By Charly SHELTON
Just one month after the new sign went up at the corner of New York and Honolulu avenues welcoming guests to Hindenburg Park, the debate is on to have it taken down. A public forum will be held on Thursday, April 7 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Sparr Heights Community Center to gather public opinion about the sign.
The sign reads, “Wilkommen zum Hindenburg Park, the historic German section of Crescenta Valley Park.” When the grounds were founded in 1925, it was known as La Crescenta picnic grounds and, after quite a bit of work was done to the property, it was rededicated as Hindenburg Park in 1934. It remained that way until 1958 when it was sold to the County of Los Angeles and assimilated into the larger Crescenta Valley Park. Then on Oct 4, 1992, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors designated the area once again as Hindenburg Park, the historic German section of Crescenta Valley Park.
Last month, a year-long effort by the Tricentennial Foundation came to fruition when the sign was erected at the corner of the park.
“Since the installation of the sign, the department has received a number of complaints expressing concerns that the sign has the name Hindenburg on it,” said Kaye Michelson, public information officer, L.A. County Dept. of Parks and Recreation. “The new sign has also caused confusion with people thinking that Crescenta Valley Park has been renamed. That is not the case. After receiving a significant number of calls in opposition of the sign, the Dept. of Parks and Recreation reached out to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission for assistance and the Human Relations Commission is conducting a public hearing to allow the public to express their views regarding the sign.”
One of the concerned groups in opposition of the sign is the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. Executive Director Jason Moss is working with local interest groups and the community at large to gather people at the public forum to express their opinions on the subject.
“We are coordinating efforts from the Jewish community to ask that the commission recommend that the sign be removed because it evokes a lot of memories of both Paul von Hindenburg in his role in what took place in Germany and Europe that led to World War II, and also that in the ’30s and ’40s there were pro-Nazi rallies that took place in that area, staged right at that park,” Moss said. “We’re a big believer in supporting culture and remembering roots, but I think that there are other ways that the German-American community could honor what took place in the area in the ’30s and ’40s than referring back to the namesake of the park.”
The Sparr Heights Community Center is located at 1613 Glencoe Way in Glendale 91208. Both Moss and Michelson expressed their hopes that the public will come out to discuss and voice their opinions at the public forum.
To learn more of the Hindenburg Park history, visit CVWeekly.com and search “Hindenburg” or see historian Mike Lawler’s column on page 9.