The Faded Elegance of MacArthur Park
MacArthur Park, once a gem of Los Angeles’ park system has tarnished over time yet many businesses and community groups have made attempts to restore and revitalize one of the cities most notable parks. As a blighted area, criminal activities blatantly occurred in the park, which were not hidden from police, businessmen, community groups or residents. Built in the late 19th century and first named Westlake Park, the open space was known “because of the beauty and prestige of this in town landmark and center of relaxation” according to a Staff Correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor. Located in one of Los Angeles’ most fashionable districts. The area remained home to mostly middle- and upper class families through World War II. Upper class hotels and stores such as Bulloch’s were in the neighborhood. The day the park was renamed, a military parade marched in observation of General Douglas Macarthur. According to a Los Angeles Times article, military services as well as notable civilians paid tribute to General Douglas Macarthur. While the Mayor Bowron was placing a sign in place of the parks opening the Mayor said “Gen. Douglas MacArthur… we today dedicate this park to you. We rename it for you. You represent the kind of sprit we would like to see instilled into the very life of this community” (City Renames Park in Honor of MacArthur). On one side of the park is a lake with a boathouse. In the 1962 Christian Science Monitor article in 1942, “Los Angeles to Rename Park for MacArthur” the writer describes how the canoes and electric boats in the lake had waterside plants, which provided a retreat for its customers in the forties. Today this boat house are is in poor condition with paint peeling and siding crumbling. Its primary purpose is to collect broken grocery carts and broken benches and statues found in the park. The park has gone into a downward spiral of urban decay not because of what Deverell argues that...
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