Designed by architect Julius Kraus and built by the Pozzo Construction Company, the Italian Hall (1907-08), located on the corner of North Main Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue served as an important cultural and social center for the Italians of Los Angeles and is one of seven buildings at El Pueblo that were associated with the Italian community. For more than two decades, it was the site of meetings, banquets and dances as well as the headquarters for groups such as the Garibaldina Society (1888) and Il Circolo Operaio Italiano (Italian Workers Club). Pete Pontrelli’s orchestra played there weekly. The building also served as a starting point for weekend food races and location for festivities such as the vendemnia, or Italian wine harvest celebration. The Hall also hosted internationally-known figures such as Emma Goldman and Ricardo Flores Magón.
The Italian presence at El Pueblo begins in 1823, when Giovanni Leandri opened a store and built an adobe where the Plaza Firehouse now stands. In the 19th century, significant numbers of Italians lived at El Pueblo and owned or operated one-third of businesses in the Plaza area.
Part of El Pueblo Historical Monument, the Italian Hall will soon open as a museum celebrating the contributions of Italian Americans in the development of California. If you have additional questions, please contact (213) 485-8432 or visit www.italianhall.org.