Historic Filipinotown is historically one of the few areas where Filipinos first settled during the early part of the 20th century. Many Filipino-American families began purchasing homes and establishing businesses in the area beginning from the 1940s, shifting away from the Little Tokyo area in the 1920s and the Bunker Hill area later.
In modern times, Historic Filipinotown reflects the polyglot nature of Los Angeles. While the district still has a sizable Filipino population, they are in the minority, overshadowed by a sizable Mexican and Central American population. Nevertheless, the area still has one of the highest concentrations of Filipino Americans in Southern California and still remains the cultural heart of Filipinos throughout Los Angeles. Of the 200,000 Filipinos that reside in the City of Los Angeles, an estimated 10,000 are within Historic Filipinotown.
The Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council, Inc. leads the effort for political and economic development in the area. Many Filipino service organizations and institutions, such as the Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown, the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI), Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), and the Filipino American Library (FAL) are located in Historic Filipinotown. The area is also host to many Filipino restaurants, churches, and medical clinics. On November 11, 2006, the City of Los Angeles dedicated the first Filipino WWII Veterans Memorial in the nation at Lake St. Park in Historic Filipinotown site of the former Our Lady of Loretto High School.
Future plans for Historic Filipinotown include naming a park after Filipino labor leader, Philip Vera Cruz, and placing a monument of Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, at another park in the district.
In November, 2006 Eric Garcetti, president of the L.A. City Council, joined Filipino veterans from around the country in unveiling the first monument dedicated to Filipino soldiers who fought for the United States in World War II. The monument, located in Lake Street Park in the heart of Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown, consists of five slabs of polished black granite and commemorates the history of the Filipino veterans, from WWII to immigration to their subsequent fight for equality. It was designed by artist Cheri Gaulke.