Damien Marchessault: This street is named for Damien Marchessault, a French Canadian, who served twice as mayor of Los Angeles - from 1859-1860 and again from 1861-1865.During his term in office, the Plaza Church was rebuilt and the City Gas Company was organized. Marchessault and a partner, Jean Louis Sainsevain, worked together to provide water for Los Angeles through a system of hollow log pipes. As mayor, Marchessault supported a proposal to split California into two states, but this was not approved by the voters. In 1868, unhappy over public criticism of the water system and the constant problems with the pipes, and also because of despondency over gambling debts, Marchessault committed suicide in the city council chamber.
The Founders Of The City Of Los Angeles
El Pueblo De La Reina De Los Angeles Sobre El Rio De La Porciuncula was founded near this site on or about September 4, 1781 as the first Spanish civilian settlement in southern California. Eleven families, including twenty two adults and twenty two children, were recruited from the provinces of Sinaloa and Sonora in New Spain, now called Mexico by Captain Fernando De Rivera Y Moncada, Emissary of the Governor of California Felipe De Neve, their task was to provide food for the soldiers of the presidios and to help secure Spain’s hold on this region, they included farmers, artisans, and stock raisers necessary for the survival of the settlement, escorted by soldiers they departed Los Alamos, Sonora on February 2, 1781 and arrived in several groups during the summer of 1781, the following list of the forty four Pobladores was taken from the official Spanish census of 1781 which recorded their names, race, sex and age.
Camero: Manuel Camero came from Acaponeta, Nayarit, and Maria Tomasa Garcia came from Rosario, Sinaloa. The Cameros were childless, but later adopted two Indian orphans from Los Angeles. Manuel Camero died in 1819, while Tomasa Garcia survived until 1844.
Lara: Jose Fernando de Velasco Lara came from Cadiz, Spain, and his wife, Maria Antonia Campos came from Cosala, Sinaloa. As one of the three families who requested to be released from the pueblo of Los Angeles, Lara became mayordomo (foreman) for San Antonio Mission. When it was discovered his first wife was still alive, Lara was sent back to central Mexico. Maria Antonia Campos later married a soldier, Luis Lugo. Several children surnamed Lara later lived in Santa Barbara.
Mesa: Antonion Mesa and his wife, Maria Ana Gertrudis Lopez came from Alamos, Sonora. Dissatisfied with farming life in Los Angeles, the Mesa family requested a return to their home in Alamos where Antonio Mesa worked in the silver mines.
Moreno: Jose Moreno an dhis wife, Maria Guadalupe Perez came from Rosario, Sinaloa. Jose and Maria were married on September 18, 1780, just before they began their long journey to found Los Angeles. The Moreno family was successful in farming in Los Angeles and lived in the pueblo for many years. Jose Moreno died in 1809. Guadalupe Perez died in 1860, at the age of about 100, the last of the original adult pobladores to die.
Navarro: Jose Antonio Navarro and his wife, Maria Regina Dorotea Soto, came from Rosario, Sinaloa. Although Navarro was transferred to Monterey for bad conduct, some of his children remained in the pueblo.
Quintero: Luis Quintero came from Guadalajara, Jalisco, and his wife, Maria Petra Rubio came from Alamos, Sonora. The Quintero family moved to Santa Barbara, where their daughters lived and were married to soldiers of the presidio. Luis Quintero was the tailor for Santa Barbara for many years
Rodriguez: Pablo Rodriquez came from Real de Santa Rosa, Jalisco, and his wife, Maria Rosalia Noriega came from Rosario, Sinaloa. The family moved to San Luis Rey and San Diego in 1796 as Pablo Rodriguez became the mayordomo (foreman) of these missions.
Rosas: Alejandro Rosas, son of Basilio Rosas and Manuela Hernandez, married Juana Maria Rodriguez at San Blas, Sinaloa while on route to Los Angeles. Juana Maria Rodriguez died in 1788, and Alejandro Rosas followed her a month later, in 1789. The grandparents, Basilio and Manuela Rosas cared for their two children.
Rosas: Basilio Rosas came from Nombre de Dios, Durango, and his wife, Maria Manuela Hernandez came from Rosario, Sinaloa. At age 62, Rosas was the eldest of the pobladores. The Rosas family brought seven children with them. Two sons, Carlos and Maximo, married Indian women from nearby Gabrielino villages.
Vanegas: Jose Vanegas came from Real de Bolanos, Jalisco, and his wife, Maria Bonifacia Aguilar came from Rosario, Sinaloa. In 1788 Jose Vanegas became the first alcalde (mayor) of Los Angeles and served until 1789. He served a second term in 1796. As alcalde, he served a both mayor and judge. He later became mayordomo (foreman) of Mission San Luis Rey. Their son, Cosme, owned Carpinteria Rancho in 1833.
