How often do you come to some place only to sadly realize you know nothing about it as you didn’t have time to check it in your travel guide book. The beauty of the place is not complete since you don’t know the story behind the scene. Here are 80 most interesting facts about Olvera Street, Union Station, Avila Adobe, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes and many other Los Angeles attractions that you can visit on our “2 days in Los Angeles tour“. Explore the places deeply and fully, and remember to save the article before heading to El Pueblo and Union Station.
- Los Angeles was founded in 1781 on a site southeast of today’s Union Station near the Los Angeles River.
- The “Last of the Great Railway Stations” constructed in US. Of all things to do in LA this one is our favorite. Even coffee at Starbucks tastes different here, historic taste it is!
- One of Hollywood’s favorite filming spots. Speaking of which, here are things to do in Hollywood.
- 61. 3 % of LA citizens voted for the erection of Union Station in 1926. And there we go – an Art-Deco masterpiece some 90 years after that everybody loves.
- Was built at a cost at the time of $11 million.
- In 1948 the Super Chief train couldn’t break coming into the station and crashed into a concrete wall. Luckily, no one was hurt.
- A glamorous example of Mission Revival style with art-deco and American Indian accents.
- Was planned by well-known architects J. and D. Parkinsons, who also designed the LA City Hall.
- The interiors are decorated with precious stones.
- The pattern of a Navajo blanket is reproduced in its inlaid cement tile floor.
- It’s Traxx Bar was once the telephone room.
- Its restaurant was projected by the renowned designer Mary Colter.
- Charles Bukowski 1971 novel Post Office was inspired here.
- Features a piano as part of the “Play Me, I’m Yours” installation.
- The earliest three story construction in LA.
- The most opulent hotel in SoCal in the end of 19th century.
- Pico had to sell most of his huge landholdings to construct the edifice.
- Chinese Massacre of 1871 occurred right outside the Pico House.
- People have reported all kinds of mysterious footsteps and shadows in the old building.
- The back part of Pico House appeared on the TV show The Mentalist.
Chinese American Museum
- There are many museums in LA. Not many can boast being THAT historic. Chinese American Museum sits in the iconic Garnier Building built in 1890.
- The most historic Chinese edifice in the area.
- Was LA’s original Chinatown.
- Unofficial “City Hall” of LA’s Chinese community.
- Annually hosts a flamboyant Lantern Festival.
La Plaza de Cultura y Artes
- Taste of rich Mexican-American history and culture.
- Hosted the 2017 famous LA Burger Battle.
- The city’s first authentic fire station (1884).
- The first firefighter brigade was widely known as the Volunteer 38s.
- Ceased to be a fire house in 1897, after had various uses like saloon or drugstore.
- The design of the Firehouse cost the city mere $160.75.
Los Angeles Plaza Park
- The central point of the city throughout the 19th century.
- A testament to the first 44 founders of LA.
- Featured in Charlie Chaplin’s film The Kid.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
- LA started in 1781 like (ready?) El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles sobre El Río Porciúncula. There are 50 fun facts about Los Angeles you probably will be surprised with.
- The location was chosen by the Spanish Governor of the California Felipe de Neve.
- King Carlos III ordered to set up Pueblo to cultivate the provision for soldiers.
- Pueblo was rebuilt at the current site after the 1815 flood.
- Nowadays it’s a cultural hub and eminent event venue in the core of DTLA.
- The area comprises 26 historical structures.
- More than 2 million people visit El Pueblo annually.
- The vibrant Mexican marketplace inspired by Christine Sterling.
- Was opened in 1930 like pedestrian Paseo de Los Angeles.
- The prisoners did penal servitude on the project.
- Former Wine Street which was known for its vast wine storage.
- Is home to Pelanconi House, the oldest surviving brick house in LA.
- Hosts countless traditional events, including the Blessing of the Animals, Cinco de Mayo, Dia de los Muertos.
- “Top Five” according to “Great Streets of America” journal. As you may have guessed: considering rich Mexican roots of the city, of all things to do in Los Angeles Olvera street is #1.
- The best places in LA to come for colors of Spanish-Mexican historical romance.
- Many of the area’s today vendors are descendants of the original merchants.
- The oldest standing residence in LA, built the same year Chile proclaims its independence from Spain – 1818. Not just LA… Avila Adobe is one of the top things to do in whole California!
- The nearby Zanja Madre was a main water aqueduct that brought water to the LA River.
- Furnished with the exquisite things imported from Mexico and beyond.
- Was damaged by the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.
- Luckily for all of us it was restored. It took five years and $120,000 to restore the building.
- Was commandeered as a military headquarters by the invading North American army.
- Was also used as a restaurant at some point in history (you need to feed an army, right?).
- In 1926 was condemned for demolition due to its deteriorated condition.
- Luckily for all of us the Mother of Olvera Street – Christine Sterling – saved the adobe beginning a public preservation campaign.
Sepulveda House Museum
- A 22-room authentic 1887 Victorian house.
- The original edifice included three apartments and two commercial companies.
- Preserved a vestige of the Spanish Colonial epoch.
- Shows the life of early LA residents at the end of 19th century.
America tropical Mural
- If you’ve covered it all and are wondering what else to do in El Pueblo, check this rooftop mural by prominent Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros.
- Everyone from Hollywood stars to LA’s intellectuals attended its 1932 unveiling.
- The first large-scale mural in the US that created a public space by being painted on an ordinary exterior wall.
- Depicts a brown-skinned man crucified in front of Mayan pyramid.
- The artwork proved too provocative for some that it was subsequently covered up.
- Luckily for all of us … It was rediscovered in the late 1960s and conserved by Getty Conservation Institute.
- Restoration efforts lasted more than 30 years ad it officially reopened in 2012.
- Inspired hundreds of other muralists in the LA.
- The family-owned retail store providing Folk Art, Crafts and Accessories.
The Italian American Museum of Los Angeles
- Occupies the Italian Hall building, built in 1908 as a social hub for local Italian community.
- Small, but interactive, museum sheds light on the oft-overlooked history of Southern California’s Italian diaspora.
- In 1823 first Italian – Giovanni Leandri – opened the store in Pueblo.
- Significant numbers of Italians lived and owned one-third of businesses in the Plaza area in 19th century.
- Hosted renowned anarchists and revolutionaries Emma Goldman and Ricardo Flores Magón.
- Keeps Frank Zappa’s 1987 Grammy Award trophy.
- Annually hosts the Taste of Italy festival which attracts the region’s best restaurants, Italian wineries and celebrity guests.
- Venue for Vintage, Mardi Gras and other celebrations.
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