Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space / Edition 1

Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space / Edition 1

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by William David Estrada
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0292717555

ISBN-13: 2900292717557

Pub. Date: 05/28/2008

Publisher: University of Texas Press

City plazas worldwide are centers of cultural expression and artistic display. They are settings for everyday urban life where daily interactions, economic exchanges, and informal conversations occur, thereby creating a socially meaningful place at the core of a city.

At the heart of historic Los Angeles, the Plaza represents a quintessential public space where

Overview

City plazas worldwide are centers of cultural expression and artistic display. They are settings for everyday urban life where daily interactions, economic exchanges, and informal conversations occur, thereby creating a socially meaningful place at the core of a city.

At the heart of historic Los Angeles, the Plaza represents a quintessential public space where real and imagined narratives overlap and provide as many questions as answers about the development of the city and what it means to be an Angeleno. The author, a social and cultural historian who specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Los Angeles, is well suited to explore the complex history and modern-day relevance of the Los Angeles Plaza. From its indigenous and colonial origins to the present day, Estrada explores the subject from an interdisciplinary and multiethnic perspective, delving into the pages of local newspapers, diaries and letters, and the personal memories of former and present Plaza residents, in order to examine the spatial and social dimensions of the Plaza over an extended period of time.

The author contributes to the growing historiography of Los Angeles by providing a groundbreaking analysis of the original core of the city that covers a long span of time, space, and social relations. He examines the impact of change on the lives of ordinary people in a specific place, and how this change reflects the larger story of the city.

About the Author:
William David Estrada is Curator of California and American History and Chair of the History Department for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900292717557
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
05/28/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
342

Table of Contents

Foreword   Devra Weber     ix
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction     1
Cultural and Historical Origins     15
The Rise and Decline of the Mexican Plaza     43
From Ciudad to City     81
Homelands Remembered     109
Revolution and Public Space     133
Reforming Culture and Community     169
Parades, Murals, and Bulldozers     203
Politics and Preservation     231
The Persistence of Memory     259
Notes     271
Bibliography     311
Index     329

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The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a 'must read' for anyone who wants to understand the real history of the western United States. The topic is Los Angeles, a city settled 22 years before the 1803 Lewis and Clark expedition, that many of us were taught, and believed, 'discovered the west'. William Estrada¿s 'The Los Angeles Plaza', is a scholarly, but very readable, history of Los Angeles, from it¿s beginnings as a small pueblo of 44 people, through becoming today¿s major metropolis of roughly 4 million. And what a surprising history it is!!!! Estrada¿s book does an excellent job of reviewing original documents to show us how wrong many of our commonly accepted assumptions have been, beginning with the pueblo¿s founding in 1781. Los Angeles was one of two successful pueblos founded by the Spanish government, despite protests from the missionaries, who considered the pueblo a threat to their established missions. He points out that the pueblo was an open society with intermarriage between local settlers and the native inhabitants, and contrasts it with the social impact of the other two types of settlements in Spanish California ¿ the presidios (military bases) and missions. As a result, the local Indians learned Spanish and integrated into the life of the pueblo at a far faster pace than at the missions or presidios. The book examines the city, California¿s largest before the Gold Rush, as it existed under the Spanish, became the state capital under Mexico, and transitioned into an American city after the American Army¿s conquest in 1846. Estrada offers insight about the ¿Wild West¿ period in Los Angeles, with lynch mobs and public hangings, before the arrival of the railroads dramatically changed the city¿s society, and started the rapid growth that has existed into the present. The 1920¿s and 1930¿s brought their own form of turmoil to Los Angeles, as the Plaza gradually lost its place as the focal point and center of the city. A truly fascinating book.