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Lafayette Square, Los Angeles facts for kids

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LaFayette Square
The LaFayette Square neighborhood sign at St. Charles Place, around 2015
The LaFayette Square neighborhood sign at St. Charles Place, around 2015
LaFayette Square is located in Los Angeles
LaFayette Square
LaFayette Square
Location in Los Angeles
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Flag of Los Angeles County, California.svg Los Angeles
Time zone Pacific
Zip Code
90019
Area code(s) 310/424, 323
1989 map of Lafayette Square, Los Angeles
Map from the Los Angeles Times,
January 1989

LaFayette Square is a historic semi-gated neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California.

Although founded in 1913 by real estate developer George Lafayette Crenshaw, it is named after the French Marquis de Lafayette, who fought alongside Colonists in the American Revolution. Lying west of Crenshaw Boulevard in the Mid-City area, it was designated by the city as a Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overlay Zone in 2000 for its significant residential architecture and history.

History

According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, "LaFayette Square was the last and greatest of banker George L. Crenshaw's ten residential developments in the City of Los Angeles." Around the turn of the twentieth century, there was a large oil boom in southern California: Between the extraordinary climate that California had to offer and the rich resources that provided jobs to the oil and agricultural industries, the state experienced great population booms. In Los Angeles, Crenshaw invested in and oversaw the development of ten residential real estate ventures to help satiate the population growth.

LaFayette Square was founded in 1913 and developed during the early 20th century. Wrought-iron gates surrounding the district are a relatively recent addition, coming only in 1989. The addition of the iron gates eliminated cut-through commuter traffic; the only way into the neighborhood is through St. Charles Place.

Geography

LaFayette Square is situated about 7 miles (11 km) west of Downtown Los Angeles, 2 miles (3 km) east of Beverly Hills, and 4 miles (6 km) south of Hollywood. The nearest beach is Santa Monica Beach which is about 9 miles away. It consists of eight blocks, centered on St. Charles Place, and situated between Venice Boulevard on the north, Washington Boulevard on the south, Crenshaw Boulevard on the east and West Blvd on the west.

There are 236 homes in the neighborhood. It is immediately south of Victoria Park, southeast of West Los Angeles (Crestview and Picfair Village) and immediately north of Wellington Square.

Climate

The central region of Los Angeles experiences warm and dry summers, with average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F (22.0 °C). According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, this area has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.

Residences

Home in Lafayette Square 1
Mediterranean Revival style home in Lafayette Square

Crenshaw wanted this development to have a European flair so it was designed as an elegant residential park centered on St. Charles Place—a broad palm tree-lined avenue with a landscaped median. The houses in Lafayette Square reflect residential styles popular during the 1910s and 1920s such as Tudor Revival architecture, Italianate, Mediterranean Revival, Neo-Federalist, American Craftsman, Spanish Colonial Revival, and American Colonial Revival. Several houses, such as architect Paul Williams’ own home, were designed in the Modern style, exemplifying an important trend in Los Angeles’ architectural development.

The neighborhood was designed for wealthy families and now-historic houses regularly have 5,000 to 6,000 square feet (600 m2) floor plans, although the average home size is 3,600 square feet (330 m2). According to a Los Angeles Times real-estate section article on the district, "Most of the properties have period details: Juliet balconies, mahogany staircases and libraries, sitting rooms, stained glass windows, triple crown molding, soaring ceilings—even four-car garages."

Demographics

Lafayette Square sign during Christmas
The LaFayette Square neighborhood sign during Christmas

Home ownership shifted "between white-only homeownership during the 1920s through the 1940s to nearly all African American" in the 1950s with court decisions lifting restrictive covenants against black people. The community became more racially mixed "as more white families, priced out of the Westside and Hancock Park" began returning in the early 1990s.

Notable residents

1690 S. Victoria Ave., Los Angeles
Paul R. Williams residence, 2012

In chronological order by birth year

  • William Claude Dukenfield, W.C. Fields (1880-1946), actor
  • George Pepperdine (1886-1962), entrepreneur and philanthropist, founder of Pepperdine University
  • Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle, Fatty Arbuckle (1887-1933), actor
  • Paul R. Williams (1894-1980), architect
  • Norton Simon (1907-1993), art collector
  • Joseph Louis Barrow, Joe Louis (1914-1981), boxer
  • Vaino Spencer (1920-2016), lawyer and judge
  • Paul Younger Tank Younger, (1928-2001), football player
  • Richard Wayne Penniman, Little Richard (1932-2020), musician, singer, and songwriter
  • John Roseboro (1933-2002), baseball player and coach
  • Larry McCormick (1937-2004), actor, reporter and news anchor
  • John Mack (1937-2018), L.A. Urban League president
  • Mahdi Abdul-Rahman, Walt Hazzard (1942-2011), basketball player and coach

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