Top: Slum houses on Mateo St,
The Flats before being torn down for Aliso Village
outhouse and Clover St. 1940’s
Art’s Market, DogTown 1950’s
The question is often asked by people who didn’t grow up on the Eastside, “what’s the big deal about the Eastside? “Why is it that you people are so uptight about changes and gentrification, and all the concern about Echo Park, Silver Lake, or whoever, claiming they are Eastside?
Well the photos (from the archives of the LA County Housing Authority), show some of the reasons why the people of and from the Eastside are so thin skinned and protective. None of these neighborhoods (and many, many, others), as poverty stricken and rough as they were, exist anymore except in memories. Some of the destruction happened because there were people with good intentions who felt that tearing down neighborhoods and building housing projects was a positive step in alleviating poverty.
Some of the destruction was just an easy way to create wealth at the expense of the poor powerless people of the Eastside.
Destruction in the form of freeway building, stadium building, so called urban renewal that destroyed mostly Mexican American neighborhoods with the empty promises of affordable housing.
Neighborhoods and homes leveled for cheap industrial sites that nowadays sit mostly vacant and abandoned.
The history of the Eastside is long and deep for many people and families who came from many different places, thrown together in a brother and sisterhood of struggle, gumption, and toughness that amalgamated one into a distinct Eastside person.
Many are the success stories of these now and former Eastside residents and there are also negative and dark histories too.
The history of the Eastside is hundreds of years old, and as new as yesterday, but it is a wonderful and colorful history that is appreciated and protected by the Eastsider who has every reason to be protective and thin skinned.