9 Generations in Los Angeles

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A Brief History
Los Pobladores 200
My Santa Barbara Connection
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Continuing the Legacy
The City of Angels turns 225
LP200 rides LA float at Rose Parade
Misc Pictures
Cousin Felix - RIP
LP200 2012
LP200 2014
New! 2017 DW News interview on multicultural LA

Pictures tell a lot...

The Los Angeles river was the primary reason for settling there, but the actual location of the pueblo was relocated twice as heavy rains tended to cause the river to flood over. Eventually small living structures were erected and land grants were given to the pobladores and soldiers. Larger acres of land later gave way to emerging ranchos, which became the norm as the town spread.

plaza before 1875
100 years later, the plaza sometime before 1875 - notice brick reservoir in middle ground

plaza 1870s
A few years later a fountain replaced the reservoir and trees were planted encircling the plaza

The Quintero legacy would eventually return to Los Angeles. A granddaughter of his was the widow of a Spanish soldier, Vicente Ferrer Villa, who had passed away whereby allowing her to inherit the land that was offered to him for his service in the military. In 1852, that 4,539-acre ranch called Rodeo de las Aguas (Meeting of the Waters) was granted to María Rita Valdés de Villa. That land eventually became the city of Beverly Hills.

A Spanish soldier named Manuel Nieto was given 300,000 acres of land for his military service. Later land disputes with Mission San Gabriel cost him nearly half the land, but he retained an area stretching from northern Whittier to the Pacific ocean in the south, and from the LA river to the west and the Santa Ana River to the east, which includes an area that would become Long Beach, my hometown. His children would inherit his land and daughter Manuela Cota received 27,000 acres of the area known as Rancho Los Cerritos. Upon her death, the property was sold to Yankee-settler John Temple who built the two-story adobe structure, the most expensive home in Southern California at the time, which still stands today and open to the public for tours.

Rancho Los Cerritos
The beautiful two-story Spanish-Mexican adobe house at Rancho Los Cerritos

A little house on Nelson Street in San Pedro has lots of history for my family from 1913 to 1972. Over time, my cousin Felix's sisters Gloria and Bea, my grandmother Pauline, and my father, Albert Leon IV, were all born there! The San Pedro Historical Society had been active preserving the house as the area was being developed commercially, and laws prevent it from being demolished to this day. At one point Felix was offered the house as a gift, but he could not find an affordable empty lot to relocate the house to. Years later, the same deal was offered to me where my wife and I experienced the same problem. The house became rental property into the late 90s. Today it is empty and dilapidated.

(See newspaper article below about the Nelson house - Quintero mistakenly mentioned as a Spanish soldier)

Nelson Street house
Felix at Nelson House sometime in the 80s

Nelson House 2017
Nelson house in 2017

1984 San Pedro News Pilot article

Nelson house article