Culver City Parks: Carlson Park

Carlson Park, at Braddock Drive and Motor Avenue in the East Park neighborhood, is not large -- just one large square block surrounded on four sides by streets and houses. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty and historic interest.  It was Culver City's first park.

On an early Tuesday evening in May, the park is being used by many children and adults from the community. Dads and preschoolers run around with baseball gloves and caps. Pre-teens kick around a soccer ball. As attested by Culver City Patch, teens climb trees. Wagons, strollers and bicycles rolls along the wide paths. A young couple lie on their backs in the thick grass, watching the deepening sky through the branches of trees.

A pavilion, equipped with barbecues, benches and tables, serves to guard the park from the slightly more traveled Braddock Ave.

Plus, there are two of these monsters.

 

Nice bathrooms, too, thanks to California voters' approval of a $2.1 billion parks bond (Proposition 12) and a $2 billion water bond (Proposition 13) on March 7, 2000.

 

The current location of the Carlson Park neighborhood was formerly occupied by two racetracks: the first, a horse track, opened in 1923 and closed the following year. On the same land in 1924 a reported 50,000 people attended the opening of "The Speedway," a motor raceway. This venture was more successful but still lasted no later than 1927, when the city council approved the founding of the first park in Culver City. This park was originally named Victory Park by the mayor's wife because "it was a victory to get a park."

 

The name was changed by the city council in 1964 to honor Dr. Paul Carlson, a medical missionary who was born in Culver City in 1928 and was martyred in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His activities in the city of Wasolo included establishing a 80-bed hospital and leper colony. During this time, Dr. Carlson earned the nickname Monganga Paul, a name revealing a close and loving relationship with the local Congolese people. This work continued until the political unrest of the time reached them, and the Carlson family crossed the Ubangi river to seek refuge in the Central African Republic. Carlson, however, remained committed to his hospital and work in Wasolo, and he returned. Soon afterward, he was taken captive by the rebel army who accused him of being an American spy. On November 24, 1964, during a rescue attempt by American and Belgian troops, Carlson was shot and killed by rebel gunfire. He was known as the "Congo Martyr" and was on the front page of both Time and Life magazines.

 

Of course, you don't have to know anything about the history of the park to enjoy all those beautiful trees.


In the middle of the park is Tree of Life, a sculpture by Dora De Larios. This April, the sculpture and surrounding planter was restored in a joint effort by Culver City's culture affairs, public works, and parks and recreation commissions.   De Larios has also produced public art projects for the City of Pasadena (Homage to Quetzalcoatl, 1993) and the City of Los Angeles (Elements, 1989).


You can take Line 5 of the Culver CityBus right to the park.

 

 


Views: 1152

Comment

You need to be a member of Culver City Times to add comments!

Join Culver City Times

The Culver City Times is the news and social network for Culver City.  Stay informed.  Join now!

      • Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.

• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Got video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of your business or the school play? Upload them.

For daily updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Latest Activity

Lucy Pollak posted an event
Thumbnail

La Vie En Rose at Odyssey Theatre at Odyssey Theatre

November 2, 2019 at 8pm to December 14, 2019 at 8pm
23 hours ago
Institute of Musical Arts posted an event
Thumbnail

"They Still Walk Among Us" by Barbara H. Clark at Institute of Musical Arts

October 26, 2019 from 2pm to 4pm
Thursday
Lucy Pollak posted an event
Thumbnail

Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evil Doers" at LATC at Los Angeles Theatre Center

October 24, 2019 at 8pm to November 3, 2019 at 4pm
Oct 13
Lucy Pollak posted an event
Thumbnail

Between Riverside and Crazy at The Fountain Theatre at The Fountain Theatre

October 16, 2019 at 8pm to December 15, 2019 at 2pm
Oct 12
Donald Shapiro posted a photo
Oct 10
Donald Shapiro posted a photo
Oct 8
Lucy Pollak posted an event
Thumbnail

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill at ICT in Long Beach at International City Theatre

October 16, 2019 at 8pm to November 3, 2019 at 2pm
Oct 5
Lucy Pollak posted an event
Thumbnail

The Abuelas presented by Antaeus Theatre Company at Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center

October 3, 2019 at 8pm to November 25, 2019 at 8pm
Sep 30

Play "Where Am I in Culver City?"

Not a member? Sign up here to leave your answer.

Good luck!

To see the answer, click here.

© 2019   Created by Culver City Times.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service