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The clearing of Chavez Ravine

The clearing of Chavez Ravine

Jan. 9, 1952: A house on a Chavez Ravine hillside awaits movers.

In 1951, the Los Angeles Housing Authority began using the power of eminent domain to relocate the mainly tight-knit Mexican American community. Within a year, due to local politics, fueled by the anti-communist movement, public housing was considered socialist.

Under the headline “Council’s Feud is Ravine’s Tragedy,” the Los Angeles Mirror reported on Jan. 10, 1952:

Empty foundations, piles of rubble and weathered lumber are scarring the quiet landscape of Chavez Ravine while a civic battle rages over its destiny.

Public housing plans, which eight Councilmen now are seeking to abandon, have already reached deep into the life of the community and changed the face of it….

Scores of the 972 dwelling units in the area have been moved out or torn down. Many others have only a temporary reprieve…

With relocation assistance from the authority, 664 families have left Chavez Ravine on a promise that they will have priority when the housing development is built.

Whether it will be built at all is a question no one can answer right now.

The proposed housing project was killed, but most Chavez Ravine residents had already left. The City of Los Angeles took over the vacant lots. In 1958, voters approved Prop. B — transfering the land to the Dodgers.  The remaining residents were forced out for construction of Dodger Stadium.

The Daily Mirror has this good post on Chavez Ravine.

This photo by Los Angeles Mirror staff photographer Gene Hackley was not published with the previously quoted Mirror story but was often used with Chavez Ravine historical articles. In the 1960s, Hackley was a Los Angeles Times staff photographer.

1 Comment

  1. March 31, 2011, 9:57 am

    No one realizes that the gang problem in Northeast Los Angeles came after all the hispanics were kicked out of their homes and forced to relocate to Glassell, Echo, Cypress, Highland Park and Lincoln Heights. Check out the history of gangs in the Northeast area and see that the excalation of hispanic gangs and the evictions historically run in sync. Is the city of Los Angeles taking responsiblity for that too? Not…

    By: Maggie Garson

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