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Windsor Square

In 1885 a group of men formed a syndicate called the Windsor Square Land Co. and bought 200 acres of the Plummer Homestead, bounded today by Plymouth, Bronson, Wilshire and Beverly for $400 an acre. They sold it in 1911 for $5,000 an acre for a total of $1,000,000.

The buyers comprised another syndicate, The Windsor Square Investment Company, headed by Robert A. Rowan. The firm of R. A. Rowan and Company was selected to market the tract.

The older part of the tract was bounded by Irving Blvd., Plymouth Blvd., Third Street and Wilshire Blvd. It had a linear street layout with wide streets, wide parkways, elaborate electoliers and trees for which $200,000 was expended. The ornamental light standards were erected with the trademark “WS” at the base. All streets were paved, utilities were underground, long term deed restrictions did not expire until 1965. $7,500 would get you a lot in Windsor Square.

The area to the west of original Windsor Square, which includes Lucerne and Arden from Third to Fifth streets, was a different tract. This small tract was owned as of 1913 by the Wilshire Hills Land Corp.

You can tell where the Wilshire Hills addition and the Windsor Square addition join. At the back lot lines behind Plymouth and Lucerne across 4th and 5th, you will notice that the street surface changes from concrete to asphalt which indicated that different developers laid out the streets. Also, the street lamps on the boulevards in the Wilshire Hills addition are stone, not metal, as in the original Windsor Square tract.

The older section of Windsor Square opened in 1913 and New Windsor Square opened in April 1920. The area north of Third Street was marketed by Tracy E. Shoults and Company.

History

Sometime between 1900 and 1910 a prominent financier named George A.J. Howard envisioned a beautiful tranquil park as a setting for family homes such as one sees in the English countryside in what was then a undeveloped and rural area about half way between the city center (now Downtown LA) and the coast. Howard pushed the early city fathers to make his vision come true, and in 1911, Mr. Robert A. Rowan was able to initiate a unique residential development and called it Windsor Square.

The development was constituted as a private square. Both the homes and the streets would be privately owned. At that time there were dense groves of bamboo in the area which needed to be destroyed before trees and gardens could be cultivated. Intervening walls or fences were discouraged so that one garden ran into another creating a park-like setting. Windsor Square was the first area in the city to have the power lines below grade, an extraordinary innovation for 1911.

To make sure that the homes were significantly upscale as befitted the exceptionally beautiful setting, deed restrictions were set at a minimum cost of $12,550. per home, an enormous amount at the time. Many outstanding architects designed homes for the area including Paul Williams and A.C. Martin.

As a result, many of the city's elite moved west to Windsor Square including Howard and Norman Chandler who took up life-long residence with his wife Buffy on Lorraine Blvd. Oil magnate John Paul Getty bought a property on Irving Blvd. that is now Los Angeles' official mayor's residence.

Location

The original "Square" ran from Wilshire Blvd. to Third Street, and from Plymouth Blvd. to Irving Blvd. The English flavor was enhanced by street names: Irving, Windsor and Plymouth. Lorraine Boulevard took its name from the developer's daughter Lorraine Rowan. Nurseryman Paul J. Howard designed and planted most of the magnificent gardens of Windsor Square and supervised tree planting.

Expansion

Windsor Square was later expanded to the north, east, and west. Today, Windsor Square runs from Wilshire to Beverly Boulevards, and from Arden Boulevard to Van Ness Avenue. This is inclusive of the one-block strip of Larchmont Village, between First Street and Beverly Boulevard. Windsor Square is often mistakenly called "Hancock Park," even by long-time residents. But in fact, Hancock Park is the neighborhood immediately to the west. Windsor Square's homes have the same historic value as in Hancock Park, but most of the homes are built on bigger lots.

Windsor Square consists of approximately 1,100 homes, and it is one of the oldest, most well preserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles. With its broad lawns, mature trees and central location five miles west of downtown, Windsor Square is a garden oasis in the heart of a world-class city.

Windsor Square contains Larchmont, a "main street" for Windsor Square, which is particularly popular with teenagers and young adults. The Marlborough School for Girls, just three streets over from Larchmont and on Rossmore Avenue, is one of the most prestigious all-girls schools in Los Angeles. Windsor Square is served by the Larchmont Chronicle monthly community newspaper.

The area was designated a City of Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overlay Zone on September 29, 2004.

Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles, is located in Windsor Square.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Windsor Square Area Neighborhoods

  • Brookside
  • Freemont Place
  • Hancock Park
  • New Windsor Square
  • Windsor Village

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