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History and Architecture of El Pueblo

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Before Los Angeles was founded in 1781 the area now known as El Pueblo was occupied by successive waves of Native Americans, many of whom came from the present-day American Southwest.

The Pueblo is at or near the location of Yang-na, which was once one of the largest Native settlements in the area. El Pueblo Historic Monument is the birthplace of Los Angeles, making this one of the most historically dense parts of the city.

At the South end of El Pueblo are the Plaza Firehouse, built in 1884, and the Garnier Building, built in 1890 by a French settler named Philippe Garnier and currently housing the Chinese American Museum.

Next door is the Pico House built by Pío Pico, the last governor of California under Mexican rule. It was the first three story building and the first grand hotel in Los Angeles.

Across the Street is Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles Catholic church, which was dedicated in 1822, making it not only the oldest church in L.A., but also the only building in El Pueblo that is still used for its original purpose.

A walk along Main Street will give you a glimpse of the Simpson/Jones Building, formerly an adobe, now Cafe de Camacho. The Sepulveda House with its huge bay windows ornamented with ironwork, can be seen a few doors down.

Along the cobblestones of Olvera Street is the Avila Adobe. The Adobe was constructed in 1818 by a ranchero named Francisco José Avila. Today it stands as the oldest residence in Los Angeles, and is open to the public free of charge.

The city of Los Angeles is ladened with history and nowhere is this more evident than in El Pueblo. This destination is great for any history buff or someone who just wants to learn more about their city.

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The Garnier Building at El Pueblo | Photo by KCET Departures

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