New street signs were scheduled to be dedicated today at Verdugo Road and York Boulevard to raise awareness of Verdugo Village, a section of Glassell Park located between the 2 Freeway and the City of Glendale. The heart of Verdugo Village is a strip of one and two-story storefronts mixed in with residences that line a tree-shaded stretch of Verdugo Road. Members of the Glassell Park Improvement Association initiated efforts to create the signage, which consists of five overhead signs and 18 placards that have been recently installed at eye-level along Verdugo. “This a way to clearly identify Verdugo Village and a great way to support businesses as well,” said Rick Coca, spokesman for Councilman Jose Huizar, whose council office secured $2,775 for the signs.
Helene Schpak, one of the Glassell Park residents who worked on the signage, said the signs provide information about the historic significance of Verdugo Road and the Verdugo name. In a post on the NELA List, Schpak, referencing some research conducted by Brian Kinney, explained the significance of Verdugo Village:
“This area was once a part of the 36,403.32-acre Rancho San Rafael, granted in 1784 to Spanish army corporal Jose Maria Verdugo. Rancho San Rafael, named for Saint Raphael, the guardian angel of humanity, was one of the first Spanish land grants in California. Verdugo began farming the more fertile regions of the land and irrigated a good amount of acreage by digging zanjas from the Arroyo Seco and the Los Angeles River. Rancho San Rafael was referred to by the early Spanish as Rancho La Zanja, Ranch of the Ditch. It was Verdugo who was credited for bringing the first grapevines to the area.
Verdugo Road was once the major transportation corridor from the mountains to downtown Los Angeles. It was the historic road of trade between the Verdugo Rancho and the fledging Pueblo of Los Angeles.
Verdugo Village was established in the early 1920s in the historic tract known as Sagamore Park. It’s made up of multi-family and single family
homes in one and two story structures. Most of the ground floor commercial and retail businesses are independently owned and operated. The variety of goods and services in this area includes restaurants, dry cleaners, auto service and dentistry. Its proportions are a comfortable human scale with sidewalks wide enough to encourage pedestrian traffic. This is enhanced by the original streetlights that illuminate the pedestrian area.
To establish this area as Verdugo Village will preserve its history as well as support its revitalization. The new signage will mark the history, help as a traffic calming measure, and contribute to a sense of community pride.”