May 7, 1942: The Los Angeles Park Commission renamed Westlake Park in honor of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The decision to rename the park, which had been known as Westlake Park for more than 50 years, was made in preparation for an observance of MacArthur Day on June 13.
At the celebration, Mayor Fletcher Bowron, under a tattered U.S. flag that was the first to fly over Manila in 1898, said, "Gen. Douglas MacArthur ... we today dedicate this park to you. We rename it for you. You represent the kind of spirit we would like to see instilled into the very life of this community," The Times reported.
In 1975, Times columnist Jack Smith urged that MacArthur Park get back its old name. Smith wrote: "So far as I know, Gen. MacArthur had never laid eyes on Westlake Park," adding that the name change had been the idea of William Randolph Hearst, who wanted the general to be president.