This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The History of Los Angeles, California

I lived in the Los Angeles area in the late 1980s. If you have ever lived in LA, you know that nobody there really ever says that they live in Los Angeles. It's always, as in my case, Canoga Park, or maybe you live in Hollywood, or one of hundreds of other names of areas that are technically in the city of Los Angeles. Most of the people that I've met also consider places like Beverly Hills, or Long Beach, or even Orange County to be part of LA. And so do some of the people who live there. It's really just one gigantic sprawl.

My family's roots go back almost one hundred years in Los Angeles. And since I am a history buff, I try to imagine what their Los Angeles looked like. It was, of course, cheaper, and less crowded! I'm sure that my great grandparents, who lived in Lankershem, which changed its name to North Hollywood in 1927, must have ridden the trollies, the "Red Cars". I don't know the exact address where they lived but they are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, you know, the place where movie stars are buried. But there are a lot of common people there, too!

My interest in the history of Los Angeles began when I first moved there in 1982 and immediately got the "LA hee-bee-gee-bees", that is, just being overwhelmed by how big, how crowded, and how complex it is. I still get that when I go back. In an effort to get ahold of all of this, I tried to turn Los Angeles into a small town by imagining what it had looked like 100 years ago. Most of the people that I talked to couldn't help. To them, the history of Los Angeles went back to 1974 when the donut shop on the corner was built. And I can't blame them. Los Angeles has grown so much and so much has been modernized and updated that it's very difficult to see the history. This makes sense - in a vital area like Los Angeles, it made no sense to keep up old, dilapidated buildings, or to leave farmland in the city vacant.

People told me that I needed to go somewhere else to see history, for example San Francisco. Los Angeles didn't have any history! Not true. If you are interested in time traveling in Los Angeles, try this:

• Read a Phillip Marlowe Mystery, written by Raymond Chandler in the 1930s.
• Watch "Chinatown", a movie about water rights and corruption in Los Angeles.
• Watch "LA Confidential", a movie about Los Angeles Law and Order.
• Watch "Zorro". Yes, Zorro was set in Los Angeles when it was still under Spanish rule.

No history in Los Angeles?! There is so much that I can't even begin to list it all here. ¡Viva Los Angeles!
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