LA TACO is about to embark on its biggest mission yet: to create a taco guide for every neighborhood in Los Angeles! Along the way, we’ll also post short stories from each neighborhood to understand LA a little more and why each neighborhood that makes our city beautiful is unique in its own way. Keep an eye out for our Artesia food guide coming later this week.
Artesia is super small, just over 1.5m². miles of land. First settled as a village in 1875 on Juan José Nieto’s Rancho Los Coyotes on former Tongva lands, the area would later become part of a city made up of the confluence of nearby towns known as of “Dairy Valley” because of its hundreds of dairy farms, one of which a significant part belonged to Dutch and Portuguese families. After officially becoming a city in 1959, traces of Artesia’s agrarian past were still evident even in the 1970s. Some of Artesia’s older and larger houses are believed to be remnants of its wealthy agricultural dynasties. Dairy Valley included Cerritos, a town that surrounds Artesia on three sides and has a close association with it. Both are part of what are known as the “Gateway Cities” of Los Angeles due to their proximity to Orange County.
For many, Artesia is synonymous with the “Little India” part of Pioneer Avenue, where a wide array of Southern Californians drive to browse saris, Bollywood films, jewelry and candy, interspersed with dosas and thalis at lunchtime, one of the many benefits. from the boom in immigration from the subcontinent that began in the early 1980s. The majority of Artesia’s small population of over 16,000 identify as East Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and White, in this order, with South Asians making up less than 10% of the city’s population.
Some of the most famous faces born in Artesia include soap opera legend Eileen Davidson, professional football player Cristian Roland, and former Atlanta Braves pitcher Kris Medlen. Although big names in the NBA like James Harden, Jason Kapono, Ed O’Bannon and Tom Tolbert all attended Artesia High School, which is near Lakewood. Artesia’s direct fame in the sports world can be attributed to Michelle Kwan, a South Bay resident whose family opened the East West Ice Palace on Artesia Boulevard in 2005. Today it is home to many of her awards. and figure skating champion career medals. while training new generations of ice skating talent.
Artesia’s iconic water tower had a small role as the Springwood, Ohio water tower in the horror film Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, but does not appear to be a popular filming location otherwise. And despite Michael K. Williams’ alleged allegiance to the “Artesia Crips” in Inherent Vice, no such gang appears to exist, and the reference, both literary and cinematic, is an anachronism given that the story takes place. takes place before the founding of the Crips gang. The most notorious LA street gang to claim the city is Artesia / Varrio Artawhose stories play prominently in the book”The Dark Hand: The Story of René “Boxer” Enriquez and His Life in the Mexican Mafia», written by Chris Blatchford.
Artesia’s Portuguese heritage and community is celebrated at Artesia DES, which was established in 1927 and has been housed in the building known as Portuguese Hall for 87 years. Here, the Festival of Divino Espirito Santo still takes place every year to celebrate Portuguese traditions, music and gastronomy.