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 A Brief History of Los Feliz

1905 - Panorama of Los Feliz looking west from Laughlin Park
1905 – Panorama of Los Feliz looking west from Laughlin Park

The Los Feliz district of Los Angeles was home to a major Native American settlement before Corporal Jose Vicente Feliz brought his family to the Los Angeles basin in the first expedition to bring secular settlers to California in 1776.  Over the next 20 years, Feliz had the responsibility for establishing the new pueblo of Los Angeles and was rewarded for his efforts with the Rancho Los Feliz granted to him by Spanish King Carlos III, around 1800.

The story of the more than 6,600-acre Rancho which eventually became the Los Feliz and Griffith Park neighborhoods spans over 200 years and is filled with fascinating personalities like the colorful early Los Angeles politician Antonio Coronel, the larger-than-life entrepreneur/philanthropist Griffith J. Griffith and movie moguls Cecil B. DeMille, D.W. Griffith and Walt Disney.

Los Feliz was also the center of the earliest film industry, beginning 1908.  Within a few years there were ten major film studios in Los Feliz cranking out productions.  The new film industry sparked a housing boom with residential development ranging from modest Craftsman enclaves for studio workers to luxurious mansions for the industry elite.

As Los Feliz grew, it became one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Los Angeles.  In 1916, the Los Feliz Improvement Association (LFIA), originally called Vermont Canyon Improvement Club, was established for the betterment of the community. LFIA celebrates its centennial in 2016.

Los Feliz is an architecturally-rich neighborhood where the works of nearly every major architect in the 20th Century can be found. Among our  architectural stars in this Modernist Movement field guide are Frank Lloyd Wright (two landmarks), his son Lloyd, Richard Neutra (the Lovell Health House was the first International Style residence in America), R.M. Schindler, Wallace Neff and Paul Williams.