Westchester, Los Angeles, California

Westchester, Los Angeles, California

Westchester is a neighborhood in western part of Los Angeles, California. It is home to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Loyola Marymount University (LMU), and Otis College of Art and Design.


Westchester is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Playa del Rey on the west. Its northern border is defined by Jefferson and Centinela Boulevards, where it borders the neighborhood of Del Rey, as well as Culver City, and the unincorporated area of Ladera Heights. The Playa Vista housing and retail community is located in north Westchester. The city of Inglewood is to the east, and the city of El Segundo is to the south. The southern portion of the neighborhood is taken up by the Los Angeles International Airport (a.k.a. LAX). The San Diego Freeway runs through the northeastern portion of the area. Fact|date=January 2008 The Westchester Neighbors Association defines its boundaries as "the area within the City of Los Angeles: east of Sepulveda Boulevard, north of Manchester Avenue and west of the I/S 405 Freeway (San Diego Fwy)." [http://www.westchesterneighbors.org/WNABYLAWS060307.pdf]


Like most of what is now southern Los Angeles County, Westchester began the 20th century as an agricultural area, growing a wide variety of crops in the dry farming-friendly climate. The rapid development of the aerospace industry near Mines Field (as LAX was then known), and population growth in Los Angeles as a whole, created a demand for housing in the area. In the late 1930s, real estate magnate Fritz Burns developed a tract of inexpensive prefabricated single-family homes on the site of a former hog farm at the intersection of Manchester and Sepulveda Boulevards. This community, dubbed "Westchester," grew by leaps and bounds as the aerospace industry boomed in World War II and afterward.

Howard Hughes, the famous aviator, movie director and tool company owner, operated a large manufacturing plant in lower Westchester in the area now known as the Playa Vista community. Hughes Airport (IATA: CVR), a private airport, was part of the manufacturing plant. The street named Runway Drive is laid out in the approximate location of the former Hughes Airport runway.

The Hughes facilities were commonly called "Hughes's Culver City" facilities, even though this area has never been part of the City of Culver City. This appellation continues today in any number of publications that discuss Howard Hughes himself, or his companies. The Westchester facilities were owned by Hughes Tool Company, operated by Hughes Aircraft, a company that specialized in building aviation navigation and communication systems, and the profits went to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Hughes's nearly spruce-free "Spruce Goose" wood bodied transport airplane was built in Westchester. The plane was disassembled into major components in 1947, transported to Long Beach on then-rural roads, and reassembled. Howard Hughes himself flew the H4 for little over one mile (1.6 km), but the plane was never flown again.

The 1960s saw the introduction of airliners that could make trans-Pacific flights without refueling, causing a massive increase in air traffic at LAX. While Westchester residents successfully blocked a northward expansion of the airport, the increase in noise from jet takeoffs greatly decreased the desirability of the residential areas adjoining LAX. In response, the city of Los Angeles began a longstanding program of purchasing houses from noise-weary homeowners; as a result, a number of streets just north of the airport have been decommissioned, and the homes along those streets have either been demolished or moved to other locations. The 18-hole Westchester golf course became a 15-hole course. A local elementary school, the Westchester Neighborhood School, relocated out of the area in 2005, in part due to airport noise, and renamed itself the Westside Neighborhood School. With this experience fresh in mind, local opposition to an expansion of LAX first proposed in the late 1990s rose to fever pitch. As of 2006, no alterations to LAX have taken place, and expansion of the City of Los Angeles-owned airports in the distant cities of Ontario and Palmdale appears more likely.

As part of the 1960s expansion and modernization of LAX, the now famous landmark "Jet Age" style Theme Building opened. This iconic building has itself been modernized and most recently contained the [http://www.encounterlax.com Encounter Restaurant] .

In the late 1990s, Otis College of Art and Design, with approximately 1000 full-time and 3000 part-time students, moved to Westchester from its previous location near downtown Los Angeles. What is now named the Kathleen Ahmanson Hall was designed by architect Eliot Noyes in 1963 to house an IBM research center. This well known local landmark, a seven story, convert|115000|sqft|m2|sing=on building, has a distinctive "punch card" window design. The two story Galef Fine Arts Center, designed by Frederick Fisher Architects, opened on the campus in 2001. The complex geometry and corrugated metal forms contrast with the "punch card" vocabulary of Ahmanson Hall. Together, these buildings comprise the Elaine and Bram Goldsmith Campus. Ironically, the Otis building has Westinghouse brand elevators.

