10/8/13

VARRIO LA RANA

LA RANA

Everyone in the Harbor Area knows or has heard about LA RANA in Torrance.

La Rana is one of those Varrios that have been dying off, but never really goes away. You hear about them, but you never really see them, or so it goes. Even so, they’ve managed to make the headlines from time to time. La Rana must be a real tight-knit family oriented varrio these days. Their neighborhood history goes back to the 1920s/30s, but the varrio is more well-renown for its crazyness during the 1950s and 60s. It managed to stay active well into the 70s, but by the 1980s it was mostly gone, mainly on account of the heavy industry that blew up around their neighborhood. Even though the barrio did grew up amidst industry; Nevertheless, the new industry took over more and more lots and pieces, and its streets disappeared, with many of its homes done away to create new and wider streets., To where eventually all that was left of La Rana is the strip between Van Ness Way and Crenshaw along Del Amo Blvd. That’s all that remains today of the old La Rana, some 100 homes along that strip. That’s if you don’t count the neighborhood area where V204ST (Southwest Village) is located at.

La Rana once roamed all the zone in-between Dolanco Junction (TxFlats) on the east; 190TH on the north; Torrance Blvd on the south; and west to Madrona/Prairie Avenue. But VLR has always been centered on Del Amo Blvd. The place is completely surrounded by industrial plants and business parks these days. Mobil refinery on the north, Dow Chemical to the west, PS Business Park and Honda R&D to its south, with Van Ness Avenue and another business park cutting it off from V204TH.

La Rana is said to have adopted the name because of a near-by little lake or pond; some have even called it an old swamp area, where you could hear the frogs croak and sing through out the night. That little lake of a pond was there going back to the 1800s.

The area was known as El Pueblo; hence the name of the Pueblo tiny little Recreation Center , dead smack in the middle of the neighborhood. In fact, Del Amo Blvd was oldenly known as PUEBLO street (Camino del Pueblo), when it was still a small dirt street back in the (Mexican Village) days.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/80643375@N00/280246500/

I’ve never known what cliques La Rana ever spawned, but looking at that rare Flickr picture of that gutted and worn out small market wall, there’s a placaso next to all the La Rana hit ups that read “ROAD GENTS”; Thus I wonder if that had anything to do with Del Amo Blvd ~> The Road to La Gente de La Rana (?)

On a hot sunny weekend if you pass through there you’re bound to see firme ranflas on those driveways of the strip, not in every house, but there’s some, even though today those homes on that calle don’t look ghetto barrio looking shacks or anything like that.

La Rana you could say is the only true "City of Torrance" Varrio because the other main Varrios in Torrance are really L.A. “Harbor Gateway”.

La Rana (Del Amo Blvd.) is technically in the section of town which is considered “East Torrance”. East Torrance goes from 190Th to Plaza Del Amo ~> entrance to the village of “Barrio East Side Torrance” on the southernmost tip of the town. I wonder if that has anything to do as to why there’s some real animosity documented between VLR & BEST (?).. since they’re both really from the same “SIDE” of town, on opposite corners, of course.

La Rana most definitely hates TxFlats, and they have also been known to put the clamp on V204TH.

V204ST is something of an abnormality in the area politics, since both La Rana & TxFlats are said to claim suzerainty over them. Both Varrios claim to have spawned V204TH, but I would lean more towards VLR getting 204 started, because I used to work with this vato from La 204 who told me so. The thing is, eventually, and like it happens everywhere else, V204TH went on a solo career, and then they went on to make the headlines that you all have read plenty about. But if 204 would of stayed VLR, it would of most definitely kept La Rana on the mainline of the streets in the Harbor Area. But as it stands, La Rana is the enigmatic old Torrance varrio that refuses to go away.



...................................

Old Neighborhood Has Long Outgrown Barrio Status
El Pueblo Thrives, Surrounded by Workaday World

May 05, 1985|JULIO MORAN, Times Staff Writer

TORRANCE — The face of industrial Torrance is changing after nearly 75 years. So, too, is El Pueblo.

