Vista Del Mar popped up in 1923, when Harold Charles “H. C.” Seymour (1885-1931) resubdivided part of The Palms at the northeast corner of Overland Avenue and Mentone Avenue/National Boulevard.  (Mentone Avenue would be renamed National Boulevard on March 30, 1925.)  ​Seymour, who had been a salesman for Culver City’s namesake developer Harry Culver, also developed the Castle Heights subdivision. (See the Castle Heights page for more about Mr. Seymour.)  The name “Vista Del Mar” may have been inspired by Winship’s Vista del Mar (1898), which was between Mr. Seymour’s Castle Heights home and this new development.  ​In the early 1960s, Seymour’s Vista Del Mar was mostly demolished for construction of the Santa Monica Freeway.  (Winship’s Vista del Mar lost much less.)  Despite the name – Spanish for “sea view” – it is doubtful one could see the Pacific Ocean from either Vista del Mar.

October 20, 1923, advertisement for “Beautiful Vista Del Mar” (Venice Evening Vanguard).
On the Monday after the Sunday barbecue, the Venice Evening Vanguard reported that “Four-fifths of Vista Del Mar has been taken by homeseekers who favor the sloping hills here between the mountains and the sea.”
 The map for Vista Del Mar resubdivision of part of The Palms tract, Tract 7316, was filed with Los Angeles County on December 14, 1923.  The tract’s two “map” pages are stitched together above.   

When the “Vista Del Mar” subdivision was recorded at the end of 1923 (two months after the “Big Free Barbecue” in the advertisement above) several residential tracts today collectively called Cheviot Hills were being built out.  Castle Heights (1922), Country Club Highlands (1923), Cheviot Hills (1923), and Monte-Mar Vista (1924).  

Circa 1924 map from an addendum to Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Los Angeles, California (1921) (Baist’s represented the publication as, “Complete in one volume, compiled and published from official records, private records, actual surveys”.)   
May 9, 1927, aerial photograph (from Spence Air Photos, Inc., UCLA Department of Geography, Benjamin and Gladys Thomas Air Photo Archives) marked to show Seymour’s home, his developments, and the Vista del Mar ranch along the circuitous National Boulevard.  Country Club Highlands was beginning to cover the row of five blocks in lower left bottom of the picture and blocks to the north, mostly out of the picture.  Cheviot Hills was being built in the diamond shape above Country Club Highlands (beneath the words Vista del Mar Ranch; and Monte-Mar Vista was under construction around the curvy streets at the top left.  
July 18, 1928 aerial photograph shows only one home in the Vista Del Mar subdivision.  (Photo courtesy UCSB Library Aerial Photography Collection.)  

Vista Del Mar Tract Fills In

By May 12, 1960, Vista Del Mar was built out.  (Photo courtesy UCSB Library Aerial Photography Collection.)  

At Vista Del Mar’s southeast corner (in the bottom center of the above photo) was a Mobil gas station, built in 1959 at 10611 National (on lots 40, 41 & 42).  Immediately to its right, across the alley, was Rancho Park Nursery School (a co-op) which, on May 3, 1948, had opened in a house built in 1945 (on lots 45 & 46) at the corner of Dunleer Place.  The school remained at 10605 National Boulevard until at least July 1965.  In 1970, Mobil Oil expanded the gas station: it got a demolition permit for 10605 National on July 13, 1970, then resubdivided the area, including the vacated alleys, as tract 22139 on October 29, 1970.

Obliterated for Freeway

The route of this section of the Santa Monica Freeway (then called the Olympic Freeway) was announced as early as 1955, setting off battles concerning what homes and other buildings would be removed to make way.  California Assemblymember Thomas Mankell “Tom” Rees (1925-2003) unsuccessfully fought against the freeway: 

A 30-year-old freshman legislator, bucking urgent appeals for early construction of the Olympic Freeway, yesterday carried the fight against routing of the disputed superhighway through West Los Angeles to the State Highway Commission.  

Thomas M. Rees of the 59th Assembly District charged at a public hearing in the State Building that 80% of the route recommended by the State Division of Highways would cut through residential areas of Rancho Park and West Los Angeles, none more than 10 years old. 

Rees . . . contended that the proposed Olympic Freeway route would split the Rancho Park community.

“It would constitute a wall diagonally across this area,” he declared. “As it is set up now, it comes within a few hundred yards of three schools and just as close to a new grammar school and a new high school.”

Freeway Will Ruin Homes, Board Told – Residential Areas on 80% of Route, Legislator Claims (L. A. Times, Sept. 20, 1955).

Ultimately, the freeway curved away from homes in the in newer, the more affluent Cheviot Hills tracts:  Cheviot Knolls (1938) and California County Club Estates (1951).

The Santa Monica and Olympic Freeways were among those shown in this 1957 map for an article entitled, “West Side Arteries to Ease Motoring – Two Major Freeways Will Link Area With L.A., Four Counties.”  (L. A. Times, April 14, 1957.) “‘The Santa Monica Freeway will relieve the traffic load on Santa Monica, Pico and Olympic Blvds.  By providing a direct route to and from the central Los Angeles area,’ Edward A. Telford, assistant State highway engineer said.”
October 1, 1962, aerial photograph shows the freeway excavation underway; it has not yet reached the southern end of Dunleer Place or any of Mentone Place.  (Photo courtesy UCSB Library Aerial Photography Collection, taken for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.)  
December 29, 1963, Overland Avenue crosses excavation for Santa Monica Freeway (top right).  (Courtesy UCLA’s Los Angeles Times Photographs Collection.) 
June 29, 1964, aerial photograph shows the freeway excavation complete. (Photo courtesy UCSB Library Aerial Photography Collection,)
March 1971, aerial photograph shows the completed Santa Monica Freeway and the remaining residential buildings in the tract at the bottom right.  (Photo courtesy UCSB Library Aerial Photography Collection,)
Vista del Mar tract map and 1960 aerial overlayed on 2022 Google Earth photo. 

Three multi-family dwellings cover the only remaining residential lots in the Vista Del Mar subdivision.  In the tract’s southeast corner, lots 55 and 56 hold 3189 Cheviot Vista Place (permitted in 1963, when the freeway was being built).  Lot 66 holds a single building, erected in 1953, with several addresses: 10577 National Boulevard and 3184, 3186, 3188, and 3190 Cheviot Vista Place.  And 10571 National Boulevard (built in 1950) is on lot 67.  One (shortened and renamed in 1965) street remains from the tract: Cheviot Vista Place, which was originally laid out as Mentone Place.  The “Vista” in the street name is more likely an effort to leverage Cheviot Hills’ prestige than a nod to the tract’s Vista Del Mar moniker, since the tract name was likely long forgotten before the freeway led to its demise. In those 40 years between its development and its demolition, the subdivision name never appeared in the newspapers.

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