"34 degrees 10 minutes reckoning, it all began along
the beautiful river from the northwest", so described
by Fray Juan Crespi in his notes. It was the river that
was the original attraction to this area that we now know
as the Downtown Arts District. The central Gabrielino village
of Yangna (Yang Na)
was located here and just to the north.
A Spanish settlement which
became "The Pueblo of Los
Angeles" was also located near here
at what is now
accounts conflict, but it was either John William Wolfskill
or Louis Vignes that planted and grew the first commercial
orchards. Either way, the California Gold Rush of 1849 brought
a huge demand for the citrus fruits
grown in this area.
>>The requests were due
to the vitamin C present in the citrus fruit that prevented
and cured scurvy. The scurvy was so prominent in the mining
camps that lemons were selling for $1 each. In the 1890's
the established railways guaranteed the delivery of the
fresh citrus all the way to Milwaukee. Years later, these
orchards were to become the home of Sunkist
Wolfskill 's 70 acres
stretched from here to the central part of Downtown. He
also planted the first grapevines, introduced the chestnut,
persimmon, eucalyptus and soft-shelled almond to California.
of the citrus trees planted in the area's first grove by
Wolfskill is still alive after being discovered behind a
vacate building. Members of the Southern California
Gardener's Federation saved the gnarled old grapefruit and
it now resides in the plaza of the Japanese- American Cultural
and Community Center just down the street in Little Tokyo.
winter of 1861 was the year of "The Great Flood"
It lasted until the spring of 1862 and this was followed
by two years of drought. Biddie Mason, an African-American
mid-wife and prominent resident of Los Angeles allowed flood
victims to use her account at a local Third Street grocery.
the early 1880's the rails were bringing in riders by the
1000's. Often charging only $1.00 for the ride from Ohio
to Los Angeles. Large resorts and sanitariums were built.
Orange groves were limited to 25 foot lots. In 1887 the
population had reached close to 50,000. There was an excess
of land speculation and the events led to a crash in 1889
and in turn thousands deserted Los Angeles and Southern