The Old Soldiers’ Home: A Veterans’ Community by the Sea

The Old Soldiers’ Home: A Veterans’ Community by the Sea
The Old Soldiers’ Home: A Veterans’ Community by the Sea
The Old Soldiers’ Home: A Veterans’ Community by the Sea

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.

 

A fixture of the Santa Monica and Los Angeles landscape for nearly 130 years the Old Soldiers’ Home, as it was once known, has been and still is the site of many iconic buildings. Architect Stanford White designed the original Shingle style barracks which inspired J. Lee Burton’s later designs for the Streetcar Depot and Wadsworth Chapel. The Streetcar Depot once sat on the famous Los Angeles Pacific Company’s Balloon Route – an electric railway line that carried day-trippers on a 100 mile circuit across Los Angeles County – allowing residents to ride from the Old Soldiers’ Home to the 99 steps and the beach beyond. During the 1930s and 1940s the Veterans Affairs facility was redeveloped and expanded with a building boom, modernizing the operation and preparing for the influx of veterans post World War II. Today, a state-of-the-art hospital stands alongside historic buildings, a golf course, a cutting-edge parrot therapy center, and much more.

 

The exhibit, The Old Soldiers’ Home: A Veterans’ Community by the Sea, will detail the history of the Old Soldiers’ Home, the ways in which it has changed over the years, and the veterans and nearby residents who helped build this community. Photographs, documents, military uniforms, and other historical artifacts will bring the history of the Veterans Affairs facility to life. Objects for this exhibit come from the museum’s collections as well as from the private collection of the Bandini family. It will be a unique exhibition showcasing the distinctive history of our community.

Exhibit Dates

October 8, 2016 through January 18, 2017

 

Museum & Exhibit Hours

Tuesday & Thursday – Noon to 8:00 PM

Wednesday, Friday & Saturday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Sunday & Monday – CLOSED

 

Admission Prices

Adults & Seniors – $10.00

Couples – $15.00

Students – $5.00

Children (12 & under) – FREE

Veterans & Active Duty – FREE

Museum Members – FREE

 

Group Tours

Group tours can be arranged by calling (310) 395-2290. Special pricing is available for groups of 6 or more people.