As alluded to earlier on this very blog, this week was LA’s birthday. To celebrate, I joined the Los Pobladores walk from the San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo to recreate the (perhaps largely symbolic) walk the city’s founders took 232 year ago.
The walk began at 6:00 a.m. at the still-dark mission, which predates the city’s founding by 10 years (1771!). As we headed west at sunrise, we walked parallel to the railroad tracks almost all the way to Union Station, which gave incredible insight about how the city grew up and out. Although much of the real estate along the way in San Gabriel, Alhambra, and El Sereno had given way to office parks, manufacturing, and warehouses, you could spot plenty of very old buildings which predated the arrival of industry and so many fruit trees from when the area was mostly orchards.
It was also an awesome peek into the urbanism and infrastructure of several neighborhoods I don’t get to spend nearly enough time in. With my fellow Los Angeles Walks crew we meandered slowly down the path, snapping shots of everything from hand-painted signage to missing sidewalks (never plan to walk anywhere on time with an architect, an urban planner and a journalist—they stop to take photos of everything). We ended up back in LA just in time to snap a photo of Mayor Eric Garcetti and have some of LA’s birthday cake.
People have lived in the LA basin for over 10,000 years and the route we took on the walk last Saturday was likely first blazed by the Gabrieleños (or migrating mammoths, NO JOKE), which means there are layers upon layers of history to be uncovered here. I can’t wait to research the route to find even more details and do it all again next year. Happy birthday, LA.