Flashback Friday! Leo Politi: “The Artist of Olvera Street”

From waltarrrrr's Flickr photostream

Perhaps some of you have noticed the sign on the corner of Sunset and Echo Park Ave. that reads “Leo Politi Square”? I myself just noticed it about a year ago and then promptly forgot about it until my roommate asked me what it was all about last week. It turns out that neither of us were completely clueless as this corner was just dedicated to him in 2008. But once I observed that Mr. Politi also had a school and an area of Elysian Park dedicated to him, I did some more investigating. So let’s take a journey into Echo Park’s past and learn a bit about one of our most famous historic figures!

Leo Politi was an artist and an author who write and illustrated at least two dozen children’s books. His most famous is Song of the Swallows which won the Caldecott Medal in 1950. He also illustrated books for other writers, drew and painted countless works of art and created a mural entitled “The Blessing of the Animals” located at El Pueblo de Los Angeles on Olvera Street.

He was referred to as the “artist of Olvera Street.” Beginning in the 1930s, Politi would set up an easel amongst the vendors and sketch tourists and the residents of the Mexican-American community that lived there. He was also an anthropologist of sorts as much of his artwork and his writing dealt with Mexican-American religious ceremonies and customs. Politi’s book Juanita and his mural “The Blessing of the Animals” both explore the traditions surrounding the Easter celebration in that community. Pedro: The Angel of Olvera Street is about Mexican-American Christmas traditions.

While working on Olvera Street, Politi lived with his wife and children on Bunker Hill which at the time consisted of Victorian Homes and bungalows. In 1961, their house (along with several others) was condemned in order to make room for office buildings, and the family moved to the Angelino Heights area of Echo Park. Both of these neighborhoods served as inspiration for some of Politi’s later books including Bunker Hill, Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days and Angeleno Heights. Created for the adult reader, these books featured Politi’s stunning watercolor paintings of historic Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Mr. Politi passed away in 1996 at the age of 88. His artwork and a couple of his rarer books are now sought after collectibles. However, one can find his more popular books for sale on Amazon, and it looks as though you can find most of them at the L.A. Public Library.

Check out more images of his work below and be sure to take a look at his entry on the Echo Park Historical Society’s website.

Angelino Heights

945 Edgeware

The Blessing of the Animals

211 replies
« Older CommentsNewer Comments »
  1. Rozella Followell says:

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast simply because I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.

  2. see post says:

    I just want to say I am just new to blogs and definitely loved you’re blog site. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your site . You actually come with really good stories. Appreciate it for sharing with us your blog site.

  3. John Deere Technical Manuals says:

    I was suggested this web site by way of my cousin. I’m no longer sure whether this put up is written through him as no one else recognize such distinctive approximately my difficulty. You are incredible! Thank you!

  4. GoFounders China says:

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody having identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks.

  5. bare says:

    Great web site you have here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  6. Darrin Bolk says:

    Aw, this was an actually great blog post. In concept I want to place in composing similar to this in addition? taking time as well as actual initiative to make a very good write-up? however what can I state? I procrastinate alot and never appear to get something done.

  7. bare says:

    This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article.

  8. bare says:

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this during my hunt for something relating to this.

  9. Patrick Wanker says:

    Good post. I learn something a lot more challenging on different blogs day-to-day. It will certainly always be boosting to review web content from various other authors as well as exercise a little something from their shop. I?d like to make use of some with the material on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a link on your internet blog site. Many thanks for sharing.

  10. bare says:

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  11. Yadira Tryner says:

    Youre so cool! I don’t suppose Ive read anything like this before. So wonderful to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this site is something that is required online, somebody with a little creativity. helpful task for bringing something brand-new to the web!

  12. Dina Dombek says:

    I was extremely delighted to locate this web-site. I intended to thanks for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely taking pleasure in every little of it and also I have you bookmarked to check out brand-new things you blog post.

  13. Beaulah Lipani says:

    Hi! I simply want to give a substantial thumbs up for the excellent details you have below on this blog post. I will certainly be coming back to your blog site for more soon.

  14. pet supplies says:

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

  15. ultra value store says:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now 😉

  16. Author says:

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to revisit once again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  17. healthcare says:

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too wonderful. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a great website.

  18. Mickey Yori says:

    May I simply just say what a comfort to find someone that really knows what they are discussing on the internet. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular since you definitely have the gift.

  19. stand-up comedy says:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this site. I’m hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own website now 😉

  20. Jami Marzella says:

    I blog often and I really appreciate your content. This article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  21. Amie Espindola says:

    The simple story about CBD is that there is no simple story about CBD. Though CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical derived from cannabis or hemp that won’t get people or animals high like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it still falls into both a medical and bureaucratic black hole where it can be nearly impossible to extract definitive information.

  22. medicine says:

    I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  23. noticias says:

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It’s the little changes that produce the most important changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  24. exercise equipment says:

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this web site. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. Actually your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own website now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a good example of it.

  25. sports says:

    I was pretty pleased to uncover this site. I want to to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to see new stuff on your web site.

  26. CBD salve says:

    Having read this I believed it was extremely informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  27. world heritage sites says:

    Howdy, I think your site could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, excellent site!

  28. bodega clothing store says:

    I truly love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own personal website and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Thanks!

« Older CommentsNewer Comments »

Comments are closed.