Boyle Heights, Los Angeles

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Boyle Heights
LAC+USC Medical Center
Boundaries of Boyle Heights as drawn by the Los Angeles Times
Boundaries of Boyle Heights
as drawn by the Los Angeles Times
Boyle Heights is located in Los Angeles
Boyle Heights
Boyle Heights
Location within Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°02′02″N 118°12′16″W / 34.03389°N 118.20444°W / 34.03389; -118.20444
Country United States
State California
CountyLos Angeles
CityLos Angeles
Government
 • City CouncilJosé Huizar (D)
 • State AssemblyMiguel Santiago (D)
 • State SenateMaria Elena Durazo (D)
 • U.S. HouseJimmy Gomez (D)
Area
 • Total17 km2 (6.5 sq mi)
Population
 (2000)[1]
 • Total92,785
 • Density5,507/km2 (14,262/sq mi)
ZIP Codes
90023, 90033, 90063
Area code(s)213/323

Boyle Heights is a neighborhood located in the region east of the Los Angeles River with almost 100,000 residents in Los Angeles, California.

History[edit]

Plan of Boyle Heights in 1877, with the Los Angeles River across the center and Los Angeles city in the background
Breed Street Shul, 2008

Boyle Heights was called Paredón Blanco ("White Bluff") when Alta California was part of the First Mexican Republic.[2] The area is named after Andrew Boyle, an Irishman born in Ballinrobe Co.Mayo in 1818 who purchased 22 acres (8.9 ha) on the bluffs overlooking the Los Angeles River after fighting in the Mexican–American War.[3]

From 1889 through 1909 the city was divided into nine wards. In 1899 a motion was introduced at the Ninth Ward Development Association to use the name Boyle Heights was extended to apply to all the highlands of the Ninth Ward, including Brooklyn Heights and Euclid Heights.[4] The Japanese community of Little Tokyo continued to grow and extended to the First Street Corridor into Boyle Heights in the early 1910s.[5]

Boyle Heights became Los Angeles’s largest residential communities of Japanese immigrants and Americans, apart from Little Tokyo. In the early 1910s, Boyle Heights was one of the only communities that did not have restricted housing covenants that discriminated against Japanese and other people of color.[6] In the 1920s and 1930s, Boyle Heights became the center of significant churches, temples, and schools for the Japanese community. .These include the Tenrikyo Junior Church of America, the Konko Church, and the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple; all designed by Yos Hirose. The Japanese Baptist Church was built by the Los Angeles City Baptist Missionary Society.[7] A hospital, also designed by Hirose, opened in 1929 to serve the Japanese American community.[8]

By the 1920s through the 1960s,[9] Boyle Heights was racially and ethnically diverse as a center of Jewish, Mexican and Japanese immigrant life in the early 20th century, and also hosted large Yugoslav, Armenian and Russian populations.[10] Bruce Phillips, a sociologist who tracked Jewish communities across the United States, said that Jewish families left Boyle Heights not because of racism, but instead because of banks redlining the neighborhood (denying home loans) and the construction of several freeways through the community, which led to the loss of many houses.[11]

In 2017, some residents were protesting gentrification of their neighborhood by the influx of new businesses,[12] a theme found in the TV series Vida, set in the neighborhood.[13]

Demographics[edit]

The Mariachi Plaza station, 2009, one of two underground stations in Boyle Heights

As of the 2000 census, there were 92,785 people in the neighborhood, which was considered "not especially diverse" ethnically,[14] with the racial composition of the neighborhood at 94.0% Latino, 2.3% Asian, 2.0% White (non-Hispanic), 0.9% African American, and 0.8% other races. The median household income was $33,235, low in comparison to the rest of the city. The neighborhood's population was also one of the youngest in the city, with a median age of just 25.[1]

As of 2011, 95% of the community was Hispanic and Latino. The community had Mexican Americans, Mexican immigrants, and Central American ethnic residents. Hector Tobar of the Los Angeles Times said, "The diversity that exists in Boyle Heights today is exclusively Latino".[11]

Latino communities These were the ten cities or neighborhoods in Los Angeles County with the largest percentage of Latino residents, according to the 2000 census:[15]

Economy[edit]

