Photo: Echo Park Historical Society
The copyeditor inside me never truly sleeps. And so it has been with Angelino/Angeleno Heights. In this case, it's not just words that matter, but letters -- specifically the change from e to i in the third syllable, which has political as well as sociological underpinnings. It's been an issue for years around Echo Park -- whether it's better with an e or i, and most people I've asked have a ready opinion. My own preference is for an e because that's how it was spelled originally and because it's consistent with the real Spanish history of the area -- as opposed to the real fantasy-production history of the area (at which point we're back to matters of personal taste). In any case, Angeleno Heights, known for the preservation of its Victorian architecture, has the distinction of being the very first Los Angeles neighborhood to achieve historic district status (read HPOZ). And it seems to me that an e plays the bigger role in that achievement.
The city sign on Sunset, however, chooses the Italianate spelling. Whereas Cecilia Rasmussen's Times article last Sunday on Leo Politi (which got me thinking about the choice, once again) goes Spanish -- though that could be a copy error as other L.A. Times stories lean Italian.
I asked Kevin Kuzma, president of the Echo Park Historical Society (which recognizes the Italian style) about his personal preference, and he offered some insight: