What Happened to the Ethnic Communities of Historic Los Angeles, Part2?

This lecture series is co-sponsored by Los Angeles City Historical Society and the History Department of the Richard J. Riordan Central Library. Lectures are held in the Mark Taper Auditorium, on the first floor of the Central Library (640 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles). Admittance is free and open to the public.  2015 Northrop Lectures Flyer coming soon!


Sunday, February 1, 2014, 2pm

Jewish Community

Phil Blazer, CEO of Jewish Life Television and author of Wrestling with the Angeles, A History of Jewish L.A.


Sunday, March 15, 2015, 2pm

French Community

Helene Demeestere, co-author of Pioneers and Entrepreneurs, French Immigrants in the Making of L.A., 1827 -1927

Without an Trace – The Lost French Community of Los Angeles”Professor at Pasadena City College


Sunday, June 7, 2015, 2pm

Chinese Community 

Eugene W. Moy, Board of Directors, Chinese Historical Society of Southern California


Saturday, June 7, 2014, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Los Angeles Central Library
Mark Taper Auditorium on the first floor
640 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles 90071

This year’s Marie Northrop Lecture Series features ethnic communities in historic Los Angeles. On June 7, Michael Okamura and Bill Watanabe will speak on L.A.’s downtown district known as Little Tokyo — from its start in 1884 through the present and plans for its future.

Admittance is free and open to the public. Parking in the underground garage is available that day for $1 (after 10 am) upon presentation of an L.A. Public Library card. You can park your car and apply for the card once inside the building. Entrance to the library garage is on the east side of Flower Street, just south of 5th Street. Flower Street is one-way, going south.

The Marie Northrop Lectures Series is co-sponsored by Los Angeles City Historical Society and the Central Library’s History Department.


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Pico Union photo

On Saturday, March 21, a dozen members  of the Los Angeles City  Historical Society  visited a multi-faith cultural arts center known as the Pico Union Project.  The project director, Craig Taubman, told them how five years ago he became aware that the building, constructed in 1909 as a conservative Jewish temple, was for sale.  Purchasing it from a congregation of Welch Presbyterians, Taubman has led an effort to resume Jewish worship there while welcoming 5 other religious organizations the use of the renovated historic structure. Located at 1153 Valencia Street, not far from the intersection of Pico and Union, it is welcoming a local largely immigrant Hispanic community for social service programs.


IMG_1265Check out this new book about the Gilmore Oil Company by Charles G. Seims and Alan Darr.  A. F. Gilmore purchased 265 acres of land that included the corner of 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles.  Gilmore switched from dairy farming to the oil business and then in the 1930’s allowed farmers to park their trucks and sell there produce.   And that is how our wonderful Los Angeles icon Farmer’s Market was established.  This book focused on the history of the Gilmore Oil Company.  You can purchase it at the Farmer’s Market and also see a replica of one of the famous Gilmore gas stations on the Farmer’s Market property.  The gas station was  replicated there by Hank Hilty, the current CEO of the A.F. Gilmore Company and grandson of Earl Gilmore.



Jewish cemetery marker

Phil Blazer, author of Wrestling with the Angels:a History of Jewish Los Angeles, kicked off the Los Angeles City Historical Society 2015 lecture series today,  delighted a crowd who gathered at Los Angeles Main Library to watch three short historic  films.  Phil Blazer is president of Blazer Communications and publisher of The National Jewish News.  The first film chronicled the early Jewish immigrants to Los Angeles, eight bachelors that came from Germany and Poland. Many of these early immigrants to California worked at jobs that many do not associate with the Jewish community, such as cattle business.    The second film, narrated by Rabbi Magnin was about Jewish organizations.  The first charitable organization in Los Angeles was the Hebrew Benevolent Society founded in 1854.  The Society established a cemetery in 1855 on land acquired from the City of Los Angeles.  Today, a monument marks the site of the cemetery in Chavez Ravine, at the corner of Lookout Drive and Lilac Terrace area.  The third film was about the Jewish Aeronautical Society and included footage from the 1930’s.

Mt Yamashiro sign


The 2014 Los Angeles City Historical Society held its annual gala awards dinner high above Los Angeles at the historic Yamashiro Restaurant.    Councilman Tom LaBonge, a long-time friend and supporter of LACHS and also one of this year’s  gala award winners bestowed on the Yamashiro family a City sign declaring the hilltop site, Mount Yamashiro to commemorate their  centennial year.  This special sign indicated the elevation at 605 feet above sea level, although standing looking out over the lights of Los Angeles on that beautiful night, it seems a lot higher.     Councilman LaBonge was honored for his years of commitment and support to the society as well as his efforts to preserve the history of Los Angeles.  Other awardees included  D.  J. Waldie who received the  Thomas Owen History Memorial Award  and the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Modern Committee who received the the David G. Cameron Preservation Memorial Award.  Tom La Bonge was fetted for his unwavering support for the society but this was an opportunity to “do unto others” and Tom was presented with a loaf of  “Monastery Pumpkin bread” which he normally gives to others each holiday season.   Made by the cloistered nuns from the Monastery of the Angels, the pumpkin bread has become a Los Angeles tradition and Tom LaBonge is well known for promoting its virtues.  In keeping with the LaBonge tradition, he prompted gave the bread away.   gala 2014 (2)










The Los Angeles City Historical Society invites you to its…
HOLIDAY GALA – Yamashiro Hollywood

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Reception 6:00 p.m.
Dinner 7:00 p.m.

“The City Hall in Eagle Rock is having a re-dedication ceremony on Saturday November 22nd at 9am. The building has undergone a $250,000 restoration to upgrade the lighting, security and landscaping among other improvements. The original cost of construction of the building – which served both as City Hall and Fire Station # 42 in 1922 – was $35,000 raised through a bond offering.

Eagle Rock was an incorporated city from 1911 until 1923 when it voted to incorporate into the city of Los Angeles. It is part of the 14th Council District.”

We are moving things around here at lacityhistory.org. The site may be down from time to time over the next few days. We apologize for the inconvenience!

2014 Hispanic days-flyer3up (1)

Friday, July 4, 2014 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial
451 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

The annual event commemorates the first U.S. Independence Day flag raising in Los Angeles. Every year, the site’s original dedication order is read aloud at the same hour as that first 1847 flag ceremony, followed by a re-enactment of the event and musket salute by military-garrison members in period uniforms.

Fort Moore was named in honor of Capt. Benjamin D. Moore, Company C, First Dragoons, who was killed in the Battle of San Pasqual (now San Diego County). The hillside site faces east, overlooking the city. Installed in 1957, the bas-relief military monument is the largest of its kind in the nation.

Please note: This event is free. Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial is on the west side of Hill Street, just south of Cesar Chavez Avenue. Metered curbside parking is available.

For more information, see Facebook entry “4th of July at Fort Moore“.
Or contact the Fort Moore Memorial Committee and Garrison by e-mail: FortMoore@Ymail.com

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