Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome to Downey, future unlimited


IMG_0341Last Thursday night I went to Downey City Library for a book signing and presentation by Larry Latimer. Larry's book "Images of America DOWNEY" was the reason for the event. It was a fun, informative evening filled with pictures of Downey's humble beginnings brought to life through Larry's stories. It was a good reminder that pictures alone are not enough. You need the stories, the details to help understand the past.

Larry really knows Downey history. (He spent the last 3 years researching at the Downey Historical Society.) I was amazed to learn the first land grant of this area was in 1784 for 300,000 acres that stretched from Whittier to the ocean! Equally surprising were the pictures of the first schools in Downey — from the begining we were diverse with kids of many races attending.

The second picture was taken in 1890 at the northeast corner of what is today Firestone Blvd. and Downey Avenue. I just can't get over that it looks like it was taken somewhere in the old west. Included in the picture, sitting on the porch is "Indian Joe," who is buried in Downey Cemetery and was mentioned in a previous Downey Daily post.

I continue to be amazed at the depth of history we have surrounding us and I appreciated Larry's insight and willingness to put together this book so we can all learn a little bit more about our city.


  1. I was born and raised in Downey for 32yrs. I now own my grandfather's house he bought in 1950, as he died 3yrs ago. I have have always driven past the Downey Cemetery. Years ago I got curious and brought my little girls to visit it. For almost a year now we have gone to girls top request. More so than the park. They ask all the names, run free, and are careful to never step on as my 3yr old calls "headphones". We make sure to say hi and brings flowers or tangerines from my gpa's tree to our fave resident "Indian Joe". They take pics and blow him kisses. It wasn't until googling today that I was able to put a face to my girls "friend". Thank you so much! Absolutely delighted to see all Downey's history through your eyes. =) You've got a new reader who appreciates your moments in history very dearly.

  2. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your story. It's so fun to hear how we discover things that have been right in our own "back yard". The Downey cemetery is a good example. I drove past it for years, but had never visited it until a few years ago. It is beautiful and has a significant amount of history attached...welcome to DDP!


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