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Historical Los Angeles Neighborhoods: Lafayette Square

Located in western Los Angeles, Lafayette Square originally was part of the Rancho Las Cienegas, the Crenshaw Security Company subdivided Lafayette Square from barley fields and pastures in 1912. The City of Los Angeles gained ownership of the land by annexation in 1915. Lafayette Square was the last and greatest of the banker George L. Crenshaw’s ten residential developments. When he passed, the Los Angeles Times praised Crenshaw fro his “indelible impression in the front rank of developers who formed a metropolis . . .His monuments are the countless homes of thousands.”

What made Lafayette Square so unique? Early residents included the founder of Pepperdine University, George Pepperdine, actors W.C. Files and Fatty Arbuckle, and art collector Norton Simon. Yet these famous citizens chose to live in Lafayette Square for the same reasons residents continue to chose to call it home: its upper-class style and grace. If you are familiar with “Leave it to Beaver,” the façade at 1727 Buckingham Road will look recognizable to you since that house was used as the exterior set fo rhe television series. Many people who are affiliated with the entertainment industry choose to live in Lafayette Square. Paul Williams, one of Los Angeles’ most successful and popular architects built his own home in Lafayette Square in 1950.

With 226 structures, the fine homes that comprise this community are designed in styles popular for upper-class establishments in the 1910s and 1920s such as the Craftsman, Italianate, Spanish Revival, and American Colonial Revival styles. Just recently, an emerging trend has been noted in the architecture of Lafayette Square: the Modern styles. Paul Williams’ residence was built in the Modern style, demonstrating an emerging trend in Los Angeles’ architecture.