We know that it may be the “black Greenwich Village,” but we don’t know too much else about Leimert Park, this week’s featured neighborhood. This south L.A. neighborhood is roughly bounded by Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard on the north, Sutro Avenue on the east, Vernon Avenue on the south, and Crenshaw Boulevard on the west.
Named after its developer, Walter H. Leimert, Leimert Park was developed in 1928 and was designed by the Olmsted brothers, sons of Frederick Law Olmstead. Leimert Park is notable for being one of the first comprehensively planned communities in Southern California and was a model of urban planning for its time. Novel planning features included minimized automobile traffic nears cars and churches, hidden utilities wires, and densely planted trees, features which many SoCal developers now summarily ignore. The largely preserved residential architecture is mostly comprised of Spanish colonial bungalows.
Initially middle class whites populated Leimert park, but they fled west at the sign of anything dark. Leimert Park is now a predominantly middle class black neighborhood. With the neighborhing Crenshaw district, this is one of the largest middle class black neighborhoods in the country. After some setbacks during the 1992 riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Leimert Park is flourishing.
Councilmember Bernard Parks is devising a new master plan for Leimert Park that has caused some controversy because of some proposed development for the neighborhood. The culprit: new “luxury” condominiums, of course.
· Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California [Wikipedia]
· The "Black Greenwich Village" [Curbed LA]