In 1857, when L.A.'s first mayor Benjamin Wilson foreclosed on a $1,500 loan, he received title to a quarter of Rancho La Ballona. The only problem was the land was undivided. Wilson sold his share to George Sanford and John Young, and they took the other owners to court to claim their part of the land.
In 1868, a judge decided which portions of Rancho La Ballona were the most valuable. Water was the deciding factor. Glen Howell, cofounder of the Mar Vista Historical Society, says the closer you were to Ballona Creek, the more valuable the land.
"So there was a line drawn by the court in which they decided how to separate pasture land from land that could be irrigated. And that line is Washington Boulevard."
Farmland was on the south side of Washington, the less valuable pasture land was on the north side. And because Ballona Creek wasn't a straight line, that's the reason Washington Boulevard jigs and jogs through Mar Vista today.
(Airdate for this story: 2/10/08)