April 5, 2009
When the Encino Oak Tree was declared a historical cultural monument in 1963, it was believed to be approximately 1000 years old. Its canopy was 150 wide, and the trunk had a circumference of 24 feet. The tree survived natural disasters of all kinds. But the tree became sick, probably weakened by a combination of old age and human encroachment. In February, 1998, a severe storm struck the final blow, uprooting the tree (and taking out two parked cars with it). A section of the trunk was placed where the tree had once stood. A year later, another oak tree was planted nearby. Today, the site, a traffic island on Louise Avenue, just south of Ventura Boulevard, appears to be totally neglected. Weeds obscure the path and benches almost completely. The only sign of human interest is a flag attached to the old signboard, and a path beaten into the brush by jaywalkers.