Today’s newsletter listing for a condominium at Hancock Park Terrace on Wilcox Avenue inspired us to take a closer look at this neighborhood, known to locals as the Hancock Park Peninsula. We first heard that term a number years ago, referring to the section of Hancock Park that lies east of the Wilshire Country Club golf course, which segments the neighborhood. The peninsula is bounded by Melrose Avenue to the north, Rossmore Avenue to the east, Rosewood Avenue to the south and the golf course to the west.
In 1919, a handful of leading businessmen approached G. Allan Hancock, one of the city’s wealthiest individuals, to secure a parcel of land in the developing Wilshire District that could rival the Los Angeles Country Club’s course. Hancock was quite willing to lease the land to a group of men at a very modest rental amount and to include an option to purchase it, according to the club’s history.
Among those backing the project was C. E. Toberman, a real state developer who had already acquired some of the Hancock land in the neighborhood. A parcel of that land was site of the Black-Foxe Military Institute, which operated until 1968. The institute was named after two of its original administrators, majors Harry L. Black and Earle A. Foxe. Foxe served as the school’s first president, while Black was its first commandant of cadets.
The school was founded by “highly respected Hollywood financier” Charles E. Toberman, who acquired the property that had once been the home of the Urban Military Academy after the previous tenant defaulted on its mortgage, wrote Patrick O’Donnell, Class of 1949, in his history of the school “Hollywood Cadets.”
“He had never intended to own a prep school, but once he found himself in the position of owning one, he wanted it to measure up to those in the East,” O’Donnell wrote.
Once Black-Foxe closed, the school buildings were demolished and the Hancock Park Terrace condominiums were built on the land. But the nearby Los Angeles Tennis Club, also founded in the 1920s remains in continuous use.
Thomas C. Bundy, an avid sportsman who helped organize the Wilshire Country Club, was also a founder of the Los Angeles Tennis Club and was elected the Club’s first president. His wife, May Sutton, was the first American to win the Wimbledon Singles title at the age of 17. According to the club’s history, the first ten courts were constructed in 1924 by combining 70 pounds of Irish potatoes with concrete to ensure a smooth, hard surface with a “velvety” finish. With the addition of seven more courts in 1927, LATC became the largest hard-court tennis club in the world. While LATC can no longer claim that title, the club remains as the north anchor of the Hancock Park Peninsula with Wilshire Country Club on the south.