Westchester, Los Angeles
|— Neighborhood of Los Angeles —|
Westchester is a highly diverse, high-income, home-owning neighborhood within the South Bay Region of Los Angeles County, California. The neighborhood is part of the city of Los Angeles, and its residents are, on the average, better-educated and older than in the city at large, and the average household size is lower. There are a relatively large number of military veterans.
The Los Angeles International Airport takes up the southwestern portion of Westchester territory. It is the home of Loyola Marymount University, the Otis College of Art and Design and Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet Schools, formerly Westchester High School. Two notable examples of Googie-style architecture are found within the neighborhood's borders.
The main part of Westchester is flanked by Playa Vista and Culver City on the north, Inglewood and Lennox on the east, Del Aire and El Segundo on the south and Playa del Rey on the west. It includes all of the Los Angeles International Airport. There is also a two-block-wide shoestring district that runs from the intersection of Centinela Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard north to 63rd Street and then east to Overhill Avenue, where it links with the Hyde Park neighborhood.
The main neighborhood's boundary lines are, generally, on the east: north-south on La Cienega Boulevard or the Inglewood city line; on the south: east-west on the city boundary with El Segundo or Imperial Highway; on the west: north-south on Pershing Drive and Westchester Parkway, then roughly north-south on a series of residential streets west of Westchester High School to the Playa Vista neighborhood. 
Westchester began the 20th century as an agricultural area, growing a wide variety of crops in the dry, farming-friendly climate. The rapid development of the aerospace industry near Mines Field (as LAX was then known), the move of then Loyola University to the area in 1928, and population growth in Los Angeles as a whole, created a demand for housing in the area. Westchester hosted the cross country part of the eventing equestrian event for the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
In the late 1930s, real estate magnate Fritz Burns developed a tract of inexpensive prefabricated single-family homes on the site of a former hog farm at the intersection of Manchester and Sepulveda Boulevards. This community, dubbed "Westchester", grew by leaps and bounds as the aerospace industry boomed in World War II and afterward. A Los Angeles Times article in 1989 described the development as "a raw suburb", "created willy-nilly in the 1940s".
The area was predominantly residential. When the area had 30,000 residents, it was still lacking a police station, fire station, or hospital. It lacked a barber shop even by 1949.
The 1960s saw the introduction of airliners that could make trans-Pacific flights without refueling, causing a massive increase in air traffic at LAX. While Westchester residents successfully blocked a northward expansion of the airport, the increase in noise from jet takeoffs greatly decreased the desirability of the residential areas adjoining LAX. In response, the city of Los Angeles began a longstanding program of purchasing houses from noise-weary homeowners; as a result, a number of streets just north of the airport have been decommissioned, and the homes along those streets have either been demolished or moved to other locations. The 18-hole Westchester golf course became a 15-hole course. As a result of a 2007 Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) proposal to move the North runway into Westchester, local opposition to LAX expansion (first proposed in the late 1990s) rose to fever pitch. In February 2010, a NASA panel found that the North runway was safe and should stay as it is. That same month, LAWA broke ground on a $1.5 billion expansion of the Bradley International Terminal.
A total of 41,500 people lived in Westchester's 10.81 square miles, according to the 2000 U.S. census, and that figure included the uninhabited acreage of the Los Angeles International Airport—resulting in a density of 3,839 people per square mile, among the lowest population densities in the city of Los Angeles but about average for the county. Population was estimated at 43,005 in 2008. The median age was 35, about average for Los Angeles city. The percentage of people from age 19 through 34 was among the county's highest.
Westchester is considered highly diverse ethnically, with a diversity index of 0.660. In 2000 whites made up 52.3% of the population, blacks were at 16.6%, Latinos at 16.5%, Asians at 9.6% and others at 4.9%. Mexico and the Philippines were the most common places of birth for the 20.8% of the residents who were born abroad, considered a low percentage of foreign-born when compared with the city and the county as a whole.
