Plat map of Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica & R. C. Gillis in front of office in Pacific Palisades.
Plat map of Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica & R. C. Gillis in front of office in Pacific Palisades.
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Historic Stories of West Los Angeles

Throughout the 20th century, Los Angeles marched westward towards the sand and sea of Santa Monica Bay.  Gradually land grant ranchos gave way to the capitalists, promoters, and builders who subdivided the land surrounding the Bay into neighborhoods and communities—Santa Monica, Brentwood, Bel-Air, Westwood, Venice, Ocean Park,  Pacific Palisades, Malibu, and Marina del Rey. 

More stories about West Los Angeles can be found at the Westside Chronicles Blog



One hundred years ago the brushy canyons were empty, the rolling hills were home to rabbits and coyotes and sheep grazed the mesas.    The transformation began in 1888 with the gift of 300 acres from landowners Senator John P. Jones of Nevada and Arcadia Bandini de Baker to the Board of Managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.   The Pacific Branch of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers opened its doors to patients in 1888. It wasn’t long thereafter that families and staff began to purchase lots and build homes near the gates.  Businesses began to open to service the new residents.  The area soon became known for its beautiful neighborhoods, its many movie star residents and its relaxed lifestyle—it became Brentwood. 



Pacific Palisades

The community is located on an impressive bluff overlooking Santa Monica Bay that reminded the early developers of the Hudson River Palisades in New York State. The name was first used in Santa Monica for the park located on the bluffs—still Palisades Park today. It must have seemed logical when the developers focused their attention on the mesa north of Santa Monica to name the area, Pacific Palisades. Today, the rocky cliffs are still a major landmark in the area and the mesa s home to neighborhoods of impressive homes and distinguished residents. Pacific Palisades is known as a close knit community that prides itself on its small town atmosphere.



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