Boyar Avenue

Named for real estate mogul Louis H. Boyar (1898-1976), best known for developing Lakewood. Born Louis Harold Boyarsky to a Russian Jewish family in San Francisco, Boyar grew up in Chicago. He married his neighbor Mae Rachel Cohen (1903-1960) in 1924 and they had two children: Marshall and Pearl. Relocating to Los Angeles c. 1935, Boyar initially worked for a gold dealer, which landed him in hot water in 1938 when he was convicted of selling contraband gold. (He paid a fine and avoided prison.) Boyar then got into building veterans’ housing, first in Alhambra with Morris A. Sommers (who named Boyar Avenue here in 1942) then in Lakewood, where he and partners Mark Taper and Ben Weingart constructed some 23,000 homes within three years. Meanwhile, Mae Boyar had become deeply invested in the foundation of the Jewish State of Israel: she and Lou were very close to Golda Meir and lobbied the likes of Harry S. Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt for support. Lou Boyar’s last major subdivision was in West Hills; after Mae’s death, he dedicated himself to Israel’s growth and raised billions of dollars for the country via bond sales. Mark Boyar, Lou’s little brother, was also a big developer: see Jacmar Drive.