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The City of Encino
The English translation of the Spanish word “Encino” is “Oak.” In fact, the Los Angeles County town of “Encino” was named by the early Spaniards, as part of the “Portola Expedition,” in honor of the Live Oaks and other Oak Tree varieties that grew on the dry hillsides. Before Encino became an urban area, these big old oak trees were very notable, and formed the horizon, instead of buildings.
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In particular, one very large Oak Tree, the “Encino Oak Tree,” also known as the “Lang” Oak (we’re not sure why) was a One Thousand (1,000) Year-Old California Live Oak Tree, in Latin, Quercus agrifolia, in the Encino section of Los Angeles, California. When the first Spaniards arrived, the “Encino Oak Tree” was already more than Seven Hundred (700) years old. And then, as Encino was developed, and grew, Ventura Boulevard (Encino’s “Main Street”) evolved from a dusty, dirt road, to a major urban thoroughfare, with three dedicated traffic lanes in each direction, plus parking lanes, in each direction, with hundreds of thriving businesses, both large and small, lining it. As Ventura Boulevard expanded, one unusually large and spreading Live Oak Tree, smack-dab in the middle of Louise Avenue, just South of Ventura Boulevard, was designated as an Historic Landmark. The Lang Encino Oak was the most dramatically magnificent of Encino’s Oak Trees, so large that Louise Avenue was split in two in order to allow the Oak Tree’s Gigantic One Hundred Fifty (150) Foot canopy to continue to cast its shadow, and the Lang Oak Tree grew to more than Eight (8) Feet in diameter. One author referred to the Lang Encino Oak Tree as creating “a woodsy atmosphere more resembling a whole forest, than just a single tree.” In 1958, the Lang Encino Oak Tree was threatened when a private construction developer planned to bulldoze the Oak Tree in order to widen Louise Avenue. Local residents decided to Hire a Lawyer and fought the plan, and won, and the developer eventually donated to tree to the City of Encino. Subsequently, the Lang Encino Oak Tree was designated as an Historic-Cultural California Monument (1963).