|Photo courtesy of the Venice High Learning Garden|
|Mar Vista Carrot Fields 1927 - photo courtesy of Mar Vista Historical Society|
While taking the tour, enjoy some insight into the history of Mar Vista! There is something wonderful about land that was once home to fields of lima beans now coming full circle to be a home to so many edible gardens.
Map 1: This oval shaped neighborhood was, until 1909, a lima bean field owned by John J. Charnock. See one of the original farmhouses for the lima bean fields. Designed by eminent landscape architect Wilber David Cook, the oval opened to the public in 1912 as Palm Place, a "suburb of refinement and distinction" where "culture predominates." Contrary to wide-spread belief, the oval was never a race track. See those gardens here. Watch for the wild flocks of birds overhead. Parrots? Parakeets? Read this article by Roseann Herman and enjoy the pictures by Stephen Boskin and then see them for yourselves and tell what you think!
Map 2: Houses E, F, and G are all in the old Ocean Park Heights neighborhood, the first subdivision in Mar Vista, recorded in 1904. House F - 3616 Ocean View - was built in 1907 and was for over thirty years the home of ballerina Rosemary Valaire. Houses A, B, and C are all on land that from 1925 to 1951 made up the fare ways, greens, and sand traps of the Westward Ho golf course. See those gardens here.
Map 3: Houses F, G, H, I, and J are all located in the 1947 Grand View Hills tract. The land encompassed by the North Venice Little League baseball fields and the Ocean View Farms was, during the 1930s, a trash dump, and, during the war years of the 40s, the site of an anti-aircraft artillery battery. House B, located at the southern end of Westdale Village, is just across the street from the former home of actor Lloyd Bridges, who lived at 11417 Kingsland from 1950 to 1959. See those gardens here.
Map 4: Houses A, B, and C are in Westside Village, a large subdivision developed by Fritz Burns in 1946-47. House D is in Westdale Village, another post-war tract house development, created by Paul W. Trousdale in 1946. House D is not far from 3249 Colby, the former home of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, who lived there from 1949 to 1954. See those gardens here.
Map 5: House E, at 13248 Dewey, is located in Westcrest, a subdivision developed in 1952 on former Machado land. The land of Westcrest was the last commercial lima bean field to undergo subdivision in Mar Vista. The two houses on Cabrillo are part of the old Mesa Ballona tract, laid out in 1904. This area was planted with crops until the late 1940s. See those gardens here.
Map 6: Houses K, L, and M surround what was until the mid-40s a 20-acre lima bean field. In 1947 the eastern-most 5.5 acres of this field was purchased by the L. A. School District, which built Beethoven Elementary School on the site. The first classes were held on December 1, 1947. The following year the other 14.5 acres of the field were bought up and Mark Twain Middle School opened on September 12, 1949. See those gardens here.
Historical information was provided by the Mar Vista Historical Society.