L.A.’s First Suburb


Angelino Heights is a historical treasure, but it is not “Los Angeles’ first suburb” (“Life in the Past Lane,” by Brenda Rees, Feb. 12). Lincoln Heights, originally known as East Los Angeles, was subdivided in 1873 by Dr. John S. Griffin (one of the city’s first medical doctors), his nephew Hancock Johnston (son of Confederate Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston) and former California Gov. John Downey out of the 2,000 acres of sheep pasture Griffin and another partner purchased from the city in 1863 for 50 cents an acre.

Thompson & West’s “History of the Los Angeles County” (1880) refers to East Los Angeles as “the principal suburb” of Los Angeles; by 1886, when Angelino Heights was established, East Los Angeles had a population of several hundred people, two elementary schools, half a dozen churches and its own fire station. Boyle Heights, first subdivided in 1876, also predates Angelino Heights.