June 14, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Looking Back…

Tall, stately trees line the garden - Photo Credit: Victoria Talbot

In the 1940s, the Rose Court lay behind “The Women’s Cottage†on the V.A. grounds. It must have been beautiful. Each woman resident had her own area to plant and care for. I discovered it the other day. First you see the walls, real adobe, expertly laid. They were built by Native Americans in the 1890s. The outer walls have lovely rounded brick on the top course. A few small areas are crumbling but most are still impressively sturdy, protective. You walk on six-sided paving stones past the Wishing Well (now filled in with dirt) to the colorfully-tiled fountain and the pavilion (built in 1947) honoring women veterans of the World Wars. On either side are tall, stately trees, planted as seedlings long ago. Walking between those deep-brown walls, you feel the presence of generations of men and women, veterans who lived…and sometimes died…here since the founding of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and Sailors in 1888.

The Wishing Well

(A little background: Members of the regular U.S. Army contributed a portion of their pay to establish homes where disabled and/or retired soldiers could live. But volunteers who fought in the Civil War weren’t eligible. There was no place for them if they were disabled or couldn’t resume their lives as civilians. One of Lincoln’s last official acts was to sign legislation that created the “National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and Sailors†. By 1887, there were five Homes but none was west of Kansas. The sixth Home would be on the Pacific Coast.)  

Arcadia Bandini de Baker and her partner, Senator John Jones, offered 300 premium acres of land and guaranteed a year-round supply of water to lure the Board to build on the open fields between Los Angeles and their recently-founded Santa Monica. The Wolfskills, owners of the neighboring rancho to the east, promised an additional 300 acres. Whether it was generosity or shrewd business, there’s no doubt that establishment of the National Home was the magnet that drew development to our side of Los Angeles.

The tiled fountain

Visitors who came on a Sunday outing to the Home enjoyed the cool ocean breezes, gazed at the panoramic views from the gentle hills, saw the future for sale in developments like Sawtelle and Westgate, Brentwood Park and the Palisades…and they bought that future.

As the area became more populous, the open space of the Home’s grounds became more coveted. Builders and developers planned assaults on the generous gift. For more than 100 years now, the Bandini family has defended their Aunt Arcadia’s largesse with care and determination.

The present generation of defenders, headed by Carolina Barrie and her cousin, Ricardo Bandini Johnson, has been active and vocal in their insistence that the government maintain the intent of the original gift. In 1887, an Act of Congress accepted the land. Congress, not the family, wrote the words of the Act. It obligated itself to maintain the gift in perpetuity for the benefit of veterans.

Carolina Barrie remembers her father saying that ever since Arcadia gave that property, someone has been trying to take it away. He was active in guarding the legacy and she took on the responsibility after him. In the turbulent 1980s, the family went to court to block the proposed sale of part of the property, as a violation of the terms of the gift. Strong support from Senator Alan Cranston helped end that threat but the Bandini family remains vigilant.

The West Los Angeles campus is one of the largest in the country and requires extensive care. The current managers have produced remarkable results with severely limited funds. Ms. Barrie and Mr. Johnson are generous in their praise of Acting Director Donna Beiter and her management team. There has been progress toward utilizing some of the empty buildings on the campus and the continuing success of the Health Care Center is gratifying. Ralph Tillman, James Duvall, and Erik Gutierrez have also stood ready to work with the family on preservation of the precious legacy.    

Both Ms. Barrie and Mr. Johnson are long-time supporters of the New Directions program and the work it does among troubled veterans. The family has partnered with the organization on a bid for an empty building on the north campus, to expand the services further. Their support has been vital and much appreciated.

Ms. Barrie also serves on the Board of Veterans Park Conservancy. She sees the developing park as a benefit to veterans. “Nothing is more therapeutic for both the spirit and the body than gardening. Hopefully, veterans may help with the maintenance of the park. And a quiet, peaceful place to rest and contemplate will be a bonus for everyone.â€

The Bandini family will be honored for their dedication to helping veterans and preserving Arcadia’s generous gift with the Legacy Award at the New Directions Awards Dinner on Monday, November 3. For further information, contact LaShanda Maze at (310) 914-4045, Extension 141.

in News
Related Posts

Marina del Rey Sportfishing: A Great Day on the Water

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Fishing is a pastime like no other. You can experience the nostalgia of that pastime in real time at Marina...

University of Miami President to Replace Gene Block Amid Controversy

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Julio Frenk Named New UCLA Chancellor at UC Regents Meeting The search for a new chancellor at UCLA is over....

Culver City Police Collaborate with VA and LASD to Aid Unhoused Veteran

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Joint Efforts Lead to Successful Assistance for a Veteran in Need The Culver City Police Mental Evaluation Team collaborated with...

West Hollywood Kicks Off WeHo Pride Arts Festival This Weekend

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Celebration Features Diverse LGBTQ+ Events From June 14-16 Each year, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of...

30th Anniversary of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman Murders Commemorated with Virtual Vigil

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

Family Honors Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in Virtual Candlelight Vigil This week marks the 30th anniversary of the...

Culver City PRCS Hosts Summer Splash Kick-Off Event

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

Join PRCS for Fun-Filled Recreational Swim Activities The Parks, Recreation, and Community Services (PRCS) department of Culver City is gearing...

Students for Justice in Palestine Establish Third Encampment on the UCLA Campus on June 10

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

UCLA Administration Calls in Four Police Groups Within Two Hours, Arrests 27 Pro-Palestinian protesters briefly established a third encampment on...

Los Angeles City Council Postpones Vote on Marilyn Monroe’s Former Home

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

Decision on Historic Monument Status Rescheduled for June 26  After Judge James Chalfant issued a preliminary decision on the motion...

AMC Theatres Unveils Eight Money-Saving Deals for Summer Movie Season

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

Enjoy Discounted Tickets, Special Promotions, and Fan Favorites at AMC If you are a movie lover who has not been...

Hang-Ten Therapeutics-Surf Therapy for Kids: Catching Waves and Finding your Calm

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

A different type of therapy is making waves in Los Angeles. Hang-Ten Therapeutics, founded by Naomi Matanick, a licensed pediatric...

(Video) The Opening of Pico Roots Marketplace in Santa Monica

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

Lots of friendly vendors with wonderful gifts, cards, clothing, decor, and coffee beans available at 1819 Pico Boulevard. @culvercitywlanews The...

Tien Pham Connects Personal History with Role in Robert Downey Jr.’s “The Sympathizer”

June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

Family’s Harrowing Escape From Vietnam Mirrors the Acclaimed HBO Max Series Vietnamese American actor-musician-producer Tien Pham finds a deep connection...

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Debuts Refreshing Summer Menu with New Boba and Matcha Drinks

June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

Enjoy Four New Beverages and Exclusive Boba Happy Hours from June 10 to June 13 The Coffee Bean & Tea...

FDA Issues Warning on Potentially Contaminated Shellfish from Oregon and Washington

June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

Shellfish From These Areas Carries Risk of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning The FDA has issued an alert advising consumers, restaurants, and...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Student Protesters at UCLA Set Up a Third Encampment on Monday Afternoon

June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

UCPD and the UCLA Administration almost immediately called in UCPD, LAPD, Culver City Police Department and California Highway Patrol officers....