With Loyola Marymount University and Otis only blocks from one another, Westchester has undergone a subtle shift away from defense/aviation related industries (which have declined significantly since the end of the Cold War) and has become something of a college town. In addition, the [http://www.aiula.com/American Intercontinental University] , with approximately 1800 full time students, is located on Jefferson Blvd. at the northern edge of Westchester. In 2004, the Graduate School of [http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/ Pepperdine University] relocated to the north-east quadrant of Westchester. The private college/university students, paying tuition typically well in excess of $30,000.00 per year, are a boon to local merchants. Adding living expenses to tuition, merchants gladly count the $45,000.00 - $55,000.00 per student, per year, dropped into the local economy.

Demographics and Neighborhood Composition

Approximately 50% of the local housing stock consists of single-family detached homes, most of which are modestly sized ranches and bungalows on small lots.

Westchester is:
*59.39% White
*18.67% Black or African American
*17.67% Hispanic or Latino.
*9.19% Asian
*6.73% other races alone
*5.15% two or more races
*0.43% American Indian & Alaska Native alone
*0.44% Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islander alone

Westchester's diversity has increased: it has become one of the more diverse neighborhoods in western Los Angeles.Fact|date=March 2008 In particular, the black population has increased as middle-class African-American families continue to leave the areas of South Los Angeles that lie east of the Harbor Freeway.Or|date=March 2008

Emergency services

Fire service

Los Angeles Fire Department [http://www.lafd.org/fs5.htm Station 5] is in Westchester.

Police service

Los Angeles Police Department operates the Pacific Community Police Station at 12312 Culver Boulevard, 90066, serving the neighborhood [http://www.lapdonline.org/pacific_community_police_station] .



Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Westchester is served by six zoned public elementary schools and one middle school served by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Zoned elementary schools:
*Kentwood Elementary School
*Westport Heights Elementary School
*Cowan Avenue Elementary School
*Paseo Del Rey Elementary School
*Loyola Village Elementary School

Zoned middle schools:
*Orville Wright Middle School

Zoned high schools:
*Westchester High SchoolLAUSD-affiliated charter elementary schools:
*Open Magnet Charter School [http://notebook.lausd.net/portal/page?_pageid=33,54194&_dad=ptl&_schema=PTL_EP&school_code=5889]

Private schools

Westchester has several private K-8 schools and one high school, including:
*Westchester Lutheran School (also has a preschool called [http://www.wlcs.org Westchester Lutheran Preschool] )
*St. Anastasia School (K-8)
*St. Jerome School
*Visitation School (K-8)
*Westside Neighborhood School (K-8)
*St. Bernard High School

Colleges and Universities

*Loyola Marymount University
*Otis College of Art and Design


Los Angeles Public Library operates the Westchester-Loyola Village Branch.

Churches and other places of worship

* [http://www.fbc-westchester.org First Baptist Church of Westchester]
* [http://www.stjeromewestchester.org St Jerome Catholic Church]
* [http://www.st-anastasia.org St Anastasia Catholic Church]
* [http://www.visitationschool.org Visitation Catholic Church]
* [http://www.arisechristiancenter.com Arise Christian Center]
* [http://www.univcc.org University Christian Church]
*Airport Church of Christ
* [http://www.holynativityparish.org Holy Nativity Episcopal Church]
*Inglewood Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)
* [http://www.messiah-church.org Congregational Church of the Messiah]
*L A Korean United Methodist Church
* [http://www.wlcs.org Westchester Lutheran Church] (ELCA)
*Our Savior Lutheran Church (LCMS)
*Westchester Church of the Nazarene
* [http://www.covla.org Covenant Presbyterian Church]
*La Tijera United Methodist Church
* [http://westchester.methodists.org Westchester United Methodist Church]
* [http://www.bnaitikvahcongregation.org Bnai Tikvah Congregation] (Jewish, Conservative)
* [http://www.calvarychapellax.com Calvary Chapel LAX] (Non-Denominational)

ee also

*Centinela Adobe

External links

* [http://www.geocities.com/oddlystupid/westchester Don-O's Unofficial Personal Westchester History Site]

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