View Single Post
Old Posted Apr 20, 2012, 10:16 PM
GaylordWilshire's Avatar
GaylordWilshire GaylordWilshire is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NYC
Posts: 3,451
Originally Posted by jg6544 View Post
It looks like Berkeley Square and St. James' Square lasted 20-25 years before they began to become less fashionable. Any idea why they lasted such a brief time and why Windsor Square/Hancock Park developed so quickly?

I think Brentwood was pretty much ranch land until the 30s. I've heard Beverly Hills was developed because so many of the lots in San Marino, Pasadena, Hancock Park, and Windsor Square had anti-Jewish covenants and even discouraged people in the film industry in general.

Well, I'm not a sociologist, but from what I've read, there are many reasons for the decline of West Adams; as for Berkeley Square and St. James Park in particular, I'd say the main ones are more widespread affluence in the '20s, meaning the car (which allowed servants to live beyond the radius of the old Yellow Car system) and the desire for the affluent to have more space around their houses. Both Berkeley Square and St. James Park were very small individual enclaves of large houses surrounded by less glamorous neighborhoods, unlike many of the newer, more expansive districts of larger lots and houses. The population of Los Angeles more than doubled between 1920 and 1930, driving up property values and causing saavy property owners to sell at a profit and decamp to newer, roomier parts of town to the north and west (or to consistently fashionable Pasadena). The new owners often divided houses into apartments or replaced them with larger multi-unit buildings. The Depression held back maintenance on the aging housing stock, causing demolitions and replacements with higher-density units; the war years repeated the housing pressures of the '20s. When the Supreme Court struck down deed restrictions in 1948, white flight from West Adams really took off. The sociological history of West Adams is fascinating; there's even the story that the routing of the Santa Monica Freeway was moved south away from Windsor Square and Hancock Park (through declining neighborhoods including Berkeley Square) and deliberately designed with limited south-north access.

Google SV

The trend of large houses in once-affluent areas of central L.A. being subdivided into apartments or replaced with newer multi-unit
buildings continued into the '50s and beyond. This example is in the 1400 block of S. Gramercy Place.

Last edited by GaylordWilshire; Sep 11, 2012 at 8:33 PM.
Reply With Quote