In the early 1920’s, while Los Angeles was beginning an intense phase of development in all directions, Wilshire Blvd. to the west of Western Ave remained an unpaved dirt road, winding through farms and bean fields. A dynamic visionary, A.W. Ross saw great potential for a particular parcel of this barren landscape. He bought the land surrounding Wilshire between La Brea and Fairfax, because of it’s close proximity to the wealthiest neighborhoods of the time. His plan was to build a vibrant and dynamic banking and shopping district to rival Downtown LA, based on the anticipated potential of the automobile. Despite the doubts he faced among his peers, he forged ahead with buildings and streets designed to be experienced best by car, going 30 mph. The broad Art Deco and Streamline Moderne facades, wide boulevards, large eye catching signs, the first ever auto parking lots, timed traffic lights, and left turn lanes all contributed to the look and success of this ambitious project. The Miracle Mile a name which was inspired by the progress that transformed a dirt road and farms into “the Champs Elyse” of America, in just 25 years, earned this part of Mid-Wilshire its name. An example to other cities this model soon spread across the nation, and would give LA it’s reputation as a car culture.
Off the main bustling streets (Wilshire, Olympic, La Brea and Fairfax) are urban residential neighborhoods with homes of various sizes and styles of architecture including Art Deco, Spanish Revival, and Modern. Straddling the Miracle Mile District and Hancock Park, is a beautiful area between La Brea and Highland, full of charming vintage duplexes and small family homes, on lush green tree lined streets. The location of these neighborhoods, close to many local attractions, and served by main surface streets leading to Downtown, Hollywood, and the Westside, as well as some of LA’s favorite shopping areas, is attractive for those who live an urban lifestyle. There are many public transportation options aimed at reducing local traffic and benefiting the ease of travel.
The Miracle Mile has become best known for being the center of arts culture in LA. Museum Row, which is home to A+D Museum, The Page Museum at historic La Brea Tar Pits, California Crafts and Folk Art Museum, The Petersen Automotive Museum, and the renowned LACMA, one of the finest and largest collections on the west coast. In addition to museums, there are many nightclubs and live music venues, such as the famed El Rey Theater. Shopping on Wilshire used to be key to its successful development, but the attention has shifted since the development of major malls close by. The original Farmers Market founded in the 1930s still thrives in its original location, and is as prized as much today as ever. The Grove, built recently next door, is one of the very popular open air malls built in the city, and features upscale shopping, restaurants, and live concerts, sitting next to Pan Pacific Park just across the street. Trendy Melrose Ave draws the young, hip urban crowd, and Beverly Center continues to be a centerpiece of shopping in LA.