Monday, May 22, 2006

City "Squares"

Across Los Angeles, there are ceremonial signs posted for a number of reasons. Most are the tan, brown-lettered signs that evoke cultural significance. The ones that I find most interesting are the "Squares" designated at intersections across the city. Most are still in this tan & brown motif, but this was not always the case. There are still some from the early days of naming "squares" that are white signs with blue lettering, like Andrei Sakharov Square at Laurel Canyon & Ventura Boulevard.

So, what about these City-designated squares?

The first "square" in the City was designated in 1918 in honor of General John J. Pershing. This was a 5-acre parcel of land in the center of the City. The next "square" was not dedicated until 1975 with the designation of Fletcher Bowron Square, in honor of the former Mayor, at the location of the Los Angeles Mall in the Civic Center. It would be about 5 years later that John Ferraro designated the first intersection a "Square" in an individual's honor. A few more were designated over the next decade, but it has only been in the last 10 years that 75% of the squares were designated by the City.

And of all the squares since Ferraro's first proposal, the only Councilmembers to honor someone with a square have been the following 14: Farell, Ferrraro, Galantar, Garcetti, Goldberg, Hernandez, LaBonge, Parks, Perry, Reyes, Ridley-Thomas, Wachs, Walters, & Yaroslavsky. And the top movers on such actions? Perry with 7 and a 3-way tie for third with 4 each: Garcetti, Ferraro, & Parks.

Since 2001, seven honorees were alive at the time of the designation. This is interesting to note because in 1991, Reverend Joseph Lee Jr Square, in honor of the pastor of the Heavenly Vision Missionary Baptist Church, located at 243 W 85th St., was denied by the city because it was -at the time - the City policy not to name "squares" after living people. That has since changed, but Rev. Lee still does not have an official "square."

All areas of the City have squares from Venice (1) to Hollywood (10). The Valley only has 4 in Studio City and North Hollywood. The Harbor Area is the only part of the City that doesn't have any. (Now, to be fair, the reason there are no "squares" there is because Councilwoman Janice Hahn has named honorary streets in honor of people and groups rather than a "square.")

Below are the 42 City Squares in the approximate order of their designation:

General John J. Pershing Square: 5th Street & Olive

Fletcher Bowron Square: Temple, Los Angeles, & Main Streets

Edgar F. Magnin Square: block bounded by Wilshire Blvd - Hobart Blvd - 6th St & on E by Harvard Blvd

Raoul Wallenberg Square: Beverly Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.

David Ben Gurion Square: northeast corner of Wilshire & San Vicente Boulevards

Prince Hall Square: 91st Street & Figueroa Street

Andrei Sakharov Square: Ventura Boulevard & Laurel Canyon Boulevard

Dosun Ahn Chang Ho Square: West Jefferson Blvd & Van Buren Ave

Ramond Chandler Square: Hollywood Blvd & Cahuenga Blvd

Yitzhak Rabin Square: Ventura & Lankershim Boulevards

Jose Marti Square: Glendale Boulevard and Park Avenue

Bishop William Lugene Smith Square: Wadsworth Avenue and 52nd Street.

Carlos Gardel Square: North Gower St. and Waring St.

Roy & Ray Wolze Square: Pasadena Avenue, Avenue 26 and Daly Street

Theo Wilson Square: Camrose Drive and Glencoe Way

Carmen Miranda Square: Hollywood Blvd. and Orange Drive

Duke Ellington Square: 42nd Place and Central Avenue

Famous Amos Square: northeast corner of Sunset Blvd and Formosa St

Bishop E.L. Holmes Square: Westminster Ave & 7th Ave

Edith Wyle Square: Wilshire Boulevard and Stanley Avenue

Lester "Les" R. Fisher Square: northeast corner of First Street and Fremont Avenue (in front of Fire Station 3)

William Edward Hooper: Bakman Avenue & Magnolia Boulevard

Menelva Tippie Square: 116th and Avalon Boulevard.

Joel Wachs Square: Grand Avenue & 2nd Street

C. Bernard Jackson Square: The City block on the north side of Pico Boulevard, between New Hampshire Avenue & Vermont Avenue

Ira Yellin Square: 3rd Street and Broadway (includes Hill Street, too)

Billy Wilder Square: Sunset Boulevard & La Brea Avenue

Bob Hope Square: Hollywood Boulevard& Vine Street

Morris Kight Square: McCadden Place & Hollywood Boulevard

Judge Harry Pregerson Square: Hill Street and First Street

Amelia Earhart Square: Magnolia Boulevard & Tujunga Avenue

Malcolm X Square: Martin Luther King Boulevard & Central Avenue (outside of Bilal Islamic Center)

Officer Ricardo Lizarraga Square: Central Avenue between 34th Street and 35th Street

Dr. Cecil L. 'Chip' Murray Circle: 25th Street between Hobart and Harvard Boulevards

Tom Bradley Square: 3807 Welland Avenue (his residence)

Celia Cruz Square: Hollywood Boulevard & Argyle Street

Gene Autry Square: Hollywood Boulevard & Highland Avenue

Ray Charles Square: Washington Boulevard and Westmoreland Avenue

Dr. Frederick K. C. Price Square: 79th Street and Vermont Avenue

Freedom Square: Martin Luther King Bl. & Crenshaw Ave.

Pastor Wade Square: 42nd Place & Figueroa Street

Dr. Earl C. Cotton Square: 54th Street and Main Street

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