we are in the historical center of Los Angeles. The Plaza itself is a landmark of striking importance, for it was the original center of the Pueblo of Los Angeles as first laid out by its Castilian founders. Here, in the old days stood the principal municipal, military and ecclesiastical buildings of the pueblo, between which were sandwiched the mansions of the most prominent and wealthy citizens.
Here about the little oval, palm-shaded garden in the Plaza's center gathered the pueblo's youth, beauty and power, when the band played its nightly concert of wierd Spanish airs. Here was the general market of the entire countryside. Here upon feast days came the gaudily dressed caballeros to search out partners for the sprightly fandango. Over the old cobbles rattled the wheels of the carriage bearing the colonial Governor or clattered the hoofs of the cavalrymen from the little presidio. These same stones were pattered by the dainty feet of the manta-hooded senora or senorita as she sped to her duties in the red-tiled church, or else they answered the footfall of some hooded padre as, with the faIJing shadows he sought the gateway leading to the dwelling of his brother Franciscans. In fact, whatever of importance stirred the country from the great hacienda well up in the San Fernando Valley, down to the embarcadero at San Pedro, where came an occasional ship to barter for the products of this land of plenty, no matter what its import, it sooner or later centered itself or its effort upon this little patch of earth about which the pueblo nestled.
Let us see what of all this remains. There upon the corner where we first enter this historic ground, stands what was, in days agone, Los Angeles' most noted hostelrie. The building is still there, but it would be safe to wager that not a man of the hundreds in sight could tell you that originally it was the Pico House, named in honor of General Pio Pico, California's last Mexican Governor. But you must not wonder at this lack of knowledge, for it has been years since that name stood for all that was great and famous in the purchasable hospitality of Los Angeles, and the present day lodging [tags: losangeles LA los angeles historical history engravings culture]