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California Lithuanian Phone Directory 1970

Californian Lithuanian Amanac

This book shows that many of the Lithuanians in California lived and did business around Hollywood. Hollywood is a somewhat ill-defined area, but, to me, it’s what people sometimes call East Hollywood. It’s is a neighborhood in Los Angeles, northwest of Downtown by a couple miles, lying on both sides of the 101 Hollywood Freeway.  The eastern border is around Virgil, and the western border is around La Brea, or all the way to West Hollywood, which is a different city.  I think the southern border was Melrose, but now, the freeway probably forms a border.

There’s still an Eastern European community there, and it’s called Little Armenia, but there are remnants of the old communities, like the Ukrainian hall. Today, many Russians live there.

In parts of this region, there were the old barrios that got redlined, like the neighborhood east of Los Angeles City College (LACC). Looking back at the old phone books in the different archives, you can see that some streets were probably “white”, meaning specific white people, and others were a mixture. Eastern Europeans were sometimes white, but sometimes not considered white. If you look in the old phone books, you see that Russians and Greeks generally lived with people of color.  Likewise, I suspect the same for Lithuanians.

They could change their name and pass as some kind of “less ethnic” white person, of course.  Nikki Haley, who isn’t white at all, she’s Indian, had a totally different name, but changed it to sound like an English person named Nicole, who wanted a more casual first name.  So, it can work.  It makes spotting white ethnics in phone books more difficult, however.

The barrio by LACC was mixed, so it was open to people of color, and I know it was considered an old Japanese neighborhood to JAs, but that usually meant mixed. There used to be a convenience store down there, and also a Japanese school.  You can see this in the old phone books.

I was walking around the area, and surprised to find out that the White Fence gang operates there. They are a Boyle Heights gang, over next to East LA.  I have also seen the MS 13 tags, and they started in Pico Union. I’m guessing there are other gangs around, but I don’t know them. These were the two I recognized.  So, there were Mexican and Salvadorean neighborhoods too.  The MS13 is a 1980s and later thing, of course.

It’s not all poor there, though. There’s one hidden away neighborhood that I heard is “rich” people who send their kids to private school. With house prices nowadays, they probably really are rich!

Do ethnic immigrant communities make directories of all their members anymore? I know Japanese Americans had something similar in the 1950s.  I also sold another phone book of Americans living in Japan.  So there is still interested in these books.  I wonder if Lithuanian Americans still have an ethnic identity, and an interest in a book like this.

Source: California Lithuanian Almanac 1970 Phone Directory Los Angeles Hollywood

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