XLNT had a factory making tamales here early in their history. The company started in 1894, when tamales were the most popular ethnic food in Los Angeles. The company is the oldest continuously operating Mexican food brand in the United States, and one of the oldest companies in Southern California.[16]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Central Health Center in Downtown Los Angeles, serving Boyle Heights.[17]

The United States Postal Service's Boyle Heights Post Office is located at 2016 East 1st Street.[18]

The Social Security Administration[19] is located at 215 North Soto Street Los Angeles, CA 90033 1-800-772-1213

Latino political influence[edit]

The emergence of Latino politics in Boyle Heights influenced the diversity in the community. Boyle Heights was a predominantly Jewish community with "a vibrant, pre-World War II, Yiddish-speaking community, replete with small shops along Brooklyn Avenue, union halls, synagogues and hyperactive politics ... shaped by the enduring influence of the Socialist and Communist parties"[20] before Boyle Heights became predominantly associated with Mexicans/Mexican Americans. The rise of the socialist and communist parties increased the people's involvement in politics in the community because the "liberal-left exercised great influence in the immigrant community".[20]:22-23 Even with an ever-growing diversity in Boyle Heights, "Jews remained culturally and politically dominant after World War II".[20]:22

Nevertheless, as the Jewish community was moving westward into new homes, the largest growing group, Latinos, was moving into Boyle Heights because to them this neighborhood was represented as upward mobility. With Jews and Latinos both in Boyle Heights, these men, part of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) — Louis Levy, Ben Solnit, Pinkhas Karl, Harry Sheer, and Julius Levitt — helped to empower the Latinos who either lived among the Jewish people or who worked together in the factories.

The combination of Jewish people and Latinos in Boyle Heights symbolized a tight unity between the two communities. The two groups helped to elect Edward R. Roybal to the City Council over Councilman Christensen; with the help from the Community Service Organization (CSO). In order for Roybal to win a landslide victory over Christensen, "the JCRC, with representation from business and labor leaders, associated with both Jewish left traditions, had become the prime financial benefactor to CSO .. labor historically backed incumbents ... [and] the Cold War struggle for the hearts and minds of minority workers also influenced the larger political dynamic".[20]:26

CASA 0101 Theater, 2014

In the 1947 election, Edward Roybal lost, but Jewish community activist Saul Alinsky and the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) garnered support from Mexican Americans to bring Roybal to victory two years later 1949.[21](Bernstein, 243) When Roybal took office as city councilman in 1949, he experienced racism when trying to buy a home for his family. The real-estate agent told him that he could not sell to Mexicans, and Roybal's first act as councilman was to protest racial discrimination and to create a community that represented inter-racial politics in Boyle Heights.[21](Bernstein, 224).

This Latino-Jewish relationship shaped politics in that when Antonio Villaraigosa became mayor of Los Angeles in 2005, "not only did he have ties to Boyle Heights, but he was elected by replicating the labor-based, multicultural coalition that Congressman Edward Roybal assembled in 1949 to become Los Angeles's first city council member of Latino heritage".[20]:23 Further, the Vladeck Center (named after Borukh Charney Vladeck) contributed to the community of Boyle Heights in a big way because it was not just a building, it was "a venue for a wide range of activities that promoted Jewish culture and politics".[20]:22

East LA Interchange[edit]

In 1961, the construction of the East LA Interchange began. At 135 acres in size, the interchange is three times larger than the average highway system, even expanding at some points to 27 lanes in width.[22] Also known as the Spaghetti Bowl,[citation needed] the enormity of the structure and the complexity of its many routes called for a $17,000 blueprint model of the highway long before construction even began. During its construction, engineers built 32 bridges and 20 walls, excavated 1,500,000 yards of earth, laid 23,545 feet of concrete pipe, and used 4,200,000 yards of structural steel and 13,200,000 pounds of reinforced steel to complete the busiest freeway interchange in the world.[22] The interchange handles around 1.7 million vehicles daily and has produced one of the most traffic congested regions in the world as well as one of the most concentrated pockets of air pollution in America.[22]

Since the 1920s, both elite and working-class communities throughout Southern California have witnessed the enforcement of highly effective racial covenants and other exclusionary measures that aim to distinguish separate white and non-white neighborhoods. By the 1960s, the federal government declared certain areas as “White Group Zones” which forced any non-whites in those areas out of their homes.[23]

