Although the southern half of MacArthur Park hasn’t seen much change to its layout since the early 20th century, less dramatic alterations have taken away much of its original splendor. As evident in the montage above, the formerly lush tree canopy has gotten considerably thinner, due to insufficient maintenance funds and crime-related concerns. The same issues also led to a sharp reduction in the number of once plentiful seating areas. The most drastic decrease took place during a renovation in 1973, which removed over 112 of the benches that lined the park’s walkways and lakeside path. In spite of all this, MacArthur Park remains one of the city’s most heavily used recreational spaces, and its lake perimeter is an ever popular gathering spot for many residents of central Los Angeles.
Source: Pastier, John. “Engineering a new look for MacArthur Park.” Los Angeles Times. 18 Jun. 1973. G1.
Original photo: Pierce, Charles C. “Lake-goers on the corner of Westlake Park, ca.1924 – chs-m3705.” Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/CHS-9139.