Zip Codes: 90004, 90005, 90010, 90020, 90036
Within the Greater Wilshire Hancock Park area there are three fairly well defined neighborhoods: Hancock Park, Larchmont Village, and Windsor Square. The area is attests to Los Angeles’ sprawling degrees of history, character, affluence and charm. Hancock Park and Larchmont have remained stylish without being hipster, quaint without being too cutesy and affluent without pretention. With a negligible border between them, Hancock Park and Larchmont Village embody the perfect balance of culture, cuisine, architecture and the community ambience. Before there was such a thing as the ‘west side,’ Hancock Park was home to the Hollywood elite—and it still packs a serious celebrity punch. Bordering Hollywood and K-town, this exclusive neighborhood hosts some of the most impressive mansions in L.A. and its sprawling green lawns and quiet streets make for the perfect lazy Sunday drive. Let’s go explore.
Market - Quick Stats
- Average listing price for home: $1,464,629 (Wk ending Aug 8, 2012)
- Median sale price for home: $675,500 (May 12 to July 12 2012)
- % Change from 1 year ago: -13.9%
- % Change past 5 years: - 27.86%
- Avg price per square foot: $381
- Greater L.A. Avg price per square foot: $286
LOCATION AND HISTORY
Hancock Park is located in the eastern portion of the original Rancho La Brea area and was purchased by Major Henry Hancock in 1863. By the early 1900’s the growth along Wilshire Boulevard was mirroring the economic prosperity of Los Angeles as a whole. As a result, an area that was once dirt roads and oils fields blossomed into a concentration of grandly designed commercial buildings surrounded by developments of stately and luxurious homes.
The residential sub-division of Hancock Park was developed by Major Hancock’s son, G. Allan Hancock, in the 1920s. Outstanding architects of the era designed the palatial two-story, single-family residences in various Period Revival styles (including Tudor Revival, English Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival and American Colonial Revival) for influential members of Los Angeles society. You will notice that the vast majority of the residences are set back 50 feet from the street, as insisted upon by G. Allan Hancock, and include side driveways generally leading though a porte cochere to a rear garage.
With quick access to studios, including Paramount which is a stone's throw away across Melrose Avenue, the community's history as a home to stars and other employees of the industry is as old as the neighborhood itself. Keystone Cops chases were filmed on Larchmont Boulevard. The 1936 Three Stooges film False Alarms used both Third Street and Larchmont Boulevard. Today many of the local homes are used to film commercials and movies. The 1983 film War Games utilized a home at Lucerne and Second Street as a major backdrop and set. Past prominent Hancock Park residents have included millionaire Howard Hughes, entertainers Mae West and Nat King Cole, Broadway Department Store magnate Arthur Letts, Jr., and architect William Pereira.
Freeways and Public Transportation
The center of Hancock Park is roughly equidistant to the 101 Freeway to the east and the 10 Freeway to the South. For Metro riders, the Purple line has its final stop at Wilshire and Western.
Within the Greater Wilshire Hancock Park are a few distinct neighborhoods – Hancock Park, Larchmont Village, and Windsor Square. Depending on the source that you check the boundaries for these areas may vary, but they are approximately bounded as noted below.
Nestled between Melrose Ave to the north, Wilshire Blvd to the south, La Brea Avenue to the west and Van Ness to the east lays the neighborhood of Hancock Park. With sprawling tree-lined rows of imposing historic family homes the suburban strip is a stones-throw away from the buzzing Larchmont Village and Windsor Square.
Located to the south of Hollywood and east of Hancock Park, Larchmont Village lies tucked into the heart of Los Angeles' urban quilt. Although the neighborhood lies wholly within Windsor Square, and serves as Windsor Square's "main street," it is commonly thought of as a distinct district. Serenely detached from the surrounding hustle, it has, for the most part, escaped the attention of the larger world. Remarkably, too, it has held back time, retaining the scale and feel of the small town of Larchmont, N.Y., for which it was named in the early 1920s.
Larchmont Village itself is centered on Larchmont Boulevard between Beverly Boulevard and 3rd Street and its businesses depend heavily on foot traffic; Dawson's Bookshop celebrated its centennial last year while Chevalier's Books provides individual recommendations. There are also restaurants, specialty clothing boutiques, coffee shops, a juice store, a video store, bagel shops, spas, an ice cream store, a pet store, a major newsstand, a confectionary that specializes in Belgian chocolates and Landis, a general store that dates back to the 1920s.
The English flavor is very much alive and the street names reflect this with Irving, Windsor and Plymouth. The original "Square" ran from Wilshire Boulevard to Third Street, and from Plymouth Blvd. to Irving Blvd and 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, Hancok Park is 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. With 1,100 homes, and it is one of the oldest, most well preserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It has broad lawns, mature trees and central location five miles west of downtown and is a garden oasis in the heart of Los Angeles.
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.
One of the area's allures, for locals and outsiders alike, is the quaint Larchmont Village commercial strip. It's an urban melting pot with a diverse array of quintessential shops; bookstores, clothes boutiques, eateries, and coffee shops etc. Here are some worth checking out:
Larchmont’s Farmers Market - Admittedly there are Farmer’s Markets and then there is Larchmont Village’s European Style Farmer’s Market; a treat for all senses in every sense. Casablanca lilies, bonsai trees, organic Asian vegetables and homemade apple pies are among the treats for sale and your Sunday mornings will never be quite the same. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, farmers, craft-people, bakers and dozens of other vendors fill the city parking lot on Larchmont Blvd. between Beverly and First streets. It’s a Sunday morning must.
