The Rise of Los Angeles: A Look at the City's Historic Milestones

This article explores some of the most important moments in Los Angeles' history from its early days as a Spanish settlement to its modern-day status as a world-class city.

The Rise of Los Angeles: A Look at the City's Historic Milestones

Los Angeles, the second largest city in the United States, has a long and storied history. From its original inhabitants to its current status as a world-class city, Los Angeles has seen many changes over the years. This article will explore some of the most important moments in the city's history, from its early days as a Spanish settlement to its modern-day status as a hub of culture and industry. The city of Los Angeles was originally inhabited by indigenous tribes and later expanded with settlers from Spain and Mexico.

In 1844, 44 pioneers from Spanish Mexico, known as the “inhabitants”, settled around the area that we now know as Plaza and Calle Olvera. These settlers were comprised of people of Spanish, Mexican, indigenous American and African descent. With the Americanization of Los Angeles during the second half of the 19th century, Anglo-Saxon developers began to sell what we could now call the “California dream”. People from all over the country, including Daieda Willcox, the founder of Hollywood, were drawn to Los Angeles for its promise of opportunity.

In order for Los Angeles to become the metropolis of their dreams, it needed a much larger and more constant water supply. Led by the city's chief hydraulic engineer, self-taught William Mulholland, a plan was devised to obtain or steal water rights from Lake Owens, 200 miles away in the Sierra Nevada. This plan was met with resistance from ranchers in the Owens Valley who were already using the lake's water. In 1905, entrepreneur Abbot Kinney opened “Venice of America”, a planned coastal community that presented its eponymous Italian architecture and copied its world-famous canals.

Tourists could ride gondolas to explore the new city, and private huts soon dotted the coveted canal-front lots. Unfortunately, in the 1920s these canals were refilled in the name of progress. Los Angeles was also open to exploitation due to its cheap labor force and weak unions. This allowed for filmmakers such as Cecil B.

DeMille to set up shop in Los Angeles and make it into a movie mecca. In 1914, DeMille filmed The Squaw Man in an old Victorian barn in Hollywood. This film is credited with being the first feature film shot in Los Angeles. The iconic Hollywood sign was originally called Hollywoodland and was built as a temporary advertisement in 1923 for a new upper-middle class neighborhood located in Beachwood Canyon.

It was made of wood, steel and telephone poles and had 4,000 bulbs so that potential owners could see it from all over Los Angeles. By the 1930s, Hollywood development had run out but the myth of the sign grew as it became an unintentional symbol for the film industry.Los Angeles has a turbulent racial history that includes violence against California's native population and Chinese population. During the 20th century, black and brown Angelenos were subject to two particularly horrible practices: redlining and marking in red. Redlining was when banks would deny loans or services based on race or ethnicity while marking in red was when real estate agents would mark certain neighborhoods as “red” or “risky” based on their racial makeup.In 1957, Chavez Ravine was home to only 20 families but this changed when an agreement was reached between Los Angeles leaders and the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team which gave them 315 acres of Chavez Ravine to build their new stadium.

On Black Friday, Chavez Ravine's remaining families were met with bulldozers and sheriffs imposing eviction orders.On August 11th 1965, a young black man named Marquette Frye was stopped for driving while intoxicated in Watts neighborhood of South Los Angeles which sparked five days of anger, pain and destruction throughout Los Angeles. On March 3rd 1991 Rodney King was arrested by police officers after a high-speed chase which resulted in him being brutally beaten by white police officers who were later acquitted of excessive use of force. Los Angeles has overcome many obstacles throughout its history to become what it is today: a world-class city with a vibrant culture and economy. From its early days as a Spanish settlement to its modern-day status as an important center of trade, agriculture, tourism and industry, Los Angeles has come a long way.

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