Early Views of the San Fernando Valley

Historical Photos of the San Fernando Valley
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(1880s)* - Horses plowing a field in the San Fernando Valley in the early 1880s. Al Redden is the foreman, viewing the teams of eight horses each.  

 

San Fernando Valley Historical Background

The Tongva, Tataviam (north), and Chumash (west) Indians had lived and thrived in the Valley and its arroyos for over 8,000 years. They had numerous settlements, and trading and hunting camps, before the Spanish arrived and took their homeland in 1797 for the Mission San Fernando Rey de España and Las Californias ranchos.

The first Spanish land grant in the area was in the northern part of the San Fernando Valley.  It was called Rancho Encino (present day Mission Hills on the Camino Viejo before Newhall Pass). It was given to Juan Francisco Reyes who built an adobe dwelling beside a Tongva village at a natural spring. 

Rancho Encino was short lived, though, with the land traded so a Mission could be sited and built there. Mission San Fernando Rey de España was established in 1797 as the 17th of the twenty-one missions. The land trade granted Juan Francisco Reyes was similarly named Rancho Los Encinos, and was also located besides springs at the present day location of Los Encinos State Historic Park in Encino.

Later the Mexican land grants of Rancho El Escorpión (West Hills), Rancho Providencia and Rancho Cahuenga (Burbank), and Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando (rest of valley) were established to cover the San Fernando Valley.*^

 

 

 

 
(1919)^^ - Map showing the old Spanish and Mexican ranchos of Los Angeles County. In the upper left can be seen the San Fernando Mission as well as the three main Ranchos that made up the San Fernando Valley at the turn of the century: Rancho Ex-Mission de San Fernando, Rancho El Escorpión, and Rancho El Encino.  

 

 

 

Oldest Known Photograph of the San Fernando Valley

 
(1873)* - This is the first known photograph of the San Fernando Valley as seen in 1873. View is looking to the south, showing San Fernando Rey de España Mission in the center of the photograph. Apart from the mission, the vast land appears to be completely deserted. Mission San Fernando Rey de España is located at 15151 San Fernando Mission Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

Founded by father Fermín Lasuén on September 8, 1797 in Mission Hills, Mission San Fernando Rey de España (originally La Misión del Señor Fernando, Rey de España) is located on the former settlement of Encino Rancho. It was the seventeenth mission built in Alto California. It was built in a quadrangle, similar to other missions, in which the church makes up one corner. The Convento stands apart from the quadrangle; it took 13 years to construct and was completed in 1822. Most noted for its 21 Roman arches, it is the largest two-story adobe structure in California. *

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1875)^^ - A closer panoramic view of the San Fernando Mission and the Valley looking south, circa 1875. A clearing stands in the foreground, separated from the buildings of the mission by a line of trees. The buildings stand mainly to the left: a long, two-story adobe can be seen most prominently, surrounded by smaller buildings. The ruins of shorter adobes stand to the right as well. Dirt roads and tree-dappled flatland extends behind them towards the mountains in the distance.  

 

 

 

 
(1800s)* - View of the San Fernando Mission's Convento Building, also known as the "Long Building." Two families stand next to their horse-drawn carriages, which have stopped along the road that would eventually become "El Camino Real". Construction of the arched Convento Building began in 1810.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1821, after the successful Mexican War of Independence from Spain, the Mission San Fernando became part of Alta California, Mexico. In 1834, the Mexican government began redistributing the mission lands. In 1846, the Mexican land grant for Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando was issued by Governor Pío Pico. It was bounded on the north by Rancho San Francisco and the Santa Susana Mountains, on the west by the Simi Hills, on the east by Rancho Tujunga, and on the south by the Montañas de Portesuelo (Santa Monica Mountains).

Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando was a 116,858-acre Mexican land grant in 1846 by Governor Pío Pico to Eulogio de Celis. The grant derives its name from the secularized Mission San Fernando Rey de España, but was called ex-Mission because of a division made of the lands held in the name of the Mission — the church retaining the grounds immediately around, and all of the lands outside of this were called ex-Mission lands. The grant encompassed most of the present day San Fernando Valley.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1870)^^ - Exterior view of the Mission San Fernando, ca.1870. Two dirt paths enter in from the foreground, intersecting at the adobe cloister of the mission, which stands to the right of center. A collection of archways holds the eaves of the terracotta-tiled roof up over the cloister's patio. More adobe buildings can be seen to the left, with two-story adobe building standing to the left of an older cloister whose roof has collapsed.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1874, after the death of Eulogio de Celis, the family sold their northern half of Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando to northern Californians, California State Senator Charles Maclay and his partners George K. Porter, a San Francisco shoe manufacturer, and his cousin Benjamin F. Porter. The Porters’ land was west of present day Sepulveda Boulevard including most of Chatsworth, and the Maclay land was east of Sepulveda Boulevard. Roscoe Boulevard was the border on the south, with a syndicate led by Isaac Lankershim acquiring the southern half of the Valley.*^

 

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the San Fernando Mission

 

 

 

 

 
(late 1800s)#^ - View looking north of the Garnier House at Rancho Los Encinos, circa 1875-1899.  

 

Historical Notes

The Franciscan padres used Encino as their headquarters while exploring the valley before establishing Mission San Fernando in 1797.*

In 1849 Vincente de la Osa built an adobe with nine rooms on Rancho Los Encinos. Twenty years later (1869), Eugene Garnier bought Rancho Los Encinos and, in 1872, built this French Provincial two-story limestone house. He was a French Basque and the house was similar to those in his homeland. He dammed the warm spring near the house to create a lake shaped like a Spanish guitar.#^

 

 

 
(1900)* - Exterior view of Rancho Encino's Garnier House, built in 1872 by French Basque sheepman, Eugene Garnier. The home is a replica of his French home.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1889 Domingo Amestoy acquired all 4,500 acres of Rancho Los Encinos. After his death in 1892, his sons, John and Peter Amestoy, assumed ranch operations and changed the name to Amestoy ranch. Like other ranches in the San Fernando Valley at the time, the Amestoys cultivated wheat and barley. The Amestoy family held title to rancho for fifty-five years. In 1915, subdivision of the rancho began later developing into the communities of Sherman Oaks and Encino. The Amestoys held on to 100 acres, which included the old adobe until selling the property in 1944.

Amestoy Avenue in the San Fernando Valley was named in honor of Domingo Amestoy.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)* - Exterior view of Rancho Encino adobe, built in 1849 by Don Vicente de la Osa on land under the jurisidiction of Mission San Fernando Rey, founded in 1797.  

 

Historical Notes

A portion of the original Rancho Encino has been converted into Los Encinos State Historic Park at 16756 Moorpark St, Encino. The park contains exhibits related to the agricultural enterprises of Rancho Los Encinos’ various owners, including Mission Indian, Mexican Californio, French, and French Basque families.*^

Los Encinos State Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places: NPS-71000142 and has also been designated as California Historical Landmark No. 689 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1886)^ - View of the Monte Vista Hotel located at present day Fenwick Street and Floralita Avenue in Sunland (then Monte Vista).  

 

Historical Notes

Monte Vista Hotel, built in 1886, was an elegant resort that served as a weekend getaway for wealthy travelers and sportsman who hunted bear and other game in the area. The hotel had a lobby, dining room and bedrooms each adorned with a private fireplace, fancy artwork and furniture imported from around the world. A French chef served guests exquisite cuisine. An advertisement once boasted of the amenities: "The best cooking, the best furnished house, and better attention than at any hotel in the state." In later years, the building served as a boarding house and finally as a retirement home known as "Cypress Manor". Sadly, the home closed in 1959 and the building fell into disrepair after the owners abandoned it in 1961. By 1964 it was deemed an eyesore and demolished by the City of Los Angeles.^

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1882)^^# - Newspaper photo of San Fernando Road near the corner of Maclay. The Porter House was a hotel and dining establishment. Next to it was a billiard parlor and saloon, and the clapboard covered Maclay Moffitt store.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1874, Charles Maclay bought 56,000 acres of the Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando land grant including the northern half of the San Fernando Valley. In 1882, cousins George K. Porter and Benjamin F. Porter, owner of future Porter Ranch, each received one-third of the total land.^*

A. B. Moffitt was co-partner with Charles Maclay in the store seen above. He was also the town’s coroner.*^##

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1887)* - Exterior view of Maclay School of Theology, a Methodist seminary founded by Charles Maclay, a Methodist minister, in 1885. He is the founder of the city of San Fernando.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1885, Maclay founded the Maclay School of Theology, a Methodist seminary in his newly founded town of San Fernando, California. After his death it became an affiliate and moved to the campus of the University of Southern California before becoming the Claremont School of Theology in 1957. Click HERE to see Early Views of U.S.C.

Charles Maclay's heritage was from Ireland and Scotland. He was the brother of Robert Samuel Maclay, a pioneer missionary to China; and the uncle of Robert Maclay Widney, a founder of the University of Southern California, and of Joseph Widney, the second president of the University of Southern California. Maclay was a Methodist minister.

Charles Maclay became a California State Assemblyman in the 7th District from Santa Clara County and later a California State Senator.^*

Additional Note: San Fernando Mission Boulevard was originally called Stanford Avenue, after the former Gov. Leland Stanford who loaned the money for Charles Maclay to purchase the land to found San Fernando.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^^ - Exterior view of the Porter Hotel (also called the Mission Hotel) in San Fernando. The three and a half-story, Victorian-style hotel is shown at center, with people posing on its porch and balcony.  

 

Historical Notes

In the late 1800s the City of San Fernando, as well as the entire San Fernando Valley, saw a significant land boom A major hotel was built near the modern intersections of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and South Brand Street. The hotel was built in 1887 by the Porter Land and Water Company on a knoll about a mile from the center of San Fernando. It served as a hotel for about a year, and later, as a summer residence for the Porter family, 1890.*

George Keating Porter came to California in the 1850s from New Hampshire and served as a state senator for Santa Cruz.  Initially the Porters, George and cousin Benjamin, engaged in dry land wheat farming.  In 1881, they split their holdings with a coin toss.  George won and opted for the area between present-day Sepulveda Boulevard and Aliso Canyon.  Benjamin F. Porter’s land became Chatsworth and Porter Ranch.

George Porter subdivided his land and established the Porter Land and Water Company.  In 1887, Porter developed extensive irrigation systems and began experimenting with a variety of different citrus crops.  He planted an area 1 mile wide and 3 miles long, which became known as the Long Orchard.^#^

 

 

 
(1890)* - Photograph of several threshing machines in the San Fernando Valley. Each thresher is hauled by a team of horses or mules.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)** - Lopez Station around the year 1890 was used as a stagecoach stop on the route from Los Angeles to San Francisco (15700 block of Rinaldi Street, Mission Hills).  

 

Historical Notes

Constructed in 1860, Lopez Station served as a stopping place for the Butterfield Stage. The station sat on 40 acres of land originally owned by Geronimo Lopez. Here Lopez established a stage stop and a general store. This valley stop would expect two stages a week from Los Angeles en route to San Francisco. Lopez Station served the Butterfield Stage Line throughout its run from 1861 until 1874. When the railroad was completed linking Northern and Southern California, stagecoach travel became obsolete.

In 1868, Lopez Station also became an overnight stop for Remi Nadeau’s Cerro Gordo Freighting Company. Nadeau ran freight wagons hauled by teams of sixteen or more mules back and forth from San Pedro to the Cerro Gordo mines in the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains in Inyo County.

Lopez Station was the site of the first English-speaking school and U.S. Post Office in the San Fernando Valley. Upon completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, the Lopez Station land became part of the city’s reservoir complex.**

Today Lopez Station lies beneath land once covered by the Van Norman Reservoir.^#^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1875)* - Freighting strings belonging to Remi Nadeau are captured here in Soledad Canyon. Note the design of the wagons, tall and narrow. This enabled them to fit through the canyon passes such as Beale’s Cut, the only passable road cut through the San Gabriel and Santa Susana Mountain ranges.  

 

Historical Notes

Remi Nadeau was a French Canadian pioneer who arrived in Los Angeles in 1861 driving a team of oxen. During the silver-mining excitement in the Cerro Gordo region of Inyo County his teamster operation brought tons of silver to Southern California and hauled back food and supplies to the miners. By 1873 he operated 80 such teams. He also built the Nadeau Hotel, Los Angeles's first four-story structure and the first building with an elevator.*#

The Lopez Station, in present day Mission HIlls, was one of Nadeau's overnight stops.

Beale's Cut is the only physical and cultural feature of its kind in the entire Los Angeles Basin. At the time of its construction in 1863, the actual creation and maintenance of the Cut was considered a significant technological and physical feat consisting of breaching the former impassable geographic barrier of the San Gabriel and Santa Susana Mountain ranges.*^*

 

 

 
(1870s)* - A horse and wagon is seen in Beale's Cut in the early days.  

 

Historical Notes

Beale's Cut was an early access road cut. In 1863 General Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a landowner and surveyor, made the 90 feet cut to get coaches and wagons through.*

Beale, the ex-Surveyor General of California and Nevada, was granted a franchise by the LA County Board of Supervisors to widen the extremely difficult to get through and dangerous pass known as Cuesta Vieja, or Old Grade.  It was the only pass leading into the San Fernando Valley from the north. A toll service was put into effect and a small adobe house was located at the foot of the grade in which a toll keeper lived.

With the coming of the railroad the beginning of the end had come for Beale's Cut. Previous to September 1876 stagecoaches from both Los Angeles and the coast had left off passengers at the summit of the San Fernando mountains near Lang's Station. They were picked up on the other side of the mountain to continue the train trip north or south. The poor old fifteen-foot wide Beale's Cut proved too narrow for "horseless carriages" by 1910 and since the freeways have come into our lives, the old cut remains almost forgotten.*^##

 

 

 
(1923)*#^# - In this incredible photograph from 1923, silent film star Tom Mix (more likely a stunt double) jumps over Beale's Cut in the lost silent 'Three Jumps Ahead'.  

