Pershing Square Park
Los Angeles, CA
Pershing Square is a five-acre park in the center of downtown Los Angeles bordered by Fifth, Sixth, Olive and Hill Streets. It was originally dedicated as a public square by Mayor Cristobal Aguilar in 1886 and at various times has been called La Plaza Abaja, St. Vincent's Park, Los Angeles Park, Sixth Street Park, and Central Park. In 1918 it was renamed for WW-I general John Joseph Pershing.
As with most urban parks, Pershing Square has undergone numerous renovations and reconfigurations during its life that reflected changing trends in urban form. Complex horticulture and a bandstand were added in in the 1890s. Fountains were added in 1910. Statues were added in the 1920s and 1930s. The entire park was excavated and rebuilt over a parking garage in 1952.
The most recent renovation was designed by Ricard Legorreta and completed in 1994. However the uninviting perimeter, inscrutable artwork, uncomfortable seating, and persistent problem with homelessness indict the design as less than optimal - albeit in keeping with its time.