By Mary O’KEEFE
The Crescenta Valley Park has been given a face-lift thanks to a Girl Scout working on her Gold Award and a Boy Scout working on his Eagle project.
Girl Scout Nancy Au from troop 290 has taken on the task of creating a country garden at the entrance of the community building at CV Park as her Gold Award project. The award’s goal is to have the Girl Scout help the community while building leadership skills.
“I have had some donations like from the Do It Center in Burbank. Friends and family have helped too,” said Au.
She also used her own money to buy the soil, fertilizer and plants for the plot of ground, which was established a few years ago as a senior’s garden. The Scout’s plans are ambitious.
“This is just phase one,” she said.
The garden will consist of a variety of plants, many native to California. She envisions a real country garden that visitors can use and enjoy.
“Right now all we need is labor,” Au said.
Au is a junior at Village Christian High School and had fellow classmates like Juliana Quiroz and Cheyenne Yousef picking up racks and shovels to help. Also on hand was Brianne Johnson from Crescenta Valley High School, Mark Davis from the Friends of CV Park and many others rolled up their sleeves to help. Au’s parents also shoveled and prepared the soil for planting.
The project will continue for several months as the garden grows into a place that celebrates nature.
A few steps away Boy Scout Wesley Shaler from troop 317 was working on his Eagle project that will recall the history of Hindenburg, now Crescenta Valley, Park.
“I chose this project because I have lived here all my life and I think [people should know] the cultural importance of what transpired here. This land was at one time all private,” Shaler said.
The park was a cultural center for German-Americans from the ‘30s through the ‘50s, was the site of California’s first Oktoberfest celebration and was a rallying place site for Nazi rallies in the 1930s and 1940s.
At one time Crescenta Valley Park featured a five-foot bust of Paul von Hindenburg, president of the Weimar Republic during Hitler’s rise to power. It was removed in the late 1950s when Los Angeles County purchased the site.
Shaler said he is of German descent and wanted to bring the history of those who chose Crescenta Valley as a place to immigrate before and after WWII.
“The first Oktoberfest was held here,” he added.
The German-American League privately owned the park until 1957 when it was sold to Los Angeles County.
Shaler said that Mike Lawler, president of the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley, is a friend of his troop’s Scout master Richard Toyon. Between Lawler, Toyon and research the Scout pieced together the park’s history – not just the infamous past but what the park meant to those who immigrated to America. He placed a plaque that gives a brief history of the park on a boulder at the end of one of the footbridges on the far west end of the park. In another area of the park he has placed a larger sign that gives a more detailed history.
The project was a huge undertaking with permitting from the city of Glendale, research and getting the plaques made.
“Everything was equally difficult. From getting the proper permission to the bronze plaque to physically installing the sign,” Shaler said.
He added that the entire history of the park is important and he hoped his project would help people understand more about Crescenta Valley.