Do you ever wonder what our beloved boulevard looked like in 1921, when it was first developed by Julius La Bonte?
“My father always had a very clear idea of what Larchmont Boulevard should be,” Charlotte La Bonte Lipson told the Larchmont Chronicle in a 1991 interview about her father’s founding of the street. “He always saw it as a service street for the carriage trade of Windsor Square and Hancock Park.” It was the first neighborhood shopping center in Los Angeles.
As you pick up your coffee, pizza, yogurt or juice… as you beautify or bank, shop for a pair of shoes or shades, get a flu shot or a T-shirt… do you ever wonder about the history of our street and who walked there before you?
Arcadia Publishing, the leading local history publisher in the US, has selected Larchmont Boulevard as the subject of one of their wonderful, picture-rich, essay books. You probably know the series. Paperbacks, with distinctive, sepia-toned, photographic covers, they employ a formulaic but vivid and effective approach to local history. The Arcadia catalogue includes over 8,000 local titles, including Griffith Park, Atwater Village and Beachwood. And, now — it’s time for Larchmont Boulevard’s close-up!
I am thrilled that Arcadia editors have asked me to be the author and editor. My task is to collect and compile over 100 photographs, and write captions to best tell the 93-year history of our beloved boulevard.
Jane Gilman and The Larchmont Chronicle have generously allowed me access to their voluminous archive and photo collection. Founded in 1963, The Larchmont Chronicle has been the “paper of record” for the boulevard and surrounding community. The Larchmont Chronicle images will be invaluable to the book, especially in telling the story of the latter half of the 20th century.
Thumbing through The Chronicle archives, I am reminded again and again that Larchmont is more than an address, more than a street — it is families and personalities, pictures and memories — and I would love to include yours! If you or your family have pictures or stories to share, please contact me. I will consider them for possible inclusion in the book — with proper credit, of course!
There are official photographic archives all over the city and I am making the most of them. Yet early images are of especial interest, and rare. If you have anything that might be of interest — in a drawer, scrapbook or box in your attic, you can contact me at [email protected].
Larchmont Boulevard is scheduled for publication next year.