The Friends of the Jefferson Park Library provided us with these great photos from their archives.
Prior to 1974, the current location of Leslie Shaw Park had an apartment building and other residential structures on adjacent lots. This photo is looking south toward Jefferson Boulevard, with Prescott Court, a pedestrian through way, on the left. According to the Jefferson Park Historic Resources Survey Report:
“In 1974, Great Western Savings & Loan Association donated several parcels west of the library on north side of Jefferson Boulevard for the creation of a public park.”
The structures were demolished by January 18, 1974, as shown by this photo looking north from Jefferson Boulevard at the lot where the apartment had been. The caption says in part
"The Recreation and Park Commission has approved $6,500 for the land acquisition and also has requested an equal sum from the City Council. The land is located at 2221 W. Jefferson Blvd."
Here we see a sign announcing the future park: "Future site of Jefferson Park" and crediting Councilman David Cunningham and Mayor Tom Bradley. Note from the wording that the neighborhood at that time was not known as Jefferson Park, although that name appeared on the early tract maps. (The neighborhood identity as Jefferson Park came later.) This photo shows Mayor Tom Bradley and neighbors at the groundbreaking ceremony for the park on April 8, 1974. Apparently, several speeches were given from this mobile stage. Please use the contact form if you can help us identify who the speakers are. The speaker in the next photo is David Cunningham, Jr., Councilmember for CD 10. (Fascinating trivia: According to Wikipedia, he was elected in a special election on September 18, 1973. The results of the election were Cunningham, 8,199 votes; Takei, 6,552; - that's George Takei, famous for playing Sulu in Star Trek) The Los Angeles Times covered the groundbreaking the following day: Although the January 18, 1974 caption above reports that $13,000 was requested to purchase the land, this later caption says the site was on property donated to the city by Great Western Savings and Loan Assn. According to a city biography of Leslie N Shaw, Sr., the park was dedicated in his name in 1979. Learn more about Leslie N Shaw, Sr.
* Thank you to Friends of the Jefferson Park Library for providing us with the wonderful photos.