One could be a bit confused for wondering how South Park (the neighborhood) and South Park (the park) ended up three miles away from each other. Truth is they have nothing to do with each other aside from an utter lack of creativity in the naming process. Downtown's South Park is named after a park that never was, but not too far away L.A.'s other South Park has been a green space in the middle of the city for almost 110 years.
South Park, located at Avalon and 51st, is an 18-acre park acquired by the city in 1899. The park was never officially named, but given its location the placeholder "South Park" name was used and quickly stuck. Downtown's South Park, the neighborhood, was first given its title in the 1972 Central City Plan, which proposed a 50-acre park with a large lake, to be ringed by high rises. While the nabe took the name in anticipation, the park never materialized. So, now, a look at the South Park that South Park never got. —Eric Richardson