Favorite New Deal Site: Charles S. Farnsworth County Park

Tell Us About Your Favorite New Deal Site

Spectacularly Unpretentious: Charles S. Farnsworth County Park
Altadena, California

Photos by Jess Berman

I discovered this beloved 15-acre park in the foothills of the San Gabriel
Mountains soon after moving to Altadena eight years ago. I was struck by the hand-laid
stonework installed by young men from the CCC camp at nearby Earl Canyon. Between
1933-34, they also built the ranger’s residence, a garage, business office, picnic tables, stoves and barbecue pits. But it was when I came upon the stunning amphitheater—still in use—that I realized this place was really special. The plaque reveals it as a 1938 creation of the WPA. WPA workers graded the original baseball diamond, built bleachers, installed palm-lined concrete paths and added landscaping and an irrigation system.

The Los Angeles County-park was dedicated in 1939 to General Charles S. Farnsworth,
who retired to Altadena in 1925 became a driving force in the park’s development. It
was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. It’s a spectacularly
unpretentious New Deal gift that keeps on giving.
Send us a first-person story of 100 (or so) words describing the site and why you chose it. Submissions will appear in future issues of The Fireside! Be sure to include a photo (with photo credit). Send to [email protected]. Thanks!

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