Carthay Circle/South Carthay Historic Area

Carthay Circle/South Carthay Historic Area

J. Harvey McCarthy developed Carthay Circle, originally called Carthay Center, between 1922 and 1944.  He envisioned the neighborhood, named after a variation of his surname, as a complete community with a church, elementary school, hotel, theater, commercial center and a variety of housing opportunities. Captivated by California history, McCarthy named the streets in honor of prominent figures of the California Gold Rush.  Carthay Circle was the first subdivision in Los Angeles to be planned with underground utilities, maintaining the streetscape free of the clutter of telephone poles and electric wires. The architecture of this primarily residential HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone) is dominated by the Spanish Colonial Revival style in keeping with its founder’s fascination with California history, although examples of the Tudor, French, and American Colonial Revival styles can also be found. Once home to the famed Carthay Circle Theater, site of such film premieres as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Gone with the Wind, the multicolor tiled circular dome atop the theater tower and the circular auditorium inspired the community to change the name from “Carthay Center” to “Carthay Circle.”

South Carthay HPOZ is located on the site of the former vegetable fields for Ralph’s Market. Residential development in the area began during the early 1930's.  Almost half of the single-family dwellings in South Carthay were designed and built by Greek developer Spyros George Ponty, who built homes throughout Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. Ponty and other contractors constructed homes in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The characteristic use of low-pitched red tile roofs, arched doors and windows, and smooth stucco exterior finishes provides visual continuity and cohesiveness to the neighborhood. South Carthay residences are exceptional for their quality construction, skilled craftsmanship, decorative detailing, and individuality — no two homes are exactly alike..






*Please note that the MLS/Claw does not categorize Historic Districts and, as such, some properties may be listed that are adjacent to the HPOZ neighborhoods or in the same zip code. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have regarding the historic status of a home.

Recognizing the need to identify and protect neighborhoods with distinct architectural and cultural resources, the City of Los Angeles has developed an expansive program of Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZs). HPOZs, commonly known as historic districts, provide for review of proposed exterior alterations and additions to historic properties within designated districts. 

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