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Los Feliz
Neighborhood of Los Angeles
Los Feliz neighborhood, as mapped by the Los Angeles Times
Los Feliz neighborhood, as mapped by the Los Angeles Times
Named for Rancho Los Feliz

Los Feliz is a hillside neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, abutting Hollywood and encompassing part of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The neighborhood is named after its colonial Spanish-Mexican land grantee, José Vicente Feliz, and, along with present-day Griffith Park, makes up the original Rancho Los Feliz land concession.

Geography

Description

Los feliz blvd
Los Feliz Boulevard, lined with Deodar trees

Los Feliz encompasses several smaller but distinct areas, including the Los Feliz Hills and Los Feliz Estates (north of Los Feliz Boulevard), Laughlin Park, Los Feliz Village, Los Feliz Square, Los Feliz Knolls, and Franklin Hills.

According to the Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times, Los Feliz is part of Central Los Angeles. It is flanked on the north by Griffith Park, on the northeast by Atwater Village, on the southeast by Silver Lake, on the south by East Hollywood, and on the northwest by Hollywood and Hollywood Hills.

Its boundaries are the Griffith Park line between Fern Dell Drive and Riverside Drive on the north; the Los Angeles River on the east; Hyperion Avenue and Griffith Park Boulevard on the southeast; Fountain Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard on the south; and Western Avenue, Los Feliz Boulevard, and Fern Dell Drive on the west and northwest.

Population

Shakespeare Bridge
Shakespeare Bridge over the Franklin Hills in the Los Feliz district

General

The 2000 U.S. census counted 35,238 residents in the 2.61-square-mile neighborhood—an average of 13,512 people per square mile, among the highest population densities in Los Angeles County. In 2008 the city estimated that the population had increased to 36,933. The median age for residents was 36, older than in the city as a whole; the percentage of residents aged 65 and older was among the county's highest.

The neighborhood was highly diverse ethnically. The breakdown was whites, 57.6%; Latinos, 18.7%; Asians, 13.5%; blacks, 3.7%, and others, 6.6%. Armenia (25.3%) and Mexico (9.4%) were the most common places of birth for the 44.5% of the residents who were born abroad, a high ratio compared to the rest of Los Angeles.

The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $50,793, about the same as the rest of Los Angeles, but a high rate of households earned $20,000 or less per year. The average household size of two people was low for the city of Los Angeles. Renters occupied 75.5% of the housing stock, and house or apartment owners the rest.

The percentages of never-married men (50.2%) and never-married women (37.2%) were among the county's highest, as was the percentage of widowed women (10.1%).

Hills

The area north of Los Feliz Boulevard below Griffith Park is commonly referred to as the Los Feliz Hills. The Los Feliz Hills contain multimillion-dollar homes and have been known for the large share of their inhabitants being involved in creative pursuits. With a mean household income of $196,585, the hills are one of the wealthiest areas of Los Angeles.

History

GriffithJGriffithStatue01
Colonel Griffith, grantee of the Los Feliz family

Native Americans

Long before the Spanish settlers arrived to settle near the banks of the Los Angeles River, Native Americans were the only inhabitants. It is estimated that the first Native Americans came to the area approximately 10,000 years ago. The Native Americans established villages, known as rancherias, throughout the countryside. One of these settlements was within the boundaries of what was to become Rancho Los Feliz. Archeological surveys have found evidence of a substantial rancheria that existed in the mouth of Fern Dell Canyon in Griffith Park. The traditional name of this village is not known, but the inhabitants were Gabrielinos. This name was given by the Spanish because of the Native Americans' association with the San Gabriel Mission. When Gaspar de Portola traveled through the vicinity in 1769, his expedition encountered members of this village.

Land grants

The 6,647-acre (27 km2) Rancho Los Feliz, one of the first land grants in California, was granted to Corporal José Vicente Feliz. An old adobe house built in the 1830s by his heirs still stands on Crystal Springs Drive in Griffith Park. Other sections of the rancho were developed and became the communities of Los Feliz and Silver Lake.

Griffith's legacy

Rancho Los Feliz had a succession of owners after the Feliz family. One owner, Griffith J. Griffith, donated over half of the ranch to the city of Los Angeles; the ranch became one of the largest city-owned parks in the country.

In 1882, Colonel Griffith acquired 4,071 acres (16 km2) of Rancho Los Feliz. The Lick estate still owned the southwest portion of the rancho and there developed the Lick Tract, which later became a part of Hollywood. Griffith never served in any branch of the U.S. armed forces, but he was given the honorary title of colonel by influential friends in the California National Guard. The title remained a permanent fixture to his name. In 1900, there were only 23 properties in Los Feliz.

Griffith died on July 6, 1919, at the age of 67. Griffith bequeathed $700,000 and his Los Feliz area to the city of Los Angeles to be used for additions to Griffith Park.

Motion pictures

Ennis House front view 2005
The Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

The neighborhood has been home to movie stars, musicians, and the Hollywood elite. It boasts some of the best-known residential architecture in the city, including two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright—the Ennis House and the Hollyhock House—and Richard Neutra's Lovell House.

Mickey Mouse was "born" in Los Feliz: Walt Disney drew his first image of the now-legendary character in the garage of his uncle's house, on Kingswell Avenue between Vermont Avenue and Rodney Drive. Disney's first animation studio (now a photocopy store) was also on Kingswell Avenue, just down the street from his uncle's house and east of Vermont Avenue. Disney's second, larger studio (now a Gelson's supermarket) was at the corner of Griffith Park Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue, on the Silver Lake side of the Los Feliz – Silver Lake boundary.

Los Feliz was also home to many other early studios, such as D. W. Griffith's, which now houses The Prospect Studios (formally known as First National-Warner Brothers and more recently ABC Television Center), at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Talmadge Street. On Sunset Boulevard was Monogram Pictures (KCET public television), where early Charlie Chan movies were filmed, as well as Hurricane, starring Dorothy Lamour, and the camp classic Johnny Guitar. (The Western street from that movie remained until the mid-1980s, when KCET razed the set to make way for a parking structure.)

May 2007 fire

GriffithParkFire2007
Fire at Griffith Park in Los Feliz, 2007

On May 8–9, 2007, about 800 acres (3.2 km2) of uninhabited terrain in Los Feliz and Griffith Park, including the famous Dante's View, were destroyed in a wildfire. In light of the event, Los Angeles city officials pledged millions of dollars in aid to reconstruct the damage.

Geography

The Laughlin Park area, with 60 houses, is gated. In 1998, Laura Meyers of Los Angeles Magazine described the area as "The most seductive, exclusive neighborhood in Los Feliz".

Los Feliz Village

Los Feliz Village is the southern section of Los Feliz, home to most of the commercial storefronts in the district. It is centered on the thoroughfares of Vermont and Hillhurst Avenues and spans from about Prospect Avenue to Los Feliz Boulevard. There are several coffee shops, restaurants, and small clothing and vintage stores.

Los Feliz Village Business Improvement District helps promote local businesses and has an annual street fair.

On February 2014, a local shop called Dumb Starbucks was opened as a bit for the Comedy Central show Nathan for You in Los Feliz Village. It has gained notoriety as a parody of Starbucks.

Disneyland recreation

Buena Vista Street, the entrance to the California Adventure theme park at the Disneyland Resort, is partly modeled after Los Feliz in the 1920s and 1930s. The Disney Buena Vista Street even includes a retail location called Los Feliz Five and Dime. Disney's Hyperion studio was situated in the Los Feliz area.

Images for kids


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