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    West Adams

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    Tell us what West Adams means to you

    • What makes this a good place to live? What are the downsides?

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    Mine was one of the first families to move into the track on Boden St. in 1944. I lived there until 1957. Went to Marvin Ave. school, (Drop dead Mrs. Webley, principle). Also shopped at Balians, and went every saturday to the Variety movie show for nine cents. Sometimes to the Bards or the Fremont. Our neighborhood was called Fairview Park, though no one used that name. It was all white, then all black, and now heavily hispanic. We used to play in Balogna Creek, (Baloney Creek we called it.) There were ooga horns and rumble seats when I came there. Tail fins and wrap around windows when I left. I'm lucky to have gown up there.

    — Reuben Hart
    August 15, 2012 at 1:09 p.m.

    Just moved into the neighborhood of what is mentioned here as West Adams and love it: affordable property, mixed neighborhood with very friendly, helpful and hardworking neighbors that watch out for each other. No big chain stores, just the small "mom and pop" stores with very eclectic clientele. Expo Line in walking distance (No I wouldn't walk there late at night, but I wouldn't do that anywhere in major US cities!). Culver City just a short bike ride away...Kenneth Hahn State Park just up the hill. And most of all NO PRETENTIOUSNESS. Yes, I heard that there are problems with crime and I probably wouldn't have moved here if I had children but the day we started working on the property, the police as well as 2 ladies from the city council stoppped by to introduce themselves and to get to know us (I think that's a good start). So far I can only express my gratitude to this neighborhood that I consider a hidden gem if you are open to different cultures and seek to interact with them.

    — Maria
    February 22, 2012 at 10:01 a.m.

    I just moved to West Adams a few months ago. When I was a kid living on the West Side, we considered this area a treacherous crime-riddled area that we always stayed away from. Now that I live here I am quite impressed with the community. Almost all of my neighbors are hard-working family-oriented people. I am the only white guy I've seen on my street, but everyone is friendly and respectful toward me. Even the kids are respectful and courteous toward me, which tells me that they were not raised with any kind of attitudes toward any races of people.

    I like it here.

    — Matt
    September 27, 2010 at 12:11 p.m.

    I have lived in the West Adams Area for 29 yrs and I love it. Yes you here police and ambulance sirens, yes you here the occasional guns shots; the usual noises that comes with living in LA. At the same time I have great neighbors who have also lived in their homes for 20 plus yrs. We have shared barbecues, birthday parties and more. Some good times and some bad. I love the West Adams area, that's my neighborhood.

    — April
    March 31, 2010 at 10:48 a.m.

    MOVED IN TO THE AREA IN 1998. COMING FROM WESTSIDE CITY OF SANTA MONICA.. I DONT DARE TO WALK OUT OF MY HOUSE LATE AT NIGHT. I LIVE NEAR REDONDO AND APPLE AND THE STREETS LACK STREET LIGHTS AND THE DUMPING OF OLD FUNITURE ALL ALONG APPLE ON THE SIDE OF THE FREEWAY..THAT IS SCARY..OMG, ANOTHER THING ON BANGOR AND DUNSMUIR WE HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH SO CALL ADULTS SPEED RACING IN CIRCLES BY THE STOP SIGN.. I HAVE NEVER WITNESS POLICE COME AND CHECK OUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD AT ANYTIME DAY OR NIGHT. THE CAR RACING USUALLY LAST ABOUT 30 MINUTES NON-STOP.. SEVERAL COMPLAINT CALLS TO POLICE STATION BUT SO FAR WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR POLICE INVESTIGATE. PLEASE CHECK FOR SEX OFFENDERS IN OUR AREA. WOW.. PLEASE PARENTS TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN IF THEY ARE PLAYING OUTSIDE.. ALOMOST FORGOT TO MENTION THE PROSTITUATION ON DUNSMUIR AND WASHINGTON THAT CORNER HAS BEEN HOT SINCE 1998.. I GUESS THAT STREET IS PENDING FOR CLEANING.

    — ALICIA
    January 15, 2010 at 9:15 a.m.

    I first moved into this neighborhood in 1992. Back then there was very little police presence. My wife and I witnessed several shootings, literally a cross-street shoot-out. I used to jog the streets and saw the extreme decadence of crack, crack-houses and prostitution. Sometime in the early 2000's police presence increased and some areas with uncontrollable crime began to be cleaned, but these elements moved to Jefferson Blvd., as Hatsumi indicates. Since 2000 I have seen an increase of nationalities/ethnicites here: Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Czechs, Polish, and South Americans. The neighborhood is slowly cleansing itself, but more civic duties need to be inspired: the presence of illegal dump-sites atests to this. The constant presence of grafitti,caused by mostly the sons of our own neighborhood, is an irritable visual pollution that needs to be addressed more seriously at Police and Herb Wesson's meetings. Over-all, I love West Adams.

    — L.C.M.
    December 5, 2009 at 11:37 a.m.

    I lived in the West Adams area from the very late 1950s to the early 1970s and returned to live in the area from 1974-1999. We were among the first African American families in this area of Anglo and Japanese American families. Many of our Japanese American neighbors moved to Gardena when the 10 (Santa Monica) Freeway was built in the early 60s. There is certainly a lot of hidden history in my former neighborhod. This includes Nick & Edna Stewart's Ebony Showcase on Washington Boulevard. Nick was an actor who, along with his wife Edna, promoted and paved the way for the success of many Black entertainers. There was also a vibrant club scene on Washington Boulevard roughly between Crenshaw and La Brea including the Parisian Room, It Club and others. Jazz greats such as Theolonious Monk played in these clubs. North of Washington Boulevard, south of Venice Boulevard and west of Crenshaw is a very upscale American neighborhood where many prominent African American Angelenos have resided over the years.

