the National Commission for Historic Resources at the end of last week voted in favor of the declaration of the Maravilla handball court and El Centro grocery store as a state historic monument, an important step towards preserving one of the region’s oldest handball fields and a long-standing meeting place for Latino players. Listing the Mednik Avenue handball court, closed for several years, on California’s list of historic resources will help protect the site from changes that could alter its historical significance, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy, the historic preservation group that s ‘is associated with the Historical Society of Maravilla to earn the landmark status for the handball field.
“Because the property is located in unincorporated East Los Angeles, which does not have a preservation ordinance, the state-level designation currently offers the strongest protection,” he said. said conservation spokesperson Cindy Olnick.
In the 1940s, the handball court and the old El Centro market were purchased by the Nishiyama family, Americans of Japanese descent who developed close ties to the predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood. The store and the handball court have been closed for more than five years following the deaths of Michi and Tommy Nishiyama. But the Maravilla Historical Society led an effort to preserve and reopen the store and handball court as a community center focused on the neighborhood’s history and recreation.
The historical society held a fundraiser as it attempted to purchase and renovate the handball court and store.
- Old Pals pay homage to history, handball and a woman named Michi. The Eastside