Barn work put out to bid

By Charles COOPER

The city of Glendale is expected to start work this spring on phase four of the restoration of the stone barn at Deukmejian Park to serve as a meeting hall and museum for the wilderness park in La Crescenta.

The council Tuesday approved plans and specifications for the seismic strengthening of the barn, which was built and used by the Le Mesnager family in 1914 as an early winery in the area.

More work needs to be done when funding becomes available for display, exhibit and audio-visual equipment.

The 709-acre park was substantially damaged during the Station Fire, but the barn and area around the entrance to the park escaped most damage.

About $1.2 million in funding is available for the project, consisting of two grants from the Santa Monica Conservancy and one from the county open space district. The project was originally put out to bid last year, but the bidding was cancelled when the state put a hold on many projects because of the continuing state budget difficulties.

Architectural Resource Group of San Francisco, the city’s consultant, has done some redesign work. The project is expected to take about seven months and to cost about $1 million. George Le Mesnager, a French emigrant, prominent winegrower, and prominent Los Angeles businessman, acquired the property in 1898.

Between 1914 and 1918, the stone barn and shed along with a number of other buildings that no longer exist were built. The barn was used as a stable, for the storage of equipment and for the storage of grapes prior to their shipment to the Le Mesnagers’ Los Angeles Winery. It operated in this capacity only until 1920, when prohibition ended the winemaking industry. In 1933, prohibition was repealed and a winemaking operation once again began in the barn.

In December of that year a massive fire swept the hillside area, gutting the barn and shed and destroying the winemaking equipment and most of the smaller buildings.

The fire was followed by major flooding during the rainy season, which did considerable damage in Glendale and led to construction in 1934-35 of the County dam and debris basin adjacent to the site. The barn was rebuilt with a new arch roof and residential quarters on the upper floor. The Le Mesnager family moved to the site in 1937 and lived there until 1960.

In 1968 the property was sold to a developer who intended to construct homes on the site. The City of Glendale purchased the site in 1988 and renamed it Deukmejian Wilderness Park.