Along Burbank Boulevard in Encino is a place called the Hjelte Sports Center. What’s a Hjelte, and how do you say it?

    The word is pronounced JELL-tee. It’s Swedish, like Jake Gyllenhaal and those tiny meatballs. The softball diamonds are part of a park hidden behind trees. It is named after George Hjelte, who was head of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks for 32 years. By the time he retired in 1962, Hjelte had increased the number of play places in L.A. from 46 to more than 300, including swimming pools, campgrounds, and baseball ?elds. Hjelte also was an inventor, a woodworker, and a square dancer. His namesake park opened in 1981, two years after his death. 

    Photograph courtesy of laparks.org

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