Surrounded by industrial activity, El Pueblo--which means "the town" in Spanish--remains a residential island in a sea of warehouses and factories. But rather than being deserted or rezoned for industrial use over the years, El Pueblo has blossomed into a vibrant, well-kept, close-knit neighborhood.

And except for the shadows cast by the Mobil Oil refinery towers on one side and the frames of multistory warehouses going up on the other side, the 111 homes along Del Amo Boulevard between Crenshaw Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue are typical of other middle-class neighborhoods in this city.

"When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, we are Torrance," said Ruben Ordaz, 57, a lifelong resident of the area and president of the Pueblo Homeowners Assn.

Early Reputation

The neighborhood is also called Del Amo and La Rana, which means "the frog" in Spanish and got its name because a nearby pond was once full of frogs. The neighborhood has overcome a reputation as a poor, tough barrio and come to be considered a community of concerned homeowners whose votes are courted at each local election.

"The politicians know that we got about 100 votes," said Ordaz with a smile. "We usually vote in a bloc, so when we call we get a quick response."

Getting a bloc vote is easier, Ordaz said, because many of the residents are related. Ordaz's father, who moved here in 1925, still lives on the block, as do his uncle, aunt and several in-laws. When a family member dies, property is usually passed on to a relative.

Property values are slightly lower than in other neighborhoods in the city, but it still costs about $120,000 to buy a two-bedroom house here. An empty 50- by 100-foot lot has recently been appraised at $20,000.

High Offer for Home

"What do you think, just because I live in La Rana that I live in a shack?" Irene Ordaz, Ruben's wife, said she told a friend recently after the friend expressed surprise over her four-bedroom home. Ordaz said they have received offers of up to $150,000 for their home.

And the crime rate, once a major problem, what with youth gangs and drug dealers during the 1950s and 1960s, has dropped. Last year, a community watch program was organized.

Torrance Police Sgt. Wally Murker, a community relations officer, said the area may still have more drug problems than many sections of Torrance, but other neighborhoods have more burglaries. "I couldn't say it was any . . . different than other neighborhoods in Torrance," he said. "There are a lot of good people living there and they've got a good community watch program."

For the most part, living in the midst of industries has not bothered the residents. In the early years it was a matter of not biting the hand that fed them, Ruben Ordaz said, so residents tolerated the industrial noises and smells. Today, tighter pollution controls have eliminated most of the concerns, and the residents have learned to live with what remains .

Grew Up in Area

"Sometimes you wonder if your coughing is not because of Mobil or if your house is not going to blow up," said Joe Torres, 42, a receiving clerk. Torres grew up in El Pueblo, and except for a few years right after he got married, he has remained in the area.

But the possibility of industrial accidents is not a major concern. "My kids talk about it sometimes, but they also talk about nuclear wars and earthquakes," Torres said. "It's at the back of your mind, but it's a way of life here."

Surprisingly, there has never been any serious talk of rezoning the street for industrial use, city officials said.

"It's almost like a historical area," said Jeff Gibson of the city planning department. "I don't think it will ever get rezoned."

But city officials did not always look so kindly on what was originally referred to as the Mexican Village.

According to the book "Historic Torrance," land in the 1920s was designated for five uses: business, residential, industrial, unclassified, and "special quarters for non-Caucasians." It was in the "foreign quarters" that El Pueblo developed as the residential district for the Mexican labor that worked at Columbia Steel and Pacific Electric Railway.

Treading on Constitution

The book says Jared Sidney Torrance, the city's founder, admitted in his autobiography that segregation in his fledgling town "tread pretty hard on the toes of the Constitution of the United States."

Even former Mayor Albert Isen, whose father and uncle built the homes in the 1920s so workers could walk to the steel plant half a mile away, said the houses were "substandard, because that's all they really wanted and all they could really afford."

