Posts Tagged ‘Olvera Street’

IMAGERY – Olvera Street Market Salesman, 1938

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW ©USC Digital Archive

































“In the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Paseo de Los Angeles – later referred to as Olvera Street – was created through the efforts of Christine Sterling and the City Boosters in the oldest section of the city. Olvera Street was an imagined Mexican Landscape not unlike the renowned tourist districts of Mexican border cities (Arreola and Curtis 1993). The theme was “Old Mexico,” pitting a timeless, romantic, homogenous Spanish-Mexican culture against industrialization, immigration, urban decay and modernity itself. The street featured rows of curio shops, house museums, and Mexican eateries staffed by costumed Mexican merchants. As a constructed place, Olvera Street was the product of a social and economic agenda established by civic elites to transform downtown Los Angeles through the removal of undesirable residents. The opening of Olvera Street and the preservation of the old Plaza also popularized an emerging creation mythology for Anglo Los Angeles stemming from the defeat of Mexican forces in 1847, a heroic birth legend in which Sterling emerged as a symbolic mother figure and guardian of the city’s birthplace.”

Excerpted from Los Angeles’ Old Plaza and Olvera Street: Imagined and Contested Space, by William D. Estrada © 1999


FLASHBACK – Olvera Street circa 1937

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50DnilLc7x0[/youtube]


EVENT – Happy B-Day! Los Angeles is 228 today!

But thanks to botox, she doesn’t look a year over 200.

birthdayOn September 4, 1781, Los Pobladores de Los Angeles (44 people in 11 Mexican families – including 22 children – who bravely walked all the way from Nueva España) set out to walk the nine mile trail from the San Gabriel Mission to the Los Angeles River. On that day, our city El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles was born. The 44-acre park we now refer to as Olvera Street protects our city’s original history including the first church, firehouse, theater, the 1818 Avila Adobe (the oldest existing house in the city) and the old plaza… literally, the area is the first heart of Los Angeles.

At 6am on Saturday September 5th, walkers will gather at the San Gabriel Mission and head west for nine miles to re-enact the Pobladores walk along Mission Road to El Pueblo Plaza (Olvera Street), where they will be greeted by birthday festivities. The Walk takes approximately three hours to complete. If you’re a lazy bum and feel like sleeping in, that’s okay. You aren’t the one turning two hundred and twenty eight, but whatever. From 6am to 6pm there will be a party goin’ on over at la Plaza Reina including artisan demonstrations, exhibits, food, entertainment and plenty of birthday cake… or pan dulce or something.

Oh, and in honor of her birthday, the Los Angeles Conservancy will be offering their Facebook fans a $10 membership discount (for new members only) through Monday, September 7. So befriend them on Facebook and help to save our local heritage. (more…)


FLASHBACK – The Grooviest Day on Olvera Street

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Scopitone film of Tijuana Taxi (filmed on Olvera Street circa 1966)

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPalYwLyEvw[/youtube] tacobelltaxi This video was filmed specifically to be shown on a Scopitone machine, an early video jukebox which could be found in bars throughout the world in the 60s (and disappeared by the 70s). To see more great Scopitone films, there are plenty online. (Here’s my other current favorite… it’s like watching someone sing the story of my life. Sigh.)

P.S. – Be sure to click on and enlarge the little album cover image above right. Remember when the Taco Bell sign was a sleeping Mexican wearing a hat? Ha!