 

Historical Notes

One thing is certain about the jump over Beale's Cut: Mix didn't do it. Several movie stuntmen claim credit for the jump over Beale's Cut, but the jump in the film is most likely a composite. (In spite of the ramp at upper left, consider the proportions of the horse and rider to the actual crevice.) What is likely, however, is that a stuntman or two — including Andy Jauregui of Newhall — did make a similar jump over Beale's Cut, doubling for Mix, for three (?) trailers that were shot for various releases of the film.*^##

 

 

 

(n.d.)^^^* - View of a horse-drawn carriage making its way up toward Beale's cut. Note the grooves in the bedrock from all the years of traffic. Although the cut still remains, it is now only 30 feet deep, as it suffered a partial collapse.

 

 

 

 

 
(Early 1900s)^^ - Beale's Cut in the early 1900s. Location: Intersection of Sierra Hwy and Clampitt Rd, Santa Clarita.  

 

Historical Notes

Beale's Cut is located in the Santa Clarita Valley in Los Angeles County and is visible from the Sierra Highway, not far from the intersection of The Old Road and Sierra Highway, just after the first bridge under the Antelope Valley Freeway (State Route 14). This slot-like roadway appeared in many silent western movies.*

The 'Cut' was designated California Historical Landmark No. 1006. Click HERE to see more in California Historical Landmarks in L.A.

 

 

(1937)*### - Beale's Cut, adjacent to the Newhall Tunnel in northern Los Angeles County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Notes

The 'Cut' was designated California Historical Landmark No. 1006. Click HERE to see more in California Historical Landmarks in L.A.

 

 

 

 
(1888)*^^^ – View of the Hotel Cecil in Lankershim (North Hollywood).  It was the first hotel in the San Fernando Valley. Pictured in the center is the owner, Mrs. Cecil Wilcox, with a dog by her side.  A dozen men surround her, all posing for the photographer.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1891)* - This was the intersection of Lankershim and Chandler as it appeared in the late 19th Century.  

 

Historical Notes

Lankershim Boulevard was named for the town of Lankershim (first called Toluca, now North Hollywood) and its founding family. Isaac B. Lankershim grew wheat on a wide swath of the Valley floor on his Lankershim Ranch. North Hollywood was established by the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company in 1887. It was first named Toluca before being renamed Lankershim in 1896 and finally North Hollywood in 1927.

Chandler Boulevard was originally a leg of Sherman Way, it was renamed for land developer and Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890s)^^ - Photograph of Chatsworth Park and its live oak trees, San Fernando Valley. Beyond a lone oak tree in the foreground, piles of wood are stacked between two pairs of railroad tracks. Four buildings are visible in the center of the field. Grids of newly planted and some mature oak trees border the buildings. Mountains are visible beyond the distant rocky hills.  

 

Historical Notes

In the late 1800s the San Fernando Valley was divided into thirteen ranches, seven of which were located in the southern half of the valley and six in the northern half.  The Granger Ranch, owned by Benjamin F. Porter, became Chatsworth Park.^#

 

 

 
(1893)^ - View of the first Chatswork Park railroad station. A water tank and train are also visible. It is interesting to note that this photograph illustrates the abundance of valley oaks (Quercus Lobata) in the Chatsworth region before the 1920s when reliable water sources for irrigation became available. The image may also be evidence of the density of valley oak that originally covered the entire Valley.  

 

 

 

 
(1893)^ - A closer look at Chatsworth's first railroad station, built 1893 and destroyed by fire in 1917. The sign on the station facing the tracks reads, "Chatsworth Park, to San Francisco 494 miles" and the sign under the awning reads, "Western Union Telegraph Office." The station faced north and was located on the south side of Marilla Avenue near Topanga Canyon Boulevard. There was a hotel that faced the station. Few records remain of the depot because Southern Pacific's records were destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.  

 

Historical Notes

The railroad came to Chatsworth in 1893, expanding the economy of the burgeoning town.  First, the railroad gave farmers a broader market to sell their crops.  Second, the construction of the Santa Susana railroad tunnels from 1898 through 1904 made Chatsworth one of the busiest places in the valley.  Men came from all around the country to work on the tunnel.^#

 

 

 
(1898)^## - Construction begins on the extension of the Burbank branch railroad tracks through the Santa Susana Mountains in Chatsworth Park. Large boulders are being lifted onto flat railroad cars as the mountain is being carved out, graded, and tunneled through.  

 

Historical Notes

A mile of track was laid in 1898 into Chatsworth Park, a canyon surrounded by the craggy sandstone formations of the Santa Susana Mountain Range where the Burbank branch terminated. At the right-of-way quarry above the park, sandstone formations were blasted into large boulders which would be used in the construction of the San Pedro Breakwater miles away. Derricks loaded the giant rocks carefully onto flat cars. Heavily laden trains traveled the newly built Burbank branch connecting to the main line at Burbank heading southward through Los Angeles towards San Pedro.^##

 

 

 
(1904)* - Photo of workers building the breakwater in the San Pedro Harbor. Work was started in 1899.  

 

Historical Notes

Most of the boulders used to construct the breakwater in San Pedro Harbor came from the mountains of west San Fernando Valley. Between 1898 and 1904, Southern Pacific was grading, cutting, and tunneling through the Santa Susana Mountains near Chatsworth Park as they establshed their new Coast Line connection from Ventura to Burbank. This provided San Pedro with an ample supply of boulders for their new breakwater. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of San Pedro and Wilmington.

 

 

 
(1897)*## - Seen in the left photo, the tunnel crew is begining the west end heading for tunnel No. 27. The right photo shows the tunnel finished and ready for the track laying gang.

 

Historical Notes

Construction was started for the three tunnels built for the Southern Pacific's new Montalvo Cutoff in 1898 and continued until 1904. This was to be the new Coast Line connection from Ventura to Burbank. Nearly twenty miles of new mainline trackage was also built across the San Fernando Valley between Chatsworth and the new Burbank Junction.^##

 

 

 
(ca. 1898)^## - Construction of Tunnel No. 26. The top half of the tunnel rock was removed first, then the lower part. Tunnel No. 26 is 1.4 miles in length (7,369 feet).  

 

Historical Notes

Of the three tunnels (No.'s 26, 27 and 28) bored through the Santa Susana Mountains, the longest was Tunnel No. 26, being 7,369 feet in length.^##

 

 

 
(ca. 1904)^^ - View of the west end of the Chatsworth Park railroad Tunnel No. 27. The rectangular entrance to the tunnel is at center, and a narrow railroad track leads out of it into the foreground, where it splits into two lines.  

 

Historical Notes

The tunnels and right-of-way took five years to complete and by 1904, trains were running on the new Coast Line trackage. The San Fernando Valley stations along the Coast Line, in order, were Burbank, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Encino, Canoga Park and Chatsworth.#^^

 

 

 
(n.d.)^*** - View of the tracks as they leave the tunnel in Chatsworth.  

 

Historical Notes

As the brimming metropolis of Los Angeles continued to spill into the San Fernando Valley it created intensive building activity. Farms and ranches were giving way to homes and business.#^^

 

 

 

 
(1900)^ - Group picture of farm workers in Chatsworth. Fruit cutting shed in rear of this portrait of farmworkers in Chatsworth, near the "Tex'a" place. The second woman on the left is Emma Johnson Graves.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - A view of the center of Chatsworth, now Topanga Canyon Boulevard looking north. On the left is Graves and Hill General Merchandise and Post Office. Horses and cars share the street.  

 

Historical Notes

Chatsworth is located to the southeast of the Santa Susana Pass, an extremely steep mountain pass that stagecoaches had to traverse when travelling the Overland Stage Road from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  Santa Susana became a relay station for the stagecoach lines where the drivers would trade in their tired horse before attempting to cross the Overland Stage Road.  Being located near a relay station made Chatsworth an important town in term of transportation history in California.  As late as 1891, Chatsworth remained an active relay station for the stagecoach lines.^#. 

 

 

 

 
(1897)* - Early travel through the Cahuenga Pass, which connected Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, was done on bicycles by some. This area would later become Cahuenga Boulevard, just south of Whitley Terrace.
 

 

Historical Notes

The Cahuenga Pass connects the Los Angeles Basin to the San Fernando Valley and is the lowest pass through the mountains.

It was the site of two major battles, the Battle of Cahuenga Pass in 1831 (a fight between local settlers and the Mexican-appointed governor and his men, two deaths), and the Battle of Providencia or Second Battle of Cahuenga Pass in 1845 (between locals over whether to secede from Mexico. One horse and one mule killed). Both battles were on the San Fernando Valley side near present-day Studio City, and cannonballs are still occasionally found during excavations in the area. Along the route of the historic El Camino Real, the historic significance of the pass is also marked by a marker along Cahuenga Boulevard which names the area as Paseo de Cahuenga.*^

Cahuenga is the Spanish name for the Tongva village of Kawengna, meaning place of the mountain.*^

 

 

 

 

 

(ca. 1890) #^ - Cahuenga Pass on the San Fernando Valley side circa 1890.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Notes

In the center of the photograph was a coach stop where people could stay overnight. It was owned by Geronimo Lopez. The road was narrow enough so that if two teams of horses met, the heaviest one won, the lighter one had to back down. Lightning would hit the horses during storms and was considered a very dangerous pass to cross. Miguel Leonis was killed in the Pass. #^

 

 

 
(1892)* - Before roads and rail lines were built traveling through the Cahuenga Pass was by wagons and horses. Here a group of people have stopped to camp and cook something to eat. Another horse drawn vehicles passes them by on the road.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1894)* - Two groups of wagons and horses traveling through the Cahuenga Pass.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^^ - Panoramic view looking north of the San Fernando Valley near Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Boulevard at what would become the site of the Hollywood Country Club. A man stands a distance away at center, trailing behind a horse-drawn cart. A large, flat field stretches out behind him, meeting several barns and a farm house in the distance, which is partially obscured by trees at the center.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca.1898)^^ – Panoramic view of a long row of horse-drawn wagons and men on horseback plowing and seeding 5,000 acres of wheat on the southeasterly portion of the Lankershim Ranch in the San Fernando Valley. Here the outfit is stopping for noon lunch in the fields. One hundred horses were used in this field for plowing.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1900)^ - Hubbard-Wright farming crew at work in Chatsworth.  

 

Historical Notes

This team of men and machines harvested wheat for the ranches of the San Fernando Valley in the early 1900's. Mules were used to pull the equipment. The man on horseback at the lower right hand corner is J. R. Williams II. He was the supervisor in charge of the crew. He lived in Chatsworth. His mother and father came to the Santa Susana Pass area in the 1870's from Kansas.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1900)^ - Farmers harvesting grain on Porter Ranch, circa 1900.  

 

Historical Notes

The Porter Ranch was located in the northern part of present day Northridge and Granada Hills between Limekiln Canyon on the east and Aliso Canyon on the west side. The ranch was part of the 56,000-acre San Fernando rancho purchased by Senator Charles Maclay and George K. Porter in 1874 with George's cousin, Benjamin Porter, joining the partnership a few years later.^^#^

 

 

 
(ca. 1898)^^ - Photograph of harvesters at work on a Van Nuys-Lankershim ranch in the San Fernando Valley. About 10 horse-drawn wagons are bringing the crop to a central belt-driven machine. A neatly pile of full burlap sacks can be seen with four men sitting on top.  

 

Historical Notes

A group of investors assembled as the San Fernando Farm Homestead Association purchased the southern half of the Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. The leading investor was Isaac Lankershim, a Northern California stockman and grain farmer, who was impressed by the Valley's wild oats and proposed to raise sheep on the property.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1905)^^ - A twenty-horse harvester at work in a field on a Van Nuys-Lankershim ranch in the San Fernando Valley, California, ca.1905-1908. It takes 5 men to operate the harvester. Mountains are visible in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1873, Isaac Lankershim's son and future son-in-law, James Boon (J. B.) Lankershim and Isaac Newton Van Nuys, moved to the Valley and took over management of the property. Van Nuys thought the property could profitably grow wheat using the dryland farming technique developed on the Great Plains and leased land from the Association to test his theories. In time the Lankershim property, under its third name, the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company, would become the world's largest wheat-growing empire.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1900)^^ - Photograph of a view of a prune orchard in the San Fernando Valley. Rows of prune trees are planted in what appears to be dry and rocky soil. Aside from the prune trees, the landscape is pretty flat. Trees and grids of other types of crops are visible in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

The world wheat market remained strong through the 1870s and early 1880s, but then supply began to exceed demand, and prices began to fall. When the Santa Fe Railroad reached Los Angeles in 1885, fare wars between the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific brought ever more settlers to Southern California, and pressure rose to subdivide the great ranches.

In October 1887, J.B. Lankershim and eight other developers organized the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company, purchasing 12,000 acres north of the Cahuenga Pass from the Lankershim Farming and Milling Company.*^

 

 

 

 
(1899)* - Toluca Road, now Lankershim Boulevard, in North Hollywood.
 

 

Historical Notes

J. B. Lankershim established a town site which the residents named Toluca along the old road from Cahuenga Pass to San Fernando. On April 1, 1888, they offered ready-made small farms for sale, already planted with deep-rooted deciduous fruit and nut trees—mostly peaches, pears, apricots, and walnuts—that could survive the rainless summers of the Valley by relying on the high water table along the Tujunga Wash rather than surface irrigation.*^

 

 

 

 
(1900)*^^^ - This is the "Toluca Flyer" at the Lankershim Station in 1900.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1895, the Southern Pacific opened a branch line slanting northwest across the Valley to Chatsworth. The Chatsworth Limited made one freight stop a day at Toluca, though the depot bore the new name of Lankershim. With the Post Office across the street called Toluca, controversy over the town’s name continued and the local ranchers used to quip, “Ship the merchandise to Lankershim, but bill it to Toluca.” In 1896, under pressure from Lankershim, the post office at Toluca was renamed "Lankershim" after his father, although the new name of the town would not be officially recognized until 1905.*^

 

 

 
(1927)* - Exterior view of the Lankershim (later North Hollywood) station of Southern Pacific and Pacific Electric railways.  

