Nicknamed “Tomorrow’s City Today” back in the 50’s when America’s first “Contract City” was in the development stage, it had many skeptics. Today, over 65 years later, it is still going strong. It is very family oriented and dotted with many parks and shopping strips. It is a wonderful place to raise a family.
A Little Lakewood Trivia
Many first scoffed when developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart first proposed turning the lima bean fields into what is now Lakewood, into a city full of parks and residences. But on the first day of sales, on March 24, 1950, an estimated 30,000 people lined up to walk through a row of seven model houses. By the end of April, more than 200,000 people had flocked to the Lakewood Park sales office and more than 1,000 families had purchased homes (30-a-day on average). Once, 107 homes sold in just one hour. The monthly mortgage was only $44 to $56, including principal, interest and insurance. WWII veterans could get home loans with no down payment and a 30-year mortgage at only 4 percent interest. The building of Lakewood broke records and made Lakewood the talk of the nation. Empty fields became 17,500 houses in less than three years. A new house was completed every 7 1/2 minutes, 40 to 60 houses per day, with a record 110 completed in a single day.
Lakewood is the home of the first Denny’s Restaurant. In 1953 Harold Butler founded Danny’s Donuts, which was renamed Denny’s Restaurant in 1959.
The city of Lakewood operates a law enforcement helicopter patrol independent of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Aero Bureau called “Sky Knight”. Begun in 1966, it was the first day and night helicopter patrol program in the nation (aerial units had previously been used for search and rescue). Sky Knight flies with a civilian pilot and a sheriff’s deputy as observer.
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