BRIEF HISTORY OF PERSHING SQUAREExcerpt from here (link)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pershing_Square_%28Los_Angeles%29
In the 1850s, the location was used as a camp by settlers outside of the Pueblo de Los Angeles, which was to the northeast around the La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles church, the plaza, and present day Olvera Street. 1850s surveyors drew the site as 10 individual plots of land, but in practicality it was a single 5-acre parcel. Canals distributing water from the Zanja Madre were adjacent. In 1866 the park site's block of plots was dedicated as a public public square by Californio and new Mayor Cristobal Aguilar, and was first called La Plaza Abaja, or "The Lower Plaza. At some point the owner of a nearby beergarden, German immigrant George "Roundhouse" Lehman, planted small native Monterey cypress trees, fruit trees, and flowering shrubs around the park, and maintained them until his death in 1882.
The park was in heavy use during World War II for rallies and recruitment. Post-war the park began to decline as commercial decentralization and suburbanization took hold in the greater L.A. region, and Downtown lost importance and intensity of use.
The entire park was demolished and excavated in 1952 to build an undergroundparking garage. In its place was concrete topped by a thin layer of soil with a broad expanse of lawn. In 1954, Kelly Roth, a Hungarian immigrant who had owned a cigar store across from the square, donated $30,000 for twin reflecting poolwater features in honor of his late wife and to thank Los Angeles for the opportunities it provided him. The Roth fountains were designed by renowned architect Stiles O. Clements.
The park continued to be neglected for safe uses. Its problems were noted during the 1960 Democratic National Convention, with nominee and future president John F. Kennedy headquartered at the Biltmore Hotel facing the park. By the 1984 Summer Olympics the park had become a serious eyesore, leading the city to spend $1 million for a temporary renovation
In my opinion, never has this park been provided for by Public Funds, for a more important reason than now. I would like to think that if JFK were looking out from the Biltmore Hotel right now, he would be thinking the same.