Baldwin Hills Estates (BHE) is often cited as Los Angeles' hidden secret. The community's central location provides beautiful vista views of the surrounding communities, from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Downtown District. Its central location also positions it 10 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport, 15 minutes from Downtown, and minutes away from some of Los Angeles' most popular venues and sites.
Located atop a natural hilltop in the historic Baldwin Hills, the residential community is adjacent to the Crenshaw District and is bounded by La Brea Avenue to the west and Stocker Avenue to the southeast. Don Ricardo, Don Diablo and Don Felipe Drives border the BHE to the north. The larger geographic context of BHE includes formerly developed oil fields to the west side of Baldwin Hills and residential neighborhoods at the base of the incline. Well-known neighboring sites include the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area; the communities of View Park, Leimert Park and Ladera Heights; and the historical Olympic Village built in 1932 to accommodate the Olympic games.
History of Baldwin Hills estates
The Baldwin Hills Estates was originally part of the 4,481.5 acre "Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera" given in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Vicente Sánchez as part of the Mexican land grants establishing major ranchos or settlements throughout Alta California. Cienega derives from the Spanish word cienaga, which means swamp or marsh land. Paso de La Tijera is the Spanish name that translates into Pass of the Scissors. This name was used to describe the trail that cut along the Baldwin Hills, which resembled a pair of open scissors. "Paso de la Tijera" appears in maps circa 1860 where a path crosses a stream, at the present-day intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards. The areas encompassed by the dual-named ranch are now known as Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills, Baldwin Hills, and Leimert Park.
(Los Angeles County court documents for Tomas Sanchez land grant. Source: UC Berkeley)
Vicente Sánchez was alcalde, or mayor, of Los Angeles from 1831-1832 and again in 1845 until his death in 1846. Upon his death the rancho was inherited by Sánchez widow Maria Victoria Higuera and his grandson Tomás Sánchez. Tomás was equally involved in the early governance of Alta California, having held positions as county sheriff and as a member of county and city legislative bodies. The younger Sánchez held control of the land until 1875 when he sold Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera to Francis Pliney Fisk (F.P.F) Temple, Arthur J. Hutchinson, Henry Ledyard and Daniel Freeman. Temple experienced financial difficulties and in 1875 Elias J. (Lucky) Baldwin acquired portions of the rancho giving his name to the hills that dominated the western section of the land, thereafter known as the Baldwin Hills.
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