 

Historical Notes

When it first opened in 1895, the train depot at the corner of Lankershim Boulevard and Chandler Boulevard was crucial to the rapid growth of the town that was first called Toluca, then Lankershim, and finally, North Hollywood.

The depot still stands today, and is one of the oldest existing structures in the San Fernando Valley.  It has been named a cultural and historic monument by the city of Los Angeles and is slated to be restored.^*#

 

 

 
(ca. 1880s)^ - First stage and mail service operated in 1880s between Santa Monica and Topanga Canyon.  

 

Historical Notes

The 1st mail wagon was established by "Aunt Lucy" Cheney and began service in 1880. It provided mail service between Santa Monica and Topanga Canyon. They began to carry passengers (as shown here) in 1885. Also pictured is "Uncle Mose" Cheney.*^^^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1886)^^ - Exterior view of Crisostona Vejar Stage Station on Ventura Road.  The station, built in 1820 by the family of Thomas Delano and Crisostona Vejar, is a two-story wooden building with a covered porch and balcony. The Vejar Station was located at the present city of Agoura.  

 

Historical Notes

In its earliest days, Agoura Hills was nothing more than a stagecoach stop and was referred to as "Vejar Junction." In the early 1920s, after Paramount Studios purchased a ranch in the neighborhood, the community became known briefly as "Picture City." But neither name stuck. In 1928, a group of residents formed a Chamber of Commerce which, as one of its first actions, asked to have a permanent post office established in the community. The Postal Department informed the chamber that it would need to submit a list of ten potential names for the town. One of the area's more colorful early landowners had been a man by the name of Pierre Agoure. Though French by birth and a shepherd in his youth, he favored Spanish costumes and adopted the moniker Don Pedro Agoure. In compiling a list of possible names, the townspeople inserted "Agoure" in the tenth spot. Bob Boyd, the town's first postmaster, later recalled that the tenth name was selected because it was the shortest. How the "e" became an "a" remains an unsettled issue. Some say it was done intentionally for ease of spelling, others lay blame at the door of the post office, arguing that the modification was simply an error.*#^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1900)^ - An old time camp outfit near Ventura Boulevard and Valley Circle Boulevard. Leonis Adobe is in the background. On the El Camino Real sign it says, "83.9 Santa Barbara, 18 Newberry Park, 47.9 Ventura, Los Angeles 26.1, Encino 8, Hollywood 19.6, San Fernando Mission 14." The El Camino Real bells were placed along the mission routes.  

 

Historical Notes

Ventura Boulevard is the oldest continuously traveled route in the Valley. Laid out to follow a portion of the Spanish settlers' famed El Camino Real, it has been known as Camino de las Virgenes, U.S. highway 101 and Ventura Road.^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1890s)**# - Leonis Adobe as it appeared in the 1890s. The photo shows a man standing by his horse in the field. If you look closely, standing right behind the fence (center) is a woman looking at the photographer. This is purported to be Espirut Leonis, wife of Miguel Leonis.  

 

Historical Notes

Leonis Adobe, built in 1844, is one of the oldest surviving private residences in Los Angeles County and one of the oldest surviving buildings in the San Fernando Valley. Located in what is now Calabasas, the adobe was occupied by the wealthy rancher, Miguel Leonis, from 1880 until his death in 1889. Following Leonis' death, the property was the subject of a legal dispute between his common law wife (Espiritu Leonis), heirs, and a daughter born out of wedlock; the dispute lasted more than 15 years in the courts.*

 

 

 
(ca. 1915)^^ - Photograph of the adobe home of Miguel Leonis in Calabasas, ca.1915. The building is two stories high and has both a covered balcony and covered porch at right. Although classified as an adobe, most of the building is made of wood. A door and a window flank a brick chimney at left. Much of the view of the front of the house is obscured by several tall trees and bushes. Another tree is visible behind the house.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1961, the adobe had fallen victim to vandalism, and its owner applied for a permit to raze the structure and erect a supermarket in its place. Preservationists succeeded in having the adobe declared a Historic-Cultural Landmark (the first structure in Los Angeles receiving the designation in 1962 - Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List).

Leonis Adobe is also known as one of the most haunted sites in Los Angeles County, and it was profiled in the British paranormal television series "Most Haunted" in 2005. The adobe was restored and is operated as a living museum. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1910)#^ - Christine Bermark, Valdau Bermark and an unknown 3rd gentleman on Ventura Boulevard, which was, at that time, on the grounds of Leonis Adobe.  

 

 

 

 
(1906)*#*# - A man holds onto the base pole of the El Camino Real Mission Bell Marker. Two women near a late model car observe.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1906, members of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce and the Southern California Automobile Association began placing facsimile mission bells along the El Camino Real. The road, called "the royal road" in Spanish, was built to connect the network of missions, presidios and pueblos in Baja and Alta California. Today, the path of El Camino Real is roughly mirrored by US Highway 101.*#*#

 

 

 
(1910)* - View looking north across the San Fernando Valley. Vast amounts of farmland can be seen throughout.  

 

 

 

 
(1910)* - Road on top left is Lankershim. Road that comes straight down on the right is Vineland, which curves into Ventura Boulevard (same as previous photo except for street names being highlighted).  

 

 

 

 
(1910)*^^^ - Exterior view of the home of Wilson C. Weddington, located on Lankershim and Chandler Boulevard. The house has been relocated twice since this photo was taken. It is now located at 11025 Weddington, where it has stood since 1924.  

 

Historical Notes

Wilson C. Weddington was an important figure in the Valley. He established the Weddington Store in the 1890's and was influential in establishing North Hollywood, serving as President of the Chamber of Commerce from 1927 to 1929. He purchased 12 acres of land at $60 an acre, later purchasing an additional 20 acres.*^^^

Weddington served as the area's first post master. The Weddingtons were also involved in getting the post office built and  established. They also fought to have the train line extended to the area, and Wilson helped drive the gold spike that marked the arrival of the Red Car rail service to the Valley in 1911.

Weddington Street, in Studio City, as well as Weddington Golf Course were both named after Wislon Weddington and family.^^##

 

 

 
(ca. 1910)^ - Milk delivery by dog cart, probably around 1910. This was taken at the intersection of Ventura Blvd. and Lankershim Blvd. The milkman is pouring milk into a pitcher.  

 

 

 

 
(1910)^ - Workers putting in a new gas line along San Fernando Road.  

 

Historical Notes

The San Fernando Rd. gas line was completed in 1912 and by 1913, gas was transported to Burbank from the natural gas fields in Taft, CA. Gas services would reach Tujunga by 1924.^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1910)^ – Postcard showing early development in the San Fernando Valley. The map is marked to identify the routing of a new Red Line that would run from Hollywood through Cahuenga Pass and then to the towns of Lankershim (North Hollywood) and Van Nuys. The Lankershim Development Company was located in downtown LA and developed the towns of Lankershim (North Hollywood) and Van Nuys.  

 

Historical Notes

As the City of Los Angeles authorized building 'William Mulholland's' Los Angeles Aqueduct from the Owens Valley to the city and valley, land speculation plans for the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company property in the San Fernando Valley were developed. Construction began in 1905. Dryland farming could now be turned into crops, orchards and residential towns. In the "biggest land transaction ever recorded in Los Angeles County", a syndicate led by Harry Chandler, business manager of the Los Angeles Times, with Isaac Van Nuys, Hobart Johnstone Whitley, and James B. Lankershim acquired "Tract 1000", the remaining 47,500 acres of the southern half of the former Mission lands—everything west of the Lankershim town limits and south of the old furrow (present day Roscoe Boulevard) excluding Rancho Los Encinos and Rancho El Escorpión.

As the Los Angeles Suburban Homes company, they laid out plans for the towns of Van Nuys, Marion (now Reseda) and Owensmouth (now Canoga Park and West Hills), a system of highways, and incorporation by the city of Los Angeles to get the Owens River water. In the "Sale of the Century" in November 1910 they sold the remaining livestock and non-land assets of the Lankershim Farming and Milling Company at auction. The Los Angeles Times called the auction "the beginning of a new empire and a new era in the Southland". On February 22, 1911, lot sales begin at the new town of Van Nuys, California.*^

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - Site of the future Van Nuys in 1911 looking north, showing work being done on Van Nuys Boulevard. Virginia Street (later Sylvan Ave.) is marked, behind which is an oil derrick. Tracks and a railcar are seen in the foreground.
 

 

Historical Notes

In anticipation of the Owens River Aqueduct and cheap water, Moses Hazeltine Sherman, H.J. Whitley, Harry Chandler and others began the great San Fernando Valley developmnet by buying out the Van Nuys-Lankershim land in 1910. The land was sub-divided and soon there would be a great land sale.*^

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1911)^^^* - "Opening of the new town of Van Nuys" - February 22, 1911. This panoramic view shows a long procession of people walking away from the train depot toward the camera, some carrying luggage. A train unloading passengers is seen in the background. On the right, an early model car is seen heading toward a second train.  

 

Historical Notes

On February 22, 1911, lot sales began. This sparked a population boom and marked the founding of Van Nuys.*^

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - Tracks are being built through the hills of the Cahuenga Pass as shown on the right side of this picture. On the lower road can be seen supplies coming and going by teams of horses and wagons  

 

Historical Notes

In 1911, General Sherman (as he was called) added an extraordinary streetcar line. Built over Cahuenga Pass, through North Hollywood to the 1911 town site of Van Nuys, and on to the 1912 town site Owensmouth, now Canoga Park.*^

Wilson C. Weddington, an early Valley pioneer who founded the Weddington Bros. General store, was also instrumental in bringing the Red Car to the Valley.^^##

 

 

 

 
(1911)^^#^ - Workers laying the rails for the Pacific Electric Line in Van Nuys.  

 

Historical Notes

The streetcar line in the so-called “Town That Started Right” ran 19 miles from Los Angeles along Chandler Boulevard from Lankershim (now North Hollywood), turning up Van Nuys Boulevard to Sherman Way.^*^*

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - People stand by their parked cars in anticipation of the arrival of the Valley's first Pacific Electric streetcar. A train is seen in the background of an unpaved road.  

 

Historical Notes

Along with the streetcar line, Moses Sherman also built the "$500,000 boulevard" named Sherman Way next to the tracks all of which were the key to the development of the Valley. By 1912, 45 minute streetcar service from Van Nuys to downtown and the "no speed limit" paved road (if you could get your "Model A" to do 30 mph) were key selling points.

This entire grand highway was called "Sherman Way" in his honor and while the "naming" of parts of this grand highway was changed, the road and electric railway right of way survives in what is now called Chandler Boulevard, turning into Van Nuys Boulevard through Van Nuys, turning on Sherman Circle, and then on to Canoga Park (right of way lost to progress) in the middle of what remains a street still called Sherman Way.*^

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - View of a group of well-dressed people standing in front of the first "Red Car" to arrive in Lankershim (North Hollywood).  The streetcar then continued on its journey to Van Nuys.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - View of a crowd of people in Van Nuys waiting for the arrival of the first Pacific Electric "Red Car." American flags are drapped over lines that run over the tracks.  

 

Historical Notes

The Hollywood-Van Nuys Extension was completed in December, 1911, and the first car entered Van Nuys on December 16, 1911.^*^*

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - Crowds of people surround the first streetcar to arrive in Van Nuys on December 16, 1911.  

 

Historical Notes

The day was a time of rejoicing and the Valley was connected to the City in a way which was to see its grain fields cut up into building lots and homes.^*^*

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - View of a group of people posing in front of the Van Nuys' first streetcar with flags flying overhead.  

 

Historical Notes

After completion of the Hollywood-Van Nuys Extension, construction crews were immediately shifted to the two branches: Owensmouth and San Fernando.  The Van Nuys-Owensmouth Extension was begun in January 1912, and final work was completed in July 1913.  It was possible to operate cars thorough to Owensmouth considerably earlier, however; Owensmouth welcomed its first big red car on December 7, 1912.  The Van Nuys-San Fernando Extension got under way in January 1912, also.  It was completed in March 1913, with the first car rolling into San Fernando on March 22, 1913.

The new LA-Valley streetcar system was so successful that by 1913, over 368,000 passengers rode the line, and by 1926 that number topped one million.^*^*

 

 

 

 
(1911)* - Downtown Van Nuys shortly after the community was started. On left is W.P. Whitsett's tract office for selling land on the corner of what is now Van Nuys Blvd. and Sylvan Street.  

 

Historical Notes

Van Nuys Boulevard was then called Sherman Way and Sylvan Street was known as Virginia Street.*

 

 

 

 
(1911)*^ - A sample of the growth boom in Van Nuys, February-December, 1911.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1915)*^^^ - The Van Nuys Pacific Electric Depot circa 1915.  

 

Historical Notes

The first PE trolley car arrived at the Van Nuys depot on December 16, 1911. Construction then began on two branch lines stemming from Van Nuys with one heading west on Sherman Way into Owensmouth (Canoga Park), and the other north to the San Fernando Mission.*^^^

 

 

 

 
Exterior view of the residence belonging to Isaac Van Nuys located in the San Fernando Valley. This photo was taken in 1882. *  

 

Historical Notes

In 1865 at age 30, Isaac Newton Van Nuys moved to California, the first Van Nuys to actually do so. He first lived in Napa and later Monticello, where he owned a country store. In 1871, Van Nuys moved to Los Angeles, where he bought in with Isaac Lankershim's corporation, the San Fernando Homestead Association, that in 1869 had bought the southern half of Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando totaling sixty thousand acres and engaged in the raising of stock, principally sheep.