The $77,473 median household income in 2008 dollars was high for the city and the county. The percentages of households that earned more than $60,000 a year were high for the county. Renters occupied 48.2% of the housing units, and homeowners occupied the rest. The average household size was 2.3 people, considered low for the city and county. The percentages of divorced men (8.6%) and divorced women (11.9%) were among the county's highest.
The 2,000 census counted 3,055 military veterans, 9.2% of the population, considered a high percentage for the city of Los Angeles but about average for the county.
Government and infrastructure
County, federal, and state representation
The United States Postal Service Westchester Post Office is located at 7381 La Tijera Boulevard. The United States Postal Service Airport Station is located at 9029 Airport Boulevard, Los Angeles 90009-9998.
About 42% of Westchester's residents aged 25 or older had completed a four-year degree by 2000, a high figure when compared with the city and the county at large. The percentage of the residents who held a master's degree or a doctorate was high for the county.
Secondary and elementary
The schools within Westchester's boundaries are:
- Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet Schools, LAUSD secondary, 2400 West Manchester Avenue
- Westchester-Emerson Community Adult School, LAUSD, 8810 Emerson Avenue
- Carousel, private K-12, 7899 La Tijera Boulevard
- Carousel–Airport Boulevard, private K-12, 8333 Airport Boulevard
- Orville Wright Middle School, 6550 West 80th Street
- St. Jerome Elementary School, private, 5580 Thornburn Street
- Cowan Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 7615 Cowan Avenue
- Westchester Lutheran School, private, 7831 Sepulveda Boulevard
- Open Charter Magnet School, LAUSD, 5540 West 77th Street
- Westport Heights Elementary School, LAUSD, 6011 West 79th Street
- Kentwood Elementary School, LAUSD, 8401 Emerson Street
- St. Anastasia Elementary School, private, 8631 South Stanmoor Drive
- Visitation Elementary School, private, 8740 South Emerson Avenue
- Loyola Village Elementary School, LAUSD, 8821 Villanova Avenue
Parks and recreation
The Westchester Recreation Center is in Westchester. The center includes an auditorium, barbecue pits, a lighted baseball diamond, lighted outdoor basketball courts, two indoor basketball courts, a children's play area, a community room, a lighted football field, an indoor gymnasium without weights, picnic tables, a lighted soccer field, and lighted tennis courts. The Westchester Pool, on the recreation center site, is an outdoor heated seasonal pool renovated in 2010. The Westchester Tennis Courts in the recreation center consist of ten lighted courts.
The Westchester Senior Citizen Center has a 200-person auditorium, barbecue pits, a 20-person community room, a garden, a kitchen, picnic tables, and a stage. The 8-acre (3.2 ha) Carl E. Nielsen Youth Park is located in Westchester. In 1991 Los Angeles World Airports planned to pave over the park and use the lot as parking spaces and leased space to rental car companies. During that year, LAWA decided to keep the park open.
Pann's restaurant, at 6710 La Tijera Boulevard, is "probably the best-preserved example" of the Googie-style architecture developed by Eldon Davis. Pann's includes an angular edifice and large plate-glass windows and has been described as having "the classic coffee shop architecture". Pann's was featured in a story in the Los Angeles Times, "Going on a hunt for Googie architecture," which noted the restaurant's tilted roof and sign, tropical plants and exposed stone walls indoors and out, and glass windows wrapping around the restaurant. Pann's celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.
The Theme Building is a structure at the Los Angeles International Airport which opened in 1961 and is another example of Googie architecture. It was said that the distinctive white building resembles a flying saucer that had landed on its four legs.
|This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Citations needed. Shorten descriptors to bare necessity. Keep one blue link per line . (April 2013)|
- Pat Russell (born 1923), Los Angeles City Council member, 1969–87
- Andrew Bynum, basketball player
- Danny Sugarman, writer and manager of the rock group The Doors
||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (May 2013)|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Westchester, Los Angeles|
Books about Westchester, CA Westchester, California; An Early History of Westchester, Playa Del Rey, Playa Vista and Environs, by David J. Dukesherer, 2010