In the early 1920s, as Los Angeles was beginning an intense phase of development in all directions, Wilshire Boulevard west of Western Ave remained an unpaved dirt road, winding through farms and bean fields. A dynamic visionary, A.W. Ross, saw great potential for a particular parcel of this barren landscape. He bought the land surrounding Wilshire between La Brea and Fairfax, because of its close proximity to the wealthiest neighborhoods of the time. His plan was to build a vibrant and dynamic banking and shopping district to rival Downtown LA, based on the anticipated potential of the automobile. Despite the doubts of his peers, he forged ahead with buildings and streets designed to be experienced best by car, going 30 mph.
The broad Art Deco and Streamline Moderne facades, wide boulevards, large eye-catching signs, first-ever parking lots, timed traffic lights and left turn lanes all contributed to the look and success of this ambitious project. Inspired by the transformation of a dirt road and farms into the Champs Elysee of America in just 25 years, this stretch of Mid-Wilshire was dubbed the Miracle Mile. The model soon spread across the nation, and would give LA its reputation as a car culture.
Off the main bustling streets (Wilshire, Olympic, La Brea and Fairfax) lie urban residential neighborhoods with homes of various sizes and architectural styles including Art Deco, Spanish Revival, and Modern. Straddling the Miracle Mile District and Hancock Park between La Brea and Highland is a beautiful area full of charming vintage duplexes and small family homes on lush, tree-lined streets. The location of these neighborhoods, close to many local attractions, and served by main surface streets leading to Downtown, Hollywood, the Westside and some of LA’s favorite shopping areas, is attractive to those who prefer an urban lifestyle. There are many public transportation options aimed at reducing local traffic and easing travel. The Miracle Mile has become known as an LA center of arts and culture. Museum Row is home to A+D Museum, The Page Museum at the historic La Brea Tar Pits, the California Crafts and Folk Art Museum, The Petersen Automotive Museum, and the renowned Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), with one of the finest and largest collections on the West Coast. There are also many nightclubs and live music venues, including the famed El Rey Theater. Shopping on Wilshire was key to its successful development, but attention has shifted since the development of major malls nearby.
The original Farmers Market, founded in the 1930s, still thrives in its original location. The Grove, next door, is one of the most popular open air malls in the city, with upscale shopping, restaurants, and live concerts. Trendy Melrose Ave draws the young, hip urban crowd, and Beverly Center continues to be a retail centerpiece in LA.
Information provided by Pacific Union