Leimert Boulevard

Walter Hubert Leimert (1877-1970) was born in Oakland to German immigrant parents. He hung out his real estate shingle there in 1902 and had become one of the East Bay’s biggest developers by the time he set his sights on L.A. in 1923. Here he would plan subdivisions like City Terrace, Beverlywood, and Beverly Highlands (part of the Bird Streets), but you know him for Leimert Park, his namesake community. Leimert got things done quickly: In January 1927, he bought 231 acres of land from Clara Baldwin Stocker (daughter of Lucky Baldwin) for $2 million, christened it Leimert Park, and was promoting it by March. (Leimert was such a salesman, even his ad campaign had an ad campaign!) He then hired landscape architects Olmsted Brothers to give the subdivision its unique layout. A product of its time by a man of his time, Leimert Park was a whites-only enclave until 1948, when the Supreme Court struck down racially restrictive housing covenants. Many white residents were hostile to integration, but after several years of trouble and transition, Leimert Park eventually reestablished itself as a black neighborhood rich in culture and identity.