Not a Welcoming Sign … to Some
Much attention has been given to the Welcome to Hindenburg Park sign that was recently installed at the German section of Crescenta Valley Park in February. The sign, which is partly written in German, has raised the ire of some who find the sign offensive. This is in part because former German President Paul von Hindenburg, for whom the section was named, appointed Adolph Hitler chancellor of Germany. This was just prior to von Hindenburg’s death in 1934, after which Hitler named himself President. Much of the opposition to the sign stems from von Hindenburg’s appointment of Hitler.
The controversy regarding the sign has gained enough momentum that this afternoon at 4 p.m. a forum is being held at Sparr Heights Community Center so the public can voice its opinions on whether the sign should stay or go.
The name Hindenburg Park was not recently given to the park, as was stated in a press release issued by the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, which felt compelled to comment on the matter. The picnic grounds were named Hindenburg Park from 1934 until 1957 when it was purchased by the County of Los Angeles and incorporated into the larger Crescenta Valley Park. In 1992, the county designated the area once again as Hindenburg Park, the historic German section of Crescenta Valley Park. Many locals in fact still refer to the area as Hindenburg Park.
CV Weekly was the target of a Huffington Post blogger who referenced the article we published in February when the sign was put up.
“An article about the new sign in the Crescenta Valley Weekly last month [February] made no mention of the Nazi rallies held at the park,” wrote Peter Dreier. You’re right, Pete; that article also didn’t mention that Hindenburg Park was also the site of one of the first Oktoberfests in the country or that at Hindenburg Park there was (it may still be there) an informational sign at the lower end of the park had photos and a map of old Hindenburg Park. Why didn’t we mention these items as well? Because historian Mike Lawler, who writes for this paper, has, on numerous occasions, written about Hindenburg Park and its history – the good and the bad – dating back to 2013. He has also shined a light on other “warty” (as he has called them) pieces of local history. There have been enough, in fact, that he co-authored the book, “Murder and Mayhem in the Crescenta Valley.” Those familiar with our area know that our local history – good and bad – isn’t very hard to track down nor do we hide it.
As to the Hindenburg Park sign – shouldn’t it be decided by the people who drive or walk by it every day as to whether it should stay or go? Whatever your opinion is, try and stop by the forum at the Sparr Heights Community Center today. For those who don’t live in the area, the address is 1613 Glencoe in Glendale 91208.