CA -- Los Angeles -- El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument:
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LAPUEB_130723_006.JPG: Pico House: (Angels Walk LA sign)
Land, Luxury and the Last Mexican Governor:
When Pio Pico, California's last Mexican governor, erected the city's most elegant hotel in 1870, its indoor plumbing, dramatic gas lighting and French restaurant suited the social and cultural ambitions of young Los Angeles.
The Pico House, an Italianate-style, three-story showplace, not only over-shadowed the city's other three hotels, the bella Union, Lafayette and United States, but was one of Los Angeles' most enduring edifices.
Born the son of an army sergeant in 1801 at the San Gabriel Mission, Pico became one of California's richest and most powerful men, whose life paralleled both the roller coaster growth and binational politics of the region during the Mexican period.
Pico was a gregarious man, and generous to a fault. Appointed governor for one month in 1832 and again from 1845 to 1846, he moved the state capital from Monterey to Los Angeles and was open-handed with friends and relatives who requested land grants. Criticized for taking $14,000 for selling former mission lands in the San Fernando Valley, Pico said he used the money to carry on the Mexican-American War that would soon transfer California from Mexican hands to Yankee ones.
Pico sat out most of the war in Mexico, playing cards. Returning in 1848, he continued to enjoy influence and prestige as a land baron. Elegantly dressed and clanking with medals and decorations, he often carried a cane with an ivory handle carved to resemble the leg of a comely can-can dancer. In 1853, he served briefly as a city councilman.
The Gold Rush population boom created a heavy demand for beef, which helped to make rancheros like Pico wealthy. He bought the 9,000-acre Rancho Paseo de Bartolo Viejo, which the Yankees called "Picoville," in what is now Whittier. It was small compared to his 230,000-acre ranch in San Diego County, which he and his brother, Andres, received in a land grant in 1828. It is now the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton.
Eastern Comforts, Western Ways:
After the Civil War, as families from the east began visiting in Los Angeles, Pico decided there was money to be made, and civic pride to be enhanced, by offering tourists a hotel that would become the pride of the city, boasting "bathrooms and water closets for both sexes" on each floor.
He sold his San Fernando Valley property
LAPUEB_130723_008.JPG: for $115,000 in 1869 and bought his brother-in-law's house on Main Street, which he razed to build the Pico House at a cost of $48,000. He spent another $34,000 to furnish its 82 rooms lavishly.
On June 9, 1870, the hotel opened, with its grand double staircase, its gas-lit chandeliers, carved rosewood furniture, lace curtains and one bathroom per floor. The costliest rooms, at $3 per night, featured balconies overlooking a fountain in the courtyard.
Within months, the Methodist Church next door, built on the site of the El Dorado Saloon, was demolished and the Merced Theater rose in its place. The walkway from the hotel's second floor to the theater let guests saunter from their rooms to their seats.
For ten years, the hotel fulfilled Pico's hopes, even as his fortunes began to wane. Gambling, bad investments and being hoodwinked by Yankee con men forced him to lose the hotel. Despite several lawsuits over the property, Pico continued to entertain at his former hotel as if he were still the owner.
LAPUEB_130723_013.JPG: From Powerful to Penniless:
Pico had already lost his San Diego ranch to his English-born brother-in-law, John Forster, and also lost a lawsuit to get the land back. He, characteristically, held no grudge against his nephew, Chico, Forster's son. Chico was engaged to a beautiful singer named Lastania Abarta, who sang for Pico at a banquet at the Pico House. Their engagement was a secret until Albarta killed the philandering Chico. An all-male jury acquitted her on grounds of "menstrual madness."
The decline in Pico's fortunes paralleled the rise of Yankee power. Hopelessly in debt, he mortgaged his Whittier ranch. When he tried to repay the loan, the lender refused the money and took the land instead. Pico tried to recover the property through legal action but was evicted in 1892. The last Mexican governor of California died two years later, penniless and homeless.
Pico House was condemned in 1922. More than three decades later, the state bought the dilapidated property as part of the historic plaza park. Its facelift, like those of its neighbors, the Merced Theater and the 1856 Masonic Temple, restored the glories of the bygone to the city's historic heart.
