Willowbrook is a census-designated place (CDP) in Los Angeles County, California. The population was 34,138 at the 2000 census. The community is located within the unincorporated part of South Los Angeles.
Willowbrook is the home of the troubled Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, which had been cited multiple times for failures in hospital accreditation. Also located in Willowbrook is the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which oversees residency training programs, allied health programs, a medical education program (jointly with the University of California, Los Angeles), a medical magnet high school, the area Head Start program, and various centers for health disparities research. Due to severe deficiencies, the former King/Drew Medical Center lost accreditation of several key residency training programs.
Willowbrook is often confused with the city of Compton because both communities are located next to each other. Willowbrook is within the sphere of influence of the city of Compton.
Willows and a slow, shallow brook distinguished this portion of the Los Angeles plain long before it was given the name "Willowbrook." A lone-standing streamside willow tree near the present intersection of 125th Street and Mona Boulevard was an original rancho boundary marker in the 1840s.
Willowbrook was rich in springs in the early days and winter rains would bring up fine stands of rye grass between gravelly ridges left by long-ago floods of the Los Angeles River. As early as 1820, Anastacio Avila was grazing cattle on the land and by 1843, the Mexican governor had granted him 3,599 acres (14.56 km2). This grant was named the Rancho La Tajauta and it extended from the marshes along present Alameda Street westward to approximately the present line of the Harbor Freeway. All of present-day Willowbrook is within the area covered by Rancho La Tajauta.
The first subdivisions in the Willowbrook area were filed in 1894 and 1895 on land along what is now Rosecrans Boulevard. The first official use of the name Willowbrook came in 1903, when the Willowbrook Tract was recorded with the County Recorder. The tract straddled the newly opened Pacific Electric railway line to Long Beach. There is no evidence that a townsite was envisioned and street patterns were not coordinated with adjacent tracts. The name Willowbrook came into use for the whole area, because the Big Red Cars of the Pacific Electric Railroad Company stopped at 126th Street in Willowbrook.
Lot buyers in Willowbrook expected to live a definitely suburban life. The deep lots (in many cases as deep as 300 feet, or 91 meters) attracted working-class families, especially newcomers to Southern California. The Big Red Cars provided fast, reasonable transportation to department stores in downtown Los Angeles and to jobs in the Long Beach and San Pedro harbor areas. During the Depression years, residents used the land behind their homes to grow fruits and vegetables, run hogs, and raise chickens. These land uses, together with the vacant lots covered with mustard plants, intensified the area's rural appearance. After the end of the Depression and World War II, increasing suburban development occurred in Willowbrook, but not to the extent that it substantially altered the area's rural character. Even the 1965 Watts Riots did not change that, although Willowbrook suffered damage to a number of its buildings, including Willowbrook's community library.
The mixture of suburban and rural land uses continued in Willowbrook into the early 1980s, when the area began to lose its rural character due to a redevelopment plan drafted by the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) under the leadership of Ted Watkins and supported by Los Angeles County. Under this plan, 365 acres (1.48 km2) of Willowbrook land was redeveloped to provide new commercial and residential facilities. As a result, present-day Willowbrook appears similar to other communities in the South Central section of Los Angeles.
|Willowbrook CDP |
Population by year ,
As of the census of 2000, there were 34,138 people, 8,476 households, and 6,823 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 3,524.3/km² (9,121.6/mi²). There were 9,042 housing units at an average density of 933.5/km² (2,416.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 16.06% White, 44.91% African American, 0.72% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 34.98% from other races, and 2.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 53.60% of the population.
There were 8,476 households out of which 47.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 29.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.5% were non-families. 16.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.97 and the average family size was 4.35.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 37.3% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 14.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $27,811, and the median income for a family was $30,107. Males had a median income of $22,250 versus $23,615 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $9,865. About 26.8% of families and 30.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.5% of those under age 18 and 16.8% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Willowbrook is located in the 25th and 27th Senate Districts, represented by Democrats Edward Vincent and Mark Ridley-Thomas respectively, and in the 51st and 52nd Assembly Districts, represented by Democrats Curren D. Price Jr. and Mervyn M. Dymally respectively. Federally, Willowbrook is located in California's 37th and 39th congressional districts, which have Cook PVIs of D +27 and D +13 respectively and are represented by Democrats Laura Richardson and Linda Sánchez respectively.
The United States Postal Service Willowbrook Post Office is located at 2241 East El Segundo Boulevard in the CDP.
Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital is in Willowbrook.
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is located in Willowbrook.
Most residents are zoned to schools in the Compton Unified School District. Zoned elementary schools within the CDP include Anderson, Carver, Jefferson, King, and Lincoln. Bunche Middle School, Willowbrook Middle School and Centennial High School are located outside of the CDP in Compton. Cesar Chavez Continuation High School is in Willowbrook.
Avalon Gardens Elementary School, in Willowbrook, serves the LAUSD areas. Residents of the LAUSD areas continue to Peary Middle School and Gardena High School in Gardena. Banneker Special Education Center, a special LAUSD school, and King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science, an LAUSD magnet school, are in Willowbrook.
County of Los Angeles Public Library operates the Willowbrook Library at 11838 South Wilmington Avenue, inside the CDP.
Los Angeles County operates area parks.
The 7.22-acre George Washington County Carver Park (previously Willowbrook Neighborhood Park) has a lighted baseball field, an arts and crafts room, a "Nike GO" outdoor basketball court, a community room, a lighted softball field, a multipurpose field, a multipurpose room, picnic areas with barbecue pits, a swimming pool
The 94-acre Earvin "Magic" Johnson County Recreation Area, mostly in Willowbrook and partially in Los Angeles, has play areas for children, picnic areas with barbecue pits, two fishing lakes, soccer fields, toilet facilities, and walking paths.
Enterprise County Park, a 10-acre park located in the Rosewood neighborhood in Willowbrook, has an athletic field, a lighted baseball/softball diamond, a community recreation room, a gymnasium, a multi-purpose field, picnic areas with barbecue pits, and a swimming pool.The 20 acre Athens County Park, within the Athens Village area and in Willowbrook, has two lighted baseball/softball diamonds, a basketball court, children's play areas, a community recreation multipurpose room, a computer lab, a gymnasium, a multi-purpose field, picnic areas with barbecue pits, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and toilet facilities. Mona County Park, an 8.4 acre park, has a lighted baseball/softball diamond, an outdoor basketball court, a children's play area, a community room, a gymnasium, a shaded picnic shelter, a swimming pool, and the Tiny Tot Learning Center.