Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles

Coordinates: 34°00′47″N 118°21′25″W / 34.013°N 118.357°W / 34.013; -118.357
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Baldwin Hills
Baldwin Hills neighborhood sign located at the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Stocker Street
Baldwin Hills neighborhood sign
located at the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Stocker Street
Baldwin Hills is located in Western Los Angeles
Baldwin Hills
Baldwin Hills
Location within Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°00′47″N 118°21′25″W / 34.013°N 118.357°W / 34.013; -118.357
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
City Los Angeles
Time zonePacific
ZIP Code
Area code323

Baldwin Hills is a neighborhood within the South Los Angeles region of Los Angeles, California.

Often referred to as the "Black Beverly Hills", Baldwin Hills is home to Kenneth Hahn State Regional Park and to Village Green, a National Historic Landmark.


19th Century[edit]

Elias J."Lucky" Baldwin

Baldwin Hills and other surrounding geography are named for the 19th century horse racing and land developer, Lucky Baldwin.[1]


The 1932 Los Angeles Olympics housed athletes at the Olympic Village in Baldwin Hills.[4] It was the site of the very first Olympic Village ever built, for the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games.[5] Built for male athletes only, the village consisted of several hundred buildings, including post and telegraph offices, an amphitheater, a hospital, a fire department, and a bank. Female athletes were housed at the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. The Olympic Village was demolished after the Summer Olympic Games.[6]


In 1950, new homes in Baldwin Hills were designed by Paul W. Trousdale & Associates (of Trousdale Estates fame) and advertised as being near the "$30 million Crenshaw-Santa Barbara Shopping Center. [7]

Baldwin Hills reservoir after collapse of the dam in 1963


On December 14, 1963, a crack appeared in the Baldwin Hills Dam impounding the Baldwin Hills Reservoir. Within a few hours, water rushing through the crack eroded the earthen dam, gradually widening the crack until the dam failed catastrophically at 3:38 p.m. When the crack was discovered, police with bullhorns urged the evacuation of the area, but six people were killed.[8] Two hundred homes were completely wiped out, and an additional 1500 to 2000 houses and apartment buildings were damaged,[8] and most of Baldwin Vista and the historic Village Green community were flooded. The dam's failure was ultimately determined to be the result of subsidence, caused by overexploitation of the Inglewood Oil Field. The dam's failure prompted the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to close and drain other small local reservoirs with similar designs, such as the Silver Lake Reservoir. The Baldwin Hills Dam was not rebuilt—instead, the empty reservoir was demolished, filled with earth, landscaped, and converted to Kenneth Hahn Regional Park.


During the summer of 1985, a brush fire along La Brea Avenue spread up the canyon towards the homes along Don Carlos Drive in Baldwin Hills Estates. Many homes were destroyed despite the efforts of the Los Angeles Fire Department to suppress the flames. The fire killed three people and destroyed 69 homes;[9] the arsonist was never caught.

In 1985, the Los Angeles Times noted that Baldwin Hills is "now often called the Black Beverly Hills".[10]


Baldwin Hills is bounded by La Cienega Boulevard to the west, Crenshaw Boulevard to the east, Stocker Street to the south and Obama Boulevard to the north with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard forming the northeast dividing line between Baldwin Hills and Crenshaw Manor. It is bordered on the west by Culver City and it shares the eastern border of Crenshaw Boulevard with Leimert Park.[5]

The namesake mountain range is part of the neighborhood.


View from Baldwin Hills of Downtown Los Angeles in the distance and the San Gabriel Mountains.
Baldwin Hills Village National Historic Landmark Plaque, at Village Green.

Neighborhoods within Baldwin Hills include:

  • Baldwin Hills Estates is locally known as "The Dons", because all but one street begins with the formal title of the city's original land holders.[11] The oldest two streets in the neighborhood are Don Luis Drive and Don Mariano Drive. Old maps show those streets with the names Sprague Drive and Maryann Drive. Susan Miller Dorsey High School has called its school mascot The Dorsey Dons and Donnas after this neighborhood. The neighborhood is east of La Brea, southwest of Santo Tomas Drive, south of the Jim Gilliam Recreation Center and north of Stocker Street). It is sometimes called "the Black Beverly Hills".[12] The neighborhood is characterized by hillside houses with swimming pools, and modern condominiums (the latter often jut out from steep hillsides, perched on stilts).
  • Baldwin Village - In 1988, Baldwin Village became be a distinct community in the city's General Plan, and signs were to be posted to identify the area. It is bounded by La Brea Avenue, Marlton Avenue, Obama Boulevard, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Santo Thomas Drive.[13]
  • Baldwin Vista is bounded by La Cienega Boulevard to the West, La Brea Avenue to the East, Coliseum Street to the North, and Kenneth Hahn Park to the South.[14]
  • Village Green, originally named Baldwin Hills Village, is located north of Baldwin Vista. It is a historic Mid-Century modern "garden city" developed by Walter H. Leimert (1877–1970) multi-family residential. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2001. The units are now condominiums on very spacious grounds, attracting seniors, young families, and design professionals as residents.


