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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
West Hills in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Orcutt Ranch

Rancho Sombra del Roble

 
 
Orcutt Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
1. Orcutt Ranch Marker
Inscription.  
Declared Historic Cultural Monument No. 31 by the Cultural Heritage Board, Municipal Art Department, City of Los Angeles.

Why are there swastikas on this historic home?

The symbol on the Orcutt Ranch house is the Native American Swastika, and is an integral feature of the residence's decorative program - as seen in the lintels above the windows and doors, on the exterior courtyard flooring, and in the patio ironwork. The swastika is one of the world's oldest known graphic symbols, predating even the ancient Egyptian Ankh. The English word swastika derives from Sanskrit "svastika," which means "well-being," "good fortune," and "luck." This symbol is found on every continent, seen in the ethnic objects and folk arts of almost every culture. During the first part of the 20th Century, the swastika and its positive associations could be commonly found in the United States, especially in the American Southwest, on cigar labels and bands, on fruit wrappers and business emblems, and even on poker chips. During World War 1, an orange swastika on a red field was the shoulder patch of the United States 45th
Second Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
2. Second Marker
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Infantry Division. The swastika was a common symbol used in Indian hand-crafted blankets, jewelry, and crafts frequently sold by Native American artisans at railways stations or Fred Harvey Houses along the route of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.
The symbol seen at the Orcutt Residence predates the adoption of the swastika by the National Socialist Workers (Nazi) Party during the 1920s and its adoption as part of the national flag of Nazi Germany in 1935, which forged another meaning onto the ancient symbol - a reminder of human evil. The swastika became linked to the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, the systematic murder of six million Jews and millions of others during World War II, and, to this day, continues to be used as a symbol of intimidation and hate throughout the world.
The inclusion of the American Indian Swastika at the Orcutt Ranch is one of the many references to the folk arts and multi-cultures of the American Southwest in the design of the house. Other symbols seen here representing the distinct and diverse cultures of early California: the structure's adobe walls and its Mediterranean design based around a courtyard and fountain, the Spanish roof and ceramic relief vignette adorning the home's exterior, the ornate ironwork and detailed hand-carved woodwork, and colorful, glazed, tile panels
Ranch House and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
3. Ranch House and Marker
The bronze plaque is at far right.
depicting domestic scenes of American Indian, Mexican, and Spanish cultures, and the variety of garden statuary; all incorporate to create a complete architectural work. This extensively designed home recreated a period of early California for the home's owners, their family, and their many house guests.
 
Erected 1965 by City of Los Angeles. (Marker Number 31.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureHorticulture & ForestryIndustry & CommerceParks & Recreational Areas. In addition, it is included in the City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments series list.
 
Location. 34° 13.094′ N, 118° 38.408′ W. Marker is in West Hills, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is on Roscoe Boulevard 0.4 miles east of Valley Circle Boulevard, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 23600 Roscoe Blvd, Canoga Park CA 91304, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ancient Live Oaks And Old Mission Lime Kilns (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Schaefer House (approx. half a mile away); Canoga Mission Gallery (approx. 1.4 miles away); Shadow Ranch (approx. 2 miles away); Rocketdyne Santa Susana Field Laboratory
Second Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
4. Second Marker
Located at the west side of the house.
(approx. 2.3 miles away); Canoga Park Branch Library (approx. 2˝ miles away); Canoga Park Fire Station #72 (approx. 2˝ miles away); Canoga Park Station (approx. 2˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Hills.
 
Regarding Orcutt Ranch. Orcutt Ranch was the vacation and retirement home of William Warren Orcutt, an early pioneer of oil production in California and the discoverer of one of the first skeletons at the La Brea Tar Pits. The Rancho Sombra del Roble, Spanish for "Ranch of the Shaded Oak", was originally a cattle ranch and citrus orchard. Orcutt bought the property in 1917, and hired architect L.G. Knipe, who designed some of the campus structures of Arizona State University, to design his home on the ranch. The 3,060-square-foot residence was completed circa 1926.
The 24 acres of gardens are now a city park, open daily from dawn to dusk.
 
Ranch House Doorway with swastika image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
5. Ranch House Doorway with swastika
Courtyard and Fountain image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
6. Courtyard and Fountain
Glazed Tile Panel image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
7. Glazed Tile Panel
Orcutt Ranch Sign image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
8. Orcutt Ranch Sign
Orcutt Ranch Barn image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, March 29, 2021
9. Orcutt Ranch Barn
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 6, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 6, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.   7, 8, 9. submitted on April 11, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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May. 14, 2021