As if Southern California wasn’t already awesome enough being homeland to Hollywood, the Pacific, timeless trends, and that progressive percussion that always seems to influence the nation. It’s also a place that cares about things like cultivating culture and preserving the past that its rooted in. Take the neighborhood of Harvard Heights, Los Angeles, for instance. Situated in the Central Los Angeles region, Harvard Heights is one of many municipally designated areas in the historic overlay zone. Historic preservation advocates have hailed California for its progressive efforts that have expanded the selection of historic sites from including just individual buildings to deeming entire neighborhoods or districts as worthy of historic preservation. Harvard Heights has benefited well from the effort and may have been all but lost had it not been for its inclusion in the historic overlay zone.
Like much of the downtown area, Harvard Heights experienced a steep decline in residency as the territory urbanized and people began moving to new developments on the outskirts of town. The overall population of the neighborhood changed and in time most of the residence were older African Americans. Freeways came through, bisecting the neighborhood and Harvard Heights was noted as a “once grand neighborhood that was in danger of falling apart”.
In the early 1990’s, as commutes to outer areas grew longer, people began moving back to the city. With the re-influx of residents, the city developed creative ways of meeting the demand while simultaneously creating innumerable eclectic repurposed neighborhoods. Industrial and commercial zones turned residential. Once empty streets became filled with live-work lofts, creating inspired village like life in the midst of a hustling bustling city center. Harvard Heights and it’s Craftsman houses, circa 1902-1910, have been called, “a preservationists dream come true”.
Harvard Heights is a great place to enjoy a truly authentic SoCal experience. You can check out some of the best things to do near Harvard Heights like The Chandelier Tree, The Broad, Unique LA, California Science Center, Cinespia Cemetery Screenings, LACMA, Walt Disney’s Barn, The Getty Center, Skirball Cultural Center, or of course Griffith Observatory where you can catch some of the most breathtaking views of SoCal.
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