A Walk Through Palisades Park
Last week I mentioned a recent visit to the Santa Monica History Museum – a hidden gem in the heart of town. After I was done with my visit I wasn’t yet ready to head home so I decided to go for a walk. Luckily, I had my handy copy of 10,000 Steps a Day in LA which mapped a route through Palisades Park. Since I’d never visited the coastal space I decided it was time to finally explore it.
Founded in the 1890’s Palisades Park is a Santa Monica landmark. It runs along busy Ocean Boulevard for 1.5 miles and features scenic spots along the route. I began my walk on it’s northern end adjacent to Georgina Avenue and made my way south to the pier.
Soon I came across a small plot of roses surrounding a bronze bust.
This lady just happens to be Arcadia Bandini de Baker,. the wife of Santa Monica founder, Robert Baker. She’s the woman responsible for the park as she gave the land to the city specifically for public use.
A few feet further brought me to another sculpture albeit one much more modern.
Gestation III by Baile Oakes was installed in 1990 and appears different from every angle. I walked around the whole thing and was impressed by the unique work.
Continuing on I came upon one of my favorite parts of the park – the 1912 Craftsman Pergola.
This architectural landmark was lovingly restored in early 1980’s. It’s a stunning structure complete with benches offering an impressive view of the Pacific. Shortly after this magnificent monument there are two other spots offering scenic views of the ocean – the Overlook Beacon and the John P. Jones bench.
John P. Jones assisted Arcadia Bandini in establishing the park and would sit at this very spot and look out to sea. Now, there’s a beautiful stone bench to commemorate him.
Continuing on I came across my other favorite part of the park, a beautiful Deco era statue of the city’s namesake, Santa Monica.
Completed as a WPA project by Eugene H. Monrahan in 1934 the statue marks the intersection of Wilshire and Ocean. Looking across the street I couldn’t help but think of the former Rindge estate which stood at the spot a century ago. Today’s it’s a nondescript office building.
One building that’s definitely NOT nondescript is the Georgian Hotel.
Built in 1931 this beautiful Deco landmark is a beacon amongst a row of plain white buildings. It’s absolutely stunning and I definitely plan on returning and exploring it more thoroughly.
At this point the park became a lot busier as I got closer to the pier. I came acorss a tourist info booth that also marks the end of Route 66,
an aged marker dedicated to Will Rodgers,
and the delightful Camera Obscura. I wrote about this hidden gem a few years back so I decided not to go inside on this trip. Instead I headed to the pier which was insanely busy as it was a warm summer day. As I crawled along with the masses I realized I had no interest in its amusement park and instead headed to the historic Looff Hippodrome.
The Hippodrome celebrated its 100th birthday last month and looks fantastic. It was too crowded to get a good pic of the outside so I settled for an interior shot of it’s beloved carousel. As you can see it remains popular to this day.
My trek through Palisades Park took me through various eras of Santa Monica history. Not only did I get a good dose of exercise but I learned much about the city while I walked. Now, that’s my kind of exploration.