On September 15, 1936, American Legion post commander C. D. "Ace" Aseltine launched a drive to establish a very large recreation park on the site of the bankrupt Rancho Country Club, formerly the property of the famed Ambassador Hotel.

 

Realizing the potential of the 125 acre tract (bounded by Pico Boulevard on the North, Monte Mar drive on the south, Motor Avenue on the east, and Patricia Avenue on the west) Cheviot Hills Post #501 of the American Legion worked for nearly a decade to save the country club from residential development and to provide the community with a unique recreational resource.

 

The idea seemed natural to WWI Navy veteran and gas company engineer Ace Aseltine.  At the time, the country club site was leased from the federal government (which had taken it over to satisfy tax liens), but the lease was about to expire.  So the Legionnaires "pointed out that . . . Los Angeles had not one single large park west of Western Avenue, and in view of this fact, Western Los Angeles was entitled to such a place for recreational purposes."

 

The plan garnered support from the Mayor, City Councilmen, County Supervisors, Congressman John F. Dockweiler, Hamilton High School faculty, Emerson and Overland schools' PTAs, and numerous other civic organizations, not to mention many other American Legion posts.

 

It wasn't until November 1942 that the city began to lease the Rancho Country Club and it wasn't until 1944 that plans began progressing to transfer the Country Club property from the federal government to the city in exchange for Reeves Field at San Pedro.

 

After years of effort, the private Rancho Country Club became the public Rancho Park Golf Course and the balance of the land was converted into Cheviot Hills Recreation.