Los Angeles – Defining Moments

Los Angeles is one of the most iconic and glamorous cities in the United States. It’s been a hotbed for innovation and entertainment since its founding in the late 18th century.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of moments that have defined Los Angeles. It’s everything that a modern city should strive to be because of its diversity and modernization.



Los Angeles is founded

Los Angeles, along with the rest of Alta California, was claimed for Spain in 1542 by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Spanish governor Felipe de Neve officially founded Los Angeles in 1781. This defining moment was the beginning of one of North America’s most important cities.

The city started as a small settlement with huts and has transformed into one of the most populated and profitable locations in the world.



Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

The Mexican-American War ended in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In the agreement, Mexico gave up 525,000 square miles to the United States, including the locations of many current-day states. In return, the United States settled all legal claims of U.S. citizens in Mexico and paid $15 million to the Mexican government.



Griffith donates land

Griffith J. Griffith, a Welsh immigrant, made his fortune by investing in California mining companies. He purchased 3,000 acres of land in Los Angeles and housed an ostrich farm on it.

At the peak of the property rush in California, in 1896, Griffith donated the farm and its land to the city of Los Angeles. This location later became the famous Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory a few decades after his death in 1919.



Abbot Kinney carves out Venice canals

Abbot Kinney, a developer and conservationist, visited Europe as a teenager. He was so inspired by the canals in Venice, Italy, that he recreated it in Los Angeles. The canals, as part of his Venice of America project, were three to four times larger than the canals there currently.

Due to the blossoming automobile business, many of the conduits were filled by 1929 to build roads. The remaining channels were not maintained by the city and deteriorated into an unusable state. Following renovations in 1992, the canals reopened to the public and have since become an affluent section of Los Angeles.



Paramount Pictures is founded

Los AngelesOne of Los Angeles’ most defining characteristics is the entertainment business. The city’s first film studio was founded in 1916 when W. W. Hodkinson, a Utah theater owner, bought and merged multiple privately owned companies as one. This unison created Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles’ first official film corporation.

Paramount is the second-oldest film studio in the United States and the fifth-oldest surviving one in the world. Of the “Big Five” film studios, Paramount is the last remaining representative in Los Angeles. The “Big Five” includes 20th Century Fox, RKO Pictures, Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Paramount.



Warner Bros. Studios is founded

The Warners, four Polish immigrant brothers, entered the film industry in the early 1900s as traveling exhibitors. After five years, they had acquired over 200 films and showed them throughout the east coast of the United States.

After having success in the business side the film industry, they turn their attention to production. The Warner brothers moved west and bought land in Culver City, California. A few years later in 1923, they opened up their iconic Los Angeles studio to create films.

This studio pioneered the film industry in a number of ways. They were the first to add sound to their movies and the first to establish a canine superstar. Warner Bros. was also one of the first major studios to produce films that discussed current social problems.



Los Angeles Coliseum opens

The Coliseum officially opened in June 1923 as a memorial to the Los Angeles veterans of World War I. It is one of the best sports venues in the world and has hosted a variety of pivotal events in American History.

The Coliseum is the only stadium to have hosted two Olympiads, two Super Bowls, and a World Series. It will host its third Olympics, the XXXIV Olympiad, in 2028.

This venue has also hosted famous non-sports events like a Papal Mass by Pope John Paul II and a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. It also hosted six U.S. presidents, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama.

The Coliseum has been an epicenter of activity in Los Angeles since its inception and will continue to be a cultural pillar of the city for years to come. The venue completed a $315 million renovation in 2019.



1932 Summer Olympics take place

Los Angeles hosted the Games of the X Olympiad, also known as the 1932 Summer Olympics, in 1932. The competition took place during the Great Depression and many countries were unable to travel to the United States.

Of the four times the U.S. has served as an Olympic venue, Los Angeles has hosted twice.



Brooklyn Dodgers relocate to Los Angeles

As Los Angeles continued to expand and develop, so did its entertainment options. The Brooklyn Dodgers, of Major League Baseball, relocated to Los Angeles in 1957 after New York City refused to build a new stadium. The Dodgers were the second major sports team to the city and remain a staple of the community today.

Los Angeles

The move was defining not only for Los Angeles, but also for the rest of professional sports across the United States. The Dodgers were first major professional team to relocate due to stadium concerns, which is a trend that continues to this day.

Teams realized they could use their popularity as leverage in stadium negotiations. If their city doesn’t want to fund the building, teams can threaten to leave. This precedent even led the St. Louis Rams to move back to Los Angeles in 2016, almost 60 years after the Dodgers.



Lakers move to Los Angeles

The late 1950s was a crucial time for professional sports in Los Angeles. After acquiring the Dodgers just two years earlier, the city landed the Minneapolis Lakers.

The Lakers are a professional team in the National Basketball Association and have had massive success since moving to California in 1960. This franchise has defined both its city and the league as a whole.

Fun fact: The logo for the NBA is a silhouette of Jerry West, a legendary Los Angeles Laker.



The Los Angeles riots

Los AngelesFollowing the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers for use of excessive force, riots and outbreak began in the city. The rioting lasted over six days and caused more than $1 billion in property damage. There were 63 deaths, over 2,000 injuries, and more than 12,000 arrests.

The situation was so overwhelming for Los Angeles that they had to take drastic measures. The president at the time, George H.W. Bush, sent the 7th Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division to intervene. Then-California Governor Pete Wilson also deployed the California Army National Guard.