Ordaz, a former steelworker and now a custodian with the Torrance school district, said the homes remained in poor condition for many years, primarily because of language and cultural obstacles that kept residents--most of whom came from the small Mexican town of Purepero, Michoacan--from acquiring building permits for remodeling their homes.

Now those houses have been passed on to family members who are U.S.-born and who speak English. Many of the homes have been improved, and Del Amo, once a dirt road, is now a four-lane street with a center divider.

Spanish, once the only language spoken on this street, is hardly ever heard now. Even the one weekly Mass celebrated at St. Joseph's Catholic Church at the end of the block is said in English.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Road Gents and Road Sinners were car clubs from the street back in the 50s.originaly the car clubs were part of the gang,just like any car club in the 50s,as for cliques there were the og pachucos from the 40s,the cherrie gang,the locos,tiny locos,stoners,peewees.From what i know is the car clubs are active to this date.

Anonymous said...

LaxRana was one of the first to place a so called logo on there forearm of a frog with one leg hanging down as if it was crawling and 13 dots showing praise to La Eme,it was said that one of the guys went down to the pike in Long Beach to get his nickname and instead came up with the frog back in the 50s,and soon after there were tons of vatos with the same tat in the same area of the forearm.The guys from EST some time in the middle 70s placed there logo in the same area with the same pose but a panther.Presently the frog is still put on but you have to put in some serious work for the hood to earn it,and get the ok from one of the big homies,the youngest guys with it on are in there early 30s presently.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how to contact Ruben or Irene Ordaz or any of his family. I am an old friend of the family.I have seen them in some time. Tell him it's paul bunyan (JG)

Anonymous said...

There was a frog bfore the frog that is now put on the forearm - it was called the Trojan frog , it was a grog in a croutching/ sitting position holding a cane and had a black top hat and wore a black bow tie . The homie who had it was around 65 or 70 years old he told me it was the OG frog I never seen any one else wit it but I'm sure there were old homies I don't know wit it this was a big older homie so I would never question him !!!

Anonymous said...

I am looking to get in contact with Susie Ordaz. Jim G

Anonymous said...

my dad started la rana he was og babyface from the pachuco days his name was jesus canchola perez he work in the old steele plant back in the 50's to the early 80's tell any og they will tell you whats up

Doña Junta said...

I used to work with a guy from LA Rana I think he had an old school name too?? Puppet or something, but didnt La Rana get more of a reputation because of the Grajedas and involments in Eme. Other then that just like EST it always seemed liked an old school hood dying out.

Anonymous said...

PURO VARRIO LAxRANA CONTROLAS PEEWEELOCOS CLICK. Still puttin it down for the HxA!!!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in La Rana, And My dad, Jesus Canchola Perez did NOT start the frog name, If he is your dad, you are the second family he had. I grew up at 2060 Del Amo Blvd, which is now a business building, I am part of the remainding Perez family. My Brother Bobby "Bubbles" and Louie have both died, and all that is left is me and my sister. I sure hope there is away to find out about you. We were always told he had another family and that we possibly had 9 half brothers and sisters. Check out ancestry.com and look up your dad's name. Consuelo

Anonymous said...

today is 03/27/2011 just to go further, I'd like to find out about jesus Canchola Perez other family. cdsattic@aol.com and please use a subject matter, or i'll delete it. Consuelo aka Connie

Anonymous said...

the varrio still hasnt died and never will so dont believe them wen they say the hoods dead come the the varrio and youll find out who the fuck is dying

Anonymous said...

wow... not sure who u are or where you got your information, but one thing i know for sure your father did not start La Rana.

i grew up there and am well aware of everyone from my parents generation and your are far from knowing and posting the truth...

most maybe correct but not all... please educate yourself correctly before posting..

