Westlake, Los Angeles

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Not to be confused with Westlake Village, California, a city near Thousand Oaks.
Westlake
Neighborhood of Los Angeles
Alvarado Street, looking north from just southwest of the Wilshire Boulevard intersection. The eastern edge of MacArthur Park is at center.
Alvarado Street, looking north from just southwest of the Wilshire Boulevard intersection. The eastern edge of MacArthur Park is at center.
Westlake, as delineated by the Los Angeles Times
Westlake, as delineated by the Los Angeles Times
Westlake is located in Los Angeles
Westlake
Westlake
Location within Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°03′35″N 118°16′29″W / 34.05972°N 118.27472°W / 34.05972; -118.27472

So-called Westlake is a high-density, youthful, 73.4% Latino residential and commercial neighborhood in Central Los Angeles, California. It exists primarily on paper, as few Angelenos actually call it that. It was developed in the 1920s, but many of its elegant mansions have been turned into apartments, and many new multiple-occupancy buildings have been constructed.

It has a score of primary and secondary schools, and it is known for its restaurants.

Population[edit]

The 2000 U.S. census counted 108,839 residents in the 2.72-square-mile neighborhood—an average of 38,214 people per square mile, the second-highest density of any community in Los Angeles County, after Koreatown. In 2008 the city estimated that the population had increased to 117,756. The median age for residents was 27, considered young for both the city and the county.[1][2]

Westlake was considered "not especially diverse" ethnically. The breakdown was Latinos, 73.4%; Asians, 16.5%; whites, 4.5%; blacks, 3.9%, and others, 1.7%. Mexico (36.8%) and El Salvador (17.2%) were the most common places of birth for the 67.6% of the residents who were born abroad, a figure that was considered high compared to the city as a whole.[1]

The median household income in 2008 dollars was $26,757, a low figure for Los Angeles, and a high percentage of households earned $20,000 or less. The average household size of three people was about the same as the rest of the city. Renters occupied 94.9% of the housing units, and house- or apartment owners just 5.1%.[1]

The percentages of never-married men and women, 47% and 36.4%, respectively, were among the county's highest. The 2000 census found 5,325 families headed by single parents, a high rate for both the city and the county. There were 2,591 military veterans in 2000, or 3.5%, a low figure for Los Angeles.[1]

Geography[edit]

Description[edit]

Westlake is flanked by Silver Lake to the north, Echo Park to the northeast and east, Downtown to the southeast, Pico-Union to the south and southwest and Koreatown to the west. Westlake touches East Hollywood on the northwest.[3]

The street boundaries are the Hollywood Freeway on the north, Glendale Boulevard and Second Street on the east, Beaudry Avenue and the Harbor Freeway on the southeast, West Olympic Boulevard on the southeast and south, Westmoreland Avenue, Wilshire Place and Virgil Avenue on the west, and Temple Street and Hoover Street on the northwest.[1][4]

Compass[edit]

Relation of Westlake to other communities:[3][4]

History[edit]

One of the first areas of Los Angeles west of Figueroa Street to see residential development, by the 1920s Westlake resembled the Upper East Side of Manhattan (complete with a large Jewish population). Wealthy businessmen commuted to downtown, Wilshire Center (now Koreatown), Hollywood, and the Miracle Mile from the district's Spanish Revival and Art Deco mansions. Around the 40s the district's northwestern blocks fringed the home of Los Angeles' early working class Filipino population who were shifted from what is today Little Tokyo and Bunker Hill, some of which remain in parts of Westlake and nearby neighborhoods like Echo Park, Silver Lake, and East Hollywood.

Westlake suffered greatly from the abandonment of the numerous streetcar lines serving the district and the construction of Los Angeles' network of freeways in the 1950s. By the 1960s, virtually all of its white population had decamped to the West Side or the suburbs, replaced with transients who had been pushed out of Bunker Hill by "urban renewal" in the 1950s, and Mexican-Americans in the 50s and 60s, who themselves in the 70s moved out to suburbs. Most of Westlake's elegant mansions were subdivided into apartments at this time, and many of its Beaux-Arts apartment buildings became residential hotels. Meanwhile, MacArthur Park became notorious for its gangs, narcotics dealers, heroin addicts, and prostitutes.

In the 1980s, Westlake became the home of Los Angeles' severely impoverished Salvadoran and Guatemalan communities, exiles from the civil wars in Central America at the time. They were drawn to the area's cheap housing and proximity to Salvadoran and Guatemalan consulates.[5] The concurrent development of adjacent Bunker Hill as a major commercial district provided many of the newcomers with employment in the garment industry and service industries.

As of 2013, neighborhood residents are working to preserve the Zoogocho Zapotec language.[6]


  • These were the ten neighborhoods or cities in Los Angeles County with the highest population densities, according to the 2000 census, with the population per square mile:[7]

Modern Westlake[edit]

The California real estate boom that began in the early 2000s has gentrified Westlake and continues steadily. Korean immigrants, priced out of increasingly expensive Koreatown, have begun to establish themselves in the district, as have more affluent inhabitants who've been priced out of neighboring Silverlake, Echo Park, and Los Feliz. Several major residential developments, most notably The Medici (an apartment complex notably popular among students at the University of Southern California), have been built in the district, and a large office tower at 1100 Wilshire has undergone conversion into a high-end condominium in late 2006. Korean Air's United States Passenger Operations headquarters is located in the Westlake community.[8] The transit-oriented MacArthur Park Apartment Project is currently under construction.[9] The Westlake Theatre is also currently going under rehabilitation.[10] The district's economic revitalization is steadily improving.

