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El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument
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Los Angeles

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2004 - 2013.


El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument is where the great City of Los Angeles began. On Wednesday, August 2, 1769, the Portola expedition, which was the first European land expedition through California, while marching to Monterey Bay to establish a Spanish claim to Alta California, camped along a River. They named the river El Rio de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula in recognition of the Jubilee of Our Lady of Los Angeles of the Porciuncula which was observed the previous day. Father Juan Crespi, a Franciscan priest accompanying the expidition, described in his journal a "beautiful river from the northwest" located at "34 degrees 10 minutes." In 1781, a new settlement was established along that river and came to be known as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula or The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Little Portion, although its official name was simply El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles. Today, the City is known as Los Angeles which is Spanish for The Angels and the river is simply named, the Los Angeles River.

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument is near the site of the early Los Angeles Pueblo where forty-four settlers established a farming community in 1781, in an area inhabited by friendly Native American Indians. Under the orders of King Carlos III of Spain, the pueblo was founded to grow food for the soldiers guarding this far-off territory of Spain. As the town grew and prospered, retired soldiers were given large portions of land on which to graze their cattle. In 1821 Mexico declared her independence from Spain. Successive governors of Alta California gave additional land grants to other settlers including new arrivals from Europe and the east coast of America. They joined the Californios in becoming ranchers, merchants, and winemakers.

The Mexican American War began in 1846 and United States troops took Los Angeles the following year. The town rmaintained its customs and traditions, but as the population grew, the professional heart of the city gradually moved southwards. The old landowners who had owned houses around the plaza moved away, new buildings were constructed, and the area gradually changed to light industrial and business use. Changes brought in new settlers and the east side of the Plaza became the heart of the city's first Chinatown. French and Italian settlers also arrived in large numbers. Despite this activity, the former pueblo area began a gradual decline becoming a slumn soon after the turn of the century.

Christine Sterling recognized the value of the old historic buildings and the Spanish and Mexican heritage of the City. Through Ms. Sterling's efforts, the Avila Adobe, was rescued from demolition and became the focal point of Olvera Street. Olvera Street was named after the first County Judge, Agustin Olvera, in 1877. Converted to a colorful Mexican market place in 1930, Olvera Street is also the setting for holiday celebrations and Mexican style dancing and music. Most of the Historical Monument occupise two blocks.

In 1953 a strong effort to preserve the oldest and most historic section of the city resulted in the creation of a state historic park. The State of California and the County and City of Los Angeles jointly purchased the buildings and sites around the plaza. The Plaza reflected the heritage of many ethnic groups, Hispanic, Black, Chinese, French, Italian and Anglo who contributed to the history of the city. In 1989, because of the difficulty in two government agencies jointly operating a state historic park in the heart of the city, an act was passed turning the Park over to the City of Los Angeles. Now the Monument, as it is called, is a run by the City of Los Angeles. Plans exist to restore and develop the historic buildings and to bring more people and opportunities to the area. Of the Monument's twenty-seven historic buildings, eleven are open to the public in some form on another; four are restored as museums, making a range of architectural styles from an Adobe dwelling of 1818 to a Spanish style church of 1926. In its history, Los Angeles has been under the flags of three nations, Spain, Mexico and the U.S.

Museums and Buildings

Admission to the museums are free. The museum hours are:

Avila Adobe: This adobe house was built in 1818 by Don Francisco Avila, alcalde (mayor) of Los Angeles in 1810. Used as Commodore Robert Stockton's headquarters in 1847, the adobe also served as a boarding house and restaurant. It was repaired by private subscription in 1929-30 when Olvera Street was opened as a Mexican marketplace. It is the oldest existing house in Los Angeles. It was again restored after the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The Avila Adobe now reflects the Hispanic lifestyle of California in the 1840s. A narrow passage to tthe right of the adobe leads to a courtyard. The coartyard has flowers, cactus, and a caretta. At hte front of the courtyard is the entrance to the adobe and in hte back, is a museum builidng.
Location: El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, Olvera St, Los Angeles, about midway on the east side.
Open: summer: daily, 9 am. to 5: pm; winter: daily, 10 am to 4 pm.

