history
The West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus has a long and evolving history of serving our Veteran community. The West LA Veterans Collective recognizes the value that the physical and cultural history of the campus offer to our ability to serve the growing needs of our Veterans in the future. While we are planning for this future, we already acting upon it.

historic Timeline

1800
1900
2000

1800

1833
Creation of Pensions for Veterans.
1860's
National Home For Disabled Volunteer Soldiers is created as the American Civil War leads to a large portion of Veterans needing assistance.
1888
Arcadia Bandini de Stearns Baker, the wealthy Californio landowner and “godmother of Santa Monica,” and her husband Senator John P. Jones gift a large portion of her land to the government that is deeded for the specific purpose of providing not just healthcare, but also a home and community for disabled Veterans.

1900

1920's
The number of Veterans in need of health and housing services rises dramatically after World War I. As more medical buildings were constructed on the north end of the campus to meet the demand, the campus' objectives also change as it begins to prioritize short-term healthcare, instead of long-term housing, to facilitate rehabilitation of Veterans to society.
1927
Wadsworth Hospital begins construction to replace the Barry Hospital Building. The Veterans Affairs Department is officially created.
1940's
Existing campus facilities are modernized and expanded to keep up with the demands of wartime injuries during WW2. New research buildings are designed in a mission revival style.
1947
Women's Veterans Rose Garden is built to honor women Veterans from WW2. The recently restored space is still cherished to this day and used for trauma therapy.
1950's
The campus reaches its peak occupancy by housing approximately 5,000 Veterans in units on campus.
1960's
Creation of the Japanese Garden on campus.
1970's
Demographic shifts in the homeless Veteran population and increasing resentment from the general public protesting the Vietnam war add to the pressures facing the VA. At the same time, the West LA Campus transitions out of housing and the VA begins leasing buildings and land to commercial businesses not aimed at housing or providing healthcare to Veterans.
1971
The original hospital building is demolished after a large earthquake rendered it unsafe.
1974
Veterans stage a hunger strike, the first in a series of large-scale Veteran protests that continue into the 1980's.
1980's
Gentrification of downtown LA brings homelessness to the forefront of policy making. With only 2% of qualifying homeless Veterans actually receiving benefits, public concern grows and there is a rise in the belief that homeless Veterans are entitled to government services to alleviate their hardships.
1981
The UCLA baseball stadium is built on campus.
1995
Peter Stewart paints National Veterans Mural along the : Bonsall Bridge near the main entrance to the campus.

2000

2007
Congress passes a law that bars commercial development on the VA Campus, reflecting a growing desire to return the land to its original donated purpose - to house and care for Veterans.
2015
A class-action lawsuit against the VA on behalf of homeless Veterans seeking medical support was upheld by the court, ruling that the WLAVA land use must be returned to its original purpose.
2019
The Draft Master Plan created for a comprehensive redesign of the WLAVA campus would increase the amount of housing units and outdoor space, improve Veterans health services, and enhance recreation facilities to create the ultimate healing environment. Its intention is to use community and stakeholder input when remodeling the campus to enhance the users' experience of the campus and create a vibrant, safe, and service-rich Veteran community.

HELP US TELL THE STORY

Please help us the story of the history of the West LA VA campus, if you have any photos or stories you would like to share about the North Campus please send us an email at info@wlavc.org

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