The Santa Monica History Museum is excited to announce it will display an exhibition of the history of the Veterans Affairs Greater West Los Angeles Medical Center from Saturday, October 8, 2016 until Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Santa Monica History Museum at 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Visitors are invited to view documents, photographs, military uniforms, and other artifacts that will bring to life the storied history of veterans in our community.
Established by Congress on land deeded from Arcadia Bandini de Baker, Senator John P. Jones, and John Wolfkill, the site for the Pacific Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and Sailors (as it was then known) was selected for its “climate and hygiene” from more than 60 other possible locations – including the entirety of Santa Catalina Island. Early advertising for nearby land in the Sawtelle community lauded the site selection and praised the area as “the perfect locale for veterans.” Veterans showed their support, too. Before any structures could be built, a Civil War veteran, Private George Davis, not willing to put up with another New York winter, became the first resident of the new home by taking up residence in a tent on the grounds. Not long after, a group of veterans from the California State Veterans Home in Yountville showed up on foot – they had marched 500 miles to become residents of the new facility.