Westchester is a secluded suburban community covering 5000 acres in the Westside Region of Los Angeles, California.
North of Marina Del Rey and adjacent to the beach city of Playa Del Rey, Westchester contained farmlands that grew crops like celery, lima beans, strawberries and cauliflower well into the 1960’s. At one time it was the site of several fruit and vegetable stands. Today it is a quiet family friendly community with many long term residents.
What transformed Westchester from farmlands and fruit stands to a secluded residential community? Howard Hughes and his expanding Aircraft business.
Howard Hughes – aviator, filmmaker, and Hughes Tool Company heir – established Hughes Aircraft in Glendale, CA in 1932. The company operated out of a corner of a Lockheed Corporation hanger in Burbank until 1941, when it was relocated to the Ballona Wetlands site. Here, Hughes built a sixty-thousand-square-foot, air-conditioned plant, equipped with state of the art machines and laboratories. The eleven buildings, including one very large airplane hanger, stood at the end of a nine thousand foot runway pointing in the direction of the Pacific; it was the longest privately-owned airstrip in the world.
Originally, the homes in Westchester, Los Angeles, California were built to provide housing for the many employees of Hughes Aircraft.
As you drive down the tree-lined quiet streets you can see most of the homes in Westchester were built between 1940 and 1960 and feature the unique character of that time.
In recent years some owners have rebuilt new homes. Pride of ownership is strong in the neighborhoods, and the two, three and four bedroom original homes are mostly well-maintained. Several have been extensively remodeled. Slightly off the beaten path in Los Angeles, Westchester area residents can enjoy some peace and quiet. You can see a map of the area here:
Family is strong in Westchester with kids of every age throughout the neighborhoods. Many current residents raised their families and stayed.
On some blocks neighbors know each other well. In the morning and evening you can expect to see people walking their dogs and enjoying the gentle ocean breeze coming from the coast.
Today, Westchester is a city in its own right within the great metropolitan complex of Los Angeles. The community is proud of its 73 hotels and motels, including many of the most attractive in Los Angeles; its more than 250 retail outlets in a regional shopping center surrounded by acres of free parking; the more than 300 industrial plants, employing 150,000 persons in a one mile radius of the airport; restaurants, its fine public schools, and of Loyola University, an outstanding institution of higher learning as well as Otis College of Art and Design.
It was not always this developed. In 1947, Westchester honorary mayor, Mrs. Yvonne Boynton, moved into the family’s new home. “We were nearly two miles from the airport,” she said, “but we could see everything that went on. The only thing between us was the bean fields.”