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Lafayette Square
afayette Square in Los Angeles was created in 1912 when the Crenshaw Security Company subdivided the barley fields and pastures in the Rancho Las Cienegas area of Los Angeles, on the western edge of the West Adams District. This community became the last and greatest of George L. Crenshaw’s ten residential developments.
Crenshaw’s concept for Lafayette Square was based on traditional European plans. The centerpiece is St. Charles Place, a broad palm-lined avenue with a landscaped center median. It was designed as a Spanish pasear, or park, a place where residents could stroll and socialize.
Lafayette Square is composed of 236 homes, most of which were built in the decade following World War 1. In keeping with the international flavor of Crenshaw’s original design for the neighborhood, the homes were built in a myriad of styles; Italian and Venetian Revival, Spanish Colonial, Mediterranean, English Tudor, Neo-Classical, American Federal, Cape Cod. 
This distinguished neighborhood has always attracted many prominent citizens, including theater impresario Alexander Pantages, who built a chain of 30 ornate theater and movie palaces; George Pepperdine, the founder of Pepperdine University; financier Norton Simon, an art connoisseur whose collection now fills the Norton Simon Museum; boxer Joe Louis, “The Brown Bomber;” Princess Conchita Pignatelli, society editor of the Herald Examiner; and of course, George L. Crenshaw and his son Charles Crenshaw
Restrictive covenants originally barred minorities from owning property in many Historic West Adams District neighborhoods, including Lafayette Square. However, in the years after World War 11, many eminent black families purchased homes in the community, including Claude Hudson, founder of Broadway Federal Savings and Loan and president of the Los Angeles N.A.A.C.P; the composer William Grant Still; and the prolific architect Paul R. Williams.
Today, the residents uphold Crenshaw’s vision for this elegant residential park through their conscientious care for the maintenance and landscaping of their beautiful homes. With access only on St. Charles Place at Crenshaw Boulevard, gated streets keep away commuter traffic and allow Lafayette Square to remain a quiet refuge. 
The Lafayette Square HPOZ was created in 2000. The designation of Historic Preservation Overlay Zone helps ensure that Lafayette Square will retain its original charm and distinctive character.