The area that is currently known as West LA developed out of the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica property that was disassembled soon after the Mexican-American War. Americans installed a vibrant agricultural center here based on bean and wheat crops, a central focus of the area until Japanese immigrants arrived around the turn of the 20th century when they planted orchards.
Like many of our neighborhoods in district 11, West LA was swept into LA during the annex movement of the 1920s. Today’s West LA is a mix of commercial and residential with a corridor of high-rise offices. A movement towards density has begun to replace the single family residential model over the last 15 years.
The ethnic diversity of the area is centered around descendents of the initial Japanese migration as well as significant representation of Oaxacans. The resulting mix of Japanese and authentic Mexican restaurants has served the area well and drawn students off the UCLA campus in nearby Westwood.
A few federal government buildings are in the area including the region’s Social Security Office, FBI Headquarters, and the massive Veterans Administration Hospital. The neighborhood is also home to the famous Stoner Recreation Center and the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, an event sponsored by the Japanese American Community Center.