In writing my How to do Los Angeles walks (also this one and this one), I’m finding that Los Angeles really loves squares. And I don’t mean Pershing Square or Lafayette Square, I’m talking about naming intersections after important Los Angeles and worldwide figures. I’ve included as many as I can on my maps, and I just keep finding more!
Surprisingly, there is no online database for Los Angeles’s squares. And so, I am starting this post, listing all the squares that honor individuals from and not from Los Angeles. If my How to do Los Angeles posts were a book, this would be one of those asides, printed on top of a light gray background to differentiate it from the actual text. On this blog, it’s simply a new post.
Okay, here goes. Everything is listed in alphabetical order (by first name). Three asterisks (***) mark the most recognizable names.
***Amelia Earhart Square – Magnolia and Tujunga, North Hollywood – Aviation pioneer. First female to fly solo across the Atlantic. Disappeared while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. Lived in nearby Toluca Lake, and the library on the NW corner of this intersection is also named after her. A statue of her accompanies the square.
Andrei Sakharov Square – Laurel Canyon and Ventura, Studio City – Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident, and human rights activist. Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Not sure why this specific intersection was named after him.
Bob McCord Way – El Canon Ave at Calabasas, Calabasas – Founder of Sagebrush Cantina, located near this intersection. Former president of the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Basset H. Brown Square – 27th and Central, South LA – CEO of the Central Neighborhood Health Foundation, located at this intersection. Provides healthcare to uninsured and low income individuals.
Dr. Betty Berzon Place – Ventura Place and Radford, Studio City – Psychotherapist and openly gay woman who founded the country’s first social service agency for gays and lesbians, at a time when her profession still classified homosexuality as a mental disorder. Resident of Studio City.
***Billy Wilder Square – Sunset and La Brea, Hollywood – One of classic Hollywood’s greatest directors, responsible for Sunset Blvd, Some Like It Hot, Double Indemnity, The Apartment, and others. No sure why this specific intersection was named after him, other than that it is on Sunset Blvd.
***Bob Hope Square – Hollywood and Vine, the other most famous intersection in Hollywood – Entertainer and actor best known for his comedy and his numerous USO shows. One of four individuals to have a Walk of Fame star in four our of five eligible categories.
***Bob and Dolores Hope Square – Lankershim and Moorpark, Toluca Lake – Another Bob Hope honor, this one including his wife Dolores. The couple, married for 69 years, were longtime residents of this community. Dolores has her own star on the Walk of Fame, honoring her contributions to live theater. Bob Hope’s home parish was the church on the SW corner of this intersection; his funeral was held here as well.
Carmen Miranda Square – Hollywood and Orange, Hollywood – Singer, dancer, actress, and film star. On V-J day, she performed a famous impromptu dance near this intersection.
***Carol Burnett Square – Highland and Selma, Hollywood – Actress, comedian, and writer. Graduate of Hollywood High School, located on the east side of this intersection.
***Celia Cruz Square – Hollywood and Argyle, Hollywood – Cuban American salsa performer. Not sure why this specific intersection was named after her.
Bishop Charles E. Blake Square – Crenshaw and Jefferson, Torrance – Pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, located on the NW corner of this intersection. CEO of Save Africa’s Children, which assists AIDS and orphaned children in Africa. Appointed by Barack Obama to serve on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Officer Charles P. Williams Square – 6th and Central, Downtown’s Skid Row – Los Angeles’s first black police officer killed in the line of duty. Was shot while responding to a call near this intersection. Buried in an unmarked grave because his widow could not afford the cost of a headstone. One has since been added, paid for by the city.
Judge Delbert E Wong Square – Ord and Hill, Chinatown – First Chinese American judge in the United States, as part of the Municipal Court of Los Angeles Judicial District. Not sure why this specific intersection was named after him.
Do San Ahn Chang Ho Square – Jefferson and Van Buren, South LA – Korean independence activist and one of the early Korean leaders in the United States. Intersection is close to his family home, located on 36th Place.
Edith R Wyle Square – Wilshire and Stanley, mid-city – Artist and art patron. Founder of the Craft and Folk Museum located near this intersection.
Ernest Fleischmann Square – First and Grand, Downtown’s Civic Center – Thirty year Executive Director of the LA Philharmonic, who brought the orchestra to worldwide prestige. The LA Philharmonic’s old home (the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion) and new home (the Walt Disney Concert Hall) and on the NW and SW corners of this intersection, respectively.