Villavicencio: Antonio Feliz Clemente Villavicencio was from the city of Chihuahua, and his wife, Marí de los Santos Flores was from Batopilas, Chihuahua. the family moved to Santa Barbara in 1797, where their adopted daughter, Josefa Peñuelas, had married a soldier. Antonio Feliz Clemente Villavicencio died in Santa Barbara in 1802.
Yangna: The village of Yangna is most closely associated with the founding of Los Angeles. Yangna was the Garielino Indian Village which was described by Father Juan Crespi in 1769 while traveling through Southern California with the expedition led by Caspar de Portola, Crespi reported that the village of Yangna (also known as Yabit) was located where the pueblo of Los Angeles would be established. The exact location of Yangna is uncertain but is believed to be close to present day City Hall, near Spring Street. Yangno functioned as a source of labor for the pueblo and numerous intermarriages took place between Gabrielinos and pueblo residents. The village was abandoned sometime after 1836.
This lovely mosaic is on the front at the top of Our Lady Queen of Angeles Church. The plaque reads: The annunciation mosaic on the church facade is a reproduction of a detail from the image of Our Lady of the Angels in the Porciuncula chapel at Assisi. This image provided the inspiration from which the city was named to honor Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. The mosaic was erected in 1981 to commemorate the bicentennial of the founding of the city.
Presented by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Los Angeles to the parishioners of La Placita and the People of the City of Los Angeles, September 4, 1981.
Located along the backside on Main Street are these wonderful Commemorative Plaques detailing the history of each of the historical buildings along this street. I only took a couple of photographs of these wonderful plaques, but some are hard to see because of the vines.
Pelanconi House & Pelanconi Warehouse:
The Pelanconi Warehouse and, behind it the Pelanconi House, are reminders of the active wine-making community in the area, dating back to the mid-19th century. The Pelanconi House was built by Italian vinter [sic], Giuseppi Covaccichi between 1855-57 and is the oldest house made of fired brick still standing in Los Angeles. Govaccichi and his partner, Giuseppi Gazzo, owned a winery located across Olvera Street. The Pelanconi House changed hands four times until 1871, when it and the winery were purchased by Antonio Pelanconi for whom the house is named. In 1866, Pelanconi, who came from the Lombardo region of Italy, married Isabel Ramirez, daughter of Juan Ramirez who owned much of what is now Olvera Street. In 1877, Pelanconi turned over the winery operation to his partner, Giacomo Tononi, and died two years later. Isabel married Tononi in 1881. The Pelanconi Warehouse was built in 1910 by Lorenzo Pelanconi (son of Antonio and Isabel) and his mother for storage of their wine. Senora Consuelo Castillo de Bonzo took over the Pelanconi House for her restaurant, Casa La Golondrina in 1930. She removed the rear wall of both the warehouse and the Pelanconi House in order to make one large room for the restaurant. It is the oldest restaurant on Olvera Street.
The Italian Hall, designed by architect Julius Kraus, was built by the Pozzo Construction Company in 1907 for Marie Ruellan Hamme. The upper floors served as a center for the Italian organizations who used the hall for political meetings, banquets, weddings and theatrical (operatic) performances. Several stores occupied the lower floor. The Italian Hall is one of seven buildings on Olvera Street that were associated with the Italian community. The Societa Italiana de Mutua Beneficenza formed in 1877 moved its offices to the second floor in 1908 when the building opened for business. Various Italian societies, including the Circolo Operaio (Italian Work Circle) rented the building for events. In 1916, a political rally was held in the Hall by Emma Goldman, a well known political activist, feminist, and labor organizer. David Alfaro Siqueiros was invited to paint a mural in 1932 on the second floor exterior wall of the building. The mural, entitled "Tropical America," featured an Indian bound to a double cross, surmounted by an imperialist eagle, and surrounded by pre-Columbian symbols and revolutionary figures. The subject matter was considered hightly controversial. F. K. Ferenz, who had commissioned the mural was ordered to whitewash the portion that was visible from Olvera Street.
The plaque reads:
The Old Spanish Trail
1829 - 1848
This plaque marks the end of the Old Spanish Trail, an historic pack trail from Santa Fe to the Pueblo of Los Angeles. This trail was used by Mexican traders who brought woolen goods from New Mexico to trade of for highly prized California mules and horses by emigrants to California. The trail originated as a trail route between New Mexico and Utah during the Spanish Colonial Era and then extended west to California during the Mexican period.
Located on the brick wall on the center cazebo.
