Our Mystery Woman:
Mrs. George Lafayette Crenshaw
By Judy Thompson & Kay Lachter
Have you driven on 23-mile long Crenshaw Boulevard? This busy street is no doubt a shadow of its former grand self when it was named, in 1904, after wealthy real estate developer George Lafayette Crenshaw. And have you passed St. Charles Place, off Crenshaw just south of Venice Blvd.? If you were to turn on that small street, in just one block you would see a low wall with letters that read “Lafayette Square,” a development founded by Mr. Crenshaw in 1913. Not far past that wall you would pass Wellington Road and then Virginia Road. Both of those streets would be home to Mrs. George Lafayette Crenshaw, whose beautiful 1914 Ebell member photo is featured on
Finding Mrs. Crenshaw’s first name was no easy task. For the 28 years Mrs. Crenshaw was an Ebell member, from 1909 until her death, most likely in 1937, never was there a hint of her first name on the pages of Ebell yearbooks. And it took many screens on the internet to reveal that George Crenshaw married – there it was: Virginia E. Fink! Hence Lafayette Square’s Virginia Road. Her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Loren Oldham Crenshaw, was also a member, but for a shorter time.
Virginia lived variously at 1419 and then 1517 Wilton Place; the Strand, Hermosa Beach; then back to 1656 Wellington Road in Lafayette Square; then back to Hermosa Beach in the very grand Surf and Sand Club – later the Biltmore Hotel; and finally back to 1656 Wellington Road. Don’t we wish we knew the reasons for those moves? And though Virginia didn’t appear among leadership positions at the club, she certainly was in the most elite of circles among Los Angeles’ founders.