Father Crespi in Los Angeles
Father Juan Crespi was the diarist on the expedition through Upper California to find sites for Franciscan missions. The trail established by this group between San Diego and San Francisco was to become El Camino Real, eventually connecting 21 missions.
Crespi and the leader, Captain Gaspar de Portola, along with a group of 67 men, entered what is now Los Angeles through Elysian Park. This is what Crespi wrote:After traveling about a league and a half through a pass between low hills we entered a very spacious valley, well grown with cottonwoods and alders, among which ran a beautiful river from north-northwest, and then, doubling the point of a steep hill, it went on afterward to the south.Some members of the expedition also noted the existence of bubbling tarpits a few miles from this point, now known as the La Brea Tarpits.
...As soon as we arrived, about eight heathen from a good village came to visit us; they live in this delightful place among the trees on the river.
The party left "this delightful place" the following morning. Although there were three earthquakes during their brief stay, Crespi noterd that the location had "all the requisites for a large settlement."
- Bolton, Herbert. A Pacific Coast Pioneer. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1927.
- UCSD F864.B685
- Brown, Alan K. The Various Journals of Juan Crespi. Washington, 1965.