Image: 1946 Thomas Bros. Guide showing “Negro Al”
The recent controversy over the name of a hunting camp used by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his family sent me to the Daily Mirror archives for a 1946 Thomas Bros. Guide, which shows “Negro Al,” an abbreviation for “Negro Alley,” the polite name for the street also known as Calle de los Negros.
June 29, 1882: Calle de los Negros remains an unsavory place, judging by this letter from Horace Bell.
March 23, 1896: A Times article recounts the sordid history of Calle de los Negros, including the Chinese Massacre, and although the story says the name was “obliterated … from the list of the city’s streets” that’s obviously untrue.
And the common name is visible on the Sanborn map of 1894, sheet 14B, which is available online from the Los Angeles Public Library — if you have a library card.
The alley surreptitiously appears in W.W. Robinson’s map of the old city, reproduced in “Lawyers of Los Angeles.”
Although it isn’t labeled, Robinson notes that No. 91, the Ballerino establishment, fronted on “Calle de los Negros of the Mexican period.”
By the 1954 Thomas Bros. Guide, any trace of the alley was gone.
And the area was even more simplified by the 1997 Thomas Bros. Guide.