The Los Angeles community of Brentwood is located at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, bounded by the San Diego Freeway on the east, Wilshire Boulevard on the south, the Santa Monica city limits on the southwest, the border of Topanga State Park on the west and Mulholland Drive along the ridge line of the mountains on the north.
The area that is now Brentwood was part of the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica, a Spanish land-grant ranch sold off in pieces to Anglos after the Mexican-American War. The area now popularly known as Brentwood began following the establishment of the large 600-acre (2.4 km2) Pacific Branch of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers and Sailors in the 1880s. The economic growth stimulated by this veterans facility led to immediate property development outside its west gate. The community of ‘Westgate’ was annexed on June 14, 1916. Westgate was the city’s 17th annexation, and added another 127 km (49 mi) to the city of Los Angeles, including large parts of what is now the Pacific Palisades and a small portion of today’s Bel-Air. (Note: There is a Westgate Avenue in West Los Angeles/Brentwood that remembers the original name of the district.)
Originally an agricultural district (soybeans, avocados, et al), Brentwood is now one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and one of the prominent districts of the Westside. It has prosperous commercial districts along each of its major east-west thoroughfares, Wilshire Boulevard, San Vicente Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. It is largely populated by professionals and executives.
Local traditions include the Maypole erected each year on the lawn of the Archer School for Girls, carrying on the tradition set by the Eastern Star Home that it replaced, and the annual decoration of the coral trees with holiday lights. Inspired by the community of veterans resident at the former Soldiers and Sailors Home, now a United States Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Brentwood once regularly hosted a Memorial Day parade, complete with a flotilla of classic cars and an elephant named Tiny.
Popular recreational spots include the Brentwood Country Mart, an early farmer’s market complex built in 1947 (and recently remodeled and expanded); the Brentwood Village, a small shopping district near the intersection of Sunset and Barrington; and more recently, Brentwood Green, a “village commons” created from the playground at Brentwood Science Magnet Elementary School. There is also a tented farmer’s market held each Sunday on a strip of Gretna Green Way between Brentwood Science Magnet and the Brentwood Country Club. The 2.7-mile long boundary of the private Brentwood Country Club is a popular local jogging route. The internationally renowned Getty Museum is located in the hills high above Brentwood, near the 405 freeway and the Sepulveda Pass.