Where I’d begin a history tour

Los Encinos State Historic Park holds its Living History Day on February 19 from 1 to 3 pm. (Link from Douglas E. Welch.) As I’ve written several times, the spot on Ventura Boulevard just east of Balboa oozes as much San Fernando Valley history as the area around the mission. It was probably the locale where the Portola expedition in 1769 camped among a rancheria of Tongva, trying to make sense of their stories. The warm springs that still fills the duck pond in the park flowed on the rancho of Vicente de Osa, whose adobe roadhouse is still there. It was Eugene Garnier, a French sheep herder, who dammed the spring into a guitar-shaped pond— also still there, just outside Garnier’s farm house (right, in 1915.) Though gone now, just across Ventura was a saloon that served the Basque shepherds and field workers in the 19th-century San Fernando Valley. An archaeological study in the 1980s of the saloon’s newly discovered refuse pit revealed the kinds of food served there, what sort of china they used and even where the beer came from (Los Angeles.)