Founded in 1886, Elysian Park is the oldest park in the city of Los Angeles. It is also one of the largest parks in this city, covering around 600 acres. Elysian Park isn't just trees and ponds; it is also home to the Chavez Ravine featuring Dodger Stadium and the Los Angeles Police Academy. Much of the land in the park is comprised of rolling hills.
Elysian Park began to be developed and used as a park site as early as 1769, when explores Gaspar de Portola and Father Juan Crespi camped in this area. At this time, the Yang-Na Native Americans lived in this area. When the Pueblo of Los Angeles was established in 1781, around 17,000 acres were given as a public land grant. Later, in 1849, much of this land was auctioned off, but the Elysian Park area was reserved for public use. At that time, it was called Rock Quarry Hills, but the mayor renamed it and declared it a city park in 1886. Over the decades, this park has been considered for development a number of times, but due to the charter revisions, there's a strong legal base for the park to remain protected. Friends of the park have also taken measures to establish the park's historical significance to the city.
The park fully encompasses Chavez Ravine, which is the current site of Dodger Stadium. Ground was broken for this stadium in 1959, and the ballpark officially opened in 1962. This stadium is the third oldest in Major League Baseball, following only Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field. The field overlooks downtown Los Angeles and is designed to be earthquake-resistant. It has a capacity of 56,000, and it can hold slightly more fans if they sell standing-room tickets as well.
Elysian Park is in a middle-class neighborhood close to downtown Los Angeles. Interstate 110, more commonly known as the Pasadena Freeway, cuts through the park using the Figueroa Street Tunnels. The park is bordered by Echo Park, Chinatown, Cypress Park, and the Elysian Valley. There is some residential development in the western portion of the park, near Echo Park's Elysian Heights quarter.
Along with Dodger Stadium, the park also contains the Bishop Canyon picnic area and baseball field, the Buena Vista Meadow picnic area, the Elysian Therapeutic Center, the Solano Canyon community garden, Victory Memorial Grove (a World War I memorial), the Portola Trail historical monument, the Chavez Ravine Arboretum, the Grace E. Simons Lodge, the Johns Memorial, the Monticello De Leo Politti picnic area, Palm Hill, and the Carob Tree Grove picnic area. There's also a maintenance office, but the park is generally understaffed. Elysian Park is unlocked and open to the public daily, and those interested in supporting the park can join the Friends of Elysian Park group. Guests can also call the Elysian Park maintenance supervisor at 213-485-5054 to learn more about the area. The park is open daily from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and special events, like golf tournaments, go on throughout the year.