Fern Dell Drive

Griffith Park‘s Fern Dell Nature Trail was born in 1914 when the City of Los Angeles acquired a 13 acre strip of land north of Western Avenue‘s terminus. (It’s been claimed that city parks superintendent Frank Shearer (1875-1971) had conceived of Fern Dell as early as 1912, and this very road was definitely laid out in 1911, but the landscaping work wouldn’t begin until the City had secured the land.) At the time, this area was known as “Mocohuenga Canyon” – allegedly an old native name for a tribal council meeting place once located here. I found no trace of this moniker before 1911, so I’m a little skeptical about its provenance, but you can spot a remnant of the name on the signpost for tiny Moco Lane, just off Fern Dell Drive. As for Fern Dell itself, it was first mentioned in print in 1920. The name may have been coined by Shearer or perhaps by Van M. Griffith (1888-1974), son of Griffith Park benefactor Griffith J. Griffith (1850-1919), as he had more or less taken charge of the park at that point. Fern Dell Drive was named in 1942; it was previously and clumsily called Western Avenue Canyon Road.