Great Value for Lawndale Landlords
From the 1780s onward, the area that is now Lawndale was part of the Rancho Sausal Redondo, a land grant given by the Spanish colonial government that includes much of what is now the South Bayshore region. In 1905 Charles B. Hopper first subdivided the area and named it after the Chicago neighborhood of the same name. Lots sold slowly and different promotions were tried such as promoting Lawndale as a chicken raising area. The first railway to run through Lawndale was the Inglewood Division of the Redondo Railway which would later become part of the Pacific Electric "Red Car" system. It ran down the middle of Railway Ave. (now Hawthorne Blvd.) until 1933. In 1927 the Santa Fe railroad arrived. After World War II, the immense demand for housing from returning veterans and California newcomers resulted in Lawndale's formation as a bedroom community. On December 28, 1959 it was incorporated as a city in Los Angeles county.
Starting in the 1970s Lawndale's relatively low housing prices but more desirable location relative to its neighboring cities attracted absentee landlords and a substantial portion of its residents increasingly became renters.
For a time in the 1980s, with new cycle of expansion of defense industry nearby, many young people who wished to live in the Beach Cities found that they simply could not afford to do so, and settled in less glamorous inland cities such as Lawndale. But with the contraction of this industry after the cold war, Lawndale reverted to its previous pattern. Lawndale has attempted to attract more owner–residents, as well as tourists with the 2003 completion of the "Beautify Lawndale" urban renewal project along the city's stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard (State Route 107), a major South Bay thoroughfare.
A large electronic billboard was installed and began running advertising in 2004 until it was realized that the sign violated a city ordinance prohibiting advertising of out-of-town businesses on signs of that nature. For its first 18 months the sign was sponsored by Fox and promoted upcoming television shows and movies under the Fox label. It also later gained and lost a sponsorship with Acura before its current sponsorship for Los Angeles radio station 100.3 – The Sound. The billboard is said to generate Lawndale $200,000 annually. In 2012 the Lawndale community center opened up its doors.
Roy Rogers lived there for a time and Fred Dryer was raised there. Traci Lords lived in Lawndale near the beginning of her adult film career.