Windsor Square, Los Angeles
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Origins and 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 an undeveloped and rural area about halfway 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 that 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 (his daughter still lives in his home on Windsor Blvd) and Norman Chandler, who took up lifelong residence with his wife Buffy on Lorraine Blvd. Oil magnate John Paul Getty bought a property on Irving Blvd that is now Los Angeles's official mayor's residence.
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.
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.
Windsor Square is also home to Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles.
The area was designated a City of Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overlay Zone on September 29, 2004.
According to the 2000 Census, the racial makeup of Windsor Square was 41.6% Asian, 37.7% White, 14.8% Latino and 4.3% Black. The median household income was $61,767, while the percentage of households earning more than $125,000 was high for the county.
- "Windsor Square". Mapping L.A. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- "Councilman Harold A. Henry, 70, Dies After Long Illness," Los Angeles Times, May 2, 1966, page 3
- Location of his home on Mapping L.A.
- Current Google map of Windsor Square
- Windsor Square Association
- Windsor Square Investment Company Stock Certificate and History
- Hancock Park, Windsor Square Historical Society
- Windsor Square History