This is the first in a series of remembrances during the Larchmont Chronicle’s 50-year celebration.
When the Larchmont Chronicle began publication in 1963, Hancock Park was an enclave of 1100 homes in, what was termed, “a low-key area of Los Angeles.”
Our newspaper’s first headline covered the possibility of a Beverly Hills freeway dissecting the area. The plan was to slice through residences and Wilshire Country Club’s golf course—a plan that never saw the light of day.
Families who were living in Hancock Park in the 1960s included the Van de Camps (bakery owners), the Van der Ahes (owners of Von’s Grocery), the Philip Hawleys (of Carter Hale Hawley–owners of the Broadway stores), Richard and Robert Ralphs (second generation grocery owners), Nat King Cole, Bob Haldeman (later Nixon’s aide), Howard Ahmanson (financier), Dr. Norman Topping (head of USC), William Pereira (architect) and Louis Pozzo (head of Pozzo Construction Company).
Other homeowners included judges, doctors, attorneys and a few Hollywood celebrities (Mae West resided at the Ravenswood apartments).
Marlborough School, which had moved from downtown to its home at Third St. and Rossmore Ave. in 1916, was being torn down and replaced with a modern building designed by William Pereira. Youngsters were being educated at Third Street School, John Burroughs Junior High School and Los Angeles High School.
Homeowners in the neighboring Fremont Place were being courted by Christiana Oil Co. to turn their 53-acre property into a development similar to Park La Brea.
Residents were patronizing Larchmont Blvd. businesses including Safeway, Landis Department Store, Phil’s Poultry and Crocker Bank. And they were having their groceries delivered by Jurgensen’s.
Homes were selling for between $30,000 and $200,000. Dippell Realty Co. offered a three-story, two-bedroom home in Windsor Square for $59,000.