Map of Downtown LA from 1920's

Pre-1900: An LA Origin Story

Originally named El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles in 1781 and lined with adobe-brick homes, our city soon became the Ciudad de Los Angeles. The glittering City of Angels. (And glittering actors.) The United States cast Los Angeles in 1848 through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, adding the largest town in Southern California to its territory.

Meanwhile, across town… Our namesake Figueroa Street—the western-most border for Los Angeles—is still called Calle de Las Chapules, or Grasshopper Street. Every year, a grasshopper army hatched in the plains and devoured everything green in their path. If they reached Grasshopper Street, the viñatero (wine merchant) knew his grape crop was doomed. Grasshoppers of doom. Oh, the drama.

From the 1880s to today… Figueroa Street honors José Figueroa, Mexican governor of California from 1833 to 1835. And we honor the grasshoppers, because they went West before anyone else.