LAPUEB_130723_020.JPG: Masonic Hall, 1858:
The firm of Perry and Brady (later known as Perry and Woodworth) constructed this brick and stucco building. The upper floor was designed as a meeting hall for Lodge 42 Free and Accepted Masons, the first American organization established in Los Angeles. Perry and Woodworth, who were fellow masons, operated a furniture store on the lower floor. Lodge 42 moved away in 1868 and the hall was used for other purposes. Restored in 1962, the hall is now used for meetings of Los Angeles City Lodge 814 and houses a small museum on the early days of Masonry in Los Angeles. The Masonic Hall is the oldest building is Los Angeles south of the Plaza. Its west facade was altered in the 1870s to harmonize more closely with the style of its neighbors.
LAPUEB_130723_027.JPG: Pico House
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
The Pico House was built by Pio Pico, last Governor of California under Mexican rule, who lived almost the entire length of the nineteenth century from 1801 to 1894. This was the first three story building and the first grand hotel in Los Angeles. Pico chose architect Ezra F. Kysor to design the "finest hotel in Los Angeles." To raise funds for the building and furnishing of the hotel, Pio and his brother Andres sold most of their vast landholdings in the San Fernando Valley. Construction began on September 18, 1869, and the hotel opened for business on June 9, 1870.
The hotel was built in the Italianate style, with deep set round-arched windows and doors. The Main Street and Plaza facades were stuccoed to resemble blue granite. The hotel had eighty two bedrooms and twenty one parlors as well as bathrooms and water closets for each sex on each floor. A French chef presided over a large dining room on the first floor. The Pico House was decorated with furniture of the best quality, with walnut pieces on the second floor and lighter woods but still "pleasing to the eye and of good quality" on the third floor. Many of the bedrooms opened into an interior court festooned with vines and birdcages.
The prime period of the hotel was in 1876 when the railroad came to Los Angeles and when Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria stayed there. Unfortunately, Pio Pico was not to profit from his hotel as he lost it to foreclosure in 1880 because of non-payment of debts. The hotel management changed frequently in the ensuing years. Many of the proprietors were of French or Italian origin. Around 1882 a balcony was added to the Plaza and Main street facades and its name was changed for several decades to the National Hotel. The hotel gradually declined and was taken over by the state in 1953. (Marker Number 159.)
LAPUEB_130723_030.JPG: Pio de Jesus Pico
Pio de Jesus Pico (1801-1894) was the last Mexican governor of California and is one of the state's most remarkable historical figures. He witnessed and helped to shape nearly a century of California history. Although he recognized the vast changes that came about in Los Angeles, he remained a Californio in language and thought.
He was born on May 5, 1801 and was the eldest son of a large family. As an afro-mestizo, Pico reflects the mixture of African, Indian and European ancestry which occurred in Mexico and throughout the Americas. He joined the army for a brief time, and in 1828 became a member of the Deputacion or Territorial Assembly. The following year, he received his first land grant of 8,922 acres near San Diego named Rancho Jamul. He and his younger brother, Andres, were awarded the 133,441 acre Rancho Santa Margarita in 1841. After a brief stint as governor in 1832, Pico became administrator of Mission San Luis Rey. In 1845 he led a popular coup against Governor Micheltorena which resulted in his rise to the governorship, a post which lasted until the arrival of invading United STates forces in 1846. Pico sold his vast landholdings in San Fernando Valley to provide capital for the construction and furnishing of the Pico House, the city's first three story building and first elegant hotel, which opened in 1870. Sadly, he lost the hotel and other properties to foreclosure only ten years later and then was swindled out of his home and rancho in present-day Whittier. Although he died a poor man, he remained a proud and stately figure.
LAPUEB_130723_069.JPG: Felipe de Neve 1728-84
Spanish Governor of the Californias 1775-82
In 1781, on the orders of King Carlos III of Spain, Felipe de Neve selected a site near the river Porciuncula and laid out the town of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, one of two Spanish pueblos he founded in Alta California.
LAPUEB_130723_073.JPG: Los Pobladores
The Founders of the City of Los Angles
LAPUEB_130723_084.JPG: Carlos III
King Carlos III of Spain ordered the founding of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles in 1781. This statue was presented in 1976, in honor of the 200th anniversary of American independence. It was dedicated in the plaza by the King and Queen of Spain, Don Juan Carlos I and Dona Sofia on September 30, 1987.
