Monday, February 21, 2011

William Hart Park: Where the Buffalo Roam and the Deer and the German Shepherds Play

Some of you have become familiar with the William Hart House here in Newhall through my earlier posts.

But actually the house is just part of a very large park, the William Hart Park, that William Hart left to the city on his death. Most people know of the house, but many don't know about all of the other spots in the park that might be worth visiting.

There's a large grassy area at the bottom of the park for picnicing or just wandering around. Don't do what I did a few months ago, though, and take your dogs off the leash. The security people will be barking at you through a megaphone quicker than you can say 'dog poop.'

There's a barnyard with all kinds of farm animals to visit. You can feed the animals, but only with food bought at the Trading Post on the premises. Here, Annie found a new friend. (Again, something I shouldn't have done - taken the dogs through the barnyard.)

Back in the 1920s when Hart was at the height of his career, his pinto pony Fritz was about as famous as he was.

Fritz is now buried on the premises and you can visit the grave - it's behind the barnyard in a lovely little fenced area.

Walking up to the house, there are all kinds of trails.

One of the things I love about William Hart is that he was so devoted to his animals, especially his dogs. There is a dog cemetary on the grounds - Xena, Annie and I always stop by to pay our respects.

Close to the top of the hill, almost at the house, is where the bison are located. There are also spectactular views as well.

Xena wanted to chase about every single animal in the barnyard (you don't want to know what she did when she saw the turkeys), and the bison were no different. Good thing they were far enough away from the pen that she couldn't go face to face with them - she probably would have gone ape-shit. As it was, she tried to climb down this little hill to get a closer look before I stopped her.

All in all, a wonderful little excursion out on a holiday afternoon. Now you can all see why this is one of my favorite places to go in the area. There are tales that the park is haunted with the ghost of William Hart, but something tells me that if he is around, he'd be a friendly ghost.

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Deka Black said...

The park looks very nice ^^ A dog burial ground... Wish i had one when my dog died :( Is good to see there is people caring about that ^^

Ron Scheer said...

I've been to the house and saw the bison, but missed some of these other parts. Didn't realize Hart was buried there.

Richard R. said...

What a delightful post, Laurie. I haven't been there in 30 years or more, when it was really - as I remember it - out in the boonies. I don't remember a barnyard, either, but perhaps the park wasn't as developed then. Great pictures, thanks so very much.

Barry Traylor said...

Perhaps Xena likes Bison Burgers as much as I do. That looks like a seriously lovely place to stroll through on a nice day.

Barry Traylor said...

It just occured to me to ask this question. How tall was Hart? He looks awfully large next to Fritz. Alas, as I know next to next to nothing about equines perhaps the question should be was Fritz really small?

Laurie Powers said...

Deka, I agree - it's one of the things that endears me to Hart.

Actually, Ron, Hart is buried in New York. It's Fritz that's buried at the park.

Glad you like the post, Rich.

Barry, I think it was a little of both. Hart was very tall, and yes, Fritz was small. I heard some people would laugh at them because Hart's legs would dangle down so far when he was riding him. But Fritz was hugely popular with audiences.