Last Saturday, the city hosted its annual Play Day at Vincent Lugo Park to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the historic La Laguna de San Gabriel playground. The event, which featured city staff from Community Services and Police alongside several local organizations, commemorated the designation of the La Laguna de San Gabriel playground into the National Register of Historic Places.
Led by community group Friends of La Laguna, the playground was submitted to the National Register of Historic Places last fall with support from the city, the San Gabriel Historical Association and local volunteers. After a final review by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, La Laguna de San Gabriel was officially listed in the National Register on Jan. 11, 2017.
Benjamin Dominguez originally designed La Laguna in 1965, creating 14 fanciful cement sea creatures embedded within a sea of sand. Since then, La Laguna stands as the largest remaining collection of Dominguez sculptures in the world.
“Why is it [La Laguna] historically significant? Because it has given people the idea that a person, an artist – Benjamin Dominguez – can create landscape through sculpture and art,” said Eloy Zarate, a board member and one of the founders of Friends of La Laguna community group. While a select number of critically vulnerable pieces have been preserved as a result of local fundraising, Zarate notes that much more could be done to further preserve the historic playground. “Because of the park’s layout, we’re hoping someone can come and adopt a piece.”
To celebrate the historic playground’s inclusion into the National Register, Community Services provided free refreshments and activities for residents to enjoy. “We developed a day of play once a year to come celebrate the playground. This year, we decided to focus on the national registry,” said Tom Boecking, Community Services Manager. Play Day was originally established in 2015 to celebrate the park’s 50th anniversary.
For more information on La Laguna de San Gabriel playground, please contact the Community Services Department at 626.308.2875.