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Places, Earth
La Guna de San Gabriel
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La Guna de San Gabriel

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2007 - 2017.

In the back corner of Vincent Lugo Park in San Gabriel, adjacent to Alhambra Wash, lies a Laguna, it has a variety of names by the children and adults who know it. While often called "Monster Park," "Dragon Park," or "Dinosaur Park," it is a collection of sea serpents, an octopus, a pink whale, dolphins, a pirate ship, light house, and a number of other aquatic creatures.

Benjamin Dominguez was in his 70s when he began this project. In his early years he was active in Guanajuato, Mexico. He attended La Academia de Artes Plasticas of the University of Mexico, about 1894. He was prolific during the 1950s and 1960s in Mexico and the Western United States. He designed bullfighting rings, stadiums, and a hotel with a second floor pool in Mexico and may be best known for the lion and tiger cages for the Mexico City Zoo. He worked a time for the City of El Paso, Texas. Two earlier US work still existing are at Legg Lake in Whittier Narrows and Atlantis park in Garden Grove.

Dominguez had 13 children.

La Laguna, built in the 1960s, (1965?) may be his best work in whimsical concrete characters. It is a large sand filled area of sea monsters, a pink whale, an octopus, starfish, a pirate ship, and more, fourteen in total.

In late 2006, the City of San Gabriel began to explore plans to demolish this jewel in favor of plastic play structures, a soccer field, and a riverside enhancement. The citizens rose up in mass to protest this potential loss of this work of art. In 2007, Friends of La Laguna presented its findings to the City and the playground's demolition was removed from the master park plan. La Laguna Playground was placed on the San Gabriel register of historic places and is under review for listing on the California Register of Historical Resources.

La Guna de San Gabriel is in the back corner of the park, barely visable as you approach.



Ship with light house and whale beyond.

Serpent slide and climbing serpent.

Oscar the octopus, serpents, and boat.
Pink whale with steps to climb inside and slide out the mouth.

Oscar the octopus.

Two faces, pirate ship and octopus.
Close up of octopus.

Climbing up the lighthouse.

The lighthouse - serpent slide.

Serpent - lighthouse slide.

Pirate ship and lighthouse-serpent slide.

Head of lighthouse-serpent.

Pirate ship.
Bow of pirate ship.

Green serpent slide.

Green serpent slide with beyond, Blue serpent for climbing on and crawling under.
Green serpent slide with beyond, Blue serpent for climbing on and crawling under.

Green serpent with pink whale beyond.

Green serpent with Porpoise beyond.

Serpent tail with Porpoise and snail beyond.

Green serpent with blue serpent beyond.
Blue serpent for climbing on and crawling under.
Blue serpent for climbing on and crawling under.
Blue serpent for climbing on and crawling under.

Blue serpent for climbing on and crawling under.

Serpents beyond octopus.

Octopus between serpents.
Serpent slide with seal, pirate ship, other serpents and figures beyond.

Green serpent slide with lighthouse-surpent slide and pirate ship beyond.

Green serpent slides with other figures beyond.

Porpoise, starfish, snail.

Peeking around a corner and the sand sea of creatures.
Starfish and snail slide.

Starfish and snail slide.

Starfish and snail slide beyond climbing serpent.
Snail slide. Many of these creatures include slides.

Looking at the playground through trees.

This is what the City would prefer. Nice safe boring plastic.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 19:19:11 EDT

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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