Wednesday, July 29, 2009

El Pueblo de Los Angeles..."where the city first began"

El Pueblo de la reina de Los Angeles sobre El Rio de la Porciuncula, "The town of the queen of the angels near the Porciuncula River" Aaron's Tour of Los Angeles - Part 1 website,

When I was a Girl Scout, growing up in Glendale, I was fortunate to have a wonderful set of leaders who took to heart the importance of teaching all of us about the beginnings of the beautiful city of Los Angeles. It's probably because Doris was the daughter of the family who last owned the Verdugo Adobe and sold it to the City of Glendale for the use as a historical park. What better way to learn the history of Los Angeles than to experience it for ourselves.
I visited Olvera Street many times with the Girl Scouts and with my family. My family always ate at La Golondrina Cafe, the first restaurant of California (and of course I continued the tradition on the day of my photo shoot, and I must say, they have very fine Margheritas!!!!). As my memory recalls (aided by an internet search of grand proportion) Olvera St. was the first plaza, or gathering spot for the neighboring ranchos. It was the site of celebrations of all kinds and of course, the location of the old Plaza Catholic Church.
Today, Olvera Street looks exactly as it did when I was a child. The surrounding city has grown by leaps and bounds, but the street still houses the many vendors and food stands that have been typical there since I first started going. You'll even see some of the same simple toys that I loved to play with, as well as maracas, sombreros, Mexican dresses of all sizes, and those sandals!!! And as you walk down the street, taking in the sights and sounds, you smell the taquitos at Juanitas!!!
And last, but definitely not least...I would have recognized his work anywhere...the murals by Leo Politi. I was blessed to have a wonderful grandmother who also was a librarian...for 52 years! As a child, she always gave us a book for Christmas, birthdays etc...and many of the ones she gave me were books written and illustrated by Leo Politi. My most treasured posessions from my childhood. Because my grandmother was a librarian, she met Leo Politi several times, and as a result, I am proud to say I have several books that are beautifully inscribed by the author himself, my name embellished with flowers and of art on their own.


  1. Thanks for the glorious photos of Olivera Street and La Plaza. I have signed print of Leo Politi's of La Plaza, and I really cherish it. As a United Methodist, I'm also proud of the fact that the church on the plaza is one of ours. The site of the former Catholic Church is over on the next block. I think it is an art space now.

  2. Thanks Sarah!!! I love Leo Politi!!! I had forgotten about the La Plaza mural until I was walking by and thought..."that's Leo Politi!!"
    I had to stop and take of my treasured memories from my grandmother!


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