In 1873, Van Nuys, and future brother-in-law Isaac Lankershim's son, James Boon (J. B.) Lankershim, moved to the San Fernando Valley and took over management of the property. In 1874 they began raising grain, introducing dry land farming. In 1876 they filled two ships with Valley wheat at the Los Angeles Harbor in San Pedro. It was both the first grain cargo ever shipped from the L.A. Harbor, and the first grain ever shipped to Europe from the United States.

As a major figure in regional history and development, there are schools, streets, libraries, and a Liberty Ship with the name of Van Nuys.*^

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1912)* - Opening of the first tract office in Van Nuys at North Sherman Way (later Van Nuys Boulevard) and Virginia Street (later Sylvan Street) in 1912, with two carfulls of eager salesmen waiting. W.P. Whitsett was the sales manager of the office. Lots started at $350. Electric car service and water from the Owens Valley entered the San Fernando Valley in 1913.  

 

Historical Notes

Whitsett Avenue was named after William P. Whitsett who is remembered by some as the "Father of Van Nuys." He was a major land developer and water official in Los Angeles. The street was first known as Encino Avenue.^*

 

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1912)* - Early view of Van Nuys Boulevard, looking north. Note the ornate lamp posts along the sidewalks. Also, the power lines situated in the center of the boulevard with tracks running on either side.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1917)*^^^ - Westinghouse Electric range (with iron in upper corner and an electric timing device) at a home in Van Nuys.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1917, Westinghouse introduced its first all-electric kitchen range. It advertised its new ranges as follows:

These are full size cooking ranges for domestic use, and have reached their high perfection in convenience and economy through many years of experimenting and experience.  In addition to the cleanliness, safety, saving in food, and general desirability of cooking with electricity, they have the further advantage of saving a great deal of care, trouble and expense by the aid of the Westinghouse exclusive economical features of full automatic control by attached clock and thermostats.*#*^

 

 

 

 
(1917)^^ - Before there was Canoga Park, there was Owensmouth, born on the barley fields of the San Fermando Valley on March 30, 1912. Detail of a 1917 strip map courtesy of the Automobile Club of Southern California.  

 

Historical Notes

Founded on March 30, 1912, the settlement -- renamed Canoga Park in 1931 -- represented one of L.A.'s first steps in a march that eventually transformed the San Fernando Valley from farmland into suburbia.

Owensmouth was at the vanguard of a land boom in the San Fernando Valley. For decades, two factors prevented development in the Valley: its remote location, separated by the Santa Monica Mountains from the population and business center of Los Angeles; and the opposition of a few large landholders, who preferred to maintain the valley for agricultural use.

By the end of the twentieth century's first decade, however, electric railways and the growing popularity of automobiles shrunk the distance between the city and the Valley.

Also, One landowner, Isaac N. Van Nuys, was willing to sell. The aging farmer, banker, and land baron controlled the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company, which owned a vast tract totaling 47,500 acres and constituting much of the southern half of the San Fernando Valley.**^^

 

 

 

 
(1912)^ - The Knapp home at Owensmouth Avenue and Cohasset Street in Canoga Park. View looking northwest. It was one of the first houses in the area and was razed in 1926. Knapp Park is named for these same Knapps. The men of the Knapp family were stone builders and did much of the stone work at Orcutt Ranch.  

 

Historical Notes

Owensmouth Avenue was named after 'Owensmouth', designed to evoke an image of being at the mouth of the distant Owens River and was the original name of the settlement that grew into the town of Canoga Park.^*

Knapp Street was also named after the Knapp family.

 

 

 

  (ca. 1912)#^ -

View of the Syndicate Block in Owensmouth. Later known as the Arcade Building, it stood on the south side of Sherman Way between Alabama and Remmet.

 

Historical Notes

In 1909, Van Nuys sold his farmland for $2.5 million to a syndicate named the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. The syndicate's Board of Control comprised Los Angeles' leading movers-and-shakers: Title Insurance and Trust Company head Otto F. Brant; Los Angeles Times business manager Harry Chandler, a friend of Van Nuys'; Times owner Harrison Gray Otis, Chandler's father-in-law; transit magnate Moses H. Sherman; and developer Hobart Whitley, hailed today as the "father of Hollywood." Thirty participants drawn from L.A.'s business elite joined the board members as investors.

The Janss Investment Company, which the syndicate hired to subdivide Owensmouth, platted the town around the junction of the Southern Pacific tracks and Sherman Way. Throughout 1911, as construction on Sherman Way raced westward from Van Nuys, workers rushed to provide the planned town with its basic needs: a water tower capable of supporting a population of 10,000, according to the syndicate's claims; a passenger depot along the Southern Pacific line; and a mission-style building where Janss could sell lots.**^^

 

 

 

 
(1912)^ - Construction on the first of the buildings that made up Syndicate Block, at the corner of Remmet Avenue and Sherman Way. It was later called Arcade Block.  

 

Historical Notes

This building is part of the Syndicate Block, which was built by prominent investors in the San Fernando Valley. It was the first commercial building constructed after the Owensmouth Station was built. Tracks ran down the center of Sherman Way.#^

 

 

 

 
(1920)#* - View of Sherman Way looking east at Remmet Avenue. The full lenth of the Syndicate Block can be seen.  

 

Historical Notes

Signs on the commercial building include: Gibson Hotel, Hyden Hardware Co., and California Bank.

Owensmouth struggled through its first few years. Electricity did not arrive until 1913; natural gas came years later. By 1916, only 200 residents called the four-year-old town home, and residents and farmers could not enjoy the water to which their town's name referred; only after Los Angeles annexed Owensmouth in 1917 did aqueduct water flow into town and into the surrounding orchards and citrus groves.**^^

 

 

 

 
(1914)* - Four buildings in Canoga Park (formerly called Owensmouth): Owensmouth Bank, Pacific Electric depot Owensmouth, Methodist Church, and, Pacific Electric at Owensmouth, 1914.
 

 

Historical Notes

When the Southern Pacific built a branch line through the area, it designated the spot Canoga, after the town of Canoga, New York, which in turn took its name from the Indian village of Ganogeh ("place of floating oil").

In 1931, Owensmouth became Canoga Park. (The Post Office insisted on adding "Park" to avoid confusion with Canoga, New York.)**^^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1914)^^ - Panoramic view of the San Fernando Valley from near Topanga Canyon Road. The wide, flat valley is in the distance at center and is divided into many large farm plots. A small orchard is visible at center and a road cuts through the valley at left. The foreground is occupied by steep, wooded hills, and there are large mountains visible in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1913)^ - Over 30,000 people attended the opening day ceremonies of the Los Angeles Aqueduct on November 5, 1913. The caption of this picture was that the automobile was "here to stay" in the San Fernando Valley. You can make out some horse and buggies to the rear of the image.  

 

Historical Notes

All morning long they came – out to where the Newhall hills rise above the northeastern edge of the San Fernando Valley. On foot, on special Southern Pacific trains ($1 roundtrip from the Los Angeles terminal), in automobiles, wagons and buggies – on horseback they came. By noon, 30,000 persons had stationed themselves around the natural amphitheater that centered at the concrete canal called the “Cascades.” **##

 

 

 
(1913)^*^# - Map of the San Fernando Valley included in the Official Program of the Opening Ceremony of the LA Aqueduct. The map shows the location of the LA Aqueduct event as well as how the new Owens River water would be distributed to different parts of the valley and city.  

 

 

 

 
(1913)^^^ - Men, women, and children stand in awe as water runs down the cascades at the opening ceremony of the LA Aqueduct. Many of the spectators are waving American flags. The man with the hat rising above the flag on the right is non other than William Mulholland.*^  

 

Historical Notes

"There it is......take it!" were the famous words yelled out by Wiliam Mulholland at the dedication.

The remarkable photo above was taken from the grandstand a minute and a half after the LA Aqueduct water gates were opened.  The view is exactly as the camera caught it, without so much as the touch of a pencil added.  The front of the water wall was black from the dust and sediment that had accumulated at the head of the cascade.

Click HERE and see more in the Los Angeles Aqueduct Opening Ceremony.

 

 

 
(Novermber 5, 1913)** - Photograph caption reads: "Southern California's tremendous growth necessitated the building of the great Owens Valley aqueduct. This photo shows a crowd of over 30,000 at its dedication.  

 

Historical Notes

Once the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed and the City had a new source of water, it proceeded to annex outlying communities attracted by the promise of an abundant water supply. The flurry of annexations began even before the aqueduct was completed.

Between 1910 and 1930, the area of Los Angeles increased from 115 sq. miles to 442 sq. miles through annexations of surrounding areas (i.e. Hollywood is annexed in 1910, the San Fernando Valley is annexed in 1915). The City's population increased from 533,535 (1915) to 1,300,000 (1930).*^

 

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

 

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)*^^^ - With it's new source of water, Los Angeles invites its neighboring communities to become part of the City. Photo shows a farmer and his companion in an early and, at times, water-short San Fernando Valley.  

 

Historical Notes

On this Day in Valley History: March 29, 1915 - Residents in most of the San Fernando Valley voted 681-25 to annex with the City of Los Angeles upon the condition of gaining drinking water from the aqueduct built by William Mulholland.

Some parts of the Valley were originally opposed but ultimately gave in (with the exception of Burbank and San Fernando). Owensmouth (1917), West Lankershim (1919), Chatsworth (1920), Lankershim (1923) with smaller communities that followed. Rancho El Escorpión as late as 1958 and what was left of Ben Porter's Ranch in 1965.*^^^

 

 

 

 
(1917)^ - View of a man sitting in an early model car in front of a billboard located on Ventura Boulevard at the Calabasas City line.  

 

Historical Notes

The sign reads: “You are now entering Calabasas.   Calabasas is an entrance to Santa Monica, Topanga, Dry Benedict and Laurel Canyon of the Santa Monica Mountains.  Twenty miles south of Calabasas is Hollywood, the movie capital of the world.”  The billboard is sponsored by Royal Cord Tires made by the US Rubber Company.

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1910s)#^ - Charles Cooper, on the left, standing next to his grocery store and the Oak Garage in Calabasas. In the background stands a large oak tree and an El Camino Real Mission Bell Marker.  

 

Historical Notes

Charles Cooper and his wife, Alice Cooper, also owned a hotel called "Hunter's Inn." The hotel provided rooms for hunters and travelers. After Charles died, his widow married Lawrence Kramer and they renamed the grocery store Kramer's Grocery Store. They owned and operated the grocery store until he retired in 1968. #^

 

 

 

 

 
(1914)^ - Charles Cooper, driver, son of Samuel Cooper, Sr. in front of his store, Calabasas Grocery Store. The store also offered lodging and meals. White building east of store was the courthouse.  

 

Historical Notes

The oak tree seen above carries with it some historical significance. It was used repeatedly to dispense swift justice.***#

 

 

 
(1920s)^^ - This Southern California historical building used to be a farmhouse but was later turned into a hotel. The two-story building has about four rocking chairs on the front porch. Same building as above but 10 years later.  

 

Historical Notes

For decades residents attached nooses to the above coast live oak; the chamber of commerce used a likeness of the “Hanging Tree” as a logo. According to doubtful town tradition, members of Tiburcio Vásquez’s outlaw gang died here. In the postwar years the massive tree, located next to a Union 76 gas station, declined and died—possibly due to a gasoline leak. It was pruned down to its core and festooned with a larger noose.***#

 

 

 
(1939)#* - View of the “Hanging Tree” next to a Union 76 gas station in Calabasas. Photograph by Dick Whittington.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1965, Rocketdyne needed to transport a prototype rocket through Calabasas to its testing facility in Simi Hills. Even in its amputated state, the landmark tree created a bottleneck for the oversize load. To solve the problem, a crane operator carefully transported the lifeless 30-foot trunk down the road to Leonis Adobe, a Calabasas house once owned by a prominent nineteenth-century Basque rancher.

Preservationists subsequently restored the adobe and converted it to a living history museum that became a cornerstone of “Old Town,” a shopping and restaurant district. Here the beloved mock gallows, concreted into place, stood until 1995, when a winter storm toppled it. The desiccated wood shattered instantly, and in the aftermath, someone absconded with the decorative noose. Some old-timers insisted that a still-standing live oak across the street, by another bell-shaped sign marking the historic El Camino Real, was the real Hangman’s Oak.***#

 

 

 

 
(1915)^ - Booth's Grocery was located in Roscoe (now known as Sun Valley). The sign on the front of the building reads: "An oasis in the desert, hot -soft drinks, candies, cigars, tobacco" and the sign on the side reads: "A little store well filled."  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1880's Sun Valley was known as Roberts, the name of a general store in town. The name was changed to Roscoe in 1896 and subsequently, Sun Valley.

Roscoe Blvd, also named after the town, runs from Sun Valley all the way to Canoga Park and West Hills. ***^

 

 

 

 
(1915)* - View of north Brand from Lexington. The railroad train, "Los Angeles line" makes its way up Brand. Residential homes may be seen on the left.
 

 

Historical Notes

Brand Boulevard was named for Leslie Brand, a street car magnate and developer who lived in the Glendale area. He subdivided Mission Hills and connected it to Los Angeles with a street car line. Today's Brand Boulevard follows the route of his car line.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1915)* - A person walks through the snow in an area of Owensmouth (Canoga Park). An automotive garage/service station and other structures are present in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1915)^ - Owensmouth Elementary School, Canoga Park, circa 1915 (also the original site of Owensmouth High School). The school faced south on Valerio Street, Topanga West and Chatsworth mountains behind are to the north.  

