Carthay Circle is a neighborhood in the Mid-City West region of Central Los Angeles. The neighborhood is bounded by Wilshire Boulevard to the north, Olympic Boulevard to the south, Fairfax Avenue to the east and Schumacher Drive on the west. The neighborhood of South Carthay is located south of Olympic Boulevard. The city of Beverly Hills is located on the west.
Originally named Carthay Center, Carthay Circle was developed as an upscale residential district in 1922 by J. Harvey McCarthy, who founded the 136-acre, mainly Spanish Revival, community. No two homes are alike due to the rule that all homes had to be designed individually by an architect, and notable designers such as Irving Gill, Paul Williams and Robert Byrd contributed to the neighborhood.
The master plan for Carthay Circle was designed by leading early 20th century architects Aleck Curlett and his partner Claud Beelman (designer of MGM Studios and Downtown LA's Eastern Columbia Building) in conjunction with landscape architects Cook & Hall (Wilbur D. Cook is also noted for creating the master plan for the neighboring city of Beverly Hills).
McCarthy named the streets in honor of prominent figures of the California Gold Rush. He also planned the neighborhood around a shopping center. Carthay Circle was one of the first planned communities in Los Angeles, and the first in the city to feature underground utilities. The success of Carthay Circle served as the catalyst for the growth of the entire Mid-City area.
The main feature of the neighborhood was the Carthay Circle Theatre, the “Showplace of the Golden West," that opened May 18, 1926 and soon became the focal point of Carthay Center. The theater, site of film premieres including Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (their first full-length animated film) and the West Coast premiere of Gone with the Wind, inspired the community to change the name from “Carthay Center” to “Carthay Circle.” The theater was demolished in 1969 to make way for a new office complex, 1 Carthay Plaza, today known as Carthay Campus, designed in the mid-century Brutalist architectural style. A large-scale replica of Carthay Circle Theater opened in 2012 at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California.
The Carthay Circle Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) adopting ordinance became effective on July 24, 1998. The Carthay Circle preservation plan was adopted by the City of Los Angeles on December 9, 2010.