Cultural Bytes | Interactive Language Program

Old Los Angeles

Old Los Angeles

Old Los Angeles
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Spanish is found throughout California. Many could presume that it is because of the large population of Hispanic people. Though history tells us that California, along with a few other states, such as Arizona, Colorado, and Texas just to name a few, were once part of Mexico! That is why there are many cities in California that are of Spanish origin. That includes our very own Los Angeles, which is sometimes referred to as the City of Angels. There are still many remnants of Old Los Angeles. 


“Olvera Street was created in 1930 with the intentions to showcase the early history of California”

 

Olvera Street is a great place to start! It is known as the “birthplace of Los Angeles” and it is a Mexican Marketplace that recreates the look of “Old Los Angeles.” A block-long, brick-lined market with old structures, painted stalls, street vendors, cafes, restaurants, and gift shops. Several historical museums are also found there. Olvera Street was created in 1930 with the intentions to showcase the early history of California. Many of the merchants there today are descendents from the original vendors. It is through their efforts that traditional events and celebrations are still down on Olvera Street and are free to the public! Traditional Mexican holidays and celebrations such as Los Tres Reyes, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, Day of the Dead, and many others are celebrated here. 

Another great location that showcases early Mexican history in Los Angeles is the Mariachi plaza. Many people looking for mariachis to sing for weddings, birthdays, Mother’s Day, anniversaires, and more know where to look: the Mariachi Plaza. It is a living heritage in Boyle Heights. The plaza is named for the mariachi musicians who have been gathering there in their elegant charro suits since the 1930s! Ready to be hired to play. Majority of the mariachi players live in the historic 1889 Boyle hotel, also known as “Mariachi Hotel”. The hotel building was purchased and has since been protected upon being marked as a Historical-Cultural landmark #891 because of its connection to the city’s early Mexican history and architecture. 

Whether it is to take a stroll through “Old Los Angeles” and enjoy the Mexican marketplace, or passing through Mariachi Plaza and if you are lucky you just might meet mariachis in their full regalia, you can find the influences of Mexico.

 

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