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21 Spots Where Women Made History in Los Angeles

Posted March 13, 2021 by LeAnn Kelch

To celebrate Women's History Month 2021, we've compiled a map of 21 spots where bold, visionary Angelenas past and present made their impact. Check it out!

  1. Van Nuys Airport – Several trailblazing female aviators, including Amelia Earheart and Bobbi Trout, broke records flying in and out of the Van Nuys Airport.
  2. Great Wall of Los Angeles – The landmark mural, painted by artist and activist Judith Baca in the 1980s, stretches 2,754 feet and tells the story of LA's history through panels of vibrant scenes.
  3. UCLA – Last year, UCLA professor Andrea Ghez became the fourth woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics for her contribution to discoveries about black holes.
  4. Pann's Restaurant – Helen Liu Fong, the Chinese-American architect behind Pann's and other futuristic buildings, was a leading figure in LA's 1950s Googie architecture trend.
  5. Hattie McDaniel Residence – The beautiful West Adams home belonged to Hattie McDaniel, the first Black Academy Award winner for her role in Gone with the Wind.
  6. Former Friday Morning Club (now Variety Arts Building) – The Friday Morning Club was founded by Caroline Severance in 1891 as a women's club and became a national hub of suffrage organizing. When women's suffrage was granted in 1911, Caroline Severance was honored as the first woman in LA to register to vote.
  7. Dodgers Stadium – Rosalind Wiener Wyman, the youngest ever LA City councilmember, the second female councilmember, and the first Jewish female councilmember, was instrumental in bringing the Dodgers to Los Angeles in the 1950s.
  8. Los Angeles Plaza Park – In 1911, Maria Guadalupe Evangelina de Lopez gave the first speech in Spanish in California advocating for women's suffrage at the park, now part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument.
  9. Biddy Mason Memorial Park – Biddy Mason, known as the “Grandmother of Los Angeles," was born a slave but argued for and won her freedom once in LA, eventually becoming a wealthy landowner and local philanthropist. The park is located on the homestead she purchased in 1866.
  10. The Woman's Building – Established in 1973, The Woman's Building fostered experimental lesbian and feminist art for nearly 20 years as an act of resistance to the exclusive, male-dominated art scene.
  11. Former Los Angeles Public Library, Temple and Main – Mary Foy was appointed the first female head librarian of the City of Los Angeles Public Library in 1880, back when it was just three rooms above a saloon.
  12. Nevin Ave. Elementary School – Bessie Burke, the first Black teacher and principal in the LA public school system, became principal at Nevin Ave. Elementary in 1938.
  13. Former barbershop, Brooklyn Ave. in East LA – Chicana lesbian activist and gender-nonconformist Nancy Valverde stood up against discrimination and police harassment and in 1951, proved it was not a crime for women to wear men's clothing.
  14. Resurrection Catholic Church – In 1986, the Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA) launched at Resurrection Catholic Church to stop the construction of a state prison. MELA continued on to become a powerful environmental justice advocacy group.
  15. S. Lake Ave, Pasadena – The current district office of Congresswoman Judy Chu, the first Chinese-American woman elected to the United States Congress.
  16. Huntington Library and Gardens – Octavia E. Butler, iconic Black female science fiction writer, grew up in Pasadena. Her literary archive resides at the Huntington Library.
  17. Mission San Gabriel – At the site of Mission San Gabriel in 1785, Tongva/Kizh medicine woman Toypurina led a rebellion against the colonial rule of Spanish missionaries.
  18. Ranchito del Fuerte – The property was once home to Harriet Williams Russell Strong, the primary innovator of dry land irrigation and water conservation techniques in late 19th century Southern California.
  19. Compton City Hall – In 1965, Doris A. Davis was elected mayor of Compton and became the first Black female mayor of a metropolitan city in the United States.
  20. East Rancho Dominguez Park – Venus and Serena Williams began their extraordinary tennis careers playing at the courts in East Compton.
  21. Former Douglas Aircraft Company (now Boeing) – The women who worked in manufacturing at the Douglas Aircraft Company during WWII helped to inspire the famed “Rosie the Riveter" figure.

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