Westchester

Westchester

Westchester is a suburban neighborhood in western Los Angeles that is located in the eastern part of what is known as the Westchester Bluffs.  The Westchester community is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Playa Del Rey on the west, Playa Vista and Culver City to the north, Inglewood is to the east, and the city of El Segundo to to the south.  Much of the The southern portion of the neighborhood is taken up by the Los Angeles International Airport and the San Diego Freeway runs through the eastern portion of the area.

The history of Westchester is a fairly recent one.  Up through the early part of the 20th century, the area was mostly inhabited by cattle ranches, farmers and some descendants of the Tvonga Native American tribe that had settled into various pockets on the western part of what is now Los Angeles County as far back as 8,000 years ago.  In the early 1900's, perhaps the most important cause for development of the area was the discovery of oil in lower Westchester, the flood plain at the base of the Westchester Bluffs. Sitting between ocean side Playa Del Rey to the southwest and Inglewood to the east, the oil produced a great deal of activity in the area.  The rapid growth of the aerospace industry near Mines Field (as LAX was then known), the move of then Loyola University to the area in 1928, and population growth in Los Angeles as a whole, also created a demand for housing in the area.  In the 1930's, the aviation industry gravitated to the areas surrounding the airport and Westchester, with the main airport, was the epic center of aviation development.  Douglas Aircraft Co., Northrop Corp, and many other aerospace companiees located design and fabrication plants locally.  In the 1950's a variety of different types of businesses started to be headquartered in Westchester, and in the 1960's, the expansion and modernization of LAX led to another boom in the area. In the late 1990's, Otis College of Art and Design moved to Westchester. With Loyola Marymount University, Otis, and most recently, a Pepperdine campus, higher education has become one of the major growth industries in the area. The Colleges and Universities directly contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy each year. The high concentration of well educated young people is of interest to business start-ups, tech companies and the entertainment industry, and many hip boutiques, cafes, restaurants, music clubs and pubs cater to locals and older students.  One of the premiere shopping and entertainment destinations in Los Angeles, The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, is located just off the 405 Freeway in Westchester.  Across from Otis College at the intersection of La Tijera and Lincoln you will find the great Westchester Certified Farmers Market every Wednesday from 8:30am-1:00pm.

Today, Westchester has a booming economy.  While close proximity to an International airport, easy access to Downtown L.A., the Valley and the Westside, and the beautiful beaches next door make Westchester an attractive neighborhood for residents, there are also a number of parks and outdoor activities that the citizens of Westchester enjoy.  The Ballona Wetlands Preserve borders Westchester and the Westchester Recreation Center includes an auditorium, barbecue pits, a lighted baseball diamond, lighted outdoor basketball courts, two indoor basketball courts, a children's play area, a community room, a lighted football field, an indoor gymnasium without weights, picnic tables, a lighted soccer field, and lighted tennis courts. The Westchester Pool, on the recreation center site, is an outdoor unheated seasonal pool.  The Westchester Tennis Courts in the recreation center consist of ten lighted courts.  The Westchester Senior Citizen Center has a 200-person auditorium, barbecue pits, a 20-person community room, a garden, a kitchen, picnic tables, and a stage.  The 8-acre Carl E. Nielsen Youth Park is also located in Westchester.