational facility including a sports complex, bleachers, and children’s play area. By 1947, the 15 acre park included the recreation building, Memorial Stadium, the Auld Lang Syne Building and Little Theatre. The Memorial Stadium (originally dedicated on May 30, 1947) was renamed Burbank City Stadium and dedicated as such on October 5, 1996. The City desired to “pay homage to the memory of those who gave their last full measure of devotion to their country”.
The facility served as a springtime home for Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Browns. Such greats as Satchel Paige, Willie Mays and Bobbie Thompson played on its field. It also served as a practice field for the L.A. Rams, hosted the first tryout for the San Diego Chargers, and played host to the annual Scottish Games. The Stadium was demolished due to structural deterioration in 1995. A portion of the façade was preserved along with the two original plaques. They were rededicated on the 50th anniversary of the awarding of Memorial Stadium on April 15, 1995.
On September 25, 1984 the Park was dedicated and renamed after George Izay. Mr. Izay worked for the Park, Recreation and Community Services Department for over 28 years (the last 21 of those years in the capacity of Department Director). Under his direction, the Department initiated several impressive programs, highlighted by the construction of the Joslyn Adult Center. He was instrumental in the creation of special programs for senior citizens, including nutrition and transportation. In 1976, the Department was awarded the National Gold Medal by the Sports Foundation of America. His love of trees also made Burbank a more beautiful place to live, and such dedication to urban forestry enabled the City to receive the Tree City U.S.A. award every year since 1977. He was a member of the Rotary Club, YMCA Board of Directors, Burbank American Legion, California Park and Recreation Society, National Park and Recreation Society and International Shade Tree Association.
Hank Riggio Playground
(Playground within Park)
Hank Riggio was an advocate for the disabled population in Burbank which included the development of disabled play equipment. He was a native Burbank resident who was stricken with polio. He dedicated himself to promote programs to help fight polio and aid the disabled in the community. The Playground was dedicated in 1982.
(Bill) Burton Field (Field within Park)
Bill Burton was a Burbank Park and Recreation employee for over 33 yrs. Under his leadership, the level of play for Men’s Slow/Fast Pitch and Women’s Fast Pitch Leagues was expanded and improved. He helped “invent” the rubber home plate extension, created the “intentional base-on-balls” rule which helped speed up the game, invented the now universally used California tie-breaker system to avoid ties in standings, developed several innovative programs (i.e. Boys’ Bantam Basketball) and established a policy for the collection of Program Improvement Fees to support facility enhancements. He was recognized by the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation with a Lifetime Membership and by the Industrial Recreation Council (AIRC) with an Outstanding Contribution Award.
Jack Smock Field (Field within Park)
Jack Smock was a long time coach in the Burbank Ponytail Softball Program. He also began the Winter Amateur Softball Association (ASA) for Girls in Burbank. He received the Bronze Coach Award from ASA, the Honorary Service Award from the PTA, a Mayor’s Commendation, and a Certificate of Merit from Bellarmine Jefferson High School.
Barbara Rownd Field (Field within Park)
Barbara Rownd was a Burbank Park and Recreation employee for 33 years and retired in 1983. She was an advocate for the creation of a “new” position to develop girls and women’s sports and became the first female employee to work in the area of organized sports. She founded the Ponytail Softball League in 1957 which was to become a national model for girls’ fast pitch softball program. Under her supervision, all organized sports programs that were provided to this community were done so with the philosophy that good sportsmanship was equally important to the competition and she was known (and respected) for her strong enforcement of the Player Code of Ethics. Barbara Rownd was one of first women to join SCMAF and was recognized with their highest honor, the “Merit Award,” in 1977.
Lefty Thomas Field (Field
Lefty Thomas was a teacher, coach and counselor at John Burrough’s High School for approximately 25 years. He also coached in the Hap Minor Program for many years and served on the Burbank Athletic Federation for over a decade.
