Los Angeles State Historic Park
North Spring Street, north of College Street
Los Angeles State Historic Park, more commonly known as The Cornfield, is located just north of the Chinatown Metro Station. Once a vineyard adjacent to the zanja madre ("mother ditch" that brought water from the Los Angeles River to the pueblo), The Cornfield's longest incarnation was as a railroad yard for Southern Pacific Railroad. Most historians agree that the name "The Cornfield" comes not from its agricultural heritage, but from its use as a rail yard, when corn would fall from rail cars and grow alongside the tracks. The site was put up for sale in the 1990s, and, with the persuasion of a coalition of community activists, was named a state park in 2001. In the summer of 2005, the land was remediated and planted with corn, part of the art project "Not a Cornfield" by Lauren Bon. The site can be visited today, but will not be completely developed as a state park until 2010.
USC Geography Professor Michael Dear's essay, "Eye of the Beholder" examines the history of the site and its connections the story of Los Angeles.
Photos show the view from The Cornfield looking south toward City Hall and Bunker Hill after the harvesting of its corn in 2006. The Chinatown Metro Station can be seen in the top right photo (J. Mapes)