Thursday, February 14, 2013

Olvera Street and Union Station – January 30

Coccinelle and I visited Olvera Street (physically more of a short lane), which is often referred to as the oldest street in Los Angeles, and is certainly in the oldest part of the what is now downtown LA and the area where the city began.  Since 1930 Olvera Street has been a colorful Mexican-themed marketplace and that continues to draw both tourists and residents alike.

Olvera Street is part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles, which encompasses a number of historic buildings, a church, and a large plaza where you can find a wide variety performances almost any time you visit.  When we arrived there was a small dance troupe in native dress at one side of the plaza:

For decades at the main entry end of the street you could have your picture taken while sitting in a cart that was hitched to a live burro.  Today, the cart is gone and the burro has been replaced by a life-sized replica:

Olvera Street itself consists of historic buildings on either side that house shops and restaurants, and  wooden stalls lining the middle of the street:

Although the street is only about as long as one or two city blocks, it’s packed with charm and color:

One of the historic buildings that hasn't been turned into a shop is the Avila Adobe, believed to be the oldest existing house in the city:

The home was built around a central courtyard, and several of the rooms have been furnished as they might have been in the early 1800s:

Children's Room

This is Julie, one of the guides:

As we strolled back up the street, we spotted some cousins of Coccinelle’s in one of the stalls!

Across the street from El Pueblo is Union Station, the main railway station in Los Angeles:

Opened in 1939, the building combines Spanish Revival and Moderne architecture and design styles.  The light-filled waiting areas retain all their original tile, marble walls, terra cotta and inlaid marble floors, oversized seating, and decorative elements:

There is a garden on the south side and a large patio with a fountain on the north:

In one of the corridors leading to the trains, we met a woman named Maureen who was on her way to San Diego:

Coccinelle and I made this visit one day when I was done with work at my office job, so rather than driving over there and paying a lot to park, we took the DASH, a downtown shuttle bus service/  On the way back Coccinelle insisted on wearing her new Olvera Street mementos:

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