Lakewood Center: The Core of a Community (Modern Architecture in Los Angeles)

Updated : Oct 12, 2019 in Articles

Lakewood Center: The Core of a Community (Modern Architecture in Los Angeles)

They fell in love with Lakewood. They loved the way the homes and streets
were laid out so neatly around the super-modern shopping centers with acres of free parking. Their whole pattern of living,
working, and shopping became that of modern suburbia. To many, Lakewood was paradise. Lakewood being a place that was built almost overnight because of the GIs. It was like the creation of a whole city to take care of the new generation
of people after the war, this kind of new optimism. And in that kind of
classic suburban layout they needed a shopping center. This is the May Company center at Lakewood. 1949Ñ51, right in that era. It was, if not the first shopping center in the United States, it was one of the first. And ordinarily shopping, you know, the department stores were in downtowns,
and all lined up on a street. Here they pulled it aside, had the parking go around it, had big service tunnels underneath it, and it really became a new model for how the suburban world
would unfold. That the shopping wouldn’t be
all in a bunch of little shops anymore, it would be in one big large center.


  • Thank you for uploading this. My mother has always told me about how the Lakewood mall was originally an open air shopping center.
    It's a little surreal to actually see it in that way.

  • I lived in Lakewood up until 1986 when the house we were renting was sold. I consider Lakewood to be my childhood home. however judging from recent photographs and information I've received about the area I don't know if I would want to go back and live there. it has changed a lot .

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