Hancock Park is filled with sprawling mansions. And that makes driving through these residential, tree-lined streets a car-slowing, jaw-dropping experience.
The neighborhood owes its residential development to G. Allan Hancock.
According to the Office of Historic Resources, “outstanding architects of the era designed the palatial two-story, single-family residences in various Period Revival styles (including Tudor Revival, English Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Monterey Revival, and American Colonial Revival) for influential members of Los Angeles society. Most residences are set back 50 feet from the Street, as insisted upon by G. Allan Hancock, and include side driveways generally leading through a porte cochere to a rear garage.” One of those outstanding architects was Paul Revere Williams.
Architect Paul Revere Williams
While a student at Polytechnic High School, he was advised by one of his teachers to give up his dream of becoming an architect because “he would have difficulty attracting clients from the majority white community and the smaller black community could not provide enough work.” He ignored this advice.
In 1921, Williams became a licensed architect. He opened his firm in Los Angeles and was the first African-American American Institute of Architects (AIA) member.
He steadily built his practice over time and earned a reputation among the affluent crowd as the go-to architect for glamour, charm, and historic flair. According to paulrwilliamsproject.org, “as his reputation grew, his practice expanded to include buildings now considered landmarks: MCA, Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Springs Tennis Club and Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building. The private residences he designed for leaders in business and entertainment became legendary: actor Bert Lehr, comedians Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, dancer Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, popular entertainer Frank Sinatra, and the entrepreneurial Cord and Paley families.”
In contrast to the stately-sized residences lining the streets, architect Gregory Ain designed the Beckman House for pharmacist A.O. Beckman and his family.
Focused on modern architecture, Ain was instrumental in bringing this aesthetic to lower and medium-cost housing and became known as the architect for the working man.
Before being invited by John Entenza to participate in the Case Study House Program, he worked at the Beckman House. A pin-wheel shape with clean lines and views of the outdoors from every room of the home embodies his modernist ideals.
Local Grub & Things To Do
Located in the center of Los Angeles, this neighborhood is just a stroll away from restaurants, movie theaters, and museums. Here are a few local faves.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses an impressive collection. Featuring over 100,000 art pieces, your visual senses are captivated by various paintings, sculptures, and unique experimental art forms. The variety of art represents the diversity in LA. Collections from Asia, Latin America, India, Europe, and American art all sit under one roof. The museum comprises several buildings: the Ahmanson Building, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, the Art of the Americas Building, the Hammer Building, the Pavilion for Japanese Art, and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Plaza.
LA Brea Tar Pits
The tar pits are a national natural landmark. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that scientists and geologists discovered bone deposits found in the asphalt as Ice Age fossils. The museum displays over 750,000+ specimens of plants and animals, including saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and mammoths.
Make sure to check out the Fishbowl lab. It’s pure paleontology heaven. Located at the museum’s center, you can witness how Ice Age fossils are cleaned, studied, and prepared for exhibit.
Peterson Automotive Museum
It’s only natural this car-centric city has one of the world’s largest automotive museums. The Streetscape diorama and the rotating exhibit spaces show off the museum’s collection of hot rods, classic rides, vintage vehicles, celebrity wheels, motorcycles, artwork, and sculptures.
This farmers market is open seven days a week. Located at the corner of Fairfax and 3rd Street, the market features hundreds of food stalls, eateries, and food vendors.
When you are satiated from the delicious bites at the Farmers Market, you can head over to The Grove. This 575,000 square foot, open-air retail and entertainment complex is filled with department store favorites, J.Crew and Barnes and Noble.
On The Map
Hancock Park is located in Central Los Angeles. The surrounding areas include Fairfax, Hollywood, Larchmont, Mid-Wilshire, and Windsor Square. The area’s zip codes include 90036, 90020, 90004, 90005, and 90019.