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|— Neighborhood of Los Angeles —|
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|— Neighborhood of Los Angeles —|
Westchester is a suburban neighborhood in western Los Angeles, California, United States. It is the location of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Loyola Marymount University (LMU), and Otis College of Art and Design.
Westchester is located in the eastern part of the Del Rey Hills also known as the Westchester Bluffs. The Westchester community is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Playa del Rey on the west. Its northern border is defined by and includes the area now known as Playa Vista, as well as Culver City, and the unincorporated area of Ladera Heights. The Playa Vista community is located within the northern portion of 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 eastern portion of the area. The Westchester Neighbors Association defines the Osage area of Westchester 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)."
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), the move of then Loyola University to the area in 1928, and population growth in Los Angeles as a whole, created a demand for housing in the area. Westchester hosted the cross country part of the eventing equestrian event for the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
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. A Los Angeles Times article in 1989 described the development as "a raw suburb", "created willy-nilly in the 1940s".
The area was predominantly residential. When the area had 30,000 residents, it was still lacking a police station, fire station, or hospital. It lacked a barber shop even by 1949.
Howard Hughes, the famous aviator, movie director, and tool company owner, operated a large manufacturing plant in northern Westchester in the area now known as Playa Vista. Hughes Airport (IATA: CVR), a private airport, was part of the manufacturing plant. The street named Runway Road 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 Hughes 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 the Hughes facilities. 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. As a result of a 2007 Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) proposal to move the North runway into Westchester, local opposition to LAX expansion (first proposed in the late 1990s) rose to fever pitch. In February 2010, a NASA panel found that the North runway was safe and should stay as it is. That same month, LAWA broke ground on a $1.5 billion expansion of the Bradley International Terminal.
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 is the location of Encounter Restaurant.
In the late 1990s, Otis College of Art and Design, with approximately 1,000 full-time and 3,000 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, 115,000-square-foot (10,700 m2) 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 shift away from defense/aviation related industries (which have declined significantly since the end of the Cold War) and has become a college town. In 2004, a Graduate School of Pepperdine University relocated to the north-east quadrant of Westchester. The private college/university students, paying tuition typically well in excess of $30,000 per year, are a huge boon to the local economy. Adding living expenses to tuition, merchants gladly count the $45,000-$55,000 per student, per year, dropped into the local economy.
During the beginning of the fall 2008 semester, Westchester residents became more concerned with the off-campus parties hosted by Loyola Marymount University students. Los Angeles-based KNBC 4 interviewed approximately 12 Westchester homeowners over their concerns with LMU. The piece aired on Friday, September 5, 2008. It was met with criticism by LMU students because KNBC did not interview a student in the piece.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Westchester had a population of 39,480. The racial makeup of Westchester was 24,136 (61.1%) White, 5,605 (14.2%) African American, 4,751 (12.0%) Asian, 148 (0.4%) Native American, 135 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 2,309 (5.8%) from other races, and 2,396 (6.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7,203 persons (18.2%).
Median household income: $84,707
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Prior to its dissolution, regional airline Air L.A. was headquartered in Westchester. Prior to its dissolution cargo airline Flying Tiger Line had its headquarters at LAX. Prior to its dissolution Regentair had its headquarters in Westchester. When Los Angeles Airways existed, its headquarters was in Westchester.
The United States Postal Service Westchester Post Office is located at 7381 La Tijera Boulevard. The United States Postal Service Airport Station is located at 9029 Airport Boulevard, Los Angeles 90009-9998.
Westchester is served by six zoned public elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The area is within Board District 4. As of 2009 Steve Zimmer represents the district.
Zoned elementary schools:
Zoned middle schools:
Zoned high schools:
LAUSD-affiliated charter elementary schools:
Westchester has several private K-8 schools and one high school, including:
The Westchester Recreation Center is in Westchester. The center includes an auditorium, barbecue pits, a lighted baseball diamond, lighted outdoor basketball courts, two indoor basketball courts, a children's play area, a community room, a lighted football field, an indoor gymnasium without weights, picnic tables, a lighted soccer field, and lighted tennis courts. The Westchester Pool, on the recreation center site, is an outdoor unheated seasonal pool. The Westchester Tennis Courts in the recreation center consist of ten lighted courts.
The Westchester Senior Citizen Center has a 200-person auditorium, barbecue pits, a 20-person community room, a garden, a kitchen, picnic tables, and a stage. The 8-acre (3.2 ha) Carl E. Nielsen Youth Park is located in Westchester. In 1991 Los Angeles World Airports planned to pave over the park and use the lot as parking spaces and leased space to rental car companies. During that year, LAWA decided to keep the park open.
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Books about Westchester, CA Westchester, California; An Early History of Westchester, Playa Del Rey, Playa Vista and Environs, by David J. Dukesherer, 2010