Planting the Seed - The Arboretum
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Planting the Seed

On February 20, 1948, the California Arboretum Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit organization to develop and administer the original 111 acres of land that would become the Los Angeles Arboretum as it was called then. The idea for a botanical garden or arboretum for Southern California was the dream of Dr. Samuel Ayres Jr. The L.A. resident returned from a Hawaiian vacation in 1939 thinking the local landscape could use color.

Ayres and others were tireless advocates for the “Arboretum” to the Southern California Horticultural Institute and others. He headed the Institute’s Arboretum Organizational Committee and explored possible sites. When he was invited to see the lagoon at Lucky Baldwin’s Santa Anita Ranch. “I had never heard of Lucky Baldwin,” he recalled. “We drove out there and when I saw it, I said to myself ‘This is it.'” The County of Los Angeles and the state of California had jointly purchased the 111 acres to create the Arboretum. Another 16 acres were later added for the current 127-acre garden.

To learn more about the fascinating history of the origins and evolution of the Arboretum, here are some wonderful resources.

The First Twenty-five Years, A History of the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum by George H. Spalding.

Queen Anne Cottage Restoration led by Susan Bryant Dakin

Other Historic Structures: Coach Barn, Reid-Baldwin Adobe, Santa Anita Depot

Water Features

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© 2024 Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden • 626.821.3222 • 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

© 2023 Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens

Phone: 626.821.3222

301 N. Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA, 91007