Posts Tagged ‘Presentacion Urquidez Lopez’

Presentacion Urquidez Lopez; her family was the first in Hollywood

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Presentacion Urquidez Lopez; her family was the first in Hollywood

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 outpostadobe

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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Born in 1842, Presentacion Urquidez was the fifth child of Don Tomas Urquidez and his third wife, Ramona Candida Vejar. Don Urquidez, who was born in Santo Tomas Mission, Lower California, arrived in Los Angeles at the age of twenty-five. Urquidez was the first Spanish resident of what would eventually be known as Hollywood, and his cattle and horses roamed far over the southern slopes of the Cahuenga Valley. Annually he celebrated the fiesta of “The Sign of the Cross,” with its praying, dancing, horse racing, and barbecue with the pure native wines and brandies.

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In 1853 Don Urquidez built the first house in what would be Hollywood (see photo above), an adobe and wood building that had its roof insulated with brea brought from the nearby tar pits. It was located in an old Native American graveyard on the northwest corner of Franklin and Sycamore Avenues.

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On October 21, 1861, Presentacion married Jose Claudio Tranquilino Lopez at the Plaza Church in downtown Los Angeles. Afterward, festivities lasting eight days were held at their famous adobe in Hollywood.

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Through various causes, the family lost its vast estates. Old and blind, Don Tomas returned from the celebration of the Eve of St. John at the San Gabriel Mission to find himself disposed of his beloved adobe. Later their home was bought by General Harrison Gray Otis, founder of the Los Angeles Times and was renamed The Outpost.

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Presentacion would bear her husband Jose at least five children, and Carmen Avenue in Hollywood was named after one of them. In her old age, Presentacion remembered General John C. Fremont and much of the local history of the time and was one of the few remaining representatives of the time when most of this section was owned by the Spanish.

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The evening before her death on September 8, 1908, Presentacion entertained a group of old friends until late in the morning, smoking her favorite cigarettes and talking about old times. She was weak and feeble, and after the last friend had gone, called for a final cigarette and was surprised that she was too weak to inhale the fumes. Sinking back on her couch, she turned her glance upward, gave a loud happy laugh and died with a smile on her lips. Two sons and a daughter and a large number of grandchildren survived her.

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At the end of her life, she claimed to not know her real age which

probably explains the wrong date on her tombstone.

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Before her burial in Hollywood Cemetery, the funeral was held at the Blessed Sacrament Church on the southeast corner of Prospect Avenue (now Hollywood Boulevard) and Cherokee Avenue. Her tombstone reads, “En Paz Descanse” or “Rest in Peace.” Her grave is located in the northeast corner of the cemetery (where the older graves are) and about two rows from the wall.

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