Sepulveda House: In 1887 Senora Eloisa Martinez de Sepulveda built a two story Eastlake style Victorian business and residential block on her property between Main and Olvera Streets. The Sepulveda House represents, both architecturally and socially, the transformation of Los Angeles from purely Mexican traditions to a combination of Mexican and Anglo culture.
Location: El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, Plaza.
Open Daily (except Sundays) 10 am to 3 pm Monday to Saturday.

Fire House Museum: The Old Plaza Firehouse was built in 1884 as the first building constructed as a fire station in Los Angeles. It served as a firehouse until 1897. After this it was used for various purposes, a saloon, lodging house, and store. The Museum is dedicated to the firemen of the Los Angeles Fire Department-past, present, and future who have protected the lives and property of the citizens of Los Angeles since 1871. It now displays firefighting memorabilia from the nineteen century. Restored in 1960 and opened as a museum of fire-fighting equipment of the late 19th century.
Location: El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, 501 N Los Angeles St, on the Plaza.
Open Tuesday to Sunday (except Mondays)10 am to 3 pm.

Masonic Hall: The city's first Masonic Hall (1858) continues to serve as a meeting place for lodge members and as a museum of the Order of Free Masons and Lodge 42.
Open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 3 pm.

La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles-the Church of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels ( construction 1818-22) was dedicated on December 8, 1822 during California's Mexican era. Originally known as La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, the church was the only Catholic church for the pueblo. It is oldest church in the city. Our Lady Queen of Angels (Old Plaza) Catholic Church serves primarily the Hispanic population of Los Angeles as an active church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. On almost any Saturday, the patio outside the church is filled with families baptizing their babies.
Location: 535 N Main St near Macy St, Los Angeles.
Open Daily

Los Angeles Plaza - (La Placita) c. 1825. Formerly the town square, the Plaza area was landscaped and given its circular form in the 1870s. A part of the original pueblo lands, the plaza is located close to the site of the original plaza. It was the center of the settlement founded by Governor Felipe de Neve. When the Plaza Church was completed in 1822, this site was reserved as a public plaza. It was landscaped in 1871 and has served since that date as a public park.
Location: El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, 500 block of N Main St, Los Angeles.
Open Daily

Olvera Street 1930. The world-famous street was closed to vehicular traffic and made into a Mexican marketplace through the efforts of Christine Sterling and others in 1930
Open Daily 10:00-8:00.
Compo Santo Cemetery La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles Cemetery.
First recorded burial took place January 6, 1823. The last known burial was November 8, 1844.
Pascual Antonio Aguilar Barraza, AKA, "El Charro de Mexico" (The Mexican Cowboy. He was born May 17, 1919 in the City of Villanueve, Zacateces, Mexico. He was a prolific actor and singer making 167 movies and recorded over 150 albums and was a symbol of the Mexican charro culture.

Olvera Street, early, before opening.


Setting up the Photo donkey in the morning.

Siqueiros Mural & América Tropical Interpretive Center

América Tropical
painted in 1932 (premiered October 9, 1932) by Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Siqueiros believed that motion was a defining characteristic of the modern age. He incorporated moving into his stattic paintings.
He was innovative in using photography and projects as tools in defining his murals.
Four muralist artists: Los Tres Grandes, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco.
The controversial mural was whitewashed within 18 months of it's unvieling to hide it forever. You can new see it again.
By 1968, the whitewash was startign to thin and reveal the mural. Although the mural had suffered, efforts begun in 1988 to protect and expose the work. It opened to the public in 2012.
The exhibit explains the story of Siqueiros and his mural.
Hours Tuesday - Sunday, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.





Plaque on the origin of Los Angeles.
Gazibo
Photo date: 1-5-93.
Gazibo
Photo date: 2-9-77.
Gazebo in the Plaza.
Gazibo Gazibo
Gazebo in the Plaza. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Gazebo in the Plaza. Photo date: 7-14-07.

Plaza Methodist Church
Plaza Methodist Church. Photo date: 1-5-93.
Plaza Methodist Church
Plaza Methodist Church. Photo date: 1-5-93.

Light Post
Light Post in Plaza. Photo date: 1-5-93.
Pico House
Pico House. Photo date: 1-5-93.
Pico House
Pico House. Photo date: 3-24-01.
Pico House
Pico House. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Pico House
Pico House. Photo date: 9-4-04.

