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Lou Santillan, 77, left, with his son Eddie near the Alhambra convalescent home where he resides. Lou is one of the "los desterrados" ("the uprooted) who six decades ago were forced from their homes in Chavez Ravine to make way for a public housing project that never materialized. Dodger Stadium was later built on the site and is marking its 50th anniversary this year. Lou, still bitter about the eviction, refuses to go to the stadium, but Eddie, 46, is a fan of the team.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Beto Elias, 80, of Bellflower holds a 1939 photo of himself, his brother and sister, and friends in the Palo Verde neighborhood of Chavez Ravine. “When there was a party in the neighborhood, nobody called the police that you were making a lot of noise because everybody was at the party,” he said.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Lou Santillan wears a T-shirt emblazoned with the three neighborhoods of Chavez Ravine: Palo Verde, La Loma and Bishop. Santillan's family lived in the Palo Verde area.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Pete Aurrutia, 80, leans on his cane while recalling the time in 1951 when his family was evicted from Chavez Ravine. In the early 1950s, the city used eminent domain to begin moving everyone out to make room for a federally funded public housing project. Most families received several thousand dollars, though the exact amounts varied. The project was never built, and the land was later used for the construction of Dodger Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Al Zepeda, 74, left, Pete Aurrutia, 80, Beto Elias, 80, and Tony Montez, 81, gather together at the spot in Elysian Park where they used to swim together as kids. In 1958, voters approved Proposition B, which transferred the land in Chavez Ravine to the Dodgers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Pete Aurrutia, left, Tony Montez, Beto Elias and Al Zepeda walk up a dirt path that overlooks Dodger Stadium. Before the homes were cleared, Chavez Ravine was a rural village of ramshackle homes, dusty unpaved roads, roaming goats, sheep and cattle and a largely Mexican American population.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Tony Montez, left, Pete Aurrutia, Beto Elias and A Zepeda head back down the path above Dodger Stadium. Many of the people who were evicted from Chavez Ravine are now in their 70s and 80s, and they describe the sadness not only of being separated from friends, but of seeing their parents unmoored after having to move away.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Albino Elias, left, and his son Willie are shown in 1945 in front of the family's 1936 Chevy in the Palo Verde neighborhood of Chavez Ravine. Albino is the father of Beto Elias, 80, whose family was evicted from the neighborhood in 1951.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

In this 1948 photo, Beto Elias leans against a 1940 DeSoto in the Palo Verde neighborhood of Chavez Ravine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Albino Elias, his wife Refujio and their son Beto in front of the family home in Chavez Ravine in 1931.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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Remembering Chavez Ravine


  1. April 4, 2012, 6:51 pm

    I remember this when I was young 13 years old watching this on TV. Can't believe how disrespectful the demolition crews were. Just bulldozing down a house with their belongings in it. Amazing how times hopefully have changed. I would hope things are different and more respectful today.

  2. April 5, 2012, 1:24 pm

    My Grand Parents roots . Familia CONTRERAS My Dad David still tells me stories growing up in Bishop.

  3. April 5, 2012, 6:23 pm

    Same Here, Sanchez Family, uprooted, given very little. but its all good, we all survived and like most strong Mexicanos do, grew bigger and stronger because of it. Still hurts to see my Tios and Tias talk about it, but my Grandmother made the best out of a bad situation….

  4. May 14, 2012, 8:28 pm

    We are working on a dance piece about Chaves Ravine choreographed by Beth Iguchi. We'll perform it at The Colburn School (downtown LA) on Friday (5/18) at 7:30 pm (free admission). Please come if you can. It will be very cool.

    I would love to invite the four featured men in the photos, if anyone could advise how to contact them.

    Address of the performance:
    The Colburn School–Zipper Hall
    200 S. Grand Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90012

    By: Mwang@colburn
  5. May 25, 2012, 12:30 am

    as an Angelino by birthright & honor it truly breaks my heart that such an ugly act of injustice, smoothed over by politicians,has tainted the LosAngeles Dodgers&stadium. the fact that O malley wanted the location wasnt the issue ,the real issue was the neglect of civil rights by our city officials. We must watchover our "CIVIL SERVANTS" for money&power do corrupt . Let us learn from injustice & move forward …………true blueL.A.DODGER FAN……

  6. July 3, 2012, 1:53 pm

    I was born on Bishop Rd. in 1942 my father was Rudy Mendez he was a boxer in the 30's we lived on same street where my four grandparents live and own home right next to each other I had uncles and cousins all on the same street it was a great place to live before the Dodger came I have lost track of must of my cousin they all moved all over if any of them read this you can contack me at


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