On September 4th, 1781, the city of Los Angeles was founded. Today we invite you to try your luck and see how much you know about the City of Angels ...
What Was L.A. Named When it Was Originally Founded?
According to L.A. historian Doyce B. Nunis Jr., when the city was founded, it was originally called El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Angeles, meaning the Town of the Queen of Angels. But we're guessing E.P.D.L.R.D.L.A. was a bit more cumbersome than the simple L.A. we go with today.
But, like we said, that's according to one historian. The fact is, no one actually knows what the city was originally called. Walk throughout the city, and you'll see plaques commemorating the city's original title, each referring to it by a different name. Same goes for history books, historical documents, and virtually every source we looked at to research this piece. We're pretty sure our favorite is Pueblo del Rio de Nuestra Senora la Reyna de los Angeles de Porciuncula, which would have made the masthead on the L.A. Times take up the whole front page. So what's the right answer? Nobody knows. But hey, they've only had a couple hundred years to figure this out. Give it some time.
How Did L.A. End Up Being the Place Where All the Movies Are Made?
Once upon a time, there was a name in film bigger than Walt Disney and bigger than Steven Spielberg. It was even bigger than Jeff Goldblum. That name: Thomas Edison. As we all know, Edison or his employees invented virtually everything on the planet and that included quite a few elements of the film industry. He formed the Motion Picture Patent Company, aligning himself with a few other of the heavies in film production to give them a sort of monopoly on filmmaking.
They wouldn't let other filmmakers use their technology, they controlled the different steps of production and they reportedly even hired goons to enforce their monopoly. So the filmmakers of the time fled to the opposite end of the country. Edison was in New Jersey, so they ended up in Los Angeles. Back then, the distance between those areas was enough to outpace the MPPC's reach. Worked out pretty well for the film industry, they ended up in a place with cheap land where it never rains. But don't worry. Edison did okay for himself too.
After a Set of Riots in 1943, What Type of Suit Was Outlawed in L.A.?
In the early 1940s, zoot suits became popular with certain minority groups. They came to be a sort of symbol of the racial divide between whites and minorities living in Los Angeles; a racial divide generating more and more tension.
When a fight broke out between a set of sailors and a set of men wearing zoot suits, it sparked off a set of riots lasting almost a week. When the violence finally subsided, L.A. had a new law: No wearing zoot suits. If you did, you'd get 30 days in jail.
Why Was Santa Monica Pier Originally Built? Looking for a cool, trendy place on the waterfront to grab some drinks and hang out with friends? You would struggle to find a better place today than Santa Monica Pier. But most people don't know that the pier got its start in 1909 where it was designed to carry sewage out into the water. And as long as we're talking about glamorous parts of current-day L.A., did you know that Beverly Hills started off as one of the largest lima bean fields in the state? So maybe L.A. doesn't have the most glamorous of beginnings. It became a film city so people could avoid patent law, their trendy pier was built for pumping out sewage and their most famous zip code got its start with lima beans. They even outlawed zoot suits! But it all doesn't matter. We still love L.A.