JOSLYN ADULT CENTER
Marcellus L. Joslyn was an attorney, developer, and philanthropist. In 1960, he created the Marcellus L. Joslyn Foundation which emphasized developing Southern California senior facilities. He donated $75,000 of the $250,000 needed to build the Joslyn Adult Center. All senior adult activities were then officially transferred from the former Auld Lang Syne building to the new Joslyn Adult Center located at George Izay Park (formerly Olive Avenue Park). The Joslyn Adult Center was dedicated September 11, 1972.
Frank Nardo Auditorium (within the
Frank Nardo made many community contributions including: serving on the Burbank Coordinating Council, Burbank Parochial League, Burbank Men’s Senior Golf Club, Burbank Senior Citizen Board (10 years), Salvation Army, BTAC, Supporters of Senior Services, and the Joslyn House Committee (14 years). He was also instrumental in securing land and building baseball fields for practices and games for the Burbank Parochial League. In 1989, he received the Sertoma Club’s “Service to Mankind” Award and in 1993, with his wife Libby, he received Burbank’s Older American Volunteer Service Award. The Nardo Auditorium was dedicted June 29, 1999.
Hazel Walker Auditorium
(within the Joslyn Center)
Hazel Walker was a City employee from 1957 to 1976. She was instrumental in the development of many of Burbank’s Senior Services and Programs, including the Home Delivered Meal Program, Outreach, Transportation, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and recreation programs. Ms. Walker served on the United Way Board, managed the Burbank Farmer’s Market for many years, and was also the recipient of the L.A. County Outstanding Older American Award. She began her career teaching tiny tot classes at Verdugo Park prior to her assuming senior programming duties at the Auld Lang Syne building (which was demolished to construct the Creative Arts Center). The Hazel Walker Auditorium was dedicated December 12, 1977.
JOHNNY CARSON PARK
In 1942, negotiations with the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power resulted in the purchase of approximately 51 acres for a future park development (10 acres of which were to be reserved for a future hospital site) in an effort to beautify the L.A. River area. Some portions of the land that were deemed unsuitable for park uses were sold to St. Joseph Hospital and NBC throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s. In June 1943, the site was officially named Buena Vista Park due to its proximity to the street of the same name. The construction of the Ventura Freeway further encroached onto the acreage. In 1968 an agreement was signed with the City of Los Angeles to lease a portion of Griffith Park to be used for park purposes (from Riverside to the flood control channel, bounded by Catalina and Buena Vista Streets). On April 29, 1992, Buena Vista Park was renamed after Johnny Carson to honor the host of NBC’s Tonight Show. The renaming of the former Buena Vista Park site was set to coincide with Mr. Carson's retirement from the Tonight Show.
Tonight Show Playground
The Tonight Show Playground was named in honor of the $15,000 donation made in 1993 by Jay Leno through the Jay Leno Foundation to help raise funds for its construction. Funding also came from the Youth Endowment Services Fund.
The area now known as McCambridge Park was originally referred to as the Civic Center area in the early 1920’s and 1930’s. In 1937, the Superintendent of Parks presented the Parks Commission with a preliminary plan for Civic Center Park. Discussions held regarding the funding for the proposed plan led to the submission of an application for the project to the Works Progress Administration in Washington, D.C. which was approved. In 1939, construction of the park site commenced to include construction of a recreation building, tennis, volleyball, basketball and badminton courts, softball diamond, picnic areas, wading pool, and playground.
In 1942, Civic Center Park was renamed Glenoaks Park. Improvements continued with the addition of a Rose Garden, War Memorial, swimming pool, additional tennis courts, and parking. In 1953, Glenoaks Park was renamed McCambridge Memorial Park after James H. McCambridge, who was employed as General Manager of the Public Service Department from 1925-1952 and City Manager from June to August of 1952. He was credited with assisting with the acquisition of many parks in the Burbank system.
John “Johnny” Morse Tennis Court (Tennis Court)
Johnny Morse was a 50-year employee and a pioneer in establishing tennis programs in Burbank. He initially formed the Burbank Municipal Tennis Club. He retired in October 1977 but was rehired to a part time Special Activity leader position at the McCambridge Park Rifle Range. His interest and dedication were the catalysts in molding the tennis programs of today.
