Monday, June 13, 2011

Reviving the Ghost of L.A.'s Berkeley Square

Picture 7

One of the most fascinating blogs I've seen in a while is Berkeley Square Los Angeles, a look at a long-lost neighborhood in West Adams.

Berkeley Square was once a place filled with grand homes and privileged inhabitants. But the neighborhood decayed over time -- and the construction of the 10 freeway wiped it off the map. Here's how the blog describes its mission:

What came into existence was what must have been in its heyday a lovely picture of Southern California--serious houses by serious architects amid towering palms. And then it was over--the lure of Windsor Square, Hancock Park, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Pasadena, to name a few, became too great after the landmark 1948 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled unconstitutional the restrictive covenants precluding residency of African-Americans (among other ethnicities) in certain neighborhoods...the houses were aging and expensive to maintain...and the wall-like Santa Monica Freeway was eventually aimed almost directly through the Square.

The social ramifications, however, are not my primary aim here. I'd like merely to describe, post by post, what is known about each house and its occupants, to rescue the Square, as much as possible, from obscurity.
We'll be reading.


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