L.A.'s Cultural Heritage Commission met at City Hall Thursday morning to determine whether to designate Tujunga's Verdugo Hills Golf Course a historic-cultural monument, not because it's a golf course, but because it was the site of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, Immigration, and Naturalization Service -- a World War II internment camp where 90 percent of the detainees were Japanese.
Photo courtesy David Scott / Little Landers Historical Society A postcard of the detention center
But the Los Angeles Department of City Planning's Staff of Historic Resources recommended against the designation, precisely because the site is now a golf course -- and has been one for more than 50 years. And the Commission agreed.
A group of passionate speakers voiced their support for historic designation, including Japanese-Americans with personal ties to the site, and David Scott, whose grandfather, Merrill H. Scott, was a guard at the internment camp. They were just a few of the representatives from the community who have been trying to preserve the golf course after Snowball West Investments bought the property in 2004 for over $7,500,000, with plans to turn it into a housing development.
It's been a complicated and contentious debate for both those in favor and against historical designation, but at least everyone agreed on one thing: the site is very rich in history.More »