 

Historical Notes

The 1913 building was damaged by the 1933 Long Beach earthquake and replaced by the present one story building. According to the former school secretary, Mrs. Mundale (1986), when the building opened, the elementary school occupied the lower floor and the high school was located on the upper floor.^

The high school opened October 4, 1914, as Owensmouth High School, making it the oldest high school in the west San Fernando Valley. It was located on the second floor of the above building for about one year until its new campus was completed at the current Topanga Boulevard site (ca. 1914).

 

 

 
(1915)* - Interior view of Owensmouth High School's auditorium. A mural, surrounded by organ pipes on each side, represents a Greek-themed scene and serves as the background for the stage. At the time this photograph was taken, the high school was located on the second floor of Owensmouth Grammar School, located on the current site of Canoga Park Elementary.  

 

 

 

 
(1915)^ - Does fashion repeat itself? Students from Owensmouth High School student body (Canoga Park H.S.) pose for a photo.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1915)^ - Lankershim Bakery and T. W. Herron's Store located at Magnolia Boulevard and Lankershim Boulevard, circa 1915. Horse carts and cars are visible.  

 

 

 

 
(1916)^ - Postcard photograph of a street scene in Lankershim, Calif. outside of the Lankershim Bank. On the street are horse drawn carriages and wagons and an automobile.  

 

Historical Notes

The town of Lankershim (first called Toluca, now North Hollywood) was named after its founding family. Isaac B. Lankershim grew wheat on a wide swath of the Valley floor on his Lankershim Ranch. North Hollywood was established by the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company in 1887. It was first named Toluca before being renamed Lankershim in 1896 and finally North Hollywood in 1927.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1916)*^^ - Universal Studios main entrance on Lankershim Boulevard, circa 1916.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1913, the same year the LA Aqueduct was completed, the Universal Company purchased 12,000 acres of land in the San Fernando Valley near the railroad station of Lankershim and about eight miles from Los Angeles.^*#^

A year earlier, on April 30, 1912, Carl Laemmle merged the Independent Motion Picture Company with five smaller companies to form the Universal Film Manufacturing Company. After visiting his newly acquired west coast operations of Nestor Studios and Nestor Ranch, he renamed the studio "Universal Studios" and the leased Oak Crest Ranch became the first "Universal City" in the San Fernando Valley.

The first Universal/Nestor Ranch (Providencia Land and Water Development Company property Oak Crest Ranch) is presently the site of Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).

In 1915, Universal moved its operations at the Hollywood/Nestor studio and Universal/Nestor Ranch to its new Lankershim Blvd. location before the official opening of Universal City (Lankershim Blvd).*^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1915)#** - Postcard view of the entrance to Universal City: "Capital of the Film World" and the "City of Wonders".  

 

Historical Notes

Carl Laemmle invited members of the public to watch films being made (in exchange for a 25 cents admission fee). A chicken lunch box was also available for a nickel; the first step towards the Universal Studios theme park we know today.^*#^

 

 

 

 

 
(1915)^^^* - View of the Universal City opening day ceremony, March 15, 1915. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Southern California Amusement Parks.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1917)*^^# - View of the Norwegian Lutheran Church (later Faith Bible Church) located in what is now Northridge.  

 

Historical Notes

Faith Bible Church, built in 1917, was the first church built in Northridge. The church is in the Carpenter Gothic Victorian style. It was built nine years after the Southern Pacific Railroad first laid tracks through Northridge, which was then known as Zelzah station, in 1908. When it was built, the church was originally known as the Norwegian Lutheran Church, as the six families that formed the congregation were of Norwegian descent.

Built of wood in the basilican style, with the steeple at the entrance, the church's early Gothic style is differentiated from the High Victorian Gothic by the thinness of moldings and its generally monochromatic appearance. One writer observed that, "with its steep stairs and narrow girth, it looks like a church you'd find sitting all alone on the Kansas plains." *^

 

 

 

(2008)*^ - View of the original Norwegian Lutheran Church Building which still stands at 18531 Gresham Street in Northridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Notes

The original church building still stands at 18531 Gresham Street in Northridge. For many years, it was known as the Faith Bible Church. More recently, the church has been acquired and operated as a Korean congregation known as either the Northridge Free Methodist Church, or the Los Angeles Antioch Church. The sign on the church in March 2008 (in the above photograph) identified it as the Los Angeles Antioch Church.*^

In 1976, the Faith Bible Church building was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 152 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 
(1908)^ - View looking south of Maclay Ave in the City of San Fernando in 1908.  

 

Historical Notes

The City of San Fernando was named for the nearby Mission San Fernando Rey de España, and was part of the Mexican land grant of Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. In 1874 Charles Maclay, San Fernando founder, bought 56,000 acres of the Rancho. In 1882, cousins George K. Porter and Benjamin F. Porter of future Porter Ranch each received one-third of the total land.*^

In 1874, San Fernando became the valley's first organized community, thus earning the title "First City of the Valley".

 

 

 
(1918)^^ - Aerial view of the City of San Fernando, 1918. In the foreground is a residential neighborhood composed of small houses on tree-lined streets. At the center of the image is a commercial area composed of mostly two-story square buildings that appear to be shops. One building on the right side of this area has an awning running the length of its facade. In the background are open agricultural fields occasionally bordered by lines of trees.  

 

 

 

 
(1918)* - The exterior of S.N. Lopez Co. grocery store on San Fernando Road in 1918.  

 

Historical Notes

The grocery store was owned by Steve Lopez. Lopez was the son of Geronimo Lopez, a prominent resident in San Fernando. Geronimo Lopez established the Lopez Station in the early 1860s, which served as a station for stagecoach travelers.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1900s)^ - Interior view of a butcher shop in the City of San Fernando. A counter, two men, meat, and cutting utensils are visible. The butcher shop was owned by Steve Lopez as was one of the town's grocery store.  

 

 

 

 
(1918)^ - Marian Elementary School, 1918, from the scrapbook of the Marian Mother's Club, which used the school as a meeting place. A clipping attached to the photograph reads: "Every mother in Marian is invited to join the club. The members are going to do work for the Red Cross for the present."  

 

Historical Notes

The town of Marian, named for Marian Otis Chandler, was changed to the present-day Reseda in 1922.^

 

 

 

 
(1916)*^*^ - On September 11, 1916, Owensmouth High started the school year with a new building and a new location. This structure was located near the softball field on the present-day Canoga Park High School campus.  

 

Historical Notes

The school originally opened October 4, 1914, as Owensmouth High School (located at the Owensmouth Elementary School sight), making it the oldest high school in the west San Fernando Valley. It later moved to its current locattion (as seen above) in 1916. The school buildings were in a Beaux-Arts Neoclassical architectural style, unusual for a small town two years old.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1918)* - Exterior view of Owensmouth High School, later to be renamed Canoga Park High School.
 

 

Historical Notes

The school's name was changed in 1931, after the community of Owensmouth changed its name to Canoga Park. Among the school's features are a Coast Redwood grove planted in 1936 just north of the football field. A classic Greek outdoor theater was part of the School in early years*^

 

 

 
(1968)*^*^ - CANOGA is the oldest high school in the west San Fernando Valley. It opened with 14 students and 2 teachers on October 4, 1914. Canoga was originally named Owensmouth High School.  

 

Historical Notes

The above building with its beautiful neoclassical tall columns sustained damage during the Sylmar earthquake and was demolished in 1975.

 

 

 
(ca. 1918)*^*^ - This rear view of Owensmouth High shows the famous Greek arcade.  

 

Historical Notes

The Greek arcade was an outdoor theatre attached to the backside of the school's main building erected in 1916, near the softball field on the current campus. The arcade/theatre was used for plays, graduations and various school and community events.*

 

 

 
(1918)* - A crowd fills the Greek arcade (aka Greek Theatre) on the campus of Owensmouth High School. In 1931 the school was renamed Canoga Park High School.  

 

Historical Notes

Both the arcade and the main school building in front of it were demolished in 1953 to make room for the P.E. field.*^*^

 

 

 
(1916)*^*^ - The Owensmouth High School Baseball team of 1916.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1916, the Owensmouth Baseball team lost all their games but one. They had no coach! Track and Field was the only other sport offered to the boys that year.*^*^

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Baseball in L.A.

 

 

  (1924)^ -

For the football fans. Owensmouth High School football team in 1924.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)* - Aerial view of Van Nuys circa 1920.  Vast stretches of farmland can be seen surrounding the small but growing community of Van Nuys, especially toward the northwest (upper part of photo).  

 

 

 

 
(1920)* - Planting onions on the Petit Ranch in the San Fernando Valley near Van Nuys on February 3, 1920. Several dozen workers are visible bent over the plowed dirt field. Most appear to be men and wear hats. Several buildings are visible amongst trees in the background, while mountains can be seen in the distance. Several wooden stakes can be seen in the ground in the foreground. Two hundred acres were planted in onions.  

 

Historical Notes

Stanley Norris Petit, known for his pioneering efforts in ranch operations and aviation in the San Fernando Valley, and his father William Justin Petit, owned and operated Encino Rancho, the largest single parcel of property in the Valley before the Sepulveda Basin and Birmingham Hospital (now Birmingham High School) were built. After subdividing the ranch, Petit Avenue--which runs across the Valley to Encino--was named for the elder Petit.^^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)* - Panoramic view of a plowed field in the San Fernando Valley near Chatsworth.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)* - View of Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, in the San Fernando Valley.  

 

Historical Notes

Sherman Oaks was one of the first Valley communities to experience intensive real estate development. Anticipating the development of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, Los Angeles Suburban Homes Co. purchased 47,500 acres of the southeast Valley in 1910. In 1911, a subdivision map called Tract 1000 was filed with Los Angeles County. From that parcel, one of the partners in the company, General Moses Hazeltine Sherman, bought 1,000 acres for himself. In 1927, Sherman subdivided the property and sold the land for $780 an acre. Moses Sherman just happened to be on the Board of Water Commissioners at the time and is said to have had inside information on the proposed route of the new LA Aqueduct. Click HERE to see more on the Construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

As part of his speculation in purchasing the southern San Fernando Valley in 1910, Sherman retained an interest in the neighborhood of Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, which continues to bear his name to this day. The street Sherman Way, running east-west from West Hills to Burbank in the San Fernando Valley remains (though it covers only half of the original grand highway). Hazeltine Avenue, which runs north-south from Sherman Oaks to Panorama City, was named after Moses Sherman's daughter, "Hazeltine".*^

 

 

 

 
(1920)* - Ventura Blvd. viewed from south of Ventura and west of Lankershim Blvd., still showing agricultural use of the land.  

 

Historical Notes

Ventura Boulevard is the oldest continuously traveled route in the Valley. Laid out to follow a poriton of the Spanish settlers' famed El Camino Real, it has been known as Camino de las Virgenes, U.S. highway 101 and Ventura Road.

Lankershim Boulevard was  named for the town of Lankershim (first called Toluca, now North Hollywood) and its founding family. Isaac B. Lankershim grew wheat on a wide swath of the Valley floor.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)* - Aerial view of Encino, looking south, towards the hills.  

 

Historical Notes

Encino (Spanish for evergreen or holm oak) is a hilly district of the San Fernando Valley. Specifically, it is located in the central portion of the southern San Fernando Valley and on the north slope of the Santa Monica Mountains. It derives its name from the Rancho Los Encinos (Ranch of the Evergreens), a parcel of land given to three Mission Indians by the Mexican government following its secularization of the California missions beginning in 1834. Rancho Encino was established in 1845.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)* - Early view of the produce fields in the San Fernando Valley looking north. Mission Point ('Peak') can be seen in the background.  

 

Notes

Mission Point, also known as "Mission Peak" by some locals, is a spur of Oat Mountain. At an elevation of 2,771 ft., it is the second highest peak of the Santa Susana Mountains after Oat Mountain. Newhall Pass lies just to the east, separating the Santa Susana and San Gabriel mountain ranges.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)^ - Exterior view of the home of Andres Pico (brother of Pio Pico) located near the San Fernando Mission at 10940 Sepulveda Boulevard in Mission Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

Rómulo Pico Adobe, also known as Ranchito Rómulo and Andrés Pico Adobe, was built in 1853 and is the oldest adobe residence in the San Fernando Valley. It is also the second oldest adobe residence in the City of Los Angeles. Located in the Mission Hills, the Rómulo Pico Adobe is a short distance from the San Fernando Mission (Mission San Fernando Rey de España).*^

 

 

 

 
(1927)^ - The Andres Pico Adobe (also known as Romulo Pico Adobe) before its restoration. The artist in the foreground is Claude A. Whisman, a Los Angeles police officer, who was recovering from a gun shot wound. His painting is on display in the Adobe.  

 

Historical Notes

Andrés Pico (November 18, 1810 – February 14, 1876) was a Californio who became a successful rancher, served as a military commander during the Mexican-American War; and was elected to the state assembly and senate after California became a state, when he was also commissioned as a brigadier general in the state militia. He was the younger brother of Pío Pico, who served briefly as governor of the Mexican Alta California Province.

In 1873, Rómulo Pico and Andres Pico found the house, on the northern half of Rancho ex-Mission San Fernando, in a dilapidated state as a result of abandonment. Rómulo is credited for restoring the adobe and adding a kitchen and two side wings. He also placed wooden flooring over the original tile floor. A second story was added in approximately 1873.*^

 

 

 
(1957)* - Exterior view of the home of Andres Pico in Mission Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

Located on Sepulveda Boulevard in Mission Hills, the original part of the Romulo Pico Adobe was actually built in 1834 by Tongva-Fernandeño, Tataviam-Fernandeño, and Chumash-Ventuaño Native Americans (Indians) from the San Fernando Mission. The original purpose of the structure is unknown, though the adobe was located in the center of the Mission's orchards and surrounding vineyards.*^

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the San Fernando Mission.

