Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young. And while you’ve got to love having non-conformist ancestors, sometimes their adventures make it difficult to track them. Case in point: my grandmother María Lucia “Lucille” Alvarado Wood Dunham Minasian. She was quite a handful, especially once she met up with my grandfather Sumner Earl Dunham… Read More


As my great-grandparents José María and Jesús Alvarado would exit the front door of their modest residence at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and North Broadway in 1900 Los Angeles, two blocks to the northwest they would see this grand house, built in 1887, on a hill above them. This was the residence of Joseph… Read More


An unusual color photograph of downtown Los Angeles in 1900. The view is looking south down Broadway, not far from where my great-grandparents lived at North Broadway and Bellevue Avenue. The tower visible at the top left is Old City Hall.… Read More


Sonoratown along Buena Vista (North Broadway) From Fort Moore Hill

The city of Los Angeles, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, was founded on September 4, 1781 by a multi-racial group of settlers from Mission San Gabriel. The city continued to grow slowly; its leaders generally Californios of the landed classes who had received vast tracts of land, the ranchos, by grants from… Read More


Brand Boulevard, Glendale, 1950s

Come away with me, Lucille In my merry Oldsmobile Down the road of life we’ll fly Automobubbling, you and I To the church we’ll swiftly steal Then our wedding bells will peal You can go as far as you like with me In my merry Oldsmobile. This was the refrain of the extremely popular 1905… Read More


On an unknown date between 1946 and 1966, Jesús wrote out this account of the family history in Spanish, now (2008) in the possession of her granddaughter Gloria Joyce Hernández Alvarado in San Diego. The handwriting is difficult at times to read, and she used little punctuation or accents.… Read More