The Carthay Areas

A premier centrally-located, under-the-radar community.

The neighborhood is bounded by Wilshire Boulevard to the north, Pico Boulevard to the South, and Fairfax Avenue to the east. The western boundary is a bit more complicated, running along La Cienega, then pushing in to Schumacher Drive north of Olympic.

How did it all get started?

Carthay is actually a micro-neighborhood made up of several much smaller districts. These include Carthay Circle, Carthay Square, and South Carthay.

Carthay Circle was established in the 1920s by developer, businessman, and well-established charlatan J. Harvey McCarthy. The exclusive subdivision was laid out with San Vicente at its center and the streets were laid out in a similarly off-grid pattern.

The Carthay Circle tract is noticeably un-circular and in fact takes its name from the famous Fox Carthay Circle Theater that once hosted world premieres of classic films, including The Alamo and Snow White. Though the theater was torn down in 1969, you can now see it in sparkly replica form at Disneyland’s California Adventure, where it’s been re-imagined as a swanky family restaurant.

South Carthay, meanwhile, lies on the former site of a vegetable field that once supplied the original Ralph’s Market. Almost half of the homes in the area were constructed by developer Spyros George Ponty in the 1930s. After World War II, Ponty designed many smaller homes meant to be accessible to returning veterans, but the Spanish-style homes he constructed in South Carthay are fancier homes meant to appeal to upper middle class tastes of the period.

Carthay Square also features a number of homes built in Period-revival styles, including many Tudor and Spanish-style residences. Like Carthay Circle and parts of South Carthay, it was developed by McCarthy in the 1920s and ‘30s. The name Carthay, in fact, is an anglicized version of McCarthy’s surname.