Sunday, September 11, 2011

El Paseo y El Pasado

In 1781, a mere 10 years after Mision San Gabriel was established, 44 pobladores (townspeople), men, women, and children, arrived at Yangna, an area where the Tongva had lived for generations and generations. Over the next 150 years the descendants of the pobladores and the Tongva saw vast changes in what became known as the city of Los Angeles.

The area, like all of the land in the Southwest, was governed in turn by Spain, Mexico, and the United States. The Avila Adobe, home to Francisco and Encarnacion Avila, is purported to be the oldest house in the City of Los Angeles. Over time the center of the commerce and government moved and the area became dilapidated.

In 1928 as a response to the condemnation note on the Avila Adobe, Christine Sterling and others tirelessly worked to renovate and recreate their interpretation of a Mexican Bazaar. El Paseo de Los Angeles, later known as Olvera Street, was part tourist attraction, part romantic fantasy, and just a bit of genuine Mexican traditions.

For those whose parents and grandparents had come from Mexico, it was a place where you could see the jarabe tapatio, buy maracas, or eat taquitos. It was a place where spoken Spanish was permitted and where you could be proud to be a Mexican American.

It still serves that role - a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of commerce, and place worth noting in our regional history.
We'll have an homage to the Olvera Street at the jamaica.

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