By Holly Eubanks
Country Club Park was developed between the 1910s through the 1930s. Although initially segregated, barriers to the community fell as celebrated and affluent African Americans from professional, judicial, legal, medical, religious, and entertainment fields discovered the area. Among the music industry icons who once resided here were gospel great Mahalia Jackson, Lou Rawls, Lena Horne, Cindy Birdsong of the Supremes, and Hattie McDaniel, who was also known for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. Religious leader Thomas Kilgore—also an esteemed and influential force in the Civil Rights movement—made Country Club Park his home, as did Civil Rights leader and Tuskegee Airman Celes King. Legal icon Crispus Wright, who endowed his law school at USC with $2 million to establish a scholarship fund, was a neighbor, as was Victor Nickerson, whose family founded the first black-owned insurance company.
Other Country Club Park notables include restaurateur Alex Perino, celebrated for his Wilshire Boulevard hot spot for Hollywood celebs of the ‘30’s through the ‘50’s, “Memory Professor” Arthur Bornstein, founder of the highly successful school of Memory Training, and Borden Milk Company executive Isaac Milbank.
Today, Country Club Park is a vibrant multi-ethnic community whose residents have preservation in mind. The neighborhood was approved in 2002 for Historical Preservation Overlay Zone, and is moving forward with the historical designation process.