Hancock Park, located in the eastern portion of the original Rancho La Brea area, was purchased by Major Henry Hancock in 1863. The residential subdivision of Hancock Park was developed by Major Hancock’s son, G. Allan Hancock, in the 1920s. 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. The vast majority of the residences are set back 50 feet from the street, as insisted upon by G. Allan Hancock, and include side driveways generally leading though a porte cochere to a rear garage. Past prominent Hancock Park residents have included millionaire Howard Hughes, entertainers Mae West and Nat King Cole, Broadway Department Store magnate Arthur Letts, Jr., and architect William Pereira.
Windsor Square was developed earlier than Hancock Park. Sometime between 1900 and 1910 a prominent financier named George A.J. Howard envisioned a beautiful tranquil park as a setting for family homes such as one sees in the English countryside in what was then a undeveloped and rural area about half way between the city center (now Downtown LA) and the coast. Howard pushed the early city fathers to make his vision come true, and in 1911, Mr. Robert A. Rowan was able to initiate a unique residential development and called it Windsor Square.
The development was constituted as a private square. Both the homes and the streets would be privately owned. At that time there were dense groves of bamboo in the area which needed to be destroyed before trees and gardens could be cultivated. Intervening walls or fences were discouraged so that one garden ran into another creating a park-like setting. Windsor Square was the first area in the city to have the power lines below grade, an extraordinary innovation for 1911.
To make sure that the homes were significantly upscale as befitted the exceptionally beautiful setting, deed restrictions were set at a minimum cost of $12,550. per home, an enormous amount at the time. Many outstanding architects designed homes for the area including Paul Williams and A.C. Martin. As a result, many of the city’s elite moved west to Windsor Square including Howard (his daughter still lives in his home on Windsor Blvd.) and Norman Chandler who took up life-long residence with his wife Buffy on Lorraine Blvd. Oil magnate John Paul Getty bought a property on Irving Blvd. that is now Los Angeles’ official mayor’s residence.