Leimert Park, Los Angeles

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Leimert Park is a 1.19-square-mile affluent neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, within the South Los Angeles area. An area with a relatively aging population, it includes the Crenshaw Square shopping center and has six schools.[1][2] It is considered the center of African American culture in Los Angeles.[3]

Houses along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in eastern Leimert Park

Geography[edit]

Leimert Park boundaries as drawn by the Los Angeles Times

Jefferson Park flanks Leimert Park to the north, the Exposition Park neighborhood and Vermont Square to the east, Hyde Park to the south and View Park-Windsor Hills and Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw to the west. Leimert Park angles to the West Adams district on the northwest.[4] Leimert Park is bounded by Exposition Boulevard on the north, South Van Ness and Arlington avenues on the east, West Vernon Avenue on the south and Victoria Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard on the west.[2][5]

Adjacent neighborhoods[edit]

Relation of Leimert Park to other communities:[2][4]

History[edit]

Leimert Park Theater in the 1970s.

Leimert Park is named for its developer, Walter H. Leimert, who began the subdivision project in 1928. He had the master plan designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm, of the sons of New York's Central Park landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. Leimert Park was one of the first comprehensively planned communities in Southern California designed for upper and middle-income families. It was considered a model of urban planning for its time: automobile traffic near schools and churches was minimized, utility wires were buried or hidden from view in alleys, and densely planted trees lined its streets. Walter Leimert envisioned a self-sufficient community, with a town square, movie theatre, and retail shopping. Leimert Park became a desirable community, and one of the first to have a Home Owners' Association (HOA).

The Mediterranean Revival Style Leimert Park Theater, now renamed the Vision Theatre, is at the south end of Leimert Park Village at 3341 West Forty-Third Place and Degnan. It was designed in 1931 by the architectural firm Morgan, Walls & Clements, and is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

Initially white-dominated, Leimert Park and the neighboring Crenshaw District eventually became one of the largest black middle class neighborhoods in the United States.

Despite suffering from rising crime beginning in the 1970s and sustaining damage during the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Leimert Park has since experienced a resurgence as middle-class black families from other parts of Los Angeles have moved into the bungalows and Spanish Colonial Revival style houses on its tree lined streets. Unlike other parts of Los Angeles, Leimert Park remains composed of almost entirely black residents, along with the Baldwin Hills, View Park-Windsor Hills, and Ladera Heights neighborhoods, as an African American middle-class district in South Los Angeles.[6]

Present day[edit]

Culture[edit]

Leimert Park neighborhood boundary sign.

Today, Leimert Park is considered the center of the contemporary African-American arts scene in Los Angeles. One resident, filmmaker John Singleton, has called it "the black Greenwich Village." It has flourishing blues and jazz clubs, venues for hip hop, and theaters for numerous dramatic performances and poetry readings. Project Blowed is the longest running hip hop open mic in the world, started in 1994 by Aceyalone and friends. It is hosted by Kaos Network, and held every Thursday night at 43rd Place and Leimert Boulevard.

Leimert Plaza Park is at the district's center, adjoined by shops and a theater, and is a popular place for performances and gatherings.[7] It has a landmark cascading fountain, and a drum circle that convenes every Sunday.

The Lucy Florence Coffee House and Cultural Center came to Leimert Park in 2000, hosting an array of talent, art, and music. Lucy Florence is located at 3351 West 43rd Street @ Degnan and is owned by America's Next Top Model's (Aswirl Twins) Richard and Ron Harris. The coffee house was named after their mother Lucy Florence on her 75th birthday, when it was located in Hollywood.

Another jazz venue, 5th Street Dick's Coffee and Jazz Emporium, founded by Richard Fulton in 1991, continued to be a mainstay for music lovers, chess players, and poets and comedians.

Tavis Smiley, the producer and host of National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Television shows, has production studios located in Leimert Park.

Crenshaw/LAX Metro Line[edit]

The Leimert Park station, on the Los Angeles Metro light rail Crenshaw/LAX Line is under construction, and will be located near the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue near Leimert Plaza Park. The "Crenshaw Line" is another section of the public rapid transport network that is beginning to span Los Angeles County again. The line will be 8.5 miles long, running from the Expo Line, through South Los Angeles and Inglewood, past LAX, to the Green Line .[3]

Real Estate[edit]

In 2013 and 2014, resurgent home prices in Los Angeles spurred interest among young professionals to move into the area, reigniting mixed fears of gentrification and hope for increased business investment. [8]

In 2014, real estate website Redfin found that Leimert Park ranked 24th place in the United States for home flipping profitability. [9] [10]

Population[edit]

A total of 11,782 people lived in Leimert Park's 1.19 square miles, according to the 2000 U.S. census—averaging 9,880 people per square mile, about the same as the population density in the city as a whole. The median age was 38, considered old as opposed to the rest of the city. The percentage of residents aged 65 and above was among the county's highest.[5]

Within the neighborhood, African Americans made up 79,6% of the population, with Latinos at 11.4%, Asian 4.6%, White 1.2% and other 3.2%. El Salvador and Mexico were the most common places of birth for the 10.7%% of the residents who were born abroad, considered a low percentage of foreign-born when compared with the city or county as a whole.[5]

The median household income in 2008 dollars was $45,865, considered average for the city but low for the county. The percentage of households earning $20,000 or less was high, compared to the county at large. The average household size of 2.2 people was low for both the city and the county. Renters occupied 54.1% of the housing units, and homeowners occupied the rest.[5]

In 2000 there were 23 families headed by single parents, or 8.7%, a rate that was low for the county and the city. There were 990 veterans, or 11.1% of the population, considered high when compared with the city overall. The percentage of veterans who served in the Vietnam War was among the county's highest.[5]

  • These are the ten neighborhoods in Los Angeles County with the largest percentage of black residents:[11]
  1. View Park-Windsor Hills, California, 86.5%
  2. Gramercy Park, Los Angeles, 86.4%
  3. Leimert Park, Los Angeles, 79.6%
  4. Manchester Square, Los Angeles, 78.6%
  5. Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Los Angeles, 71.3%
  6. Ladera Heights, California, 71%
  7. Hyde Park, Los Angeles, 66%
  8. Chesterfield Square, Los Angeles, 58.6%
  9. West Compton, California, 57.6%
  10. Westmont, California, 57.5%


Education[edit]

Leimert Park residents aged 25 and older holding a four-year degree amounted to 55.9% of the population in 2000, about average within the city and the county; the percentage of residents aged 25 and older with some college education was high for the county.[5]

Schools within the Leimert Park boundaries are:[2][12]

  • Audubon Middle School, LAUSD, 4120 11th Avenue
  • Tom Bradley Environmental Science and Humanities Magnet, LAUSD alternative, 3875 Dublin Avenue
  • Transfiguration, private elementary, 4020 Roxton Avenue
  • Creative Learning Center, private elementary, 1726 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • New Heights Charter, LAUSD elementary, 2202 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Forty-Second Street Elementary, LAUSD, 4231 Fourth Avenue

Recreation and parks[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°00′28″N 118°19′38″W / 34.00778°N 118.32722°W / 34.00778; -118.32722