History

LaFayette Square Historic Preservation Overlay Zone

Nostalogic Elegance of LaFayette Square Area was built on innovative architecture of the 1920’s.

First barley fields and, later, a posh architecturally trend setting enclave, Los Angeles’Lafayette Square is a neighborhood of nostalgic elegance.  Originally part of the Rancho Las Cienegas, Lafayette Square was subdivided in 1912 from barley fields and pastures by the Crenshaw Security Co.

The elegant residential park, is about a 15 minute drive west of downtown and is bordered by Venice and Washington Boulevard Crenshaw and West Bl/LaBrea Ave.  Its main feature is St Charles Place, a broad, palm lined avenue with a landscaped center strip as its centerpiece. It was modeled after the Spanish park surrounding the Municipal Theater in Rio deJaneiro, Brazil. The streets are lined with Victorian and Craftsman style homes, most dating from around the 1920’s. Original improvements to the area included fine granite gateways and matching street lamps.

Trivia buffs might recognize the house at 1727 Buckingham, which was used as the exterior of the Cleaver home in the television series Leave it to Beaver.  Many of the homes on the square were constructed using classic features such as arched Palladian windows oak floors mahogany bookcase with leaded glass doors and floral designs and large crystal chandeliers.

Lafayette Square has wonderful neighbors who are doing everything they can to keep up their area. The Square, which in 1910 sat on Los Angeles westernmost boundary was the last and greatest of George L. Crenshaw’s 10th Los Angeles residential developments. Crenshaw, a Midwest banker was a major residential was a major residential developer and architectural trend setter who often set the pace for development in the city. The neighborhood has been home to many prominent citizens, many of whom built their homes in decade following World War I. Prominent residents included, George Pepperdine, WC Fields, Fatty Arbuckle, Norton Simon, Joe Louis, Princess Pignatelli, Paul Williams, Anthony Smyth, May Lrmerod Harris, Ed Charles Hauser, Charles Wagner, and Paul Hudson.

There was a time when, restrictive deed covenants kept people of color from moving into the area. A 1940s court decision did away with such restrictions and subsequently, beginning in the late forties many eminent and professional blacks families moved to Lafayette Square.

Today, that effort, careful maintenance, landscape the Square has retain its original charm and distinctive character. So eighty four years ago it all started and its back on our newspaper, newsletter, magazine local, music videos. Motion pictures and the internet.