LAPUEB_130723_098.JPG: Los Angeles Plaza
This site was part of the lands originally granted to El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles in 1781 by the King of Spain, Carlos III, under the Spanish Law of the Indies. The first plaza of the pueblo had been located to the southeast, closer to the Rio Porciuncula (Los Angeles River). When the river flooded, the pueblo was moved to higher ground. Shortly after the dedication of the Plaza Church in December 1822, the plaza's location was changed again to the present site.
LAPUEB_130723_127.JPG: Biscailuz Building
This building, located on the site of the Juan Sepulveda adobe, was designed as the United Methodist Church Conference Headquarters and the Plaza Community Center. Today it serves as the Consulate-General of Mexico. In 1968, the building was re-named after Eugene Biscailuz, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff, who had helped Christine Sterling in her struggle to save this historic section of Los Angeles. In 1979, Leo Politi painted a mural on the south and east faces that depicts the Blessing of the Animals, a traditional event held in the Park every year on Easter Saturday.
LAPUEB_130723_132.JPG: Plaza Methodist Church
The Church is located on the site of the Tapia/Olvera adobe, which served as an early service building for teh United Methodist Church mission in Los Angeles. The Methodist Church wa also the founding agent in Southern California for Goodwill Industries. The adobe was torn down in 1917 and, nine years later, architects Train and Williams completed this Churrigeresque-style church. The building was altered in the 1960s.
LAPUEB_130723_152.JPG: Placita de Delores Time Capsule
On May 5, 1979, the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, participated in the dedication of this Placita de Dolores. The following is a memorable excerpt from his remarks:
"... freedom is never permanently ours, despite the noble sacrifices of past generations, we must daily re-win the fight against injustice and prejudice and ignorance, and against those in power who believe they know better than the people what is best..."
LAPUEB_130723_157.JPG: User comment: Gonzalo Rodriguez comment:
I worked on this mural with muralist Ed Carrillo. Ed hired me (Gonzalo Rodriguez and my wife Irene) to construct and install the mural which was made and painted in Brookdale, Calif at Ed's studio. It was dedicated in a ceremony attended by . President Carter. I believe the year was 1978. For more info my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
LAPUEB_130723_159.JPG: User comment: Gonzalo Rodriguez comment:
I posed for the artist Ed Carrillo in this scene of the native with bow and arrows
LAPUEB_130723_176.JPG: ANTONIO AGUILAR
MAY 17, 1919 – JUNE 2007
"El Charro de Mexico" (The Mexican Cowboy). Was born Pascual Antonio Aguilar on May 17, 1919 in the City of Villanueva, Zacatecas, Mexico. Antonio Aguilar is a legendary icon of Mexican music and film, and a popular symbol of the Mexican charro culture. Antonio Aguilar was an esteemed actor, producer, singer and writer who made 167 movies, and recorded over 150 albums, which sold more than 25 million copies. Antonio Aquilar's distinguished acting career in Mexican film led him to Hollywood where he worked with stars like John Wayne and Rock Hudson. As a musician, he toured all over the world with his wife, actress-singer Flor Silvestre, and their sons, Antonio Jr. and Pepe. He entertained millions with his unique and spectacular musical performances and equestrian shows that featured cowboys and dancing horses. He performed at concert venues across the United States and has the distinction of being the only Latino artist to sell out New York City's Madison Square Garden for six consecutive nights. He is one of the Mexican performers honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Antonio's rise to stardom and international fame from his humble beginnings in Zacatecas, Mexico epitomizes the American Dream. Early in his career, with no money and little food, he traveled to Los Angeles and spent three nights sleeping on benches in Placita Olvera, the birthplace of Los Angeles, and a popular destination for many immigrants who sought a better life. His success has opened doors for many giant entertainers, and his life story continues to inspire generations to work hard and dream big.
Councilmember, City of Los Angeles, District 14
September 16, 2012
Sculptor: Dan Medina
LAPUEB_130723_202.JPG: In Honor
Homage to Our Mexican-American Heroes
Veterans of America's Wars. Covered with glory, their ideals of service provide power to America, for peace and for human dignity. Long live America during this time of such power!
Dedicated May 5, 1980
California National Guard Association
LAPUEB_130723_216.JPG: Latino Blood, American Hearts
This site is dedicated to the Latino-American Heroes who received the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for bravery. For love of country, they performed above and beyond the call of duty.
Heroes y compatriotas, con orgullo y honor los saluda nuestro pueblo!