Ezat Delijani Square – 7th and Broadway, Downtown’s Historic Core/Broadway Theater District – Real estate developer and philanthropist who bought and restored the Los Angeles, Tower, Palace, and State theaters, all located near this intersection.
Fletcher Square – Fletcher and San Fernando, Eagle Rock – Don’t know who or what this square is named after, other than the street that runs through it. Designated in order to “build a sense of identity and generate neighborhood pride”.
Fletcher Bowron Square – Temple and Main, Downtown’s Civic Center – 35th mayor of Los Angeles. Steadfast against corruption, beloved by the city’s citizens. Served 16 years. Not sure why this specific intersection was named after him. Sight of the Triforium. Former site of Los Angeles’s first newspaper, first hotel, and the last capital of Mexico’s California.
Francis K Hashimoto Plaza – 2nd street between San Pedro and Central, Little Tokyo – CEO of Mikawaya, a Little Tokyo based bakery. Leader of various organizations to help promote the development of Little Tokyo.
***Gene Autry Square – Hollywood and Highland, the most famous intersection in Hollywood – Entertainer, actor, and philanthropist with many ties to Hollywood. Only person with a Walk of Fame star in every available category.
Dr. Gene H Kim Square – Olympic and Vermont, Koreatown – Prominent Koreatown leader who was instrumental in the campaign to designate Koreatown and establish Korea Day in Los Angeles. The Koreatown Festival and Parade, which he first staged in 1974, starts at this intersection.
George Barris Place – Riverside and Riverton, Toluca Lake – Custom car icon who’s most famous works include the 1960s Batmobile, Munster Koach, and Hirohata Merc. Barris Kustom Industries is located on the NW corner of this intersection.
Gower Gulch – Sunset and Gower, Hollywood – Not a square but still an unofficially named intersection. Formerly the home of four different movie studios, and cowboys would congregate at this intersection in the hopes of obtaining background work in the Western the studios were shooting.
Guy Weddington McCreary Memorial Square – Lankershim and Weddington, North Hollywood – Businessman and activist who led the redevelopment of North Hollywood, including bringing the Red Line to the San Fernando Valley.
Ian Campbell Square – Carlos and Gower, Hollywood – Los Angeles Police Officer who, along with his partner, was kidnapped during a traffic stop at this intersection. Later murdered, although his partner managed to escape. He was a bagpipe player, and bagpipes were played at his funeral, a tradition that the LAPD continues to this day. Documented in The Onion Field.
Imam Abdul Karim Hasan Square – 41st and Central, South LA – Muslim clergyman who worked at the nearby Bilal Islamic Center for 35 years.
Ira Yellin Squares – 3rd and Hill, Downtown’s Historic Core / 3rd and Broadway, Downtown’s Historic Core/Broadway Theater District – Real estate developer who restored numerous architectural landmarks in Los Angeles, including the Million Dollar Theater and Grand Central Market, located on the southern block between these two intersections.
Joel Wachs Square – 2nd and Grand, Downtown’s Civic Center/Bunker Hill – Thirty year city council member who resigned to become head of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York City. Lived in Studio City but honored with this intersection to recognize his involvement in promoting the arts (the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art are on the NW and SE corners, respectively).
John Fante Square – 5th and Grand, Downtown’s Bunker Hill/Financial District – Author best known for his semi-autobiographical life in Los Angeles novel Ask the Dust. Spent much of his struggling years at Central Library, which is located on the SW corner of this intersection.
John Parkinson Square – 5th and Spring, Downtown’s Historic Core – Los Angeles architect whose most famous works include the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles City Hall, and Union Station. Not sure why this specific intersection is named after him, as his office was located between 2nd and 3rd on Spring.
Dr. Kee Whan Ha Square – Wilshire and Vermont, Koreatown – Businessman, entrepreneur, and 20+ year President of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles. Not sure why this specific intersection is named after him.
Ken Genser Square – Olympic and Main, Santa Monica – Twenty-one year city council member and three term mayor for the city of Santa Monica. This square is located at the entrance to Santa Monica’s City Hall.
Officer Landon Dorris Square – 5 fwy south exit 140B (towards Glendale Ave) and Riverside, Silverlake – LAPD officer stuck and killed by a passing motorist while conducting an accident investigation near this intersection.
***Larry King Square – Sunset and Cahuenga, Hollywood – CNN talk show personality. The CNN building is located on the SW corner of this intersection.
***Malcolm X Way – Central and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Leimert Park – Muslim leader and civil rights activist. Assassinated by fellow Nation of Islam members while giving a speech in Manhattan. Malcolm X cronicles his life story. This intersection is located what is considered the center of black culture in Los Angeles.
