2008 S. Barrington: A Developer’s Delight in Hip Sawtelle Neighborhood
Less than a mile east of the trendy Little Osaka neighborhood in Sawtelle Boulevard in West LA sits this expansive 5,275 sq. ft. lot on 2008 S. Barrington Road. The 3 bedroom/2 bathroom 1,245 sq. ft. home was built in 1939 and is on the market for the first time. The home, an R2-zoned lot primarily owned by one owner all these years, is now available. It’s a prime opportunity for investors looking to build a single-family residence or two smaller units in a highly coveted part of the city. The property is currently available for the asking price of $895,000
2008 Barrington is located in the Sawtelle neighborhood, which is also made up of the area commonly referred to as “Little Osaka,” and more officially, “Sawtelle Japantown.”
Pleasant ocean breezes, sizable lots of available land, and the proximity to an electric car line all made Sawtelle a popular place to live, and soon the population reflected that.
The neighborhood is named after a Pacific Land Company manager named W.E. Sawtelle, though it was originally the Barrett Villa tract. The town of Sawtelle was a stop on the electric line and home to the National Home of Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, also known as the Soldiers’ Home.
Built in 1899, the Soldiers’ Home was a place for temporary Union soldiers who’d fought in the Civil War and who did not have the same access to medical care that full-time career soldiers received.
The home sat on area that was being developed at the time by Senator John P. Jones and Arcadia de Baker. To sell more parcels, Jones and Baker would tout the home’s proximity along with the paved roads and fancy new stores as pluses to entice prospective home buyers. Though the majority of the architecture that made up the original Soldiers’ Home no longer exists today, the Veterans Administration Building still resides in the same location, just under two miles away from 2008 S. Barrington.
While Civil War veterans helped to initially build the town of Sawtelle, it would be nearly fifty years later when war would have another striking impact on the area—WWII. As we mentioned earlier, Sawtelle became known as “Little Osaka” because of the large Japanese community that moved into the area in the early 1900s. Because of restrictive racial laws in the early 1900s regarding home ownership, many Japanese settled in this area, populating it with stores, nurseries, and restaurants that served their community.
Last year, it was renamed “Sawtelle Japantown,” and an official blue street sign designating the area North of Olympic and east of Nebraska was placed on Sawtelle between Santa Monica and Pico commemorating the fact. at According to an old issue of Nichi Bei Times, a now defunct Japanese newspaper headquartered in San Francisco, there was a garden at Stoner Park (where the present day Stoner recreation center is) that was carefully tended to by the Japanese Nissei community.
In fact, many of the Japanese who settled in the area were gardeners to the more affluent communities of Sawtelle’s environs. Hashimoto’s Nursery, a nursery established in 1928 by four brothers, still exists today at Sawtelle and La Grange. Another beloved institution that sadly no longer exists is Yamaguchi’s department store, a local favorite because of its large supply of calligraphy pens and paper that many of the students at the nearby Japanese Language School purchased. While Yamaguchi’s is long gone and has been replaced by apartments on the upper floors and commercial businesses like Seoul Sausage Co. on the lower floors, the new owner has honored the building by retaining the same name for the complex.
But Sawtelle’s history also reflects the dark, xenophobic side of American history. During WWII, many of Sawtelle’s Japanese residents—whether they were American born or not—were rounded up and taken to internment camps in Manzanar and beyond. This is the case with the Hashimoto brothers—two of them were interned at Manzanar and returned later to reopen the store after internment. That many who were interned still returned to tend to their businesses on Sawtelle is a testament to the contributions of this community to the area.
Coincidentally, in 1919, a Japanese gardener named Takashi Furuya and his wife Yoneko originally purchased the land on which 2008 South Barrington resides. The land was part of the Lindsey tract that expanded the town of Sawtelle, drawing in rapid numbers of residents who were drawn to the fertile land. According to Japaneserelocation.org, one Takashi Furuya, gardener, is listed as having been interned at the Manzanar relocation camp, so it is quite possible that one of the earliest owners of the property at 2008 South Barrington was a survivor of internment.
With so many fruit trees and the breadth of foliage that abounds at the property, it’s no surprise that the home at 2008 S. Barrington appealed to horticulture enthusiasts. Records show in 1969, another gardener and his wife—Jose and Angela Campos–owned the home until this year.
The living areas were spacious and simple, and the home had a lovely indoor/outdoor fluidity perfectly suited to outdoor BBQs and garden parties.
The interior spaces are equally endearing as the outdoor ones. Each room, unique in its own right, told the story of the person who lived in it. From the retro raspberry carpeting to the dreamcatcher to the cozy San Marcos blanket in den-like wood-paneled bedroom, the home’s character is a standout in a city where symmetry and minimalism often dominate design.
Possibilities abound at 2008 South Barrington. The simple yet spacious dwelling has for years offered a peaceful oasis and wonderful proximity to all that West LA has to offer.
Besides the possibility of retaining the homey, intricate landscaping and beautiful fruit trees that have given the property at 2008 S. Barrington its charm, the lot is primed for new development.
It’s an area frequented by UCLA students, the jetsetting crowd, and those who simply love the good food and shopping that characterizes the Sawtelle neighborhood. Besides the continuing influx of restaurants like Plan Check, Tsujita, Seoul Sausage Co., and ROC Kitchen, and the old standbys like Curry House and Daikokuya, the area is situated conveniently by the 405, providing easy access to Westwood, Culver City, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Hollywood, and beyond.