 

 

 
(1965)* - Exterior of the 160-year-old Romulo Pico Adobe at 1940 Sepulveda Boulevard in Mission Hills about the time it was purchased by the Valley Historical Society.  

 

Historical Notes

The adobe was lived in by the Pico family until the 1890s when it fell into disrepair. In 1930, Dr. Mark Harrington, curator of the Southwest Indian Museum and a famous archeologist, purchased the adobe, renovated it and lived there until the 1940s.

The San Fernando Valley Historical Society saved the adobe from destruction in the 1960s and it now houses the collection of the Mark Harrington Library. The property also houses the Lankershim Reading Room.^

In 1962, the Romulo Pico Adobe (Rancho Romulo) was dedicated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 7 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

In 1966 the adobe was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It also has been designated as California Historical Landmark No. 362 (Click HERE to see California Historical Landmarks in L.A.).

 

 

 

 
(1921)^ – Panormaic view showing Topanga Canyon Drive winding its way through the Santa Monica Mountains. Clouds gather above as a storm approaches.  

 

Historical Notes

Topanga is the name given to the area by the Native American indigenous Tongva tribe, and may mean "a place above". It was the western border of their territory, abutting the Chumash tribe that occupied the coast from Malibu northwards. Bedrock mortars can be found carved into rock outcroppings in many locations.*^

The land was first settled in 1839 by the Trujillo and Cheney families. Much later, during the 1920s, it gained popularity with the denizens of Hollywood. As an ideal getaway not far from urban conveniences, it was the perfect site for weekend cottages, which actors and other industry people built there at the time.^^*#

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)#^ - View of the San Fernando Valley from Topanga Canyon Drive in Girard (now Woodland Hills).  

 

Historical Notes

Victor Girard Kleinberger bought 2,886 acres in the area from Chandler's group and founded the town of Girard in 1922. He sought to attract residents and businesses by developing an infrastructure, advertising in newspapers, and planting 120,000 trees. His 300 pepper trees forming an arch over Canoga Ave. between Ventura Boulevard and Saltillo St. are Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #93 in 1972. The community of Girard was eventually incorporated into Los Angeles, and in 1945 it became known as Woodland Hills.*^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Aerial view of farms and fields in Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley.  

 

Historical Notes

The area was originally named Owensmouth by Los Angeles Suburban Home Company's general manager, Hobart Johnstone Whitley, with a real estate salesman's exaggeration that it was the new mouth of the Owens River, after the Los Angeles Aqueduct would be completed the next year. The town was founded on March 30, 1912, and the Suburban Home Company contracted with the Janss Investment Company, to sell properties.

A well-thought pre-development scheme brought Pacific Electric streetcars and an all-purpose highway (Sherman Way) out all the way from Hollywood through Cahuenga Pass, through the previously subdivided Van Nuys (1911). Highlighting the "opening day barbecue" was the display of the "Owensmouth Baby", a race car that could go up and down the paved Sherman Way at the incredible speed of 35 mph—as you could do—in an age without pavement or speed limits.

Owensmouth, as the junior San Fernando Valley city to Van Nuys, promoted itself with the "baby" motif—using storks in their advertisement—the "baby city" of the Valley. And Owensmouth remained a very small community.

The lack of an independent water supply made annexation to the City of Los Angeles inevitable, and on February 26, 1917 it joined with its larger neighbor. The name was changed to Canoga Park in 1930. It is believed to be named after Canoga, New York, which derived its name from the Native American village "Ganogeh". Eventually, the area's zoning was rural/agricultural and its industry was small farms involved in production of fruits, vegetables, melons, some livestock, horses, movie/television studio and stunt location work.

The Canoga Park Airstrip occupied the area now known as "Warner Center" (as shown on the street map 1955 Thomas Guide)*^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Sherman Way, divided by railroad tracks, in "downtown Owensmouth" in the early 1920's.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - View of the intersection of Owensmouth and Sherman Way in Owensmouth (later renamed Canoga Park). The crowded street suggests that a community event is taking place.
 

 

 

 

 

 
(1918)* - Aerial view of Northridge, then known as Zelzah, in 1918. Number one is Reseda Boulevard, number two is the Southern Pacific Depot, and number three is Parthenia Street. The remaining numbers are not identified.  

 

Historical Notes

Parthenia Street was named for Miss Parthenia Staton of Lafayette Park, Calif. in 1916, when it opened between Van Nuys Blvd. and Kester Ave.^*

Kester Ave was named for Kester Ranch, a major wheat-growing concern—part of the Lankershim-Van Nuys empire—from the 1870s to 1909.^*

Reseda was named after a fragrant North African yellow-dye plant, Reseda odorata, whose English name is mignonette and which grows in hot, dry climates—replaced Marian as a designation for a stop on the Pacific Electric interurban railway running along Sherman Way. The name "Reseda" was given first to a siding on a branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the south San Fernando Valley.*^

Zelzah Avenue was part of the 19th-century wagon route from San Fernando to the Hawk Ranch, which became the town of Zelzah, now Northridge.^*

 

 

 

 

 
(1918)#* - Man standing on the side porch of a house in Zelzah (now Northridge).  

 

Historical Notes

The above photo appeared on the front side of a postcard mailed by the owner of the house in 1918. See next photo for the reverse side of postcard.

 

 

 

 
(1918)#^ - Back side of postcard signed by "Attie". See previous photo for the front side of postcard.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1921)#^ - Chatsworth Blvd. in Zelzah (later, Northridge), 1921. Photograph taken by Automobile Club of Southern California surveyor to show the condition of the roads. Fruit orchards are visible on both sides of the road.  

 

Historical Notes

Chatsworth Blvd. was a dirt road that ran all the way to the town of Chatsworth Park located at the west end of the San Fernando Valley. The name came from Chatsworth House, the family seat of the Duke of Devonshire in Derbyshire, United Kingdom. The Devonshire name was also used for the naming of the major east-west boulevard.*^

 

 

 

 
(1925)#^ - Tilling the soil on the Halverson farm, 1925. The Halverson farm was located in Zelzah (now Northridge) near the present site of the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) campus.  

 

 

 

 
(1925)* - Panoramic view looking north across the San Fernando Valley toward the community of Zelzah (now Northridge).  

 

Historical Notes

Francis Marion ("Bud") Wright, an Iowa farm boy who migrated to California as a young man, became a ranch hand for Senator Porter and later co-developer of the 1,100-acre Hawk Ranch, which is now Northridge land. Wright continued to farm the land with Colonel Henry Hubbard from 1887 until 1910, when it was sold for subdivision to the Valley Farms Company. Before the first small farm homes had been sold, Bud Wright's wife, Emily Vose Wright, a deeply religious woman, had christened the development Zelzah, a Biblical name for "oasis," or "watering place in the desert." Zelzah became a Southern Pacific depot town at the Henry Hubbard & "Bud" Wright Hawk Ranch.*^

 

 

 
(1927)^ - The Zelzah Elementary School in an aerial photograph. The school was located at 9036 Reseda Boulevard. Nordhoff Street is visible to the left (east) of the school and Reseda Boulevard is visible in the foreground (south).  

 

Historical Notes

Zelzah Grammar School opened in 1914, one year after the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed.  The citizens of Zelzah formally voted for annexation to the City of Los Angeles and Owens River water rights in 1915.  William Mulholland, engineer of the mammoth project, lived nearby and maintained one of many large rancho tracts remaining from the Spanish, Mexican, and Californio land grant days.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Close-up view of Zelzah Elementary School located at the southeast corner of Reseda and Nordhoff.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - View of Reseda Boulevard, the main street of Reseda. The community was originally known as Zelzah. The signboard on the right reads: ZELZAH Welcomes you to ........Prosperity, in the HEART of the VALLEY.  

 

Historical Notes

A water source at the intersection of Parthenia St. and Reseda Blvd. served as the watering hole and gathering place for the Gabrielino Indians and later the Spanish who established Missions in the area.  The area, fed by underground streams, was very fertile and soon a development christened "Zelzah," a Biblical name for oasis, became important. #*^

Zelzah Acres became the name of one of those early housing tracts carved from the former enormous Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando lands joining nearby towns of Chatsworth Park, Lankershim, Owensmouth, San Fernando and Van Nuys. Through the 1920s, Zelzah grew up, linked to Los Angeles by annexation, water, city government taxes, and transportation. A group of citizens joined forces and on July 1, 1929, christened this post office and train depot North Los Angeles, a name they considered more suitable and more memorable.*^

 

 

 

 
(1926)^^ - Panoramic view of the grade crossing of Reseda Avenue (later Blvd.) with S.P. Main Line at Zelzah (soon to be Northridge), looking south from north side of tracks. Camera appears to be situated in or near the intersection with Eddy/Parthenia Street. Pacific Electric Railway operates double track.  Sign on the building at right-center reads: “Hammond Lumber Co.”  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Reseda Boulevard looking south from Devonshire Street, in the early 1920s. The community grew on land that was once part of the Hawk Ranch. It's first name became Zelzah. The name then changed to North Los Angeles for a short period of time and then changed again to Northridge.  

 

Historical Notes

At the suggestion of Carl Dentzel, a local resident and director of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, North Los Angeles became "Northridge Village" and was promptly shortened to Northridge. The sign on the depot was changed again, and the new name became permanently affixed on Oct. 1, 1938.*^

 

 

Click HERE to see a Northridge Historical Images Virtual Tour. ^#^#

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)** - A view of the broad highway on Cahuenga Pass - the lowest through the Santa Monica Mountains - that connects the Los Angeles Basin to the San Fernando Valley. The hills are truncated where they were excavated for the road bed. A street vendor is setup on the curb and although the utility poles are standing, the electric cables have not been strung. A roll of cable sits next to a pole, left. Click HERE to see more photos of Early Power Distribution.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1921)**^^ - View of the highway through the Cahuenga Pass. A car is seen parked under a Eucalyptus tree on the side of the road. Most of the trees appear to have posters attached to them.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1922)* - Aerial view of Cahuenga Pass with the San Fernando Valley in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1922)* - View of Cahuenga Pass looking east towards Hollywood. On the left are the railroad tracks, and paralleling them on the right is the road for cars.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1923)#* - A group of men survey Mulholland Drive, called Mulholland Highway at the time. Harry Chandler is third from right and William Mulholland is on the far right.  

 

Historical Notes

This winding ridgeline road in the Santa Monica Mountains was dedicated in honor of William Mulholland, the water engineer who designed the Los Angeles Aqueduct, on Dec. 27, 1924. Originally dirt and called Mulholland Highway, the name was changed to Mulholland Drive in 1939. Portions of the original road remain unpaved.^*

Click HERE to see more in Mulholland Monuments.

 

 

 

 
(1924)^^ - View of over a dozen early model cars clustered at the opening of the Mulholland Highway, December 1924. Three rows of early automobiles make their way up the hill and through the mountains on the Mulholland Highway. Rocks and scrub vegetation cover the slopes to either side, a parked car and a wooden platform visible to the right, just off the road. At the peak of the hill, a banner hung between two trees reads "Welcome - Mulholland Highway - 55 Miles of Scenic Splendor".  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)*^ - Aerial view overlooking the Hollywood Hills and HOLLYWOODLAND sign into the east San Fernando Valley. Farmland and open fields can be seen throughout.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Panoramic view of Sunland showing the Monte Vista Valley and Big Tujunga Wash.  

 

Historical Notes

Generally thought to be a part of the San Fernando Valley, Sunland-Tujunga is actually located in a valley of its own --the Tujunga Valley — which opens into the northern edge of the larger San Fernando Valley. Also known as The Rock, the towns lie on a large bedrock close to 2,000 feet above sea level with mountain ranges on both sides.*

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - An overview of Tujunga from a nearby hillside, looking towards the snowcapped San Gabriel Mountains.  

 

Historical Notes

Sunland and Tujunga were originally home to the Tongva people. In 1840 the area was part of the Rancho Tujunga Mexican land grant, but later developers marked off a plot of land known as the Tejunga Park, or the Tujunga Park, Tract. The name Tujunga is assumed to have meant "old woman's place" in the extinct Tongva language, where Tuhu "old woman" is a term for Mother Earth in Tongva mythology.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)#^ - Farmland, perhaps a vineyard, near Tujunga. The San Gabriel Mountains are seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1910)* - A farm at the corner of Haines Canyon and Tujunga Canyon Boulevard. Men in suspenders and hats, some with holster and gun, stand beside a saddled horse and donkeys loaded with bags and hay.  

 

Historical Notes

The above print was reproduced in 1955 for an article in the Herald Examiner.  Photo caption read "Farming was hardly worthwhile. The land was poor. If you dug out stones to build a home or barn, there wasn't enough dirt to fill up the hole."*

 

 

 
(1924)*^^^ - Independence Day Celebration on July 4, 1924 at the Garden of the Moon Park and Campgrounds in Tujunga.  

 

 

 

 
(1925)*^^^ - View of Garden of the Moon Park and Campgrounds in Tujunga. The grounds were located at Foothill & Commerce Avenue.  

 

Historical Notes

The "Moon Festival of the Tujungans" was sponsored by the American Legion (Monte Vista Post 250) as well as other Tujunga businesses and establishments.*^^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)* - A view up Commerce Avenue in Tujunga. This is looking north from Foothill Blvd. The picture was originally labeled as "looking north on Sunset Blvd. Tujunga, Calif."  

 

Historical Notes

The first election for Tujunga to be consolidated with Los Angeles was held on February 15, 1927. In heavy rain, voters turned down the idea by a vote of 594 to 354. A second election held in March 1930 also resulted in defeat for annexation, "by a large majority."  The third and final election in January 1932, however, resulted in a favorable vote to join Los Angeles, even though the actual transfer was delayed by inaction of state authorities. Tujunga finally joined the city on March 8, 1932. 

