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    Advertise with BH Courier

    Located between Beverly and Canon Drs. A movement is underway to return this landmark to its original grandeur which is now filled and planted with grass.

    A Snap-Shot History of Beverly Hills Part 5 – Beverly Hills Hotel Donates First Municipal Park to City in 1915

    By Robbie Anderson – Special to the Courier

          Upon arriving in Beverly Hills in the early 1900s the trolley would pull into the Pacific Electric trolley stop (current location of the old post office) and the first view on the right would be of the parks between Rodeo and Crescent Drs.
          These three blocks of parks and gardens were beautifully landscaped and were centered by a huge lily pond stocked with exotic Koi fish. There was a large arched sign that read: “BEVERLY HILLS” to let visitors know they had arrived at the oasis in the middle of a bleak landscape.
          John J. Reeves was the man responsible for the selection and placement of these plants and trees in the parks of Beverly Hills, which Wilbur F. Cook had laid out as part of the master plan.
          Cook also landscaped the park in front of the Beverly Hills Hotel, now the Will Rogers Park, that was part of the hotel grounds. The hotel donated those five acres to The City in 1915 creating the first municipal park in Beverly Hills.
          Roxbury, La Cienega and Coldwater Parks were installed and opened in the late 20s.
          John J. Reeves should also get credit for the large variety of trees which line BH streets today and for their uniform installation and appearance.
          Cook was the man who fought to keep the trees uniform and it was he who advocated The City pass its first ordinance that no matter where anybody wanted their driveway, they had to put it where it wouldn’t disturb a tree, so as not to break up the continuity of tree placement.
          The original subdivision plans called for all the land between Burton Way (little Santa Monica), and big Santa Monica Blvd. to be a park; that strip of land where numerous business are now on Canon Dr. west.
          Unfortunately The Rodeo Land & Water Company decided this land was too valuable, took it out of the park plan and sold it for commercial use.
          Residents who were buying lots north of Santa Monica Blvd. were getting nervous about what had just transpired on Burton Way (little Santa Monica Blvd.) and the placement of three rather large churches on the north side of Santa Monica Blvd.. Could commercial development be far behind for this strip of land?
          The City purchased this two-mile strip, which stretched between Doheny and Whittier Drs. with money that had been raised through a bond issue from the Rodeo Land & Water Company.
          Through the middle of newly acquired land was placed a 10-ft. wide promenade bordered by beds of roses and rare flowers that would ultimately extend along Santa Monica and Wilshire Blvds. thus creating the 23 blocks of park that we currently have.
          The beautiful fountains at Doheny and Wilshire/Santa Monica will be featured in a future article..Don’t miss the Affaire in the Gardens art show at these parks May 14 and 15.
          While there visit the Beverly Hills Historical Society display to learn more about The City.

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