Dedication of Tujunga Intersection to Armenian American Author Sparks Controversy

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The dedication of a square in Tujunga to Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, seen here in an undated photo, is scheduled for Saturday. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

The dedication Saturday of an intersection in Tujunga to Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan, who wrote extensively about the Armenian immigrant experience in California, has sparked controversy between some who in the community claim it will overshadow the corner’s existing historical significance and others who believe the opposition is grounded in discrimination.

After the Los Angeles City Council voted earlier this month to designate William Saroyan Square with a plaque at the crossing of Commerce Avenue and Valmont Street, the local neighborhood council shot back with a statement calling the placement inappropriate. The dedication is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.

The designated area is adjacent to Bolton Hall, a historic stone building erected in 1913 that was originally used as a community center for a local utopian community. It has since been used as an American Legion hall, a public library, Tujunga City Hall and a jail and is now a local history museum.

“It’s the location, that is what people are opposed to,” said Liliana Sanchez, president of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. “It’s the historical significance of that intersection. No signage should be placed there.”

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