Hancock Park is a historic and affluent urban neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. Its boundaries are Rossmore Avenue to the East, Melrose Avenue to the North, Highland Avenue to the West, and Wilshire Boulevard to the South. Its East and West borders are often confused with Larchmont Village and Windsor Square to the East, and the Fairfax District to the West. Contrary to popular usage, Larchmont Village and Windsor Square are (technically) not part of Hancock Park “proper” – rather, they are their own distinct neighborhoods.
Hancock Park was developed in the 1920s, by the Hancock family, with profits earned from oil drilling in the former Rancho La Brea (much of which is now the Miracle Mile district). Hancock Park owes its name to developer-philanthropist G. Allan Hancock, who subdivided the property in the 1920s. Hancock, born and raised in a home at what is now the La Brea tar pits, inherited 4400 acres, which his father, Major Henry Hancock had acquired from the Rancho La Brea property owned by the family of Jose Jorge Rocha.
Some 71 oil wells were operating at capacity on the land from 1905 to 1910. Nine years later Hancock subdivided the property into residential lots. He leased 105 acres to the Wilshire Country Club with an option to buy. The Hancock Park development was started on Rossmore Avenue and moved west to Highland Avenue in 1921.
Architects such as Paul Williams, A. C. Chisholm and John Austin were hired to design homes for many of the city’s pioneer families. The list of families who moved into Hancock Park’s first homes reads like a “Who’s Who” of California: Doheny, Chandler, Huntington, Van Nuys, Crocker, Banning, Newmark, Van de Kamp and Duque, were some of the early residents.
In sharp contrast to most Los Angeles neighborhoods, houses in Hancock Park are set well back from the street, most power and telephone lines are buried, and fences are strongly discouraged. The area also surrounds the Wilshire Country Club and the Los Angeles Tennis Club. These characteristics, along with the area’s abundance of classic Los Angeles architecture, have made it one of the most desirable areas in all of Southern California ever since its development, and the average household income of its residents consistently ranks among the highest in the United States.