Anonymous said...

there was a gang called centro torrance around 10-15 years ago between torrance blvd, carson st, western, & normandie that was barely 20-30 deep. they dont really claim it anymore. there either in jail, dead, joined eastside torrance or dont bang anymore. not to many gangsters are in that bountry anyways below carson st. gets deeper as you go down until 228th st. above torrance blvd its 204th st. la rana and 208th st. crip which is not to deep but getting a little deeper. 100s might be in south central or not real, sadmob isnt real, 213th st is a click of keystone in carson.

Anonymous said...

ok when I grew up there, there was no Van Ness, and that side of what is Van Ness was a swamp, Corner lots were the Peter , Chata and Rachel Hernandez family and the Perez family Baby Face my dad, Bubbles my brother, Louie and my sister, also in that area were Henry and Ralph can't remember last name, gilbert Sisceros family and others. we as kids in the 50's played there, we even had go-carts like the Rascels, anyway, the swamp was full of frogs, they were louder than heck, that is how La Rana got it's name, No credit to any one person. the upper side was a whole lot more families, including the Saucedo's, Escobar all family members. and for some of you that post, clean your mouth, once a punk alway a punk!

Anonymous said...

My whole familia grew up in La Rana during the mid 40s to the late 60s. We moved out when I was still pretty young. I have primos who are Raneros...I was in the army with Raneros (Stevie Morales "Indio")(Sluggo). My hefito played pool at the Pool Hall owned by Pali's dad (Morenos). Mundo and Ronnie are primos. La Rana in the old days was a crooked street lined with big olive? trees. Every varrio feared LxR because the Grajedas were still running around - they had big time plato with Harbor City.

Chispa's said...

For the record! 204th. street was started around 1977-78 by a guy named Chico(Manuel F.) and he used to hang out with the guy's from TX Flats not La Rana... I know because
i knew him very well. He was a real cool guy....

Anonymous said...

Tambien, for the record, back in the day before 204th was a Varrio they used to call that neighborhood "Little Cuba."

Joe said...

Two Cisneros families in La Rana, My Uncle Orlando Sisneros and my Father Joe Cisneros. Gilbert, Alex, Adele and Norma are my siblings. I still drive through the old neighborhood when I can. You can leave La Rana, but it never leaves you. I recall playing in the swamp between US Steel and Bethlehem Steel. I recently went by and picked a railroad spike from the train tracks that used to run behind my back yard. I remember the store and my brother Alex's tag on it. Several of my extended family have the tattoo. It is my identity and one that I will hold onto with love and pride.

Anonymous said...

LaRana is an old BUT respected varrio. They have a lot of history and once put fear into ALL varrios including Harbor City, Keystone, Flats, EST, Lomas, RSP, Gardena. I remember vatos like Shadow, MoonMan, Bubbles, Eddie Solis, Art Lucero, Sapo, Romeo, Camous, Chababa, Chino, Yo-yo....and the list goes on. For a small varrio it packed a lot of punch! With or without the Quates they were mas chingones. The funny thing is that some of the gente moved out in the fifties and sixties only to have THEIR kids grow up in a different varrio. Good example, dude name Ramon Avalos from HxC was killed by LxR but his mom Lola was at one time a Ranera and still had familia in LR. That's how it goes. Me? My familia is from LR but they fought a lot (domestic) and we would move every six months. I lived in Keystone, Flats, Gardena, HxC, and La Rana. But my heart is in Torrance and my varrio will always be ........chale!

Anonymous said...

La Rana is back, with youngsters and some of the peewees getting the varrio back out there. That frog tat with the one leg hanging on the forearm is no more, there was a stop put to it by La Eme. There are big homies from the varrio that are now high ranking vatos in La Eme. These vatos got the keys to the Harbor Area! The beef is ESxT, TxF, HxL get it right! No they dont beef with 204th st. they clicked to kill the T-Flats.

Anonymous said...

The frog ain't put on because you youngsters have alot to prove,with the rep the older homies have,thats why its not put on at the moment,LA RANA gots beef with someone they come knockin on doors!

