Sunday, September 4, 2011

Go Los Angeles, It's Yo Birthday...The Militant's Annual Tribute On Our City's 230th

Spotted in back of a minivan in San Pedro this past April.
Yes, today marks the 230th year since the founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de la Reina de los Angeles del Rio Porciuncula. Of course, if you're a frequent reader of The Militant's blog, you would have known this already (as well as the full name).

This being a decade year, The Militant is reminded of the time back in 1981 when Los Angeles was celebrating its big 200th. The City was amping up for rhe Olympics coming up three years later, and our beloved Dodgers were red hot that season, and were weeks away from winning their fourth World Series championship in this town.

Like the nation's own Bicentennial just five years prior, everyone seemed to know what was going on. It was heavily promoted with its own logo (pictured above) and its own slogan: "LA'S The PLAce!" Mayor Tom Bradley kicked off numerous festivities around town that week, and even back then Lil'Mil ordered his parents to take the family to Olvera Street on September 4 to bask in the festivities.  He just remembered a lot of people there and traditional Mexican dance performances. Legend has it that the idea of resurrecting the then-mothballed Angel's Flight Railway in a new location was started during one of the bicentennial celebration events. Took 15 years, but it happened.

Time passes by so quickly, and if you're a native, or at least a longtime resident, it's easy to take everything that's happened since then for granted. We've had great times and dark times. But stop for a second to look back and realize how much we've grown, not just in material development, but on a human scale. And not just in quantitative population figures, but how much more today than 30 years ago, we are more atune into our communities, into identifying them. Back then, you were either from "LA" or "The Valley" or "Orange County" or elsewhere. Back then, there were only two area codes most people need be concerned with: 213 and 714. 714 was Orange County, of course (though it was also 213 until 1951). 213 was everything else.

If you were to enter a time machine or wormhole and visited 1981, certainly you'd be deemed mentally insane if you boasted about riding on subways or bicycles around town, eating fusion food out of food trucks that you'd follow using your mobile phone. Or the fact that you went to Downtown for a party, a gallery opening, sporting event, or - gasp - to go home (Of course, Doc Brown will tell you not to do that in the first place, so as to not disturb the space-time continuum, but hypothertically speaking, of course...). Of course, if you're a hipster, you'll be able to visually blend

Lastly, take a look at this Bicentennial Postcard for the most obvious visual change. Makes you wonder if a skyline as sparse as that was worth putting on a postcard in the first place.

Dude, you can see Long Beach from here.
Happy 230th Birthday to The Militant's lovely hometown! The Militant is forver proud to be your native son and product. There's so much The Militant knows about you, yet still so much more he learns about you every day.


Karen 323 said...

Great article!!

The Maker Monk said...

Nice tribute - it is interesting to look back over a chunk of time and see how much has changed.
Riding a bicycle in L.A.....who would have thunk it?

angel said...

I have the Los Angeles Bicentennial Freeway poster hanging just a few feet from this very computer and hey, over in the far left of it sits that logo you mentioned. Who knew? Love that poster. :-)

LA MapNerd said...

A note on the 'full name' of Los Angeles:

When the Portolà expedition first encountered the LA River, it was the day of the year when pilgrims to the Porciúncula (Porziuncola, "the small portion" in the original Italian), the chapel where St. Francis founded the order that bears his name, could earn a special plenary indulgence (August 2, 1769).

So they named the river and its valley el rio y valle de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles de la Porciúncula, "the river and valley of Our Lady of the Angels of the Porciúncula" - which was quickly shortened to just la Porciúncula. (Indeed, even Juan Crespi, the expedition's diarist, uses the shorter form later on the very same page where he first mentions the name.)

When the pueblo - an agricultural settlement founded to assist the mission at San Gabriel - was first named, it was simply called La Reyna de Los Angeles, "The Queen of the Angels."

It was only some years later that historians and culture writers ran the two names together to produce the improbably long tongue-twister that today is often claimed to be 'the original name of Los Angeles.'

My own favorite of Crespi's river names is el Dulcíssimo Nombre de Jesus, del rio de los Temblores, "The Most Sweet Name of Jesus, of the river of the Earthquakes" - today's Santa Ana River, where the expedition experienced a large earthquake and two strong aftershocks while encamped on its banks.

Angels and Earthquakes. Welcome to LA. :-)