Emergency services[edit]

The New Rampart Police Station

Fire service[edit]

Los Angeles Fire Department Station 11 is in the area. The fire station currently houses 1- EMT Rescue Ambulance (2-Firefighters trained as Emergency Medical Technicians), 1- Paramedic Rescue Ambulance (2-Firefighters trained as Paramedics), and a "Task Force" which is composed of: one five-man Truck Company (hook and ladder), one four-member Engine Company, and one 200 Series Engine (a fire engine staffed solely by an Engineer).

Police service[edit]

Los Angeles Police Department operates the Rampart Community Police Station, which was located at 2710 West Temple Street, 90026, serving the neighborhood.[11] It has since moved east into a newly constructed facility at 1401 West 6th Street, the site of the former central receiving hospital.[12]

Education[edit]

Esperanza Elementary School
Camino Nuevo Charter School

One-eighth of Westlake residents aged 25 and older had a four-year degree in 2000, a low rate for both the city and the county. The percentage of residents with less than a high school diploma was high for the county.[1]

Schools operating within the Westlake borders are:[13]

  • New Village Charter High School, charter, 147 North Occidental Boulevard
  • Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, charter, 3500 West Temple Avenue
  • Soledad Enrichment Action Charter High School, charter, 222 North Virgil Avenue
  • Los Angeles School of Global Studies, LAUSD secondary, 322 Lucas Avenue
  • Harold McAlister High School, LAUSD, 611 South Carondelet Street
  • Los Angeles Academy of Arts & Enterprise Charter School, 600 South LaFayette Park Place
  • Pilgrim School, private K-12, 540 South Commonwealth Avenue
  • Metropolitan Skill Center, LAUSD adult education, 2801 West Sixth Street
  • Belmont Community Adult School, LAUSD, 1575 West Second Street
  • ROP Center, LAUSD occupational, 333 South Beaudry Avenue, 18th Floor
  • Harris Newmark Continuation School, LAUSDm 134 Witmer Street
  • Monsenor Oscar Romero Charter Middle School, charter, 2900 West Temple Street
  • John H. Liechty Middle School, LAUSD, 650 South Union Avenue
  • Sal Castro Middle School, LAUSD, 1575 West Second Street
  • Commonwealth Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 215 South Commonwealth Avenue
  • Rosemont Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 421 North Rosemont Avenue
  • Lake Street Primary School, LAUSD, 135 North Lake Street
  • Lafayette Park Primary Center, LAUSD, 310 LaFayette Park Place
  • Union Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 150 South Burlington Avenue
  • Equitas Academy Charter School, 631 South Commonwealth Avenue
  • MacArthur Park Primary Center, LAUSD elementary, 2300 West Seventh Street
  • Hoover Street Elementary School, LAUSD, 2726 Francis Avenue
  • Esperanza Elementary School, LAUSD, 680 Little Street
  • E. Manfred Evans Community Adult School, LAUSD, 717 North Figueroa Street
  • Immaculate Conception School, private elementary, 830 Green Avenue

Attractions[edit]

The first Original Tommy's hamburgers on the corner of Beverly & Rampart

In addition to MacArthur Park, Westlake plays host to a number of Los Angeles landmarks. In the 1980s, a former Pacific Electric tunnel near 1st Street, the Belmont Tunnel / Toluca Substation and Yard, became a famous canvas for graffiti artists, drawing visitors from around the world. The tunnel entrance and the yard around it have been demolished and a large apartment/condo complex called Belmont Station Apartments has been built at the site.

Numerous Los Angeles culinary landmarks also lie within the neighborhood. One of the few reminders of the area's Jewish history is Langer's Deli at 7th and Alvarado Streets, a delicatessen whose hot pastrami sandwiches have been declared the finest in the United States by The New Yorker. The first American location of Mexican restaurant chain El Pollo Loco opened on Alvarado in 1980, just north of 6th Street. Finally, the first Original Tommy's hamburger stand still operates at the corner of Beverly and Rampart Boulevards at the cusp of Echo Park.

Westlake School for Girls (later Harvard-Westlake) was founded in the Westlake neighborhood in 1904. The school moved from the Westlake location to Holmby Hills in 1927 but retained its original name taken from the neighborhood.

Notable residents[edit]

  • Dionisio Botiller (1842–1915), member of the Los Angeles Common Council and city auditor
  • Elisha K. Green (1839–1917), member of the Los Angeles Common Council and an entrepreneur who "made a fortune out of windmills"
  • Hiram Sinsabaugh (about 1832–1892), Methodist Episcopal minister, banker, member of the Los Angeles Common Council
  • Edward Falles Spence (1832–1892), banker, entrepreneur, property developer, mayor of Los Angeles in 1884–86

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f [1] "Westlake," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ [2] "Population Density," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  3. ^ a b [3] "Central L.A.," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ a b The Thomas Guide, 2006, pages 594 and 634
  5. ^ Salvadoran Consulate
  6. ^ "Los Angeles immigrant community pushes to keep Zapotec language alive". PRI, Public Radio International. 2013-08-09. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 
  7. ^ [4] "Population Density," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  8. ^ "Contact Info." Korean Air. Accessed September 20, 2008.
  9. ^ "MacArthur Park Apartment Project Will Also Clean Up the Streets." Curbed LA. Accessed July 14, 2011.
  10. ^ "Westlake Theatre Plan Moves Forward." Curbed LA. Accessed July 14, 2011.
  11. ^ http://www.lapdonline.org/rampart_community_police_station lapdonline.org
  12. ^ Rasmussen, Cecilia. "A Pioneering Public Hospital Checks Out". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  13. ^ [5] "Westlake Schools," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times