Varrioso said...

IF Y'ALL MUST REALLY KNOW, THERE IS A VARRIO IN MY VARRRIO AND I'M NOT SURE WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT ANY MORE.

PWEExloco said...

never put fear to HARBORxCITY rifas. tHey sworn enemiesK were estrampsK tunaxfishK and VHxCR.

Anonymous said...

BIG BAD VLXRC PEEWEE LOCOS 13!!

Anonymous said...

vCENTRAL X TORRANCE . LOCOS
FUCC LA RATASk

Anonymous said...

FUCC HARBORCITYk FUCC THOSE CRABSk TO FUCC LRk AND ESTk BIG CENTRAL X TORRANCE GANGSTA FUCK TAGGERSk

Anonymous said...

CENTRAL TORRANCE LOCOS

robert martinez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The Martinez Family been wit LA Rana from the beginning. I have been told many stories. Nothing but Love for all my Familia.

Anonymous said...

WOW HOW WEIRD. I JUST STUMBLED UPON THIS PAGE AND EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT LA RANA. MY GRANDPARENTS (CHINO & HELEN GRAJEDA) GREW UP THERE AND RAISED MY MOM (CYNDI) AND HER SIBLINGS (RONNIE, JEANNE, BABY, & MUNDO) THERE IN LA RANA. I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ALL THE STORIES OF THEIR YOUNGER DAYS. MAN, THEY WERE CRAZY. ANYWAY, I ENDED UP BEING FROM VICTORIA PARK BUT I DO LOVE LA RANA NO MATTER WHAT.

Anonymous said...

Hey I know who he is . He was my dad too.

Linda Marcuson said...

He was my dad also

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about La Rana "CONEY" he was a legend in the mid 40's to end 50's natural born leader, I heard about many stories of all these familia's everyone is talking about

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how many of us have roots in LR, my family has been on that street since the 30's. Live on LA RANA!

Anonymous said...

My Dad Joe "Pepe" Martinez was from La Rana as well as some of his brothers. They use to live off of Del Amo Blvd.

Anonymous said...

My great aunt is Chata & my dad CONEY is her nephew. They were close in age & grew up together he has always brought up La Rana & many stories he is 84 & has panther logo

Lino said...

Your brother Bubbles was my nino and Rosa my nina.I still keep in touch with memi and Rudy.

Lino said...

Hey, your my cousin.

Anonymous said...

WOW STUMBLED UPON THIS PAGE, AND READING ABOUT LA RANA MY DAD GREW UP IN LA RANA EVERYONE KNOW WHO HE IS TERRY-BOY THAT'S MY POP'S I REMEMBER GOING TO VISIT MY DAD OR GO TO MY TIA CHA-CHA'S & MY TATA'S HOUSE THE GASSET FAMILY MY TIA CHA-CHA- AN FAMILY STILL LIVE IN LxR

Anonymous said...

My projectz are bigger than all 3 Flatz Frogz and 204s combined RSP Santa Cruz Gang

Anonymous said...

Wtf cyber banging FUCK THE REST
VARRIO LARANA CONTROLA
BIG SILENCER YQUE PUTOS

Anonymous said...

MUCH LOVE TO MY LARANA FAMBAM

Anonymous said...

STUPID

Anonymous said...

Dumb

Anonymous said...

WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU POZ TO BE SHUT YO MOUTH FUCK AYE

Anonymous said...

T.M.I

Anonymous said...

What shadow are u talking about?

Bigrobs562 L.A Dodgers said...

Wondering if anyone knows where my pop's at? Or even if he still alive. He's Big Tacho not Lil frankie..

Bigrobs562 L.A Dodgers said...

Hey I knew your dad Terry boy, him and Mundo. Big time. They we're close friends with my DAD TACHO......

Bigrobs562 L.A Dodgers said...

Why you delete me?