|Historic Filipinotown - History|
During the early 20th century, Filipino migrants began to build a community in Downtown Los Angeles known as “Little Manila.” However, due to urban renewal in the 1950s, Filipinos started relocating to the Temple-Beverly corridor in what is the now-designated district, Historic Filipinotown. It was during this period when Filipinos began purchasing homes, opening businesses, and creating community organizations. The first Filipino American organization recognized by the Federal government, the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), was created following the end of World War II and has been serving the Filipino community since. The area of Historic Filipinotown soon after developed as both a residential area and a site of cultural heritage. By the 1970s and through the 1980s, various restaurants such as Bahay Kubo Natin and Bernie’s Teriyaki became prominent local businesses, while organizations like Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) and Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI) took the lead on providing numerous community health, development, and social services in Historic Filipinotown.
Years later, similar businesses and organizations are still active and frequented by community members and cultural tourists. In 2002, Historic Filipinotown was officially designated as a district of the City of Los Angeles, marking the history, the settlement and contributions of Filipinos in the area. Through the years, the once sizable Filipino population around the Temple-Beverly corridor has given way to a more ethnically diverse populace, primarily of Mexican and Central Americans. Still, this area has one of the highest concentrations of Filipino Americans in Southern California.
On October 31, 2011, Historic Filipinotown was officially recognized as one of the nation’s Preserve America Communities. Receiving this honor from First Lady and Honorary Chair of the Preserve America Initiative, Michelle Obama, Historic Filipinotown is provided with strong federal support and incentives for the continued preservation of cultural and natural heritage resources. As a Preserve America Community, Historic Filipinotown is featured in the National Register Travel Itineraries and in “Teaching with Historic Places” curricular materials created by the National Park Service.
On January 28, 2012, representatives from Preserve America and the California State Historic Preservation, as well as various elected officials and community leaders gathered at Unidad Park for “Preserving Historic Filipinotown: A Community Celebration.” In addition to the official ceremony of Historic Filipinotown’s Preserve America designation, this celebration also honored the restoration of the mural at Unidad Park, as well as the designation of Remedios “Remy” V. Geaga Square, located at the intersection of Alvarado Street and Temple Street.
Historic Filipinotown stands to remind the City of Los Angeles and Filipino Americans about the history and struggles Filipinos have overcome to build this particular community. Historic Filipinotown is a place that both serves the Filipino community and also provides avenues for all Angelenos and visitors alike to enjoy Filipino cuisine, support neighborhood businesses, visit the Historic Filipinotown cultural landmarks and attend Historic Filipinotown events– all through which one can learn and engage in preserving the rich cultural heritage of Filipino Americans in Los Angeles.