BOYLE HEIGHTS — It was more than 120 years ago when two prominent Boyle Heights leaders and landowners, William H. Workman and Elizabeth Hollenbeck, agreed to donate 25 acres to create a park in the base of an arroyo. After the city agreed to develop the park and build a dam to create a lake, Hollenbeck Park was dedicated in 1893, according to The Early History of Hollenbeck Park, which was recently published on the Boyle Heights History Blog.
The park proved a popular attraction and appears on many postcards of the time. The park also proved to have an economic benefit, particularly for Hollenbeck and Workman, who still owned substantial amounts of land near the park. Paul Spitizzeri, who wrote about the history of Hollenbeck Park, notes:
Workman and Mrs. Hollenbeck owned substantial property surrounding the park and, not long after its creation and opening, the two subdivided their holdings into the Workman Park Tract and the Hollenbeck Heights Tract. With the beautiful park as a visible symbol, advertisements for the two subdivisions touted the fact that tracts were adjacent to the park as one of many inducements for investors and residents to buy lots. It does appear that there was some success in selling property in these two developments, even with the substandard economy.
Newspaper ads for the Hollenbeck Park Heights Tracts promoted lots priced from $500 to $750. “Situated just east of and overlooking beautiful Hollenbeck Park,” said one ad.
Check out the Boyle Heights History blog for more details and historic photos of Hollenbeck Park.