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History of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, CA

Our story begins with the Tongva and Gabrielino Native Americans at the mouth of the Fern Dell Canyon, now better known as Griffith Park. After thousands of years of inhabitance, a Spanish solider named José Feliz settled there in 1775, becoming the city’s administrator and ultimately driving out the Native Americans. Upon his retirement, José Feliz was rewarded for his service with 6,647 acres of land and created Rancho Los Feliz.

Legend has it when Feliz died, the unsavory Antonio Coronel wrangled the property away from the surviving Feliz family. Crazed with fury, one family member cursed the land, setting the stage for a series of unfortunate events. The Curse of the Felizes is still blamed today for business failures and the Griffith Park Fire of 1933, but visitors can decide for themselves if this urban legend is fact or fiction!

After sifting through a host of unsuccessful hands, the ranch was purchased by a once poor Welshman turned into a wealthy mining investor, Griffith Jenkins Griffith, who in 1896 donated 3,015 acres of it to the city of Los Angeles – that we now know and love to be Griffith Park. Griffith requested the land become an oasis for people of modest means. He loved the wild property, but was eager to develop an observatory and an amphitheater.

In 1903, Griffith fell victim to The Curse himself. During a drunken rage, he shot his wife, landing himself in San Quentin for two years. Due to the scandal and blemished reputation, the city of Los Angeles turned down Griffith’s offer of $700,000 to develop the property. Years later, after his death in 1919, the city accepted the donation to develop the property.


Today, Griffith Park contains 4,310 acres of land plush with native wildlife and vegetation, roughly five times the size of New York’s Central Park. Development and expansion, however, have brought noteworthy attractions and fun activities, including the stellar Griffith Observatory (no pun intended).

Other options include a hike to the Hollywood sign, a show at the Greek Theatre, picnics, horseback rides, bicycle rentals, and golf. Just don’t miss the wild animals and amazing vistas, all of which can be seen from a seat on the steam engine, for which your children will beg.

Hotel Amarano

Seven minutes from the only-of-its-kind Griffith Park, Hotel Amarano is pleased to offer our guests luxurious accommodations, incomparable amenities, and a myriad of pleasantly-provided services at our Burbank luxury hotel. From 24-hour concierge services to a full business center and onsite dining, our offerings are plentiful. Star-worthy and stunning, our hotel amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, fine Italian linens, 42” HDTVs and much more.

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