Eastward of Los Angeles street we descend a slight hill through the warehouse district, and with a sharp turn we are on Alameda street, the thoroughfare along which the lines of the Southern Pacific System enter and leave the city. A short distance along Alameda street and a right-hand turn brings us within the limits of the Chinese quarter. How suddenly everything changes. No longer the modern stores with their plate-glass windows and broad fronts, but instead the dingy shops of the Asiatic, their narrow windows filled with odds and ends of haberdashery, wierd drugs and now and then a few curios or trinkets from the far-oft Orient. Instead of the bright lamps which turn night into day upon our modern streets, before these shops the lights are shielded by fantastic lanterns of various hues and shapes, bearing legends undecipherable, save to the Celestial. The houses, though of modern construction, seem to crowd and huddle against the narrow streets and it is all strange to us, though interesting in the extreme.
Around two blocks of this miniature China our way leads and we stop for a brief visit to the Chinese Joss House or place of worship. Here we see the images of canonized Chinamen who, from their great or pure lives, have been elevated to a position of reverence by their successors. The little priest will politely tell you of them and their earthly records, and why incense is burned before their images. You may also lay in a stock of that same incense if you care to patronize the diminutive attendant.
Again we are under way, leaving the Oriental quarter behind, and as our coach climbs the slight hill of Aliso street, we have really passed over the line which separates old and new Los Angeles. Once more we are back on Main street, still travelling northward, passing the store of C. Ducommun, Los Angeles' pioneer hardware merchant.
Just over yonder to the left is the site of the new Post Office and Federal Building, once occupied by the Downey Block, a famous early-day structure noted for the list of its former tenants, many of whom were linked with the first progress of Los Angeles. Opposite is the United States Bank, occupying the quarters where for years the Farmers and Merchants Bank did its immense business, and now the home of the only banking institution in the wholesale district. A little further and to the right stands the Baker Block, a typical California structure, and the first imposing modern business building erected in Los Angeles.
A block further, and we are rounding the old Plaza. Here in truth [tags: losangeles LA los angeles historical history engravings culture]