Miller Park is used in collaboration with the Burbank Unified School District’s Joaquin Miller Elementary School. It is named after Joaquin Miller a colorful American poet nicknamed the "Poet of the Sierras". Miller was championed, although not enthusiastically, by the famous American author and poet Bret Harte, who consequentially Bret Harte Elementary, also located in the City of Burbank, was named after. The Joaquin Miller Elementary was established in 1922 and renovated from 1997-2003. The school serves seven hundred sixty-eight students in Grades Kindergarten through Grade 5.
LARRY L. MAXAM PARK
In 1947, ten acres of land for a future park site (Pacific Park) was purchased. Five acres of that purchase were deeded to the State of California as a site for a new National Guard Armory. It was hoped that the two parcels might be developed cooperatively so as to provide maximum utility for both State and the people of Burbank. Pacific Park was officially dedicated on September 7, 1952.
In 1948, the National Guard requested a 99 year lease for a portion of the property for use as an Armory. A resolution was adopted by the City in 1950 finding certain land to be impractical for park purposes and then selling to the State of Armory.
Pacific Park was renamed to Larry L. Maxam Memorial. Larry Maxam was born January 9, 1949 in Glendale, California. He attended Emerson Elementary School, John Muir Junior High School in Burbank and Burbank High School in Burbank, CA, leaving the latter in 1964. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in Los Angeles in 1965 and served with the Marine Aviation Detachment, Naval Air Technical Training Center in Jacksonville, Florida. He was promoted to private first class on April 1, 1966 and to Lance Corporal on January 1, 1967. Lance Corporal Maxam next served as a rifleman with Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2/8, in the Caribbean. In July 1967, he arrived in the Republic of Vietnam and served as rifleman, radioman and squad leader with Company D, Operation Kentucky. On February 2, 1968 he was killed in action at Cam Lo District Headquarters in Quang, Tri Province, Vietnam.
Corporal Maxam was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty”. Corporal Maxam was buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Oahu, Hawaii.
On Saturday, April 17, 2010 Pacific Park was renamed Larry L. Maxam Memorial Park in honor of Corporal Larry L. Maxam, Medal of Honor Recipient.
PALM PARK AND BALLFIELD
Palm Park is one of the oldest parks in Burbank. In 1926, the Parks Commission authorized the removal of 50 palm trees from San Fernando Road to be transplanted to Palm Avenue and deemed that the park be named Palm Park. Formal improvements did not begin until 1969 at the #4 Reservoir site. In conjunction with the construction of the reservoir at this site, a ballfield was planned for the top of the reservoir.
RALPH M. FOY PARK
As early as 1952, plans were discussed to develop a park site at the City owned property at Hollywood Way and Victory Blvd. Funds were obtained from a bond sale and Northwest Park was officially dedicated December 29, 1972. The Park was later named after Ralph Foy who served 17 years as the Public Service Department General Manager during his 42 years as a City employee.
Walter Schafer Field (Field within Park)
Walter (Tilly) Schafer was a City employee from 1959 to 1977. During most of this time, he served as Burbank’s Umpire-in-Chief. He was known for his gruff, steely look, but had a tremendous sense of humor. He was instrumental in creating an exemplary core of umpires. Although he was seriously ill in his latter years, he continued to provide professional services to the sports programs.
M. Tuttle Senior Center
Donald M. Tuttle was an outstanding Burbank community service figure and an active participant in numerous community organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Kiwanis, and Burbank Chamber of Commerce for over 40 years. He was named Burbank Citizen of the Year in 1953 and was involved in the welfare, concerns and activities of the senior citizens of Burbank. He developed numerous programs and was the Chairman of the Senior Citizen Board. The Center was named in his honor in February of 1981.
