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|West Los Angeles|
|Neighborhood of Los Angeles|
|West Los Angeles|
|Neighborhood of Los Angeles|
The district lies in a small part of what the larger region by the same name, when locals use the name they may be referring to the district or the larger region known as the "Westside."
The district's general boundaries are the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) on the south, and the borders with the neighborhoods of Century City (Century Park West) and Rancho Park on the west. The northern border of the portion of West L.A. that is east of the I-405 is Santa Monica Boulevard (north of which is Westwood). These parts of the district are represented by the Westside Neighborhood Council, a council shared with Century City, Cheviot Hills, and Rancho Park.
The Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica's municipal bus network) using UCLA as one of its terminals, provides public transit within the region, especially along east-west routes, as does the LACMTA to a lesser extent.
This district contains and is adjacent to an area of Japanese-American culture along Sawtelle Boulevard which is sometimes called Sawtelle.
After colonization by the Spanish, most of what is now West Los Angeles became part of the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica. With the arrival of Anglo settlers after the Mexican-American War, the original Californio landowners sold out, or were forced from their holdings, and by the beginning of the 20th century the area was mostly bean and wheat fields. Many Japanese immigrants settled in the district, establishing orchards and nurseries in the process. Some of these nurseries are still in business today, along the stretch of Sawtelle Boulevard between Olympic and Santa Monica Boulevards.
The core of what is now West Los Angeles, including the West Los Angeles government center at Santa Monica and Purdue, was incorporated as the City of Sawtelle. In the 1920s, West L.A. was annexed by the City of Los Angeles.
The central location of West Los Angeles has made it a locus of commercial development, with several high-rise office buildings along Olympic, Santa Monica, and Wilshire Boulevards. It also contains a large number of Japanese-owned businesses. A satellite congregation of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, one of the most prominent Reform Jewish congregations in Southern California, occupies the northeast corner of Olympic and Barrington.
Housing in West Los Angeles is a mixture of low-rise apartment buildings, mostly inhabited by young professionals and working-class families, and single-story tract house developments built between late 1920 and 1960. Two of Los Angeles's tallest residential towers are at the neighborhood's northern edge, at the intersection of Wilshire and Barrington. There is a trend toward greater density, as single-family houses get replaced by apartment buildings, or apartment buildings by taller ones, as building sites become available through demolition.
University High School, a secondary school named for nearby UCLA, is in the district. "Uni" is one of very few older high schools in Los Angeles that have not had to be completely rebuilt following earthquakes over the years and still has a traditional look to it featuring weathered brick walls and arched entries. As a result, it is popular with film producers as a shooting location, even when school is in session, much to the chagrin of the students and faculty. The campus also contains within its bounds an artesian well (claimed by the Tongva people as their ancestral home) which has never failed, even in the driest years. Junipero Serra's party is said to have camped there in the course of their journey up and down the state.
West Los Angeles is the home of a Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP). It is part of an initiative by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide mail order prescriptions to veterans using computerization at strategic locations throughout the United States.
West Los Angeles has a large Hispanic community evident by the authentic Mexican restaurants and a few Mexican shops. Among the area's Latino residents are a large number of immigrants from Oaxaca.
West Los Angeles is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Neighborhood elementary schools are Brockton Avenue, Nora Sterry Elementary School, and Warner Avenue. Middle schools are Emerson and Webster. High schools are University High School and Indian Springs Continuation, both on the same site.
St. Sebastian School, Notre Dame Academy, West Los Angeles Baptist School and First Lutheran School of Venice are nearby private schools. Pacific States University in Harvard Heights area is the graduate and undergraduate college.
The Stoner Recreation Center is located in West Los Angeles. The center includes a waterpark, barbecue pits, a lighted baseball diamond, lighted outdoor basketball courts, a children's play area, a lighted football field, an indoor gymnasium without weights and a capacity of 300 people, picnic tables, a lighted soccer field, lighted tennis courts, and lighted volleyball courts. The Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, co-sponsored by the West Los Angeles Japanese American Community Center, is held at the park.