On the northeast corner of the Farmers Market parking lot, at Fairfax Avenue and 3rd Street, stands an adobe. Built by Spanish settlers in 1852, it was part of a 256-acre ranch sold to dairy farmer A. F. Gilmore in 1870.
One day in 1880, while drilling for water, Gilmore struck oil. He soon became a petroleum tycoon, and the fields not occupied by wells lay vacant. Fifty-four years later, Roger Dahljelm, a bakery bookkeeper, convinced Gilmore’s son, E. B., head of the family business, to rent small plots to farmers for vegetable stands.
The first 17 vendors, having set up shop in their trucks and then in crude canvas structures, were soon joined by bakers peddling cakes and by farmers selling sausage from ice-filled washtubs. Today, the 150 stores, restaurants and open-air markets, which operate alongside 28 oil wells, attract an average of 20,000 visitors a day. The adobe serves as corporate headquarters for the A. F. Gilmore Co.
Beverly-Fairfax--a 3.2-square-mile region bordered by Willoughby Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard on the north and south and by La Brea Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard on the east and west--has a population of about 39,000.
More than 30% of the residents are 65 or older, contrasted with 9.6% in all of Los Angeles. More than 65% of the population is Jewish.
There are 35 board-and-care facilities for the elderly and 12 nursing homes in the area.
The number of Orthodox temples--21--is more than half the total in Los Angeles; nine of the community’s 26 synagogues are on Beverly Boulevard.
Canter’s, a Fairfax Avenue landmark since 1948, is the largest delicatessen in Los Angeles. Each week, the 24-hour deli serves 3,700 pounds of corned beef, 1,500 gallons of chicken soup, 7,000 pickles and 12,000 cups of coffee. Regular customers include Wilt Chamberlain, Prince, Neil Diamond and Rodney Dangerfield.
There are 13 kosher meat markets in the district.
Park Labrea, which occupies 44 city blocks between 3rd and 6th streets and between Fairfax and Cochran avenues, is the largest apartment complex in the western United States. More than 10,000 tenants occupy the 4,253 units.
Famous graduates of Fairfax High School, at Fairfax and Melrose avenues, include Mickey Rooney, Timothy Hutton, Ricardo Montalban, David Janssen, Jerome Hines and Herb Alpert.
The Beverly-Fairfax Community Patrol, a crime-prevention service staffed by 250 volunteers, is the largest unarmed volunteer neighborhood patrol west of the Mississippi River.
Vitalize Fairfax, a community improvement project, begun in 1980, commissioned the painting of the 110-foot historic mural on the People’s Market building. Future plans call for the planting of 52 palm trees and the renovation of 100 storefronts along Fairfax Avenue.
CBS Television City, 7800 Beverly Boulevard, was the first facility designed exclusively for television production. Since opening in 1952, it has produced such shows as “The Judy Garland Show,” “Playhouse 90,” “The Carol Burnett Show” and “All in the Family.” Current programs include “The Price Is Right,” "$25,000 Pyramid” and “The Young and the Restless.”
May Co. Fairfax, built in 1939, at Wilshire and Fairfax, was the company’s first branch store.
Miracle Mile, the portion of Wilshire Boulevard between La Brea and Fairfax, was named in the 1930s by promoter A. W. Ross in a successful attempt to attract shoppers to the district.
Leader Beauty Shop, on Fairfax, accommodates up to 400 patrons at one time; it uses about 60 pints of blue-tone hair rinse each week.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will increase its space by 60% once its current expansion is completed. The museum’s collections of Indian and Southeast Asian art and European paintings and sculpture are internationally renowned.
Donated to Los Angeles County in 1916, La Brea (Spanish for “the tar”) Pits are the world’s richest deposit of Ice Age fossils. Since 1906, 3 million fossils have been recovered, the oldest dating back 38,000 years. More dire wolves--about 3,000 total--have been found than any other animal. The remains of one human, an Indian woman, were excavated in 1914.
The George C. Page Museum houses the fossils found in La Brea Pits. On exhibit are reconstructed composite skeletons of mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves and giant birds. The bones and fossil fragments housed in the ossuary, a storage area not open to the public, would cover more than 20,000 square feet.
Produced by Linden Gross. Research and text by Mary Allen Daily. Demographics reflect currently available figures.