The Westside in the 1920s

I just found this amazing set of historical maps of the southland: The David Rumsey Map Collection.

I’m still looking over all of these, but so far this is my favorite.

This map is titled, “Map of Los Angeles, California. Copyright, by E.F. Hill. (inset map) City of Inglewood.” The degree of detail is astounding. Looking at the Ocean Park area of Santa Monica, I can see the Pickering Pier at the end of Pier Avenue, the Municipal Pier at the end of Colorado, and something I’ve never seen before: The Crystal Pier at the end of Hollister Avenue?!? By the Urth Caffe?

And apparently the Pacific Electric trolley used to have a route down Santa Monica Blvd. I’d known about the route through Brentwood down San Vicente Blvd. The Coral Tree cafe restaurant has photographs of San Vicente with railroad tracks running down the parkway.

I love how this map shows “old” Brentwood, calling it Westgate. I suppose it is an appropriate name. I you were coming from Los Angeles, heading west, this area was the “gate” to the west. The nieghborhood that today is called “West Los Angeles” was known, in 1928, as Sawtelle. According to this article in Wikipedia, Sawtelle was an independent city until Los Angeles City Officials forcibly (seriously?) annexed Sawtelle. Now I have to go and try to track down the Westside section of the LA Times from 1/10/63 to verify an article written by George Garrigues. Dammit!

Damn, city politics used to be cray-zay!

What is left of Sawtelle that was not incorporated directly Los Angeles city property is today composed of several facilities used by various parts of the federal government. It includes the Los Angeles National Cemetary, the facility known locally as “The V.A.” and the Federal Building.

PS: According to this document, Sawtelle was not annexed, but “consolidated” into Los Angeles City. It’s really weird to try to assimilate all this information. When you look at that document you can see how the original city layouts on the westside were kind of a mess (I’m looking at you, Palms), and it’s kind of amazing that Culver, Inglewood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica were not subsumed into the conglomeration. Or, in the case of West Hollywood, were able to break away after annexation.

At what point, if ever, did the citizens of these formerly sovereign soutland cities say, “We changed out minds. We don’t want to be part of LA any more. It’s not you, it’s us.”

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