This resulted in the development of Boyle Heights, a multicultural, interethnic neighborhood in East Los Angeles whose celebration of cultural difference has made it a role model for democracy. Since the establishment of multicultural neighborhoods like Boyle Heights was a byproduct of the gentrification of minorities into separate urban area homelands, people in these interracial communities have become considered “disposable people” who are desirable targets for gentrification.[22]

Education[edit]

Just 5% of Boyle Heights residents aged 25 and older had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a low percentage for the city and the county. The percentage of residents in that age range who had not earned a high school diploma was high for the county.[24]

Schools[edit]

Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School, 2011
Roosevelt High School.

The schools within Boyle Heights are as follows:[25]

Public[edit]

Hollenbeck Home for the Aged, 573 S Boyle Ave. Built in 1918, photo taken 1956.
  • SIATech Boyle Heights Independent Study, Charter High School, 501 South Boyle Avenue
  • Extera Public School, Charter Elementary, 1942 E. 2nd Street and 2226 E. 3rd Street
  • Extera Public School #2, Charter Elementary, 1015 S. Lorena Street
  • Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School, alternative, 1200 North Cornwell Street
  • Theodore Roosevelt High School, 456 South Mathews Street
  • Mendez High School 1200 Playa Del Sol
  • Animo Oscar De La Hoya Charter High School, 1114 South Lorena Street
  • Boyle Heights Continuation School, 544 South Mathews Street* Central Juvenile Hall, 1605 Eastlake Avenue
  • Hollenbeck Middle School, 2510 East Sixth Street
  • Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School, 725 South Indiana Street
  • KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory, charter middle, 2810 Whittier Boulevard
  • Murchison Street Elementary School, 1501 Murchison Street
  • Evergreen Avenue Elementary School, 2730 Ganahl Street
  • Sheridan Street Elementary School, 416 North Cornwell Street
  • Malabar Street Elementary School, 3200 East Malabar Street
  • Breed Street Elementary School, 2226 East Third Street
  • First Street Elementary School, 2820 East First Street
  • Second Street Elementary School, 1942 East Second Street
  • Soto Street Elementary School, 1020 South Soto Street
  • Euclid Avenue Elementary School, 806 Euclid Avenue
  • Sunrise Elementary School, 2821 East Seventh Street
  • Utah Street Elementary School, 255 Gabriel Garcia Marquez Street
  • Bridge Street Elementary School, 605 North Boyle Avenue
  • Garza (Carmen Lomas) Primary Center, elementary, 2750 East Hostetter Street
  • Christopher Dena Elementary School, 1314 Dacotah Street
  • Learning Works Charter School, 1916 East First Street
  • Lorena Street Elementary School, 1015 South Lorena Street
  • PUENTE Learning Center, 501 South Boyle Avenue
  • East Los Angeles Occupational Center (Adult Education), 2100 Marengo Street[26]
  • Endeavor College Preparatory Charter School, 1263 S Soto St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Private[edit]

  • Bishop Mora Salesian High School, 960 South Soto Street
  • Santa Teresita Elementary School, 2646 Zonal Avenue
  • Assumption Elementary School, 3016 Winter Street
  • Saint Mary Catholic Elementary School, 416 South Saint Louis Street
  • Our Lady of Talpa, elementary, 411 South Evergreen Avenue
  • East Los Angeles Light and Life Christian School, 207 South Dacotah Street
  • Santa Isabel Elementary School, 2424 Whittier Boulevard
  • Dolores Mission School, elementary, 170 South Gless Street
  • Cristo Viene Christian School, 3607 Whittier Boulevard
  • Resurrection, elementary, 3360 East Opal Street
  • White Memorial Adventist School, 1605 New Jersey Street
  • PUENTE Learning Center, 501 South Boyle Avenue

Music[edit]

  • Neighborhood Music School, 358 South Boyle Avenue

Notable places[edit]

Existing[edit]

Demolished[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Politics[edit]

Sports[edit]

Arts and culture[edit]

Publishing[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°02′02″N 118°12′16″W / 34.03389°N 118.20444°W / 34.03389; -118.20444