Sunland was annexed to the city of Los Angeles effective August 4, 1926.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)* - The Jewel Theater which was built in 1925. It was possibly the first theater in Tujunga and was located on Commerce Street. Now showing: Rex the Unconquerable Wild Horse in Black Cyclone.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)#** - View of Tujunga looking north toward the San Gabriel Mountains. The Tujunga Valley Bank stands at lower left on Sunset Boulevard, now Commerce Avenue.  

 

 

 

 
(1926)^^ - Birdseye view of Sunset Boulevard, now Commerce Avenue, in Tujunga, looking north toward the San Gabriel Mountains. The paved lanes of Sunset Boulevard run through the center of the image, lined sparsely on both sides by one- and two-story commercial buildings. Automobiles are parked to each side of the street, while a few others drive along it. Visible buildings include the "Tujunga Valley Bank", a hardware store, and a store bearing the sign "The Sunset Fair". Greeley Street intersects Sunset Boulevard in the lower right corner of the image; Michigan, now Foothill Boulevard, sits one block south (beyond the image).  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1928)#** - View of the residential area of Tujunga, looking west toward the San Fernando Valley. Many small houses are scattered sparsely throughout an expanse of land that sits at the foot of a mountain. The majority of the houses are frame houses, though one in the right centerground is made of stone. Orchards are visible on the distant foothills to the left of the image. Several mountains sit in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1928)* - Two men posing by their cars in Sunland.  

 

Historical Notes

Clarence, center, and his friend Odgen, a coworker at the Claycraft pottery factory, with their cars. Clarence's car is a Model T. He could coast most of the way from his home in the town of Tujunga down Tujunga Canyon Boulevard past Verdugo City and through Glendale via Verdugo Road to work at San Fernando Road and Fletcher Drive, in Los Angeles.*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Photograph taken from Commerce St. looking east at the exterior of Bolton Hall in Tujunga.  

 

Historical Notes

Bolton Hall was built in 1913 by George Harris, a self-described "nature builder, rock mason and stone sculptor. He first named it "Bolton Hall Hall," after Bolton Hall (1854–1938), a New York City progressive activist and proponent of the back-to-the-land movement. Harris urged that the 3,000-square-foot hall be built solely of native materials, and selected a design that he said borrowed nothing from European architecture.Harris and the Terrenitos community built the hall using granite chunks and stones from nearby fields and hillsides and from the Tujunga Wash. Stones were placed in position in the structure based on the positions in which they settled after falling from a cliff.

 

 

 
(n.d.)* - Exterior view of Bolton Hall, built in 1913 as part of the Little Lands Colony in Tujunga, and used for church services, town meetings, weddings and other social occasions.  

 

Historical Notes

When Bolton Hall opened in August 1913, the Los Angeles Times reported that it marked the "awakening of the Vale of Monte Vista" (the former name of Sunland):

First settled nearly thirty years ago, the valley has shown more life in the past six months than in all its previous history. Los Terrenitos, the settlement of "'little-landers," has made wonderful progress since its inception, five months ago, about 200 families having purchased land, not all of whom are yet on the ground. But enough are here to make it a beehive of industry. The dedication of "Bolton Hall" last Saturday aroused much enthusiasm among the "little-landers."

The Times also reported that Bolton Hall was "built to stand for ages," and it has survived the 1971 Sylmar and 1994 Northridge earthquakes without a scratch.

During the hall's early years, it hosted community meetings patterned after those held in old New England town halls. Over the next decade, it was used for church services, musical performances, lectures, motion picture shows, the Women's Club, dances and pot-luck suppers. It also was the site of the San Fernando Valley's second public library.

In 1962, Bolton Hall at 10116 Commerce Avenue was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 2 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)^ - Car and trailer filled with camping gear and boys from the YMCA at Camp Miller in Tujunga.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)** - The Chatsworth Reservoir in the Northwest San Fernando Valley was placed in service in 1919.  

 

Historical Notes

Chatsworth Reservoir was placed in service in 1919 at a time when the San Fernando Valley was a sparsely populated agricultural area. The reservoir has two earthfill dams which provided an initial capacity of 7,400 acre-feet and a high water elevation of 884.3 feet.^#*#

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Aerial view northwest across Chatsworth Reservoir to the Simi Valley. The intersection of Roscoe and Topanga Blvds. can be seen in the center-left of the photo.  

 

Historical Notes

For many years Chatsworth Reservoir served as the principal water storage facility in the western San Fernando Valley, serving the irrigation needs of agriculture. At various times during this period, improvements to the reservoir were constructed to increase its capability to provide the required water supply. The most significant improvement occurred during 1930 and 1931 when the dams were partially reconstructed to increase the high water level of the reservoir 5 feet to elevation 889.3 feet and the capacity to 9,840 acre-feet.

As the area served by Chatsworth Reservoir was subdivided and developed to meet the demands for increased housing, the character of the West San Fernando Valley changed from an agriculture to urban setting. This transition gradually changed the requirements for Chatsworth Reservoir and its storage was increasingly used to supply residential and domestic drinking water, emergency requirements and continued agriculture uses.^#*#

After the Sylmar Earthquake of 1971 the reservoir was placed out-of-service and permanently retired. Since then, 150 acres has been handed over to Rec. and Parks for recreational use. Another 30 acres has been converted to an ecology pond for the habitat of migratory birds.*

Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Water Reservoirs.

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Aerial view of Woodland Hills (Girard) in 1924.  

 

Historical Notes

Ownership of the southern half of the Valley, south of present-day Roscoe Boulevard from Toluca Lake to Woodland Hills, by Americans began in the 1860s. First Isaac Lankershim (as the "San Fernando Farm Homestead Association") in 1869, then Isaac Lankershim's son, James Boon Lankershim, and Isaac Newton Van Nuys (as the "Los Angeles Farm & Milling Company") in 1873, and finally in the "biggest land transaction ever recorded in Los Angeles County" a syndicate led by Harry Chandler of the Los Angeles Times with Hobart Johnstone Whitley, Gen. Moses Sherman and others (as the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company) in 1910. The area was so big that 12 years passed—Van Nuys and Canoga Park were founded—before anyone would get around to the Woodland Hills area.*^

 

 

 

 
(1924)* - Aerial view of Brant Ranch in Girard (now Woodland Hills), 1924.  

 

 

 

 
(1913)^ - View of silos at Brant Ranch, Woodland Hills/Girard, 1913. Located on the mountain south of Chalk Hill visible in background.  

 

Historical Notes

D. O. Brant was the manager and one of the owners of the Brant Rancho, breeders of registered Guernsey cattle.#^

 

 

 
(1913)#* - The cook's wagon on Brant Ranch, Woodland Hills/Girard, with the harvester crew. Joe Daic is visible sitting on steps.  

 

 

 

 
(1924)* - Aerial view of Brant Ranch in Girard (now Woodland Hills) from another angle.  

 

 

 

 
(1920s)* - View looking east on Ventura Boulevard. This is the intersection of today's Ventura Boulevard (foreground) and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, in the real estate development of Girard.  

 

Historical Notes

Victor Girard Kleinberger was a land huckster with big dreams. Born in Kentucky, he began his sales career peddling Persian rugs -- fakes, of course -- door to door. Girard's modus operandi was to shove the rolled-up rug into the door frame (thus preventing the door from being slammed shut on him) and begin coughing profusely -- all the while mumbling about tuberculosis and priceless rugs.

It was a ruse that apparently worked, and by 1899, with his fortune already made, the 18-year-old Girard (he had dropped his last name) headed west to Los Angeles, where he branched out into other enterprises, including real estate.*##

In 1922, Girard Kleinberger bought 2,886 acres in the west San Fernando Valley and founded the town of Girard. He sought to attract residents and businesses by developing an infrastructure, advertising in newspapers, and planting 120,000 trees.  His 300 pepper trees forming an arch over Canoga Ave. between Ventura Boulevard and Saltillo St. are Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #93 in 1972 (Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List***).

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)* - Exterior view of the Islamic-influenced Real Estate Syndicate Building in Girard, which later came to be known as Woodland Hills.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1924 Victor Girard opened a real estate office on what is now Topanga Canyon and Ventura Boulevard and built a mosque-like gate to his 2886-acre subdivision named Girard. He graded the streets, set aside land for parks and schools, and planted thousands of trees.*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)#* – View is looking south on Topanga Canyon Boulevard toward Ventura Boulevard. Workers lay pipe for the Southern California Gas Company.  Girard Development offices can be seen on the southeast corner of Ventura and Topanga Blvds.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)*^^^ - View of the Mosque-like buildings constructed by Victor Girard Kleinberger to promote his new real estate housing development located near the intersection of Ventura and Topanga Canyon.  

 

Historical Notes

The neighborhood was founded in 1923, named after Victor Girard Kleinberger, developer and founder. The new town was heavily promoted while bus tours from Los Angeles to the new town were offered.*^^^

 

 

 

 

(1924)#^ - Postcards advertising the recreational activities of Girard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
(1937)* - A sign in front of the minaret and rooftop dome of Girard encourages the traveler to visit Topanga Canyon on a "scenic mountain drive, state highway, easy grade, 13 miles to the ocean." Topanga Canyon Boulevard (now State Highway 27) still enters Topanga Canyon at Woodland Hills and ends at the Pacific Coast Highway.  

 

Historical Notes

Although Girard Kleinberger's early efforts were criticized as providing only a dubious facade of economic activity (local lore has it that in order to attract development he erected false store fronts on Ventura Boulevard, for which he spent time in jail), the Girard Golf Course completed in 1925 continues to operate today as the Woodland Hills Country Club, and his scheme was ultimately successful in attracting interest in the community.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)* - The mosque like gatehouse, complete with minaret, rooftop dome, and tiled facade, can be seen behind signs advertising a sale for anyone wanting to buy into the community of Girard. The bargain is a commercial acre with 10 walnut trees and utilities for $500. A redwood cabin overlooking the golf course is just under a thousand and "E.Z terms" are available. The most luxurious, a four room home with a mountain view, goes for $1650. Interestingly there is a Palm tree on one side of the building and a Cyprus on the other accommodating all arboreal tastes.  

 

Historical Notes

By 1941, the community was renamed Woodland Hills. In the 1940s, Harry Warner of the Warner Bros. Studio, bought 1,100 acres in the area for a horse ranch and named it Warner Ranch. The modern Warner Center commercial zone is named for Harry and features high-rise buildings, hotels, and shopping centers.*^

 

 

 
(1924)^ - Girard News Newspaper serving Girard (now called Woodland Hills), San Fernando, Van Nuys, Lankershim, Reseda, Owensmouth, Chatsworth, Rio Vista, Pacoima, Zelzah, Weeks Colony and other cities. Supplement to the paper focusing on particular cities.  

 

 

 

 
(Early 1900s)#* - Aerial view looking south of “Casa Milflores”, Harrison Gray Otis' Spanish-style home in southwest corner of the San Fernando Valley in what is now known as Tarzana. Main house and driveway, visible in center of photo, and other ranch buildings are along a hilltop, surrounded by trees. Valley and mountains in background.   

 

Historical Notes

In 1919, Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of the Tarzan character) purchased the ranch, then consisting of 550 acres, from the Estate of Harrison Gray Otis, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, who died in 1917. General Otis called the ranch “Rancho del Cabrillo” and the home he constructed on the Southerly hill fronting along present day Tarzana Drive, he called “Casa Milflores.” The roughly 100 acre Burroughs or Tarzana Tract ran from present day Ventura Boulevard to Tarzana Drive and was bounded by Mecca Avenue and Avenida Oriente. The Tract was possibly recorded as early as 1921. Burroughs was busy in 1922 trying to promote the sale of lots of the tract. #^*

The community was not officially named Tarzana until the Post Office was established in 1930. The Women’s Club, however, may have referred to the community by that name after taking a vote for a community name and then asking Burroughs permission to use it, which he gleefully granted in 1927.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)#* - View looking north towards the San Fernando Valley floor from near the “Casa Milflores”.  The silos (center-right of photo) are milk storage tanks at the Adhor Milk Farm, located near Ventura Blvd. between Reseda and Lindley.  

 

 

 

 
(1925)* - Aerial view of Lindley Avenue at Ventura Boulevard showing orchards as well as Adohr Stock Farm at the lower left of the photo.  

 

Historical Notes

The corner of Ventura Boulevard and Lindley Avenue in Tarzana was once the Adohr Milk Farm. However, the land was part of a cattle ranch empire owned by a Southern California family who later established the city of Malibu.

In 1892, Frederick Hastings Rindge bought the original Spanish land grants that made up Rancho Malibu Topanga Sequit. Rindge's land purchases spanned more than 17,000 acres along the coast toward Ventura County and several miles inland over the Santa Monica Mountains into the San Fernando Valley.^^^

Rindge’s daughter, Rhoda, married Merritt Adamson and together they started the successful Dairy Farm.

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)#^ - Aerial view of Adohr Farms looking southwest over the intersection of Ventura Blvd. and Lindley Ave. Ventura Blvd. runs diagonally from bottom-center to lower-right of photo.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1916, Merritt and Rhoda Adamson established a dairy farm on the north slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains. To honor Rhoda, Adamson named the farm "Adohr"--his wife's name spelled backward. Adohr Farms became famous for having one of the largest herds of Guernsey cattle in the world.^^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - View looking north of Adohr Farms. The main street running left to right is Ventura Blvd. Lindley Ave can be seen in the center-left of photo.  

 

Historical Notes

During the Depression, the Adamsons were forced to sell most of their land to pay creditors. However, the milk farm kept the family solvent.^^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)* - A spotted calf stands staring straight into the camera while shyer siblings lie in the shade of the empty looking trough at the Adohr Milk Farm. Beyond the corral lie the milking barns and four storage tanks of milk.
 