[Translation: Heroes and countrymen, greet our people with pride and honor!]
To all Medal of Honor Recipients
Courage and Gallantry graced their deeds and their guide was Honor.
LAPUEB_130723_223.JPG: A nation does not honor its heroes cannot long endure.
-- Abraham Lincoln
LAPUEB_130723_237.JPG: Father Junipero Serra 1713-1784
Born on the island of Majorca, off the coast of Spain, Father Serra was ordained in Palma where he taught for fifteen years before being sent to Mexico as a missionary in 1749. In 1769 he became Padre Presidente of the Franciscan missions in Baja California. That same year he accompanied Gaspar de Portola on a colonization expedition to San Diego where he founded the first of the nine missions he established in Alta California. Despite an injured leg and constant pain, Father Serra labored mightily in the service of the church and was a major leader in the conquest of California for Spain.
This statue was erected by the Knights of Columbus in 1932 and was rededicated on the 200th anniversary of Father Serra's death on August 28, 1784.
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Wikipedia Description: Los Angeles Plaza Historic District
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Los Angeles Plaza Historic District, also known as El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, is a historic district located at the oldest section of Los Angeles, known for many years as "El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles". The district, centered around the old plaza, was the city's center under Spanish (1781-1821), Mexican (1821-1847) and United States (after 1847) rule through most of the 19th Century. The area was designated a state historic monument in 1953 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
A plaque across from the Old Plaza commemorates the founding of the city. It states: "On September 4, 1781, eleven families of pobladores (44 persons including children) arrived at this place from the Gulf of California to establish a pueblo which was to become the City of Los Angeles. This colonization ordered by King Carlos III was carried out under the direction of Governor Felipe de Neve." The small town received the name El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles sobre El Rio Porciuncula, Spanish for The Town of Our Lady Queen of the Angels on the Porciuncula River. The original pueblo was built to the southeast of the current plaza along the Los Angeles River. In 1815, a flood washed away the original pueblo, and it was rebuilt farther from the river at the location of the current plaza.
Growth of the Pueblo:
Plaza and Pico House, ca. 1890:
During its first 70 years, the Pueblo grew slowly from 44 in 1781 to 1,615 in 1850—an average of about 25 persons per year. During this period, the Plaza Historic District was the Pueblo's commercial and social center. In 1850, shortly after California became part of the United States, Los Angeles was incorporated as a city. It experienced a major boom in the 1880s and 1890s, as its population grew from 11,200 (1880) to 50,400 (1890) and 102,500 in 1900. As the City grew, the commercial and cultural center began to move south away from the Plaza, along Spring Street and Main Street. In 1891, the Los Angeles Times reported on the move of the city's center:
"The geographical center of Los Angeles is the old plaza, but that has long since ceased to be the center of population. ... While at one time most of the population was north of the plaza, during the past ten years 90 per cent of the improvements have gone up in the southern half of the city. ... These are solid facts which it is useless to attempt to ignore by playing the ostrich acts and level-headed property holders in the northern part of the city are beginning to ask themselves seriously what is to be done to arrest or at least delay the steady march of the business section from the old to the new plaza on Sixth Street ..."
Preservation as a historic park:
The 44 acres (180,000 m2) surrounding the Plaza and constituting the old pueblo have been preserved as a historic park roughly bounded by Spring, Macy, Alameda and Arcadia Streets, and Cesar Chavez Boulevard (formerly Sunset Boulevard). There is a visitors center in the Sepulveda House, and a volunteer organization known as Las Angelitas del Pueblo provide tours of the district.
The district includes the city's oldest and most historic structures clustered around the old plaza. The buildings of greatest historical significance include Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles Church (1822), Avila Adobe (1818) (the city's oldest surviving residence), the Olvera Street market, Pico House (1870), and the Old Plaza Fire Station (1884). Four of the buildings have been restored as museums. Archaeological excavations in the Pueblo have uncovered artifacts from the indigenous period (before 1781), the Spanish colonial era (1781–1821), the Mexican era (1821–1847), and the first century of the American era (1850s–1940s), including animal bones, household goods, tools, bottles, and ceramics.
