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Westchester is a neighborhood in western Los Angeles, California, United States. It is home to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Loyola Marymount University (LMU), and Otis College of Art and Design.



Westchester is located in the eastern part of the Del Rey Hills AKA the Westchester Bluffs. The Westchester community is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Playa del Rey on the west. Its northern border is defined by and includes the area now know as Playa Vista, as well as Culver City, and the unincorporated area of Ladera Heights. The Playa Vista community is located with the northern portion of Westchester. The city of Inglewood is to the east, and the city of El Segundo is to the south. The southern portion of the neighborhood is taken up by the Los Angeles International Airport (a.k.a. LAX). The San Diego Freeway runs through the eastern portion of the area.[citation needed] The Westchester Neighbors Association defines its boundaries as "the area within the City of Los Angeles: east of Sepulveda Boulevard, north of Manchester Avenue and west of the I/S 405 Freeway (San Diego Fwy)."[1]


Like most of what is now southern Los Angeles County, Westchester began the 20th century as an agricultural area, growing a wide variety of crops in the dry farming-friendly climate. The rapid development 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, created a demand for housing in the area. In the late 1930s, real estate magnate Fritz Burns developed a tract of inexpensive prefabricated single-family homes on the site of a former hog farm at the intersection of Manchester and Sepulveda Boulevards. This community, dubbed "Westchester", grew by leaps and bounds as the aerospace industry boomed in World War II and afterward.

Howard Hughes, the famous aviator, movie director, and tool company owner, operated a large manufacturing plant in northern Westchester in the area now known as Playa Vista. Hughes Airport (IATA: CVR), a private airport, was part of the manufacturing plant. The street named Runway Drive is laid out in the approximate location of the former Hughes Airport runway.

The Hughes facilities were commonly called "Hughes's Culver City" facilities, even though this area has never been part of the City of Culver City. This appellation continues today in any number of publications that discuss Howard Hughes himself, or his companies. The Hughes facilities were owned by Hughes Tool Company, operated by Hughes Aircraft, a company that specialized in building aviation navigation and communication systems, and the profits went to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Hughes's nearly spruce-free "Spruce Goose" wood-bodied transport airplane was built in the Hughes facilities. The plane was disassembled into major components in 1947, transported to Long Beach on then-rural roads, and reassembled. Howard Hughes himself flew the H4 for little over one mile (1.6 km), but the plane was never flown again.

At the center of Westchester, what was once the Loyola Theater is now a medical office building.

The 1960s saw the introduction of airliners that could make trans-Pacific flights without refueling, causing a massive increase in air traffic at LAX. While Westchester residents successfully blocked a northward expansion of the airport, the increase in noise from jet takeoffs greatly decreased the desirability of the residential areas adjoining LAX. In response, the city of Los Angeles began a longstanding program of purchasing houses from noise-weary homeowners; as a result, a number of streets just north of the airport have been decommissioned, and the homes along those streets have either been demolished or moved to other locations. The 18-hole Westchester golf course became a 15-hole course. A local elementary school, the Westchester Neighborhood School, relocated out of the area in 2005, in part due to airport noise, and renamed itself the Westside Neighborhood School. With this experience fresh in mind, local opposition to an expansion of LAX first proposed in the late 1990s rose to fever pitch. As of 2006, no alterations to LAX have taken place, and expansion of the City of Los Angeles-owned airports in the distant cities of Ontario and Palmdale appears more likely.

As part of the 1960s expansion and modernization of LAX, the now famous landmark "Jet Age" style Theme Building opened. This iconic building has itself been modernized and is the location of Encounter Restaurant.

