Italian American Museum of LA: A Cornerstone of West Coast Culture

Aug 25, 2018 527

BY: Marianna Gatto

When we speak of Italian immigration to the United States, Los Angeles is seldom the city that comes to mind. Usually, one imagines New York or other Eastern cities.Given this prevailing assumption, many are surprised to learn that Italian settlement in Los Angeles, which is home today to the nation’s fifth-largest Italian population, can be traced to 1827, when Southern California was part of Mexico.

Within a matter of decades, the region boasted a sizable Italian community, much of which resided in the heart of the city, in and around present-day downtown Los Angeles. Not unlike their compatriots elsewhere in the country, the Italians of Los Angeles formed a host of organizations to support the needs of the burgeoning Italian community, and commissioned the construction of buildings to serve as community gathering sites.

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