The district was designated as a state monument in 1953, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
At the center of the Historic District is the old plaza itself. It has been described as "the focal point" of the state historic park, symbolizing the city's birthplace and "separating Olvera Street's touristy bustle from the Pico-Garnier block's empty buildings." Built in the 1820s, the plaza was the city's commercial and social center. It remains the site of many festivals and celebrations. The plaza has large statues of three important figures in the city's history: King Carlos III of Spain, the monarch who ordered the founding of the Pueblo de Los Angeles in 1780; Felipe de Neve, the Spanish Governor of the Californias who selected the site of the Pueblo and laid out the town; and Father Junípero Serra,founder and first head of the Alta California missions. In addition to this, the plaza itself has been made a monument to the original forty-four settlers and the four soldiers who accompanied them. A large plaque listing their names was erected in the plaza, and later plaques dedicated to the individual eleven families were placed in the ground encircling the gazebo in the center of the plaza.
La Placita Church:
The parish church in the Plaza Historic District, known as La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles (The Church of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels), was founded in 1814, though the structure was not completed and dedicated until 1822. The present church dates from 1861. The church was one of the first three sites designated as Historic Cultural Monuments by the City of Los Angeles, and has been designated as a California Historical Landmark
Olvera Street, known for its Mexican marketplace, was originally known as Wine Street. In 1877, it was extended and renamed in honor of Augustín Olvera, a prominent local judge. Many of the Plaza District's Historic Buildings, including the Avila Adobe and Sepulveda House are located on Olvera Street. In 1930, it was converted by local merchants into the colorful marketplace that remains today.
The Avila Adobe was built in 1818 and is the oldest surviving residence in Los Angeles. It is located in the paseo of Olvera Street and was built by Francisco Avila, a wealthy cattle rancher. Its adobe walls are 2-1/2 to 3 feet (0.91 m) thick. U. S. Navy Commodore Robert Stockton took it over as his temporary headquarters when the United States first occupied the city in 1846. The adobe is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is California State Landmark No. 145.
The Plaza Substation was part of the electric streetcar system operated by the Los Angeles Railway. Completed in 1904, the substation provided electricity to power the yellow streetcars. When the streetcar system closed, the building was converted to other uses. The substation is one of the two buildings in the district that is itself separately listed in the National Register of Historic Places. (The Avila Adobe is the other.)
Old Plaza Firehouse:
The Old Plaza Firehouse is the oldest firehouse in Los Angeles. Built in 1884, it operated as a firehouse until 1897. The building was thereafter used as a use as a saloon , cigar store, poolroom, "seedy hotel," Chinese market, "flop house," and drugstore. The building was restored in the 1950s and opened as a firefighting museum in 1960.
Pico House was a luxury hotel built in 1870 by Pío Pico, a successful businessman who was the last Mexican Governor of Alta California. With indoor plumbing, gas-lit chandeliers, a grand double staircase, lace curtains and a French restaurant, the Italianate three-story, 33-room hotel was the most elegant hotel in Southern California. It had a total of nearly eighty rooms. The Pico House is currently listed as a California Historical Landmark (No. 159).
The Merced Theater, completed in 1870, was built in an Italianate style and operated as a live theater from 1871-1876. When the Woods Opera House opened nearby in 1876, the Merced ceased being the city's leading theater. Eventually, it gained an "unenviable reputation" because of "the disreputable dances staged there, and was finally closed by the authorities."
Masonic Hall was built in 1858 as Lodge 42 of the Free and Accepted Masons. The building was a painted brick structure with a symbolic "Masonic eye" below the parapet. In 1868, the Masons moved to larger quarters further south. Afterward, the building was used for many purposes, including a pawn shop and boarding house. It is the oldest building in Los Angeles south of the Plaza.
The Garnier Building was built in 1890 and was part of the city's original Chinatown. The southern portion of the building was demolished in the 1950s to make way for the Hollywood Freeway. The Chinese American Museum is now located in the Garnier Building.
Sepulveda House is a 22-room Victorian house built in 1887 in the East lake style. The original structure included two commercial businesses and three residences. It is now the site of the Plaza District's Visitors' Center, which includes an 18-minute video of the Pueblo's early history.
Pelanconi House, built in 1857, is the oldest surviving brick house in Los Angeles. In 1930, it was converted into a restaurant called La Golondrina, which is the oldest restaurant on Olvera Street.
Plaza Methodist Church
Built in 1926, the Plaza Methodist Church was built on the site of the adobe once owned by Agustín Olvera, the man for whom Olvera Street was named.
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