Three completely distinct and separate areas make up the Carthay community; they are Carthay Square, South Carthay, and Carthay Circle. Some of the most unique architectural designs can be found in these three areas; which were built in the 1920s and 1930s.
Carthay Square is situated north of Pico and south of Olympic Boulevard, between Fairfax and the east side of Crescent Heights. Style varies regarding the houses built in the 1920s and 1930s; there are many delightful Spanish homes complete with beautiful tile roofs and on the other side of the spectrum, a number of Country English-style homes with leaded glass windows, Tudor detailing and high pitched roofs can be found as well. Variety here is abundant; one-story single-family homes on decently sized lots are pitted with two-story homes and two-story duplexes. The 1000 block consists mostly of single family homes while the 1100 block contains both duplexes and single family homes. The 1200 block is unlike the others because it is almost entirely multi-unit properties. The area is a mixture of old and new coming together; that is, many young singles and couples are purchasing homes and duplexes and live right next to the older generation of homeowners who now have a long history with the neighborhood. Out of 525 homes, Carthay Square has an active homeowners association with over 400 participating members. Part of its charm is its diversity as well as friendliness; residents are often seen chatting with neighbors and walking their pets in the early evening.
South Carthay is situated south of Olympic Boulevard and north of Pico between La Cienega and the west side of Crescent Heights. If Spanish flavor is your style, South Carthay may just be the perfect neighborhood for you. Spiros Ponti, a Greek immigrant who was once in the movie business but turned to home building during the Depression, built many of the one-story Spanish homes in the area. Other houses of this genre were built by Steinkamp who left his distinctive mark on the chimneys of the homes that he built. Both builders were incredibly detail-oriented - hardwood floors with intricate borders, windows with stained glass insets, skylights of stained glass, extraordinary tile, and beautiful moldings. The homes of South Carthay are mostly one-story, three bedroom houses with 1.75 baths. Two-story homes can be found on the east-west streets. On the 1000 block of Alfred one can find gorgeous duplexes and a number of larger unit buildings can be found in the 1200 blocks. Since the early 1980s, South Carthay has remained a Historical Preservation Overlay Zone.
Carthay Circle (Web Site)
In 1922, Carthay Circle was developed by J. Harvey McCarthy. Centrally located, the neighborhood is comprised of 136 acres, but it is not circular, contrary to its name. The specific boundaries of Carthay Circle are Wilshire Boulevard to the north, South Fairfax Ave. to the East, Olympic Ave. to the south, and Schumacher Drive to the West. Carthay Circle's location most closely borders Beverly Hills with the lovely La Cienega Park nearby. This area was designed with all the utilities underground, which makes it especially attractive to homebuyers. No two homes are alike due to the rule that all homes had to be designed individually by an architect. Designs vary immensely; one can find Spanish, English, Colonial, Mediterranean, and Cape Cod style homes. Notable designers such as Paul Williams and Robert Byrd contributed to the designs of the area and many celebrity actors resided in Carthay Circle.
Certain streets in Carthay Circle feature both single-family homes and one-story duplexes that look like single-family homes. These combined streets can be found on Commodore Sloat, Hayes Drive, and Schumacher Drive. Original two-story homes were built on Warner Drive and Barrows Drive, but the majority of homes are one-story. These homes range in size from 1700 to 2300 square feet, but most measure in at 2000 square feet, on large lots.
When the community was first developed it had an elementary school, non-denominational church, a food market with delivery service, a dry cleaner, and a bank. The most famous aspect of the community was the Carthay Circle Theater where many movie premieres were held. It was located on 6316 San Vicente Blvd for approximately 40 years. It opened in 1926 and was a combination of Art Deco and Spanish Baroque style. On December 28, 1939, "Gone with the Wind" premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater as well as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" on December 21, 1937. The theater tower, being a multi-colored dome, and the auditorium being circular, inspired the name change from "Carthay Center" to "Carthay Circle" to occur. On March 18, 1969 the theater was torn down because it was not earthquake safe and an office complex was soon its replacement.
History of Carthay Circle
Carthay Circle is a neighborhood that is entirely accessible by foot. When planning the development between 1922 and 1944, the designers chose to make the street pattern irregular. The streets are one to three blocks long and are not connected to the nearby major boulevards. There are several walkways, such as:
Carthay Circle is unique in that it is the FIRST neighborhood to have underground utilities -the telephone poles and lines as well as electric wires are kept out of sight. The streets are lined with Chinese Elm, Sycamore, and American Ash trees. Although the zoning was primarily for single-family homes, apartments and duplexes were built so as to complement the already existing single-family homes.
The streets of Carthay Circle are embedded with California history because J. Harvey McCarty named the streets in remembrance of people of the California Gold Rush. Around the center of Carthay are three bronze statues of pioneers, Juan Bautista de Anza, Daniel O'McCarthy, and John "Snowshoe" Thompson. The artist, Henry Lion, created all three statues.
The church that J. Harvey McCarthy built for his mother, Amanda Anderson McCarthy, was originally located on the corner of Olympic and Carillo where the Episcopal Church is now located. Built in 1924, Alfred Eichler, the architect, and supervising architect, Horatio W. Bishop constructed the church in Mediterranean Colonial style. Residents of the area knew the church as simply "Amanda Chapel."
The architectural firm of Cook and Hall were hired to execute McCarthy's plans for Carthay Circle. Horatio W. Bishop and Carleton Monroe Winslow were appointed as supervisory architects. The latter was one of the constructors for the famous Los Angeles Public Library in downtown LA.
Amongst the various styles found in Carthay Circle, the Spanish Colonial style is the most popular. Other styles, such as French Norman, Monterey Revival, and English Tudor can also be found along the streets of Carthay Circle. Interestingly, when it was first developed, the property values for Carthay Circle were more expensive than those of Beverly Hills.
The Carthay Circle Home Owners Association was incorporated in the early 1920's. They insured that all properties were well-kept and that any plans for construction were to be submitted to the C.C.H.O Association first. The association is now called the Carthay Circle Neighborhood Association because its members include home owners as well as renters. In 1998, Carthay Circle was designated as a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone.
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