Crenshaw, Los Angeles
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Crenshaw (also known as The Crenshaw District) is a neighborhood and district in southwestern Los Angeles, California. It derives its name from Crenshaw Boulevard, one of the city's principal thoroughfares.
Crenshaw is bordered by Chesterfield Square on the east, Hyde Park on the south, View Park-Windsor Hills on the west. It includes Leimert Park. The district's boundaries are roughly Van Ness and Arlington Avenues on the east, Exposition Boulevard on the north, La Brea Avenue near Baldwin Hills on the west, and roughly Stocker Street & Slauson Avenue on the south. The Crenshaw Strip is the area directly on Crenshaw between Exposition Boulevard on the north and Vernon Avenue on the south.
Charter schools in the area include the KIPP KIPP Academy of Opportunity middle school, Celerity Nascent Charter School the New Design Charter School (built in 2004), the View Park Preparatory Charter High School, and the View Park Preparatory Charter Middle School.
Crenshaw is a largely residential area of single-story bungalows and low-rise apartment buildings, with an industrial corridor along Jefferson Boulevard, and several commercial districts.
Developed from the early 1920s onward, Crenshaw was initially a very diverse neighborhood of Whites (including many Jewish Americans and other Eastern Europeans). Covenants on property deeds barred African Americans and Asian Americans from owning real estate in Crenshaw. During preparations for the 1932 Summer Olympics, Crenshaw's sidewalks and medians, like other Los Angeles neighborhoods, were planted with towering palm trees that, to this day, dominate the area's otherwise low-rise skyline.
After courts ruled segregation covenants to be unconstitutional, the area opened up to other races. A large Japanese American settlement ensued, which can still be found along Coliseum Street, east and west of Crenshaw Boulevard. Blacks started arriving in the 1960s, and by the 1970s were the majority.
Since the 1970s, Crenshaw, Leimert Park and neighboring areas together have formed one of the largest African-American communities in the western United States. Crenshaw suffered heavy damage from both the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Crenshaw has significant middle-class areas, and some areas with high poverty rates such as Baldwin Village.
In 2006, the population of Crenshaw was around 27,600. Recently, with some increased middle-class Black migration to cities in the Inland Empire section of Southern California, the black percentage of the population is down to 63.34% of the population, followed by Latinos (any race) at 30%, White (not Latino), 16.89%; Asian, 4.37%; American Indians, 0.43%; Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders, 0.20%; other races, 9.20%; two or more races, 9.32%.
The Crenshaw district is known for the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza shopping mall, which is home to a tri-level Wal-Mart (formerly a Broadway store and later Macy's), a Sears and a Macy's, as well as many smaller stores. A bid to bring Nordstrom to the mall did not work out. The West Angeles Church of God in Christ, on the corner of Crenshaw and Exposition, is home to Bishop Charles E. Blake.
A misconception is that Crenshaw Christian Center is located in the Crenshaw district. Crenshaw Christian Center is actually located at 7901 Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. The church was originally situated in the Morningside Park district of Inglewood on Crenshaw Boulevard at Hardy Street.
The "Crenshaw Square" sign, a local landmark, had been in serious disrepair for years. In 2007, it was replaced by a modern red-and-green sign that lights up at night.
The Holiday Bowl was a center of activity during the 60s and 70s in Crenshaw. It featured a sushi bar known as the Sakiba Lounge with live musical acts. Its historic Googie architecture has been retained by the new Starbucks in that location.
Crenshaw Boulevard is a major thoroughfare that runs through the Crenshaw district and outside of it. The street starts at Wilshire Boulevard in Hancock Park and runs through several demographically diverse areas to end in Rolling Hills. Tracks for the No. 5 Los Angeles Railway "yellow" streetcars in the 1920s through 1950s ran in the median between Leimert Boulevard on the north to near Florence Avenue on the south. Since the abandonment of the streetcars, the former railway median has been narrowed, the driving lanes improved and the street reconfigured. Because of its large black community, the name "Crenshaw" has become associated with African-American culture.
Metro Local lines 40 and 210, Metro Rapid lines 710 and 740, and Torrance Transit line 10 serve Crenshaw Boulevard; Metro lines 210 and 710 run through the majority of Crenshaw Boulevard to Artesia Boulevard, Metro lines 40 and 740 from Crenshaw District to Hyde Park, and Torrance Transit line 10 south of Artesia Boulevard. The Metro Green Line serves a station on Crenshaw Boulevard underneath Interstate 105, while the Expo Line serves a station at the intersection with Exposition Boulevard. Plans are currently in the works to restore rail service along Crenshaw with a proposed Crenshaw Corridor line.
In the Crenshaw district, Crenshaw Boulevard and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza are served primarily by LADOT and four Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus lines:
- Metro Local Line 40 - South Bay Galleria - Patsaouras Transit Plaza via Hawthorne Boulevard and Martin Luther King Boulevard
- Metro Local Line 210 - South Bay Galleria - Vine Red Line Station via Crenshaw Boulevard, Rossmore Avenue, and Vine Street
- Metro Rapid Line 710 - South Bay Galleria - Western Purple Line Station via Redondo Beach Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard
- Metro Rapid Line 740 - South Bay Galleria - Crenshaw Expo Line Station
Crenshaw Boulevard is also briefly served in the Crenshaw district by the following LACMTA lines:
- Metro Local Line 102 - Los Angeles International Airport to Huntington Park via La Tijera Boulevard, Stocker Street, Exposition Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard
- Metro Local Line 105 / Rapid Line 705- West Hollywood - Vernon via La Cienega Boulevard, Rodeo Road, and Vernon Avenue
Crenshaw Boulevard is also briefly served in the Crenshaw district by the following LADOT lines:
Notable residents and natives
- Arthur Lee, rock singer
- Darryl Strawberry, professional baseball player
- Eric Davis, professional baseball player
- Tremaine Fowlkes professional basketball (NBA).
- Ice Cube, rapper and actor
- Ice-T, rapper and actor
- James Hahn, mayor of Los Angeles, 2001–2005
- Kenneth Hahn, (1920–1997) Los Angeles County supervisor
- Lords of Lyrics, rap group
- Nipsey Hussle, rapper
- Pam Ward, designer/author of Want Some Get Some, a Los Angeles novel
- Saaphyri Windsor, reality television star, winner of "Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School."
- Skee-lo, rapper
- Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles, 1973-1993
- Richard Elfman and Danny Elfman, sibling musicians (The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo/Oingo Boingo)
- De'Anthony Thomas, college football player for the Oregon Ducks
- Robinson-Jacobs, Karen, "Noticing a Latin Flavor in Crenshaw," Los Angeles Times 2 May 2001: D1.
- Urban renewal project in L.A. begets blight instead - By Ted Rohrlich, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 10:38 PM PDT, April 27, 2008
- Christopher Hawthorne, "Crenshaw Boulevard comes to a crossroads", Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2012.
- Los Angeles Railway in Brief - Map of Streetcar Routes
- 5 Line
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