    — Alva
    December 3, 2009 at 12:30 p.m.

    I have lived in the area identified as West Adams for almost 9 years now. We bought our tiny 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom house and have since turned it into a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom home. We are raising 2 young children and have been mostly happy with the direction the area has been turning in the last few years. When we first moved here there were gun shots and grafitti, and while there still remain some bad elements (the prostitution along Jefferson is growing increasingly disgusting and disturbing) the other negatives - crime, grafitti, dilapitated home fronts - have improved a lot. It's ALMOST a decent place to live now! I'm hoping the police continue their crack down on the area. With the new Metro line going in this will hopefully soon be a really wonderful neighborhood like it used to be all those years ago.

    — Hatsumi
    October 18, 2009 at 10:50 p.m.

    I moved on Carlin Street in 1970, right between Hauser and Cochran, and bought a home for 17,000, and Like Robert Green there are some found memories of the area, Balian's Market was our local grocery outlet, always good quality produce, and meats. I remember sitting on the front porch watching the kids play touch football in the street on the weekends. We moved out in 1981, and I occasionally drive through from time to time, and it has changed, every yard is fenced in, bars and gates make it look almost like a prison yard, where the kids once played, cars line it bumper to bumper.

    — James
    September 22, 2009 at 10:52 p.m.

    This is rather small. I grew up here that you have outlined, as well as my niece and nephew, as well as many friends and their generation of friends. You should keep going east to include all the way up to Western.

    According to my parents, the area east of Crenshaw that includes all those beautiful architectural wonders of gorgeous old homes from the early part of the 1900's, was called Sugar Hill by the locals, many who were African-Americans in the entertainment industry and others who were financially successful, as well as some foreign country embassy owned homes. It is officially referred to by the city of L.A. as the West Adams Historical District, I believe. Lovely and changing area, like the rest of L.A. some of the changes are not good but others are wonderful. I like that a lot of young couples and families have moved into the big old Sugar Hill homes and are renovating/restoring them to their glory that belongs there. :)

    — Rosenda
    September 16, 2009 at 5:07 p.m.

    Admitingly the neighborhood you outlined above is ambiguous as to what it's name is because it lies between the more affluent Baldwin Hills and Mid City areas and it's major street carries the name of it's more famous neighbor to the east but it is definitely not West Adams.

    As Michael points out above your map manages to leave out entirely what most people identify as West Adams. The West Adams Heritage Association defines West Adams as being bounded by:

    Pico Blvd on the north,

    Jefferson Blvd on the south,

    West Blvd on the west,

    Figueroa St on the east

    ( source = http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/la/westadams/map/ )

    Freeway and street signage as well as a Google Search business that identify with the area distinctly confirms this.

    To be honest, I have lived here in my studio in the heart of the outlined area above for over ten years and neither me nor my neighbors know what our neighborhood is called. I suspect no one ever cared enough to settle the question and to tell you the truth, I kind of like that my community is nameless. It makes it harder to gentrify. :*)

    — Jason M Saunders
    August 28, 2009 at 11:59 a.m.

    I just returned to this area after an absence of 9+ years, so I'm a bit late in chiming in on the W. Adams story. I hope you can use some of these comments. We (family of 7) arrived on W. Adams, at Carmona St., in mid-1924. My folks took over a "mom & pop" grocery store there, a few years before the Balian family opened its mini-super market just east of Hauser Blvd. The area west of LaBrea was called "Glen Airy," a take-off, I guess, of the Scottish name "Glen Eyre." The Adams street car line ended near Crenshaw, but was extended to Alsace about 1926. At that time, W. Adams was paved only to Redondo, but in the next few years huge storm drains were installed and the street was paved to the Culver City line. Marvin Ave. elementary school was built in 1925, and that's where I attended, from grades 2 to 6.

    Hamilton High School, on S. Robertson, was opened in 1931, when I was an eigth-grader, and I graduated there in 1936. Prior to Hami High, W. Adams kids could go to either L.A. High (new school on Olympic Blvd) or old Poly High, downtown. That was the easier way, as the kids (my older sibs included) could just get on the Adams yellow car for a few pennies and get off right at the school, Grand Ave.

    By the way: as you know, the west of La Brea "Glen Airy" was developed after WW I. The two streets east of Alsace were named "Marne" and "Verdun", after the ferocious battle sites of WW I. Later, the names were changed to Sycamore and Orange (I think). Alsace remained.

    — Robert Green
    June 8, 2009 at 4:04 p.m.

    I'm not sure how the planning desk managed to remove West Adams almost entirely from its own classification of West Adams, but I'm guessing this is what happens when one tries to do cartography from a computer without surveying in person. A Google satellite image alone is not an appropriate method for this exercise - there is a history, a culture to a neighborhood, and even city neighborhood signs that dispute this map.

    — michael
    June 4, 2009 at 11:57 a.m.

    West Adams

    is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the South L.A. region of Los Angeles County.
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    About This Project
    West Adams is one of the 272 neighborhoods in Mapping L.A., The Times’ resource for crime, neighborhoods, demographics and schools.
    About The Data Desk

    This page was created by the Data Desk, a team of reporters and Web developers in downtown L.A.