Like a necklace of matched gems, Los Angeles’s most-valued residential communities lay across the Hollywood and Santa Monica Mountains to the Pacific: Los Feliz, Sunset Heights, Beverly and Holmby Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades. Among those rich treasures, Brentwood Park glows with a special warm fire, historic and elegant but without pretension.

The land was first hunting/gathering ground for Tongva Native Americans from the nearby village of Kuruvungna, south of present-day Wilshire. When Spain sent settlers to claim Alta California, the land was granted to Francisco Sepulveda, a retired soldier from Mexico. Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica’s 35,000 acres spread from Pico to the mountain crests, from today’s Sepulveda to the ocean. Francisco’s heirs sold the land to Robert Baker, a New Englander come West, in the early 1870s. Baker and his partner, Comstock silver millionaire (and U.S. Senator) John Jones, laid out and founded the city of Santa Monica before the decade ended.

In 1888, the partners’ offer of free land lured the Federal government into building a Home For Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and Sailors on 400 empty acres between Santa Monica and rapidly-growing Los Angeles. It brought with it a substantial payroll and a new need for housing and businesses in the undeveloped area. Soon Sawtelle and Westgate sprang up.

In 1906, a group of real estate investors, led by banker William Lynton Brent, bought 250 acres of “fine mesa land” between the Soldiers Home and Santa Monica, to create the “Ideal Suburb”. It would be called Brentwood Park. There would be large lots, wide streets with traffic circles and ovals lushly planted with flowers and trees. In fact, carloads of trees and shrubs were brought in, transforming the open fields into a garden. The Los Angeles Times published drawings of the elegant homes being constructed in Brentwood Park and described in flowing prose the cool ocean breezes and magnificent views awaiting buyers. By 1912, gas mains were in place and electricity available. Already, Brentwood Park was known for “kingly homes for the man of means”.

From the 1920s continuing to the present, the Park has been home to creative people from every field, doctors, writers, musicians, actors, entrepreneurs, businessmen. Many of the Park’s residences have a history that adds to their luster, having been home to famous people such as Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray, Rita Hayworth, Cole Porter, Shirley Temple, Claude Rains, Arnold Schonberg, Eli Broad… The list is long and distinguished. The Park still offers a more-sheltered and comfortable base for celebrities. In Brentwood, people are neighbors, not “stars” and “fans”.

In 2008, the Park maintains its integrity and unique qualities. The homes offer lots ranging from to . They are comfortably spaced along quiet streets lined with gracefully-mature and beautiful trees from all over the world. With the exception of heavily-traveled Sunset Boulevard, no street is a “short-cut” or bears much traffic, so the Park is a quietly elegant and richly green part of upscale Brentwood.

Shopping, both boutique and everyday, is close at hand. Schools, both public and private, are quality and nearby. Championship-level golf and tennis, hiking in the Santa Monicas, equestrian facilities in nearby Sullivan Canyon, the Pacific at your door…jogging on famous San Vicente Boulevard, beneath the historic Coral trees… Active sports are easy and close.

The Park is truly a neighborhood. A strong Homeowner’s Association welcomes new residents and watches carefully over the quality and value of Brentwood Park. And once a month, a morning “coffee” at someone’s home invites anyone from the Park to meet, chat, question, enjoy the company of neighbors. Brentwood Park is an experience without parallel in Los Angeles.

Story courtesy of Doris McKinney