Friday, June 14, 2019

"About Where Union Station Is Today"

For years it was assumed that El Aliso - California's first commercial vineyard and winery - had stood on, or at least roughly on, the site we now know as Union Station.

As I've previously explained...that's not the case. The bulk of El Aliso, including the massive sycamore tree itself, stood south of the 101, opposite Union Station. (One of my older books also backs this up.)

And yet, for so long it has commonly been assumed that the Union Station site, or a spot very close to it, had been Jean-Louis Vignes' vineyard. Even the LA Times made this claim as recently as 2015.


Matthew Keller - "Don Mateo" to early Angelenos - was an Irish immigrant who had lived in Mexico and befriended Andrew Boyle (who became his brother-in-law) while he was south of the border.

Keller moved to Los Angeles in 1851, buying a 10-acre plot from Don Manuel Requena at Alameda and Aliso Streets. Which is awfully close to Union Station.

Don Mateo built a house, planted an orchard and a vineyard, and established the Los Angeles Vineyards winery, which is said to have extended towards the river.

Tellingly, Keller Street runs well behind Union Station, parallel to the river. (Mateo Street, also named for Keller, runs north-south through the Arts District.)

There was indeed a vineyard "about where Union Station is today", or at least very close by. It just wasn't El Aliso. It was Don Mateo Keller's Los Angeles Vineyards.

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