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Baldwin Lake at the Los Angeles Arboretum in 2017

One of the most paradisaical places in Southern California is the Los Angeles Arboretum, and most specifically—particularly in years when the artesian wells in the area are flowing—Baldwin Lake and “Baldwin’s Belvedere,” the Queen Anne-style cottage and its grounds on the shore of the lake.

Where the Arboretum now sits used to be called Aleupkigna by the Gabrielino Indians who occupied the site. Then, in 1875, Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin purchased the land and turned it into his estate.

Lucky Baldwin’s “Belvedere,” a Queen Anne Cottage on the Shore of the Lake

As soon as the coronavirus quarantine begins to fade away, Martine and I would like to spend a leisurely day there feeding the geese and ducks (which we’re not supposed to do, but you tell Martine that).

The Gabrielino Indians who lived here are pretty much scattered to the four winds, except they gather together at times to remember what they lost. The tribe has no reservation and is not recognized by some government authorities. One of their main sites is within walking distance of me: Kuruvungna Springs, also called Gabrielino Springs, is on the grounds of University High School at Barrington and Goshen in West Los Angeles. Every year, they have a low-key powwow at the Springs around Columbus Day.