Olvera Street

Olvera Street is the oldest street in Los Angeles (Parra, 2013). It is also the shortest street (under 0.10 miles) (Parra, 2013). This street established in 1858 and honor Agustin Olvera (Parra, 2013). Mr. Olvera was a judge who fought in the Mexican American War (Parra, 2013). He also played a critical role in negotiating peace with Americans and signed the Treaty of Cahuenga (Parra, 2013).  By 1920s, Olvera Street had a few machine shops, filthy, and neglected (Parra, 2013). Today, Olvera Street is the result of the effort of Christin Sterling. Sterling organized a one-woman campaign to save the old adobe and remind people of American luminaries (Parra, 2013). She pitched the idea of the Mexican marketplace, vendors, and musicians (Parra, 2013). Undoubtedly, the L.A. Times owner Harry Chandler contributed $5,000 to turn Olvera Street that is once known for filthy and machinery shops, into the Mexican marketplace (Parra, 2013).

After it established, Olvera Street was advertising a welcome gateway to Los Angeles. It was known for “el pueblo de nuestra señora la reina de los tanques” meaning “The Town of Our Lady Queen of the Angels” (Inter-Pathe History, 2017). The market filled with vendors dressed up in costumes to match the appearance to Anglo hearts and minds. These vendors sell Mexican goods such as clothing, food, pottery, hats, belts, purses, and books (Inter-Pathe History, 2017).

On February 23th, I had a chance to visit Olvera Street. It is my third time that I visited Olvera Street. In my previous two visits, I did not know much about this place. I know that I need to take a picture at this place as a part of my scavenger hunt for history’s class assignment. For this time, I know a bit of the Olivera Street;s history. I was able to understand why vendors selling Mexican’s good and why it is located right across from the Station Union. I think Olvera Street did change a lot compared to the video that we watched in class. It was interesting to see these difference between Olvera Street in the video and now. I mean, the things that changed from the video are no more costume/make up, no music, less crowded, and vendor stands more space out. I think this could be a result of the time my friend and I arrived there was too early because we went there around 10:40 A.M.

– Sirey T


Inter-Pathe History. (2017). Olvera street, Los Angeles: “A Street of Memory” 1937 vericolor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx5EW9Nqxxk

Parra, A. (2013). Olvera street: The fabrication of L.A.’s mexican heritage. https://www.kcet.org/history-society/olvera-street-the-fabrication-of-las-mexican-heritage


  1. ZF

    Hello Sirey,
    I really enjoyed reading about your visit to Olvera Street. When we talked about it in class I imagined it to be a lot different, however, I’m not disappointed. So much history in a very little street. It is beautiful.

    Zoey Ferman

    • ST

      Hello Zoey,

      Thank you for comment on my post. I am glad that you enjoy reading about Olvera Street. You’re right. There is so much history in that little street. In my experience, I witness some of the restaurants put up years open next to the name of the restaurant. An example of the Las Anitas opens since 1908.

      – Sirey T.

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