There are eight historic avocado trees on Avocado Street in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. These eight trees were designated Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument #343 (HCM-343) in 1988 with the help of the Los Feliz Improvement Association. Special Collections and Archives holds the Los Feliz Improvement Association Records, dating from 1922 to 2002. Founded in 1916, the Vermont Canyon Improvement Club was later reorganized and changed its name to the Los Feliz Improvement Association (LFIA) on July 7, 1922. The Association is still operational.
Within these records are papers that document the successful campaign to designate these eight avocado trees as a Historical-Cultural Monument. According to the Association’s application, the avocado trees were part of an extensive grove which reached from the Los Feliz Hills to the Hollywood Freeway, and are estimated to be over 100 years old. LFIA began their campaign to designate the trees as an HCM when a developer threatened their survival with a street-widening project that would allow them to subdivide lots on Avocado street and build apartment complexes.
The LFIA compiled a binder (shown here) which documents the process of getting the trees designated as an Historical-Cultural Monument. The binder includes the application, photographs, letters calling for the preservation of the trees from neighborhood children as well as local politicians, press clippings about the trees, and more.
The trees are on the 4400 block of Avocado Street (between Hillhurst Ave. and Commonwealth Ave.), in the heart of the Los Feliz neighborhood, just behind Little Dom’s, a favorite local restaurant.
You can find reference to the trees on the city’s Historical-Cultural Monument inventory and map, as well as the Los Feliz Improvement Association’s website. Having a HCM designation does not mean that the trees are protected forever, but it does mean that any changes to them require a review by the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources. Happily, the trees are still standing today.