ROBERT E. GROSS PARK
Robert Elsworth Gross was born in Massachusetts on May 11, 1897. He graduated in 1919 from Harvard and became an investment banker specializing in aviation. In June 1932, Gross and a small group of investors purchased the bankrupt Lockheed Aircraft Corporation for $40,000 from the depths of the great depression. Mr. Gross led the revival of the company through the massive growth of WW2 and subsequent diversification as an aerospace giant in postwar years. Robert E. Gross, the visionary Chief Executive and Chairman of Lockheed died September 3, 1961 and was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
ROBERT E. LUNDIGAN PARK
Robert E, Lundigan was a Park and Recreation Board member for 10 years. He campaigned for the development of the Korean and Vietnam War Memorial at McCambridge Park, the development of Brace Canyon Park and programs for the disabled community. The rose garden at the Brace Canyon Park entrance was dedicated in his honor shortly after his death in 1990. Lundigan Park was dedicated on October 10, 1992.
ROBERT OVROM PARK AND COMMUNITY CENTER
The park was named after Robert R. “Bud” Ovrom, a former City Manager of Burbank. Mr. Ovrom served as Burbank’s City Manager from June 1985 to March 2003. He envisioned a need for recreational opportunities within this area of the City to help foster further advancement of the community. Mr. Ovrom is also a longtime Burbank resident.
Ovrom Park is the first newly active park to be developed in the City of Burbank since 2002. The Park also addresses a need for recreation opportunities in the South San Fernando neighborhood, an area of the community most underserved with park acreage and most impacted by high-density residential development. Construction of Ovrom Park began in December of 2007 and was completed in the fall of 2008. The Park provides one acre of park space and a 7,025 square foot building providing programmed recreation opportunities, two children’s play areas complete with play equipment, two picnic areas, a lighted basketball court, restrooms and open areas for passive use and play.
The Art in Public Places component of the project features landscaping as art. The formal and functional park entrance at the corner of San Fernando Boulevard and Cedar Avenue is enhanced by the use of open space and vegetation. On May 12, 2009 the South San Fernando Redevelopment Project was dedicated as Robert R. Ovrom Park and Community Center, recognizing the former Burbank City Manager, Robert “Bud” R. Ovrom’s significant role in the City of Burbank from 1985-2003.
SANTA ANITA PLAYLOT
In 1930, a property totaling .34 acres was purchased for the construction of the South Santa Anita Tennis Courts. The property existed as two tennis courts from 1930-1950. In 1974, the Park, Recreation and Community Services Board suggest the site, named the Santa Anita Playlot, to be used as a “test” case to determine if this type of park would be successful in meeting the needs of the community. The Santa Anita Playlot dedicated September 7, 1973.
STOUGH CANYON PARK
Oliver James Stough was born on April 18, 1828 in Ohio. He participated in the Mexican American War in 1846 and served with General U.S. Grant. After the war, he lived in Illinois (near Chicago) where he made a fortune in land speculation and construction. He was involved in business endeavors in California and bought the first installment of what became a huge Burbank property in 1883. He owned a 5000 acre ranch that extended to the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains. He built a sizeable house on Sixth Street between what later became Cornell Drive and Bethany Road. He met his future wife, Florence A. Stough, at the ripe age of 60. She told him that she would not be interested in a youthful man of 60 years, so he told her that he was 70 years old! From that point on, he added 10 years to his own age in order to win the heart of his future wife.
On April 1, 1916, the land (128.81 acres) which is now Stough Park was acquired by the City by deed of gift from Oliver J. Stough for exclusive use as public parkland. It was recorded that the area should always be designated as Stough Park. By 1919, most of his land had been sold to a land developer. The plan was to develop Burbank into one of the most modern and progressive cities in the Southwest. Unfortunately, the plans were never realized and only partial development was completed. The keynote of the proposed plan was to establish a Civic Center. Part of the land included the parcels eventually developed for Civic Center Park (which is now McCambridge Park). O.J. Stough was one of the last surviving veterans of the Mexican American War and died on September 25, 1925, at the age of 97. The improvement of the roadway and upper portion of “Stough Park” known as “Inspiration Point” began in 1934.
