“The oldest church in Los Angeles is known in local American parlance as ‘The Plaza Church,’ ‘Our Lady,’ ’Our Lady of Angels,’ ‘Church of Our Lady,’ ‘Church of the Angels,’ ‘Father Liebana’s Church,’ and ‘The Adobe Church.’ It is formally the church of Nuestra Senora, Reina de los Angeles—Our Lady, Queen of the Angels—from whom Los Angeles gets its name.”
That is, the city gets its name from Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels, not from the church, as the pueblo was named long before the church was even suggested.
The plaza was formally moved to its present site in 1835, May 23, when the government was changed from that of a pueblo to a city.
Concerning the name of the pueblo and river Rev. Joachin Adam, vicar general of the diocese, in a paper read before the Historical Society of Southern California several years ago, said:
“The name Los Angeles is probably derived from the fact that the expedition by land, in search of the harbor of Monterey, passed through this place on the 2d of August, 1769, a day when the Franciscan missionaries celebrate the feast of Nuestra Senora de los Angeles—Our Lady of the Angels. This expedition left San Diego July 14, 1769, and reached here on the first of August, when they killed for the first time some berrendos, or antelope. On the second, they saw a large stream with much good land, which they called Porciuncula on account of commencing on that day the jubilee called Porciuncula, granted to St. Francis while praying in the little church of Our Lady of the Angels, near Assisi, in Italy, commonly called Della Porciuncula from a hamlet of that name near by. This was the original name of the Los Angeles River.”
The last two recorded burials within the walls of the Los Angeles chapel are those of the young wife of Nathaniel M. Pryor, “buried on the left-hand side facing the altar,” and of Dona Eustaquia, mother of the Dons Andres, Jesus, and Pio Pico, all intimately connected with the history of the later days of Mexican rule.