Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles

The Birth Place of L.A.

I caught the 9:26 am Amtrak to Union Station two days ago to visit all the sites at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Park.  The original settlement is across from Union Station, making it a very easy destination for anyone who doesn't like to navigate the freeway system (like me). 

There is a bronze plaque outside the church commemorating the eleven families who braved the journey from the colonial provinces in the South to form a new settlement in Alta California.  Another plaque across the street names all the settlers.  The truth is, Governor Felipe de Neve had a hard time convincing anyone to make the move but King Carlos III wanted towns, not just missions, to populate his new lands.

   De Neve lured recruits north with the promise of food, livestock and a decent salary.  It was not easy getting here.  They traveled from Sonora to Guaymas, then took a boat to Loreto and then walked (walked!) all the way to Los Angeles.  They left family, friends and communities for an unknown world in the wilderness.  On September 4, 1781, they arrived here and gave the settlement the official name of El Pueblo de  la Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio de Porcincula.   Today, Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States with four million people; ten million in the county.

The little church of  Nuestra Senora La Reina  was founded in 1814 as an assistencia mission to San Gabriel.  The Franciscans placed a cornerstone amid the ruins of the original adobe. Today it remains an active Catholic Church.  


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