History and Historic Sites of the Valley * Then and Now Photos * Lost Crescenta
What is the west end of Crescenta Valley Park called? If you answered "Hindenberg Park" then you are officially a "CV old-timer"!
The portion of Crescenta Valley Park that lies to the west of Dunsmore Ave. was for decades owned by the German-American League, an organization that promoted the celebration of German culture. It was named for Paul Von Hindenberg, a German war hero in WWI and President of Germany in the tumultuous pre-Hitler years of the late-20s, early-30s, and paid tribute to him by means of a gigantic bust that was installed near the back of the park just after his death in '34. From the '30s through the '50s the park was the scene of hundreds of elaborate German cultural celebrations, featuring bands, plays, dances, and parades, with literally thousands of participants each weekend, consuming steins of beer, flagons of wine, and German food specialties. Unfortunately Hindenberg Park gained notoriety in the late '30s when the "Bund", the American arm of the Nazi party, staged rallies at the park, and chilling photos still circulate today of swastika flags proudly displayed next to American flags by a handful of misguided German-American patriots. But the vast majority of the scene at Hindenberg park was that of liederhosen, beer-barrels, songs in the German language under the oaks. The Park was sold to the County in '58 to become part of the already established Crescenta Valley Park to the east. A fun fact about Hindenberg Park: the first Oktoberfest in California was celebrated here in 1956!
CV resident Fred Koegler's father, Fred Koegler, Sr. ran Hindenberg Park for many years and shot both black and white and color film of many of the celebrations from he '30s through the '50s. Fred Koegler, Jr. will show that footage, and talk about his memories of the park.