Climate data for Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 68
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 47
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.26
Source: [15]

Parks and recreation[edit]

View of Hollywood Hills (lower eastern Santa Monica Mountains) and tall San Gabriel Mountains from Baldwin Hills from the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Park.
  • Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is located at 6300 Hetzler Road in Culver City, CA.[16][17] The 8.5-acre (3.4 ha) park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. The Visitor Center is not currently open. The park includes an amphitheater, drinking water, the Evan Frankel Discovery Center, gardening boxes, picnic tables, a permeable parking lot ($6), toilets, and walking paths with a central feature known as the Culver City Stairs. The Visitor Center has a comprehensive guide to the native plants of the area and history of Culver City. On a clear day the Overlook's platform offers exceptional views spanning the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Hollywood Sign to the north, and downtown Los Angeles to the east.[18]
  • Kenneth Hahn State Regional Park is located at 4100 South La Cienega Boulevard. It is a 401 acre recreation and sports area.[19]
  • Norman O Houston Park: is located at 4800 South La Brea Avenue.[20]
  • Jim Gilliam Park & Recreation Center is located at 4000 South La Brea Avenue. It is home to the Jim Gilliam Senior Citizen Center.[21]


The Los Angeles Public Library operates the Baldwin Hills Branch Library. It is located at 2900 La Brea Avenue.[22]


Susan Miller Dorsey High School, serving Baldwin Hills.
Baldwin Hills Elementary School

Baldwin Hills is served by Los Angeles Unified School District. Baldwin Hills also has a charter school.[9] The schools operating within Baldwin Hills borders are:

New LA Elementary School, a charter school, is on the grounds of Baldwin Hills Elementary. A California law called Proposition 39 allows New LA to occupy space on the grounds of Baldwin Hills Elementary. In 2022 there were area community members that advocated for the charter school to move to another location since they believed that it meant there would not be enough space for the public elementary to operate efficiently.[24]

In popular culture[edit]


From 2007 to 2009, BET aired Baldwin Hills, a program featuring several African-American teenagers and their lives in the upper-class Los Angeles community.[25][26]

The show is very similar in nature to such MTV programs as Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, The Hills, and the online series The Suburbs, as it features African-Americans of upper-middle-class families who divide their time between attending school, playing sports, shopping at high-end stores, and driving expensive cars. The series lasted for three seasons.


Orson Scott Card's urban fantasy novel Magic Street is set in Baldwin Hills.[27]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Meares, Hadley (2022-03-17). "Baldwin Hills, 'The Black Beverly Hills': The Life And Times Of The Community". LAist. Retrieved 2022-04-20.
  2. ^ a b "Rancho La Cienega O'Paso de La Tijera" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on October 25, 2004. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera
  4. ^ "14 Secrets of the 1932 Olympic Village in Baldwin Hills". 6 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b Powers, Kemp (August 17, 2007). "The Neighborhood Project: Baldwin Hills". Retrieved 16 March 2024.
  6. ^ "1932 Los Angeles Olympic Athlete's Village in the Baldwin Hills". Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  7. ^ "Baldwin Hills". The Los Angeles Times. 1950-02-12. p. 107. Retrieved 2024-01-31.
  8. ^ a b "Dam Break Kills 6 in Los Angeles". The New York Times. 15 December 1963. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  9. ^ a b Pollard-Terry, Gayle (October 29, 2006). ""Years later, the pitch still delivers"". Los Angeles Times. 29 October 2006.. Neighborly Advice. Los Angeles Times. p. K2.
  10. ^ "In Baldwin Hills, Joy of Relief and Pangs of Loss". The Los Angeles Times. 1985-07-04. p. 33. Retrieved 2024-02-24.
  11. ^ "Baldwin Hills Estates". Archived from the original on 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  12. ^ Hale, Mike (2007-08-07). "Posh Princes and Princesses of the Hills". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  13. ^ "Village Residents Hope a New Name Means a New Image - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. 19 June 1988.
  14. ^ "Reference at" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Zipcode 90008". Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  16. ^ "Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook".. accessed 8/22/2010
  17. ^ "trail map" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  18. ^ ""Baldwin Hills Recreation Center". Archived from the original on 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2010-03-22.". City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 23, 2010.
  19. ^ "Kenneth Hahn State Park". Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  20. ^ "Norman O Houston Park website". Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  21. ^ "Jim Gilliam Recreation Center website". Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  22. ^ ""Baldwin Hills Branch Library".". Los Angeles Public Library. Retrieved on March 23, 2010.
  23. ^ "Baldwin Hills Elementary School". Archived from the original on 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  24. ^ Mackey, Ashley (2022-10-20). "Community members protest charter school on Baldwin Hills Elementary School campus". ABC 7. Retrieved 2023-04-30.
  25. ^ "Baldwin Hills". BET. Archived from the original on August 4, 2007. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  26. ^ "Can "Baldwin Hills" become the black "Laguna Beach"?". Los Angeles Times. 8 July 2007.
  27. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Magic Street by Orson Scott Card, Author. Del Rey $24.95 (397p) ISBN 978-0-345-41689-6".
  28. ^ "Elfman in L.A." Archived from the original on 2011-10-01.

External links[edit]