California: Griffith Park creator passes away – Francis Hammel – Brief Article
Francis Hammel, who helped create Griffith Park in Los Angeles, died Aug. 26 at the age of 102. For 30 years and up until his retirement in 1966, Hammel and his work crews helped build the 4,000-acre park and recreation facility, Griffith Park, which became the largest city-owned park in the United States.
After graduating from the School of Mines, Hammel worked for the U. S. Boundary Commission, mapping the border between the United States and Mexico, and also state borders. According to his children, he “walked or rode a horse from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, checking and repairing boundary markers between Mexico and the United States.”
In 1927, Hammel and his wife, Alma, moved to Los Angeles, where he arguably did his most important work–creating Griffith Park. Hammel was a surveyor, engineer and construction superintendent who helped create the park’s onsite observatory and zoo for the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department.
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