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Grew up in Westchester from 1951 until I left for the Marine Corps in 1966. Parents stayed until they passed in 1998/2000. Loved it but the area outgrew itself. Went to Visitation and then to Westchester HS. Ron Dutton from Orville Wright Jr HS (Teacher) and I are still corresponding. What a life!
I have lived in Westchester close to 5 years now. Love my neighborhood, people think that the 405 freeway is detrimental, I find that I love it! - its a distraction, the noise is like a river, therapeutic and relaxing. I get to waive at everyone passing by. Can't imagen my back yard without the river flowing through it. I just wish the DOT - or Caltrans would install a fence or block wall behind my house.
RE: LMU and Otis (and Pepperdine) students - do you folks realize how much cash the students dump into Westchester? A beer can on the lawn is not such a bad trade off! High-priced education, as a local industry, is pretty darn good. It's not like they're smelting iron ore down the block.
Do the math - the students are a HUGE boon to the area; tuition, housing, services, all that cash dumped into Westchester by the students.
It looks like our neighborhood watch is working.
Neighborhood is blooming with younger couples and new kids everyday. As soon as Westchester can breakaway from the bad reputation of being part of L.A. it will do much better. The schools will flourish API scores will go threw the roof and all will be happy here.
I moved here in 2001. I lived in LA proper previously (born and raised) where cars crashed on our front lawn, criminals running from the law. My daughter wasn't allowed to open the front door.
In the beginning of my residence, I described this area as "Beaver Cleaver-ville" because it is almost unreal.
The best part is finding the trail on the bluffs right down the street from my home.
I have seen Playa Vista eat up the beautiful unused Hughes land. The frogs and butterflies and water birds have thinned. Now "they" want the residents to "protect the wetlands" after they (developers) "raped" the major portions of this jewel. This has effected our joyous times in this area.
The airport noise is really not as bad as living in Hancock Park watching, and listening to the police helicopters zoom my home every evening, shining their lights into my bedroom.
I'm happy here after nine years.
All you history buffs need to see the new book written by Duke Dukesherer, titled; Westchester. It covers the development of the area up until the early 1960's. Just amazing! Hundreds of photos!
Here is the link;
He also wrote a book called LAX California, which is the same book with some pages slanted to the LAX crowd.
You cannot put this read down!
0-15, Russell. Westchester is S.W.L. A. 90% of Mar Vista doesn't even make the "West Side" cut, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Westchester seemed pretty deluxe when I was growing up in the '50's. The Paradise Theater was much more exotic than the Loyola, but I bought plenty of "Junior" tix at each. Got my 501's at The Broadway, then a three-pack of Towncraft XL white tees at JC Penny.
Uni was the "West Side" high school, and the kids at Westchester would have been offended to be lumped in with them, eh?
I love Westchester, and was offended that the Times' definition of the "West Side" excluded it. Virtually everyone who lives here considers themselves to live on the West Side. I took an informal survey of people walking by my house, and it was unanimous - 15 to 0. People who don't live here may exclude Westchester because they are unfamiliar with it. I overheard a party guest arriving at my neighbor's door saying "I've heard of Westchester, New York, but not Westchester, California".
My wife and I just bought a house in Westchester 7 months ago; we really liked it here previously when we rented. We still love it here, the smaller town atmosphere, the nice neighborhood and great location.
I would agree about the LMU students; more needs to be done about the parties. I have not seen the crime, as some other postings have mentioned, at least in my area of westchester.
I loved selling papers Manchester and Lincoln.going to loyola village and then to Orville wright ..hanging at the jungle..
One of the best decisions I have ever made was to move to Westchester, with the mixture of small village quiet and urban access. It is so great to travel through the neighborhood at any hour in relative safety. The eastern edge of Westchester is not well-connected to the larger area, but we are NOT 'the poor side of the community'! We can use a stronger coalition of residents to approach and work businesses and elected officials to maintain the sidewalks and address public safety concerns, and to have a stronger presence on the Neighborhood Council.
I lived at 83rd and Stewart Ave.,circa 1949-50, a great place, the Loyola Theater, the mintaure golf across the street. This was the best.
I love Westchester. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and this is truly the nicest place I've ever lived. I am raising my 7 year old in the community. His school is located only a couple of block away from our home and we are fortunate enough to live across from the library, the park, and a stones throw to the grocery store.
The downsides are the LMU students can be noisy (especially on the weekends) but they are never rude. It's as simple as calling LMU and they will send a patrol car out to investigate the disturbance.