In the late 1990s, Otis College of Art and Design, with approximately 1000 full-time and 3000 part-time students, moved to Westchester from its previous location near downtown Los Angeles. What is now named the Kathleen Ahmanson Hall was designed by architect Eliot Noyes in 1963 to house an IBM research center. This well known local landmark, a seven story, 115,000-square-foot (10,700 m2) building, has a distinctive "punch card" window design. The two story Galef Fine Arts Center, designed by Frederick Fisher Architects, opened on the campus in 2001. The complex geometry and corrugated metal forms contrast with the "punch card" vocabulary of Ahmanson Hall. Together, these buildings comprise the Elaine and Bram Goldsmith Campus. Ironically, the Otis building has Westinghouse brand elevators.

With Loyola Marymount University and Otis only blocks from one another, Westchester has undergone a shift away from defense/aviation related industries (which have declined significantly since the end of the Cold War) and has become a college town. In 2004, a Graduate School of Pepperdine University relocated to the north-east quadrant of Westchester. The private college/university students, paying tuition typically well in excess of $30,000.00 per year, are a huge boon to local economy. Adding living expenses to tuition, merchants gladly count the $45,000.00 - $55,000.00 per student, per year, dropped into the local economy.

During the beginning of the fall 2008 semester, Westchester residents became more concerned with the off-campus parties hosted by Loyola Marymount University students. Los Angeles-based KNBC 4 interviewed approximately 12 Westchester homeowners over their concerns with LMU.[2] The piece aired on Friday, September 5, 2008. It was met with criticism by LMU students because KNBC did not interview a student in the piece.[3]


Approximately 50% of the local housing stock consists of single-family detached homes, most of which are modestly sized ranches and bungalows on small lots.

In 2009, the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these Westchester neighborhood statistics: population: 41,500; median household income: $77,473.

According to data from the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project, the demographics are White (52.3%), Asian (9.2%), African American (16.6%), Latino (16.5%) and Other (5.3%).[4]


In 1975 Continental Airlines had its headquarters on the grounds of LAX.[5] Prior to its dissolution Western Airlines had its headquarters at LAX.[6] Prior to its dissolution, regional airline Air L.A. was headquartered in Westchester.[7] Prior to its dissolution cargo airline Flying Tiger Line had its headquarters at LAX.[8] Prior to its dissolution Regentair had its headquarters in Westchester.[9]

Government and infrastructure


Local government

Los Angeles Fire Department Station 5 is in Westchester.

Los Angeles Police Department operates the Pacific Community Police Station at 12312 Culver Boulevard, 90066, serving the neighborhood.[10]

County, federal, and state representation

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services SPA 5 West Area Health Office serves Westchester.[11]

The United States Postal Service Westchester Post Office is located at 7381 La Tijera Boulevard.[12] The United States Postal Service Airport Station is located at 9029 Airport Boulevard, Los Angeles 90009-9998.



Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Westchester is served by six zoned public elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The area is within Board District 4.[13] As of 2009 Steve Zimmer represents the district.[14]

Zoned elementary schools:

  • Kentwood Elementary School
  • Westport Heights Elementary School
  • Cowan Avenue Elementary School
  • Paseo Del Rey Elementary School
  • Loyola Village Elementary School

Zoned middle schools:

Zoned high schools:

LAUSD-affiliated charter elementary schools:

  • Open Magnet Charter School [1]
Private schools

Westchester has several private K-8 schools and one high school, including:

Colleges and Universities

Sacred Heart Chapel on Loyola Marymount Campus


Los Angeles Public Library operates the Westchester-Loyola Village Branch.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Westchester" entry on the Los Angeles Times "Mapping L.A." website
  5. ^ World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 20, 1975. "482.
  6. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 131." Retrieved on June 17, 2009.
  7. ^ World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 22-28, 1995. 51.
  8. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 83." Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
  9. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 29, 1986. 116.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "About Us." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  12. ^ "Post Office Location - WESTCHESTER." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
  13. ^ Board District 4 Map. Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved on November 24, 2008.
  14. ^ "Board Members." Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved on September 16, 2009.

External links

Coordinates: 33°57′35″N 118°23′59″W / 33.95972°N 118.39972°W / 33.95972; -118.39972


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