Los Angeles Architectural Design has been impacted by a tourist map of Los Angeles that was intended as a means by which to promote the “civilized” side of Los Angeles, it also offered as a glimpse into the not so proud history of discrimination and the deprived in these parts.
On a positive note, we get to see the outcome of the great outdoors of Southern California which include Griffith, Elysian and Echo Parks accompanied by green spaces like Fern Dell, the Hollywood Scenic Gardens, the Palos Verdes hills, Sycamore Grove, and not forgetting the Pacific Ocean which offers glorious, open, natural space. This map is in the book The Cultural Assets of Los Angeles by Dudley C. Gordon. The opening sentence of the book is, “Los Angeles reaches her intellectual majority.” A higher education is also represented on the map, displaying the locations of UCLA, USC, Loyola University, Occidental, Chapman College, and Cal-Tech. Musical institutions dot the map as if they were notes on a scale, the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek Theater, and the Philharmonic Auditorium. The two sides of the film industry are also represented on the map, everything from movie palaces to movie production.
The cultural life of Los Angeles includes the Huntington Library, the William Andrews Clark library, the Southwest Museum, the “County Library” (used to be located at Third street and Broadway), and with the misidentified Main Public Library (which is actually Central Library). There are familiar displays of Los Angeles Architectural Design where old tourist use to and currently hangout: the Griffith Observatory, Olvera Street, and the San Gabriel and San Fernando Missions, also showing attractions today’s youngsters are probably not be familiar with (like Lincoln Park, this is where the Zoo had stood just a few years earlier and can’t forget about “the Tar Pits,” the Tar Pits would yield prehistoric mammal bones during excavations during the 1940s). The book nods to the modern infrastructure of Los Angeles Architectural Design that include the new Union Passenger Station for train travel, the San Pedro harbor (this is where luxury liners had to wait), and the Union Air Terminal, where a Douglas DC-3 could whisk you off for a short 11 and a half hour flight to metropolitan New York
A Gumbo Of All Races
Do take into consideration that this map was put out in 1940, this was a time when locals refused to accept “Okies”(inhabitants of Oklahoma) people that were fleeing the disastrous Dust Bowl, at the same time Japanese American communities were under close scrutiny, and racial covenants were part of real estate deeds located all over the county, there happens to be a less tasteful layer to the map. A smaller legend shows a listing of “foreign colonies,” which this would make sense if these were places tourists actually gravitated to. Although, “Negro” is considered to be part of the foreign colony (this happens to be the letter E on the legend), these communities contained English, Chinese, Russian, Jewish, Korean, Filipino, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Serb, Czechoslovakian, Dutch and Scandinavian immigrants.
African Americans unfortunately were limited to the neighborhoods along Central Avenue, this street was eventually famous for an extremely festive social scene. Mexicans happen to be seen all around the downtown area (relatively close to the Chinese of Chinatown and China City), but the Japanese, who were relocated and were unluckily to have their property seized due to president Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, they were represented in Little Tokyo. Russians and Jews were in Boyle Heights; Portuguese and Japanese shared Terminal Island by the harbor; Scandinavians were in what could be considered Echo Park; Italians are gathered along North Broadway; and Koreans lived in and around Vermont which is now called Koreatown.
Los Angeles Architectural Design of this “foreign colony” concept goes all the way back to the old racist themes of the Americanization of Los Angeles and the regrettable rejection of its multi cultural founding. Although Gordon’s book discusses the colonies very politely, during this time when racist cartoons appeared in the newspapers on a day to day basis and public swimming pools only allowed minorities to swim on specific days (also during these times the pools were drained). This was supposed to depict the intellectual majority, guess not.
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