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Who Was the Dante of Dante’s View in Griffith Park?

Dante's View. Photo credit: Frozen Coffee via photopin cc
Dante’s View. Photo credit: Frozen Coffee via photopin cc

Have you ever hiked the couple miles up the Hollywood Hiking Train in Griffith Park to Dante’s View and wondered – who is Dante and why is this his view? We have.

Some seventy hikers trecked up to the view last Sunday, Nov 9th, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of  Dante Orgaolini, the creator and namesake of  the garden atop the Hollywood Hills. The hike was organized and led by Councilmember LaBonge, The Friends of Dante’s View, Hollywood Heritage, and many members of the Orgolini family.


Dante with Orson Welles in a 1942 still from
Dante with Orson Welles in a 1942 still from

According to Councilman LaBonge’s office, Dante Orgolini was a Brazilian journalist and artist who came to the U.S. in 1926 to pursue a degree in art at Boston University. He quickly settled into life as a journalist for Brazil’s popular A Noite newspaper covering Hollywood filmmakers and leading movie stars of the period.

During the years he raised his young family in Los Feliz, Orgolini discovered Griffith Park. Hiking every trail and promontory soon became a cherished pastime for him and exploring the vast terrain of the park gave him a profound understanding of the importance of this natural area with its spectacular views above the ever-expanding city. From these early days, armed with only a pick and shovel he had brought from home, and the help of fellow hikers and park rangers, Dante carved out the mountainside garden that still stands today.

Though three quarters of the garden was severely ravaged by fire in 2007, the area is still be tended to by private supporters, including Councilman LaBonge and the Friends of Dante’s View, as seen on Sunday with the planting of a large tree on the once-shady, now needy space. “We’ve taken over care of Dante’s View after the fire,” LaBonge told the Larchmont Buzz. “I stand behind those who get their feet dirty and do the tough work like replanting and maintaining this special spot.” LaBonge said he hopes to get more water to the area so that the flora can flourish there once again.

Councilman LaBonge and
Councilman LaBonge and
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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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  1. I knew Dante himself, when I was a teenager and he was retired. A wonderful, kindly man, very friendly. My brother and I hand-carried a couple of trees up to him once, after vandals had torn up a number of his plantings and broken tree branches. Dozens of people pitched in to help him rebuild both his garden and his spirits. He stayed on till he died.

    His friend Roy (whose last name I never knew) then tended it for a while, but he was older than Dante and soon gave it up. After a couple of other volunteer caretakers put in their stints, the Parks Dept. finally decided to take care of it in perpetuity. Roy, by the way, originally built the trail that winds down from Dante’s View to the Bird Sanctuary.

    Dante’s View was in many ways the center of my life for the years of my youth and early manhood. And Dante himself was an unselfconscious role model, with his kindness, diligence, calm, and love of all humanity.

    • Charlie Turner (caretaker from 1978 – mid’90s) cared for Dantes’ View at least as long as Dante Oroglini did (1964 -1978). The last semi official caretakers before Tom and Rec and Parks took it over completely were Ann and Jim (McKeen? – I hope they forgive me for not remembering their last name correctly.) Jim has since passed on.


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