In July 1950, just before I turned 13, my parents moved from Los Angeles, where we had lived near Figueroa Street and Imperial Highway. After the war, my father started his own cement contracting business in 1948 and helped build the majority of tract homes being constructed in California and the new expanding area to be known as Westchester. It was here that they bought their first home. It was located in one of the housing tracts he had help build, which was located at 7708 Kentwood Avenue and 77th Street. At that time, their new home sold for $11,000. Starting in September, 1950, I attended the old Westchester High School, which today is known as Orville Wright Jr. High until 1955. During those years, the memories I have of Westchester are far too many to cite here. However, for those who lived there at this time, you certainly have your own memories as I do. Because of the building boom, my Dad's business flourished and he was listed as being one of the top-100 contractors in California. Can you believe it? We even had a pool built. We lived there until 1956 when my parent moved to Orange County. As for some of the things I remember, which are only a few, does anyone out there remember,
The Hamburger Handout; The Clock Drive-in; Paradise Theater, Loyola theater, Centinella Drive-in, Hughes Aircraft, old Los Angeles Airport (not LAX) and many, many more. Today, we live in Tustin, as do our three grown sons and their extended family's. Nonetheless, there isn't a day that passes that I don't remember the Westchester of my youth. It was wonderful!
I love living in Westchester. It is a small suburban neighborhood with all the right people. The only downside of it are all of the people that think they live here. Our town is overrun with LMU students at all hours of the night and bused in children from our border cities, not to mention the tourists. I love living here but as the comment above has stated, LMU is growing and crime rates are increasing. We need a better police presence in our neighborhood to deter any crimes that may happen. Overall I am proud and happy to live in Westchester and recommend living here to anyone that loves that small town feel in the big city.
I lived in Westchester for a short time and depending on where you are, LAX has a bigger presence here than I've seen written in other comments. No-one here has mentioned this but between the 405 Freeway and the planes overhead, you need to choose your location in Westchester wisely. There are places where it feels like the plane is zooming over your roof - you can practically look out and see the people in the windows.
I purchased my home in 1996 in the Kentwood area of Westchester and have lived here ever since. I love the community and the fact that it feels like a small hometown. The only drawbacks for me is that LMU has expanded tremendously and the students are now renting all over the neighborhood. The parties and behavior that goes on is a hugely why so many want to get out of this community. Another drawback is there is little or no police presence and the burglaries, robberies and break-in's are out of control. I have never seen crime like this in all the years I have been here. I am saddened to watch this gem of a neighborhood go down like this. I hope things change...
Westchester, from 1946-1949, was my introduction to living in California. The opening of the Loyola Theatre, and the annual neighborhood fairs (until displaced by the Broadway Dept Store) were the big events of this period. Busing to Horace Mann JHS was a pain, but wandering around the smallish, self-contained local shopping area was a plus. Even occasional dinners at the Woolworth's lunch counter are fond memories. And for nature lovers there were vernal ponds full of frogs in the undeveloped fields to the West. No more.
Got lucky in 1967 and found Kentwood. The landgrab of LAX for "runways only used for Landing & not after 8pm" missed us. The people and schools are still great and generations are returning to raise their children. It is a community and a neighborhood in a metropolis.I feel lucky to live here.
I live on a beautiful tree-lined street in Westchester. The neighborhood is relatively safe and you actually see people walking and exercising all the time, day or night. The best thing about Westchester, for me, is the quietness of the area. Even though we're adjacent to the LAX flight paths, (I can see the planes approaching for landing out of my kitchen window, really nice at night), however, we cannot hear the airplanes, or the noise of traffic on LaCienaga or the 405 freeway. Shopping, the movies,and restaurants are close and I have access to 4 parks within 5 miles of my home. I'd reccommend Westchester to any LA or California newcomer.
Growing up in Westchester and attending Westchester High, I achieved my goal of escaping this sleepy town by moving out in my college years. However, I returned after just a few months and have remained ever since (38 years).
My daughter, who purchased a home here, has described Manchester Triangle as “Mayberry”. And the Vons, tucked away in north Kentwood, is a neighborhood treasure.
Westchester has done a good job of maintaining community cohesion and identity with community-based activities like neighborhood watch, neighborhood meetings (many airport-related), a neighborhood paper, many volunteer opportunities, and annual picnics and parades.
Westchester is just the right size without a lot of big retail and finally has (thank goodness) a decent and diverse selection of really good restaurants! (One missing: we could use a deli to replace Don’s Deli and The Corner Deli.)
Like most old-time residents, I do miss Gerald’s Hardware but love the addition of Howard Hughes Center!
Westchester is "yesterday's city of tomorrow" - large parts of it are preserved in amber from the heyday of the 1950s suburban dream and futuristic technology fantasies of the post-war air and space industries.
Now it is one of the most integrated neighborhoods in LA; go to the Bridge on a weekend night and you will see a truly interracial crowd having a great time.
Westchester sometimes feels like a little piece of the South transplanted to LA; the best barbecue and soul food in town, and an easy public cheerfulness that comes from having black folk who are doing well as a major part of the consumer base.
Downside is the #^&@!^@%$ freeway running past my house; but I have convinced myself that it is the roar of a great river. Also the imperial ambitions of the LA World Airports to swallow our entire business district.
Hidden treasures: The Buggy Whip; Pann's; the "Manchester Triangle" to get your hair cut and your vacuum cleaner fixed...
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