Officer Mario Navidad Square – Fairfax and Whitworth, Little Ethopia – Los Angeles Police Officer who was killed while investigating a theft from a 7-Eleven near this intersection.
***Matthew Shepard Human Rights Triangle – Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood – Wyoming college student who was tortured and left to die because he was gay. The crime motivated the inclusion of homosexuality into hate crime legislation.
***Mickey Rooney Square – Sunset Blvd and Orange Dr, Hollywood – American radio, stage, and film actor known for his roles emphasizing traditional American values. Rooney graduated from Hollywood High School, located on the NE corner of this intersection.
Morris Kight Square – Hollywood and McCadden, Hollywood – Gay rights leader. Organized the world’s first street closing gay pride parade, down Hollywood Blvd, in 1970.
***Oscar A. Romero Square – Pico and Vermont, Mid City – Catholic Church Bishop and fourth Archbishop of San Salvador in El Salvador. Assassinated in 1980, with no arrests made. Intersection is located in a heavily Salvadorian/Central American populated area.
Persian Square – Westood and Wilkins, Westwood – Named to honor the many Persian businesses on and around this intersection.
Raoul Wallenberg Square – Beverly and Fairfax, West Hollywood – Swedish diplomat and humanitarian who issued protective passports and saved 10,000-100,000 Jews during WWII. Later detained for espionage by the Red Army, where he reportedly died in a Russian prison camp. Second ever honorary citizen of the United States. Not sure why this specific intersection was named after him, although it is located in a heavily Jewish community. A statue accompanies the square.
***Ray Bradbury Square – 5th and Flower, Downtown’s Bunker Hill/Financial District – Author best known for his dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451. A lifelong supporter of libraries, he spent much of his struggling years at Central Library, located on the SE corner of the intersection.
***Raymond Chandler Square – Hollywood and Cahuenga, Hollywood – Writer/screenwriter who redefined the noir/detective genre. It is said that the office of his most famous character, Philip Marlowe, was located in the building on the NE corner of this intersection.
Dr. Sammy Lee Square – Olympic and Normandie, Koreatown – Korean-American platform diver. First Asian-American to win Olympic gold for the United States. Not sure why this specific intersection is named after him, other than that it is on Olympic Blvd in Koreatown.
***Steve McQueen Square – Santa Monica and Highland, Hollywood – Hollywood star best known for his roles in The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bullitt. Known as ‘The King of Cool’. Not sure why this specific intersection was named after him.
Sung Kyun Chang Square – Western and 8th, Koreatown – Prominent Korean entrepreneur and real estate developer. Not sure why this specific intersection was named after him.
Sunset Junction – Sunset, Santa Monica, and Sandborn, in Silverlake – Unofficial named intersection where Sunset and Santa Monica Blvds merge/split. Former site of a major rail hub before its dismantling in the 1950s.
Taix Square – Sunset and Park, Echo Park – Honoring Taix French Restaurant, which was founded in downtown Los Angeles in 1927. The current location, on the corner of this intersection, was founded in 1962.
Theodor Herzl Square – Beverly, Canon, and Lomitas, Beverly Hills – Austro-Hungarian journalist, considered the father of modern political Zionism and in effect the founder of the state of Israel. Not sure why this specific intersection was named after him. Serves Will Rogers Memorial Park.
Tom Morales Square – Caroll and East Edgeware, Echo Park – Spearheaded efforts to preserve this Victorian neighborhood by making it the city’s first historic district. His family home, also a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument, is adjacent to this intersection.
Officer Tommy Scott Square – Lincoln and Sepulveda, part of Pacific Coast Highway, Westchester – First Los Angeles airport police officer killed in the line of duty. Los Angeles International Airport is located to the SW of this intersection.
William Edward Hooper Square – Magnolia and Bakman, North Hollywood – Crossing guard for nearby Lankershim Elementary School, struck and killed by a motorist who lost control of his vehicle. The sign commemorating this Square is obscured by tree branches.
Dr. William Matthew Brent Square – 59th and Brentwood, South LA – Forty-three year pastor of the Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church, located on the NE corner.
***Woody Guthrie Square – 5th and Main, Downtown’s Historic Core/Old Bank District – Singer-songwriter and folk musician who lived in this area and took local odd jobs before achieving success as a musician.
***Yitzhak Rabin Square – Lankershim and Ventura, Studio City – Nobel Peace Prize winning Israeli Prime Minister who was assassinated in 1995. The intersection was chosen because it is well traveled and near a metro station, although it does not have much to do with the honoree himself.