In the early 1920s, when Wilshire Boulevard was unpaved and the city largely unimproved, a fellow named A.W. Ross took a chance on a parcel of land between La Brea and Fairfax avenues along Wilshire. Visualizing the dusty area as a suburban shopping center, the 18-acre stretch of Wilshire was dubbed "Miracle Mile" when Ross' dream came true, with glistening new stores and bustling shoppers eager to try the newfangled rear parking lots.
Early 1920s Spanish-style homes and duplexes share blocks with Country English and Tudor styles. As the area has grown in popularity, so has the density.
On Orange Grove Avenue, for example, some four-plexes have been replaced with seven-unit buildings, adding to the parking congestion.
Other apartment buildings have been replaced by large-scale condominium complexes, such as those along the 700 block of Spaulding Avenue.
By the 1980s, about half of the original properties in some parts of Miracle Mile had been demolished. Many older units in the area bounded by Detroit Street on the east, Hauser Boulevard on the west, 3rd Street on the north and Wilshire to the south had been replaced with higher-density units. Clamoring for historic designation, residents have pushed to protect older and architecturally significant properties.
Although designation is still pending in that section, a neighboring portion has been approved by the city of Los Angeles. The Miracle Mile North Historical Preservation Overlay Zone stretches from 3rd to Beverly Boulevard and extends west of La Brea and east of Gardner Street.
A plus for locals is the walk-to convenience of restaurants, shops and several museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Page Museum.
The corner of 3rd and Fairfax has long been the home of the Los Angeles Farmers Market, a quaint center for boutique shopping and souvenirs. The block changed dramatically in 2002, when the eastern portion of the market was redeveloped into the Grove, a high-end open-air retail and entertainment center.
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