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Fairfax in 1920s Was Alive and Well

November 18, 1990

Part of your story, "Dusting Off Old Fairfax," (Times, Nov. 4) is at odds with what I remember. I was there starting in 1920 at age 7, and except for the war years have been there ever since.

The maps from the time may show Sherman, as the area was then known, to have been largely empty, but it was not. It was a town, alive and well. It grew up around the old car barns for what came to be the Pacific Electric Railway, in an area now occupied by the Pacific Design Center. The railway was the area's main employer. Families lived north as far as Sunset Boulevard, south as far as Santa Monica Boulevard, and generally a few blocks east and west of what is now San Vicente Boulevard. Santa Monica Boulevard was the main street, and the main business there was a general store run by Al Horowitz, a kindly man who survived into the middle of the century.

It was not all built up, however. Below Santa Monica Boulevard around what is now La Cienega was a little stream, flowing southeast. Over around Fairfax and north of Santa Monica, the area was well developed with single-family homes. It was the choice area for kids to visit on Halloween.

It was so quiet back then. One night, my grandfather, who lived on a knoll above Sunset Boulevard, was disturbed by some boisterous noise. He went to the window and called out to the man down the hill to be quiet. The man's understandable excuse was that he was exactly a half-mile away.

FRANCIS J. MONTGOMERY

Los Angeles

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