My uncle who is 67 years old is visiting from Japan for the first time. He did some organized tours of Santa Monica, Hollywood & Beverly Hills. My mom drove him down to an Indian casino near San Diego and they plan to drive up to San Francisco tomorrow. So, today, we went to Olvera Street. We also had lunch there which gave my uncle an opportunity to try Mexican food for the first time. Unfortunately, the weather was extremely, extremely hot. So, we really couldn't hang out too long there. Anyway, it seemed quite lively and it's always very colorful. You could spend an hour or two there and it's more than enough time to check the place out.
See my travelogue for more photos.
Olvera Street is considered the birthplace of Los Angeles and there you will have to find the statue of its pioneer governor (at the Plaza of Overa St) with this caption:
Felipe de Neve
“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 2 Spanish pueblos he founded in Alta California”
King Carlos of Spain ordered de Neve to establish a town along the river where Father Juan Crespi met some Indians. This was probably the first planned town in North America which later grew to be the great Los Angeles area!
And after seeing the statue, enjoy the several tacos to be had at outdoor cafes on Olvera Street, also known as El Pueblo Hisotric Monument. There are also several Mexican souvenir shops.
Welcome, I am the grandson of an original merchant of Olvera Street. My grand father's name is Juan Gutierrez. My grandmother's name is Lucy Gutierrez. They have been with the street at it's conception. The stands name was "El Balero". Due to the fact that my grandfather sold handmade balero's that were turned on his wood lathe. He was also a silversmith. Mexican fire opals and turquoise were his specialty. Every stone that was used for his jewelery was cut and polished by his own hands. He also made his own musical instruments such as maracas, castanets, and quiros. When I visit Olvera Street, I always stop at Cielito Lindo's for some taquitos. Ask for extra sauce. But be careful. You will get hooked on that guacamole sauce. It's like no other. And the ultimate cup of champurado can be found at La Luz Del Dia restaurant. And while you're at La Luz Del Dia, you might as well use the restroom upstairs. Have a nice day!
If you want to experience one of the best tasting taquitos the world has known, the place is the corner of Olvera Street. The way to do it is that you need two taquitos sauce over the top and MAKE SURE that you have them sprinkle cheese gently over the top so it can melt into the sauce and taquitos
Los Angeles was actually "born" at a Mexican street called "Olvera Street". The street is the oldest street of the city; from the times when there was no Los Angeles but a Spanish named city "El Pueblo nuestra Senora la reina de Los Angeles". That name meant something like "the city of the Queen of Angels".
The long history of Olvera Street is accessible in the homepages of Olvera Street.
The Avila Adobe was built in 1818 and is said to be the oldest existing house in LA.
The house is beautifully preserved and now appears, fully furnished, as it might have looked in the late 1840's. It is now part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.
The house is open for viewing daily between 9am and 3pm. Admission is free and it is well worth a good viewing. Even the garden is set with cacti and it reminded me that this is really all desert. There's an opportunity to leave a voluntary contribution.
It is accessed from Olvera Street and I am sure you will fall in love with that street just as I did. I'll write a seperate tip on that.
Tucked in the middle of LA is Olvera street which is where LA began as El Pueblo. Basically Olvera Street is a pedestrian only street that has a lot of Mexican restaurants ranging from the pricey to the very cheap. All of them are casual so no need to worry about dressing up... all the attention is paid to the excellent food and the decor.
The main part of the Olvera street is the market area where you can pick up all kinds of cool souvenirs. There are also a lot of arts and crafts stores. There's a pavilion too where there are several bands playing mostly Mexican music. It can range from pop, to rock n roll to Mariachi type music. If you're lucky, you can also see a performance by some talented dancers dressed up as Aztec Indians. I've only been there once on a major holiday weekend, so I can't say for sure if there will always be someone performing. Also, there are lots of little carts and vendors that offer delicious Mexican snacks. If you've never had the opportunity to eat any of them before, I'd recommend getting a Churro, which is a really tasty pastry.
Don't forget to check out Avila Adobe which is the oldest house in Los Angeles. It's located in the street market area. Check Olvera Street's website for more information.
I put up three pics, but to view more pics of this place, please visit my "Olvera Street" set where you can see more pics in higher quality. http://www.flickr.com/photos/joits/sets/72157594148245565/
Olvera Street or as most locals will call it "La Placita". This is one of the oldest streets in the City and named after Agustin Olvera who was the first judge of the county of Los Angeles. This is a popular place because it is to be the "historic heart " of Los Angeles. It is very common to see alot of school children here during the weekdays because it is a popular place for field trips as teachers teach their students about early life in LA. Some popular things to do on Olvera Street is eat good Mexican food, shop, take pictures, visit the Avila House (one of the oldest homes in LA), visit firestation #1, stop ny the Sepulveda House which is now a visitors center/museum.
On the weekends and sometimes on the weekdays you can even catch an Aztec dance show in the courtyard.