By 1950 extensive picnicking facilities, day and overnight camping sites, and a wading pool were available for public use. In 1951, the Starlight Amphitheatre was completed and a 3 lane paved access road was installed. As of 1956, the City’s acquisition of land by means of gifts, purchase and eminent domain amounted to approximately 1,008 acres. The construction of an 18-hole Golf Course (DeBell) in 1958 eliminated some camping, picnicking facilities, and wading pool. The Stough Canyon Nature Center was built just up the road on Walnut Avenue and was dedicated on March 24, 2001.
The summer of 1935 marked the first scheduled use of the natural bowl nestled at the base of the Verdugo Mountains. The site, situated in the northerly portion of Stough Park, is part of the land acquired by the City via deed of gift from Oliver J. Stough in 1916. Salvage lumber and discarded telephone poles were transformed into the original seating. The natural shaped ravine provided exceptional acoustics. In 1944, the Bowl served as the rehearsal site for the newly founded Burbank Symphony under the direction of Maestro Leo Damiani, who founded the Burbank Symphony and Burbank Youth Symphony. In 1946, surplus generators substituted electricity for lanterns, flashlights and matches; platforms were installed to construct a stage; canvas tarps were draped between trees to protect musicians from the weather; and the roads were improved. Facility improvements continued each successive year.
The Starlight Bowl gained in popularity with the community hosting school programs, benefits, and City-sponsored performances. Increasing costs forced the Bowl to close in 1979. It temporarily reopened in 1984 under a private operator and then permanently reopened in 1992 under City management. Spectators now enjoy high quality entertainment complimented by great sight lines and a commanding view of the San Fernando Valley and City of Los Angeles.
In the early 1950’s the residents of the valley area of the City lobbied the Parks Commission to acquire and develop a park in their area of town. Several discussions were held with regard to the purchase of the “Eagles Ranch” property and in 1954 plans for development were underway. Construction commenced in 1955 and the property was renamed Burbank Valley Park. Improvements continued and the Burbank Skate Park was built for the youth of the community. After this addition, the park was rededicated on January 11, 2003.
In 1943 the property owner of a parcel of land on Verdugo Avenue offered to donate to the City 1 acre of land to be used as a library or park. He also deeded approximately 3 acres and sold another four acres to the City as well. Improvements to this newly acquired 8 acre lot began immediately and the site was named Verdugo Park. Additional improvements continued throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s to include picnic areas, a recreation center with pool and gymnasium, playgrounds and a youth log cabin.
Hugh Kennedy Vickroy was born in 1841 in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. He was the First Superintendent of the University of Illinois Farm School and later became a fruit expert and farmer. He came to California in 1895 and ranched in Burbank until 1923. He was a successful a lemon producer in the Hollywood area, and became president of the Cahuenga Valley Lemon Exchange. In 1903, voters approved the incorporation of the City of Hollywood and Mr. Vickroy was elected as one of the city’s first members of the Board of Trustees. On September 16, 1924, Mr. Vickroy deeded a triangular shaped property to the City of Burbank as a gift for parkland. It was the old home site of one of the City’s pioneer families, the Tuso family. As a condition of the gift, the park would be named after Vickroy. The City of Burbank dedicated its first parkland, Vickroy Park, on May 31, 1925. He died on March 11, 1930 at age 88.
WHITNALL HIGHWAY NORTH AND SOUTH PARKS
The parks were named after the street, Whitnall Highway, which was in honor of Gordon Whitnall, a former City of Los Angeles Director of Planning. The unusual divided street was laid out in 1927 to be part of a parkway network designed to connect the Valley's scattered communities, but the plan was never executed.
WILDWOOD CANYON PARK
The City Council authorized the purchase of the Wildwood Canyon property in 1953 and work began to transform the area into a park (including the police pistol range). By the dedication date, July of 1963, the roadway and flood control channel were completed, restrooms and hiking trails were accessible and native trees and shrubs had been planted throughout the park.