Reconfiguring Diversity in 19th Century Los Angeles: An Archaeological Analysis of the Los Angeles/Depot Hotel

In 2001, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) purchased the territory of what is now the Los Angeles State Historic Park located in downtown Los Angeles. The land has a diverse and complex history, intertwined with Gabrielino-Tongva, Spanish, Mexican and American ownership. Among the DPR excavations, the Los Angeles/Depot Hotel (1883-1889) was excavated on the property. I suggest that analysis of the material culture found at the hotel in addition to associated archival materials provides an image of a growing city in the process of reconfiguring diversity. Specifically, the larger social shifts during this period allow us to understand the ways in which Angelenos created and maintained spaces in early American California. Furthermore, analyzing and interpreting this collection can further our understanding of the dialectical relationship between place-making and concepts of race and identity during this transformative period in 19th century California history.