The Pico House was built by Pio Pico, last Mexican Governor of California.
To raise money to build the hotel, Pico sold large land holdings in the San Fernando Valley.
The Pico House.
Firehouse
Firehouse. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Firehouse
Firehouse. Photo date: 7-5-03.
Firehouse
Firehouse. Photo date: 7-5-03.
Firehouse
Firehouse. Photo date: 7-5-03.

Native American Dance
Native American dance. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Native American Dance
Native American dance. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Native American Dance
Native American dance. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Plaza Methodist Church
Plaza Methodist Church. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Plaza Methodist Church
Plaza Methodist Church. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Chinese American Museum
Chinese American Museum. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Chinese American Museum
Chinese American Museum. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Vickrey/Brunswig Building 1888
Vickrey/Brunswig Building 1888. Photo date: 11-18-95.
Vickrey/Brunswig Building 1888
Vickrey/Brunswig Building 1888. Photo date: 9-4-04.

Photo date: 11-18-95.

Photo date: 11-18-95.
Mission Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles began as an asistencia to Mission San Gabriel.
Mission Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles
Mission Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Mission Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles
Mission Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Plaza Catholic Church 1818-1822
Plaza Catholic Church, 1818-1822. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Plaza Catholic Church, 1818-1822
Plaza Catholic Church, 1818-1822. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Plaza Catholic Church, 1818-1822
Plaza Catholic Church, 1818-1822. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Plaza Catholic Church, 1818-1822
Plaza Catholic Church, 1818-1822. Photo date: 3-24-01.
Mission Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles
Mission Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles, gratto. Photo date: 9-4-04.
New Plaza Catholic Church
New Plaza Catholic Church. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Union RR Station from Plaza
Union RR Station from Plaza. Photo date: 1-5-93.
West Entrance to Olvera Street
West entrance to Olvera Street. Photo date: 1-5-93.
West Entrance to Olvera Street
West entrance to Olvera Street. Photo date: 5-17-03.
Olvera Street Opening
Opening shops at Olvera Street. Photo date: 5-17-03.
Olvera Street Opening
Opening shops at Olvera Street. Photo date: 5-17-03.
Olvera Street Opening
Opening shops at Olvera Street. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Olvera Street Opening
Opening shops at Olvera Street. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Olvera Street Opening
Opening shops at Olvera Street. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Olvera Street Opening
Opening shops at Olvera Street. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Native American Dance
Native American dance. Photo date: 11-18-95.
Native American Dance
Native American dance. Photo date: 11-18-95.

Photo date: 1-5-93.

Photo date: 1-5-93.

Photo date: 1-5-93.

Photo date: 1-5-93.

Photo date: 1-5-93.

Photo date: 1-5-93.

Photo date: 4-29-00.

Photo date: 9-4-04.

Photo date: 9-4-04.

Photo date: 9-4-04.

Photo date: 9-4-04.
Grape Vines
Grape Vines. Photo date: 9-4-04.

Photo date: 9-4-04.
Olvera Street East Entrance
Olvera Street East Entrance. Photo date: 9-4-04.
Avila Adobe, 1818
Avila Adobe, 1818. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Entrance to Avila Adobe
Entrance to Avila Adobe. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Avila Adobe, 1818, Interior
Avila Adobe, 1818, interior. Photo date: 11-18-95.
Avila Adobe, 1818, Interior
Avila Adobe, 1818, interior. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Avila Adobe, 1818, Interior
Avila Adobe, 1818, interior. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Avila Adobe, 1818, Interior
Avila Adobe, 1818, interior. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Grape Vines in Avila Adobe Courtyard
Grape vines in Avila Adobe courtyard. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Grape Vines in Avila Adobe Courtyard
Grape vines in Avila Adobe courtyard. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Grape Vines in Avila Adobe Courtyard
Grape vines in Avila Adobe courtyard. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Grape Vines in Avila Adobe Courtyard
Grape vines in Avila Adobe courtyard. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Cactus in Avila Adobe Courtyard
Cactus in Avila Adobe courtyard. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Cactus in Avila Adobe Courtyard
Cactus in Avila Adobe courtyard. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Cactus in Avila Adobe Courtyard
Cactus in Avila Adobe courtyard. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Los Angeles 233rd Birthday
Los Angeles 233rd Birthday. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Los Angeles 233rd Birthday
Los Angeles 233rd Birthday. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
Los Angeles 233rd Birthday
Los Angeles 233rd Birthday. Photo Date: 9-4-04.
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This page last updated: Saturday, 08-Nov-2014 00:46:05 EST

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