How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Shared memories of Boyle Heights' Wyvernwood

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A post from earlier this week featured a video produced by the Los Angeles Conservancy telling the story of the Wyvernwood Garden Apartments, a unique 70-acre Boyle Heights complex built in 1939 that, for much of its existence, has been home to generations of immigrants and their Los Angeles-raised families. Much of the footage was contributed by residents who are trying to save the complex, eventually scheduled to become the site of a new condo, apartment and retail development.

In passing, I mentioned a fascinating Facebook page on which former residents, some of whom were raised amidst Wyvernwood's sprawling grassy lawns and winding paths, share memories of growing up there. The most recent entries are a few months old, but they provide such a rich slice of Eastside life, both good and bad, that they're worth sharing in detail. Here are a few, unedited.


Video: Boyle Heights' Wyvernwood apartments

The Los Angeles Conservancy has produced a video that tells the story of Boyle Heights' historic and unusual Wyvernwood Garden Apartments, a sprawling 70-acre complex built in the late 1930s where generations of immigrants have raised generations of Angelenos.

The complex, which I visited a while back, is unique in that its buildings are set among vast grassy fields, giving the place a sense of space and breathability while housing about 6,000 residents. It's an anomaly in Los Angeles, especially in this dense part of the city.

Regrettably, the complex faces the wrecking ball. The Florida-based investment company that owns it announced plans in 2008 for a $2 billion redevelopment in that would replace its 1,187 existing units with 4,400 condominiums and apartments, including high-rises, and retail space. The developer has said that demolition is not imminent, but residents have mounted a resistance.