Café Gratitude - Larchmont Village has it all except…there’s not a Whole Foods Market in sight! However Café Gratitude makes up for any whole hole. It always buzzing with health-conscious patrons tucking in and drinking up menu items named “I am Humble” and “I am Grateful” for example. This is definitely the place to say “I am Hungry” and you will be relieved in the best possible way. It is known as one of the best vegan hotspots in town and their facon (fake bacon) tastes like the real deal. Arrive with an open mind and be ready with your own personal affirmation of gratitude before ordering.
Chevalier's Books - While you might love your nook there’s nothing that’s quite the substitute for some good ‘ol tight binding. Chevalier’s Books is quaint, original and charming with a vast selection in comparison to other smaller bookstores. Purchase your classics with some sentiment (and a bookmark) thrown in for free. If you want to support local then this is the shop to go to peruse and purchase from. Forget Borders (well, we’ve all forgotten about them already) and move over Amazon – Chevalier’s really do things by the book.
Larchmont Bungalow - Described as the ‘Artisian Bakery, Café and Brew’ they do it all and are acutely attuned to the art of perfection in their selection. From their custom house-brewed coffee, artisan tea, baked goods, all-day breakfast and their pan-perfect pancakes (their red and blue velvet pancakes are fantastic!). As much as the food, the Bungalow is a destination because its one of those place that has a very comfortable, relaxed vibe.
Landis Gifts and Stationary - This shop is a mecca for the stationary snob and you definitely will not be stationery as you are browsing their impressive selection. The staff is exceptionally knowledgeable and the service is as impeccable as it is timely; they can get invitations printed very expeditiously. They have plenty of charming lines that are cute and relaxed as well, plus blank papers, Moleskine notebooks, and cool Asian paper journals. Landis also sells the full Filofax line. You'll also find cool little gifts- great paperweights, keychains, small books- and the "general store" part has everthing. This is the type of store that gives Larchmont its "village" feel.
Prado - This place serves uniquely superior Caribbean cuisine in a delightfully aromatic, upbeat ambience. An exceptional mix of charm and service elevates this quaint Larchmont Village space to a level above other neighborhood eateries. The darling dining room features a cherub-frescoed ceiling, artsy mismatched chairs and flickering tea lights. A patio beckons diners to watch the bustling activity outside on warm summer nights. The mostly Latin-inspired menu features crab cakes, sweet corn Jamaican tamales and mesquite-grilled New York steak topped with tomatoes and onions. If you’re looking to try eclectic, and electric, Latin American cuisine then Prado will proudly step up to the plate.
Wilshire Country Club
It can be put(t) many ways, but this 18 hole regulation length course, founded in 1919, is a private golf club located in Hancock Park. This country club is a historical landmark in Hancock Park but it is for members-only so no drop-ins allowed. In that case you’d definitely need to join the club.
Greater Wilshire - Hancock Park residents are zoned to the following LAUSD schools:
· Van Ness Avenue Elementary
· Third Street Elementary
· Wilshire Crest Elementary
· Queen Anne Place Elementary
· Wilshire Park Elementary
· Vine Street Elementary
· Charles H. Kim Elementary
· John Burroughs Middle
· Hubert Howe Bancroft
· Joseph Le Conte
· Fairfax Senior High
· Los Angeles Senior High
· Helen Bernstein High
Weber House – 3923 W. 9th St. 1921 Lloyd Wright
For fans of Lloyd Wright, the Weber House is of particular interest because it is his first realized building in Los Angeles. The modified Prairie style design, with art-glass windows with geometric patterns, is a modest 1900 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, plus a guest cottage. It was last sold in 2002.
Gless House - Plymouth Blvd & 6th Street 1913 Arthur Heineman
Much like the Weber House noted above, the lines of the Gless House and its use of art glass shows hints of Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was moved to its present location in the 1930's.
Reynolds House - 200 Rimpau Blvd. 1958 John Woolf
An architect who was noted for a style dubbed California Regency, John Woolf designed simple modern mansions that owed, in part, inspiration to French and Southern Neoclassical styles with plenty of Mansard roofs and Greco-Roman columns. A familiar style today, his homes, or ones that imitate his, can be found throughout L.A. The Reynolds house features a hallmark of his style, favored in a bygone era (though still impressive), the towering, arched front door.
Smith House - 2nd St & Hudson Ave 1929-30 Clarence J. Smale
Art Deco is commonly found in large buildings - apartments, theaters, hotels, etc. It's rare to find an Art Deco single family residence. But the Smith House in Hancock Park is one and it's a beauty. This is Zig-Zag Moderne is extremeley elegant and one can easily imagine Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers rehearsing a dance routine within its walls.
Beckman House - 357 N. Citrus Ave. 1938 Gregory Ain
Ain once said "Architecture took a long time to get around to the small house". In an area that is known for palatial estates, the Beckman House is diminutive. But its smart, graceful lines still demand attention. Not visible from the street is the home's pinwheel-shaped plan with seven rooms having access to outdoor living spaces. It was built in 1938 for $9,250.