Sawtelle Boulevard

The Sawtelle neighborhood was originally the township of Barrett Villa, founded in 1897 by Rev. Stephen H. Taft (1825-1918) on property owned by the Pacific Land Company. When Barrett wished to incorporate in 1899, the U.S. Post Office said its name was too similar to “Bassett” in the San Gabriel Valley, so Pacific Land officer William Edward Sawtelle (1850-1934) agreed to be the city’s namesake. Sawtelle was born in Maine and operated a Worcester, MA book dealership before coming to Los Angeles in 1895 with wife Mary and daughters Katherine and Barbara. In 1919, during the City of L.A.’s first attempt to annex Sawtelle, the former 4th Street was renamed Sawtelle Boulevard to avoid conflicts with L.A.’s own 4th Street. Other streets in Sawtelle were renamed for Civil War battlefields as a nod to the war’s aging veterans at nearby Soldiers’ Home (see Corinth Avenue). When Los Angeles finally annexed Sawtelle in 1922, they renamed its streets again – twice – and Sawtelle Blvd. was briefly known as 104th Ave. William E. Sawtelle retired to La Jolla around that time. As for Rev. Taft, he died when he fell out of a tree he was trimming… at the age of 93.