Lafayette Square, Los Angeles
Lafayette Square is a small, semi-gated neighborhood in Los Angeles, California named after George Lafayette Crenshaw. It sits just off of Crenshaw Boulevard in the Mid-City area. It was designated by the city as a Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overlay Zone in 2000 for its significant residential architecture and history.
Lafayette Square consists of eight blocks, centered around St. Charles Place, and situated between Venice Boulevard on the north, Washington Boulevard on the south, Crenshaw Boulevard on the east and Fairfax Avenue on the west. There are 236 homes in the neighborhood. It is immediately south of Victoria Park, southeast of West Los Angeles (Crestview and Picfair Village) and immediately north of Wellington Square.
According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, "Lafayette Square was the last and greatest of banker George L. Crenshaw's ten residential developments in the City of Los Angeles." The neighborhood was founded in 1913; the gates surrounding the district are a relatively recent addition, coming only in 1989.
The neighborhood was always meant to be for higher-income families and now-historic houses regularly have 5,000 to 6,000 square feet (600 m2) floor plans, although the average home size is 3,600 square feet (330 m2). Architectural styles include Neo-Federalist, Craftsman, Italianate and Spanish Revival, as well as several notable examples of early Modern. According to a Los Angeles Times real-estate section article on the district, "Most of the properties have period details: Juliet balconies, mahogany staircases and libraries, sitting rooms, stained glass windows, triple crown molding, soaring ceilings—even four-car garages."
Famous residents of Lafayette Square have included George Pepperdine (founder of Pepperdine University), actors W.C. Fields and Fatty Arbuckle, industrialist and art collector Norton Simon, boxer Joe Louis, Syd Tha Kyd and Taco Bennet of Odd Future, architect Paul R. Williams (who designed his own home in the neighborhood), and members of the Crenshaw family.
The neighborhood is zoned to schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The neighborhood is zoned to the following schools:
- Alta Loma Elementary School
- Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Middle School (formerly Mount Vernon Middle School)
- Los Angeles High School
Most of the new families in the neighborhood do not send their children to public school. And those that do use public schools tend to use Magnet and Charter schools outside the neighborhood.
- Cohen, Allison B., "Neighborly Advice: History behind iron gates in Lafayette Square," Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb 2003.
- Los Angeles Conservancy, Los Angeles' Historic Preservation Overlay Zones, 2002, pp. 14-15.