 

Historical Notes

The Adohr dairy moved to Camarillo in 1947. Adamson's son, Merritt Jr., eventually sold the dairy operation to the Southland Corp. in 1966.^^^

 

 

 
(1931)* - A driver/milkman for Adohr Creamery Company, sits at the wheel of his delivery truck.  

 

 

 

 
(1925)^^# - View looking south over the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon showing the Hollywood Country Club and adjoining areas in Studio City.  

 

Historical Notes

In the mid-1920s, the Hollywood Country Club opened for golf and other forms of recreation. Several film stars of the era were investors.^^#

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ - Brochure for the Hollywood Country Club and Foothills subdivisions in what is now Studio City.  It is from the Merrick & Ruddick, Inc. Real Estate Company.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1937, the Harvard School for Boys took over the closed country club.^

 

 

 
(1925)* - View across San Fernando Valley is looking north from Tarzana, at S.P.R.R. right of way. Reseda is in the center of the picture. The large white building is Marion Elementary School, on the present site of Reseda Elementary School.  

 

Historical Notes

The area now known as Tarzana was occupied in 1797 by Spanish settlers and missionaries who established the San Fernando Mission. Later absorbed by Mexico, the land was ceded to the United States in 1848 by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the Mexican-American War. Under US rule it evolved into a series of large cattle ranches owned by local elites. Investors took over in the 1870s, turning grazing into large-scale wheat farm operation.

The area was purchased in 1909 by the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. LA Times founder and publisher General Harrison Gray Otis both invested in the company and personally acquired 550 acres in the center of modern-day Tarzana.

In 1915 or 1919, author of the popular Tarzan stories Edgar Rice Burroughs purchased Otis’s tract and established Tarzana Ranch. Burroughs subdivided and sold the land for residential development, neighboring small farms following suit. In 1927 or 1928, local residents renamed the town Tarzana in honor of Burroughs and his famous storybook character.*^

Otis Avenue was designated in 1950 for the former property owner, Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, the late owner of the Los Angeles Times. After his death in 1917, his Mil Flores ranch south of today's Ventura Boulevard sold to the adventure writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, who christened it Tarzana Ranch. Burroughs dug what was believed to be the first residential swimming pool in the Valley.^*

 

 

 

 
(n.d).*#^# - View of the original Tarzana branch of the L. A. Public LIbrary (Exact location and date unknown?)  

 

 

 

 

 
(1926)^^ - Wide angle view looking north on Reseda Avenue (soon to be Blvd.) from the south side of Kittridge Street. Water over intersection is 3 to 4 feet deep.  

 

Historical Notes

This is now the approximate site of the main east/west flood control channel. Reseda Park will be situated just out of frame to the right and on this side of Kittridge and the flood control channel. ##^

 

 

 

 

 

(ca. 1926)^ -

One of the lakes in Twin Lakes Park, Chatsworth.

 

 

 

 

Historical Notes

Twin Lakes was built as a resort around two man-made lakes circa 1920, in a canyon just above Chatsworth.^^^*

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)^^^* - View of several people in a boat in the middle of a lake at Twin Lakes Park.   

 

Historical Notes

Twin Lakes Park was a privately owned planned community where one could buy a home, a mountain retreat, or a membership in the park (to use the facilities). In the 1920s and 1930s the community consisted of approximately 500 acre park, two fully stocked lakes, a country club, and picnic areas. There was room for 5,000 homes. Prices ranged from a one hundred dollar camp site to a twenty-five thousand dollar estate. Robert B. Stacy-Judd was the architect who designed and built the destinctive Mayan observation building on one of the lakes.^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - This Mayan style cement structure straddling the road is the gateway to the Twin Lakes Park community.  

 

Historical Notes

Remnants of the dams can still be found in the arroyos around the community of Twin Lakes, north of the Simi Valley Freeway between Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Canoga Avenue.^

 

 

 
(1926)* - View of Van Nuys Boulevard in 1926, with Pacific Electric Railway tracks and wires in the middle of the street and cars and shops on the sides. Several car dealers are seen on the right.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1926)^^ - A wide angle view of Van Nuys Boulevard looking north in 1926. A hotel is seen on the west side of the street at left-center.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1926)^^ - Panormaic view of the Robert Mortan Organ Co., Van Nuys.  

 

Historical Notes

The Robert Morton Organ Company was a producer of theater pipe organs and church organs, located in Van Nuys. Robert Morton was the number two volume producer of theatre organs, building approximately half as many organs as the industry leader Wurlitzer. The name Robert Morton was derived not from any person in the company, but rather from the name of company president Harold J. Werner's son, Robert Morton Werner.

The company's heyday was in the late 1920s, the era of the lavish movie palace theaters exhibiting silent films. The rise of the Great Depression and the advent of sound films eliminated the demand for theater organs and the company closed in 1931. In addition to their uses in theaters and music halls, Robert Morton organs have been featured in the music for the Haunted Mansion attractions at various Disney theme parks.*^

 

 

 

 

 
(1927)* - View looking East on Ventura Boulevard near Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. Commercial buildings are seen on the south side of Ventura. Only a narrow strip (two lanes) of the Boulevard is paved. A sign to the right reads: "Cahuenga Park - Wonderful View Lots"  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1926)^^ - Photograph of Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, San Fernando Valley. Two-story brick buildings line the road on either side advertising soad, cigars, lunch, drugs, etc. Early automobiles are parked along the sidewalks while still others drive. An early pickup truck reads "Express" along the side. Telephone poles are visible over the trees in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

As a result of the construction of the LA Aqueduct and the promise of a new water source from the Owens Valley, West Lankershim (today's Valley Village) agreed to be annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1919, and Lankershim proper in 1923. in 1927, in an effort to capitalize on the glamour and proximity of Hollywood, Lankershim was renamed "North Hollywood". The result was a massive development of housing which transformed the area into a suburban development of Los Angeles.*^

Click HERE to see more in Construction of the LA Aqueduct

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1926)^^ - Lankershim Blvd. at Weddington St. in North Hollywood. The historic El Portal Theater, located at 5269 Lanershim Boulevard, appears on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

The El Portal Theatre, designed by Lewis A. Smith, is an historical landmark located in the heart of North Hollywood. It was originally built as a vaudeville house and sits directly across Lankershim Blvd; the art deco Marquee is visible to thousands of cars that travel on the boulevard daily. Since its opening in 1926 -- first for Vaudeville, then Silent Movies, and then Academy Award-winning films -- the theatre has weathered the Jazz Age, the Depression, 4 wars, and finally being wrecked a few weeks after its grand opening by the great earthquake of 1994. Rebuilt in the late 90's and opened in January of 2000, the once 1400-seat movie palace now houses three theatres -- the 42-seat Studio Theatre, the 95-seat Forum, and the 360-seat Main Stage -- along with the Judith Kaufman Art Gallery.*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1926)* - Interior view of the El Portal Theatre showing seating as it appeared in the late 1920s.  

 

 

 

 
(1927)* - View of Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, looking north from Chandler Blvd. Various small retail shops are seen, with cars parked out front. At left is a sign advising that the Lankershim Branch of Los Angeles Public Library is to the left.  

 

 

 

 
(1927)* - Sherman Way between Van Nuys and Lankershim Boulevards in North Hollywood. The photographer's shadow can be seen in the foreground.  

 

 

 

 
(1927)* - Aerial view of agricultural San Fernando Valley, east of Sepulveda Blvd. and Rita Ave. Big Tujunga Wash cuts through the center of the photo to connect with the Los Angeles River. Small clusters of houses and agricultural buildings are interspersed among rectangular fields and citrus groves.  

 

Historical Notes

Sepulveda Boulevard was once known as Saugus Avenue.  It was dedicated in 1925. Named for the family of Don Francisco and Ramona Sepulveda, who had 11 children, all of whom inherited parts of their parents' property and acquired more land through their marriages. The road was used by the Sepulvedas to transport their cattle, which were often attacked by grizzly bears.**^

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^^ – View of an apricot orchard in the San Fernando Valley.  Two rows of apricot trees extend into the distance, each with small bulbs or leaves adorning its boughs. A row of bare soil stands between the row, and more lines of trees appear on both sides. In the distance, the line of distant hills can be seen.  

 

Historical Notes

By the 1920s, with assistance from the waters of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, fruit and especially citrus cultivation was San Fernando's biggest industry. The price of land for orange and lemon groves went as high as $5,000 an acre – as much as eight times more than the cost of other land – and the city had at least four packing houses with annual shipments of nearly 500 rail cars of oranges and lemons. Olives also flourished in the Mediterranean-like climate, and the 2,000-acre Sylmar olive grove – then the world's largest – produced 50,000 gallons of olive oil and 200,000 gallons of ripe olives. Other crops grown in and around San Fernando included alfalfa, apricots, asparagus, barley hay, beans, beets, cabbage, citrus, corn, lettuce, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and walnuts.*#^*

 

 

 

 
(1927)* - Aerial view of agricultural San Fernando Valley looking north from Woodman & Chandler. Houses and agricultural buildings are interspersed among rectangular fields and orchards.  

 

Historical Notes

Woodman Avenue was named for the Woodman Ranch in 1917, after being called Castro Avenue. There was a mayor of Los Angeles named Woodman in the same period.

Chandler Boulevard was originally a leg of Sherman Way. It was renamed for land developer and Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler.^*

 

 

 

 
(1928)* - Campo de Cahuenga, site of the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga in 1847. Location: 3919 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, adjacent to the Universal Studios Metro Station.  

 

Historical Notes

The Campo de Cahuenga, near the historic Cahuenga Pass in present day Studio City,  was an adobe ranch-house on the Rancho Cahuenga where the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed between Lieutenant Colonel John C. Frémont and General Andrés Pico in 1847, ending hostilities in California between Mexico and the United States. The subsequent Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, ceding California, New Mexico, and Arizona (but not Texas, since it had seceded from Mexico in 1836, declared itself a republic, and joined the union in 1845) to the United States, formally ended the Mexican-American War. From 1858 to 1861 the Campo de Cahuenga became a Butterfield Stage Station.*^

Campo de Cahuenga has been designated as California Historical Landmark No. 151 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(1928)* - View looking east of the Campo de Cahuenga, site of the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga. Today, Universal Studios sits on top of the hill across Lankershim Blvd as seen in the above photo.  

 

Historical Notes

The original adobe structure was demolished in 1900. The city of Los Angeles provided funds for the purchase of the property in 1923, and a Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival style replica 'adobe' ranch house was built by the city following an effort led by Irene T. Lindsay, then President of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, was dedicated on November 2, 1950. It is now a park and interpretive center managed by the City of Los Angeles- Department of Recreation and Parks in partnership with the Campo de Cahuenga Historical Memorial Association.*^

 

 

 

 
1928)^^ - Two women dressed in dark riding pants and long sleeve shirts sit along a section of Mulholland Drive looking north toward Van Nuys. Although plotted, the land looks considerably vacant with only a few homes and buildings scattered in the forefront, and looking virtually uninhabited farther north. This district is named after Isaac Van Nuys (1835-1912), who in 1869 founded the San Fernando Homestead Association, which purchased much of the land that now makes up the community.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1872 Van Nuys built the first wood-frame house in the Valley, and on February 22, 1911, lot sales began at this new town, named after its famous founder. Since then, this region has seen rapid growth: In 1928 the Metropolitan Field (future Van Nuys Airport) opened and stop signs were posted at all major intersections; in 1932 the Van Nuys city hall was built; in 1949 Valley College opened; and in 1960 the Ventura Freeway was completed across the Valley.

Mulholland Drive is a winding ridgeline road in the Santa Monica Mountains that was dedicated in honor of William Mulholland, the water engineer who designed and built the Los Angeles Aqueduct, on Dec. 27, 1924. Originally dirt and called Mulholland Highway, the name was changed to Mulholland Drive in 1939. Portions of the original road remain unpaved. Click HERE to see more on Mulholland Monuments.

 

 

 

 

 
(1928)^^ - View looking north on Sepulveda Boulevard at Chatsworth Road, showing outlet to open concrete drain and culvert on east side of Sepulveda Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1928)^^ - Photograph of a view of Sherman Way at Haskell Avenue in the San Fernando Valley, looking north. A set of railroad track runs from the foreground at left into the distance at center. Running parallel to the tracks are two wide paved roads, one on each side, and a line of utility poles. Bordering the outside edges of the roads are rows of palm tree. Several mailboxes can be seen along the side of the roads.  

 

 

 

 
(1928)* - Reseda State Bank building at Reseda Ave. and Sherman Way, July 1928.  

 

Historical Notes

Reseda originated as a farm town named "Marian" (or "Rancho Marian") that appeared in 1912. Its namesake, Marian Otis Chandler, was the daughter of Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis, a director of the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. H J Whitley was the manager of the Los Angeles Suburban Home Company.

The Western Division of the Pacific Electric Railway 'Red Cars Line' expedited development after the Los Angeles Aqueduct brought water to the City of Los Angeles in 1913. Soon, thereafter, Marion would be annexed by the City.

In 1920, Reseda was named after a fragrant North African yellow-dye plant, Reseda odorata, whose English name is mignonette and which grows in hot, dry climates—replaced Marian as a designation for a stop on the Pacific Electric interurban railway running along Sherman Way. The name "Reseda" was given first to a siding on a branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the south San Fernando Valley.*^

 

 

 

 
(1929)* - Aerial view of Reseda in 1929. The arrow marks the American Legion Post, No. 308.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)#^ - Sherman Way looking east at the corner of Remmet Avenue. R.W. Bird's Independent Grocery store is on the left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)#^ - Independent Grocery in Canoga Park owned by R. William Bird, on Sherman Way, looking north on Remmet.  

 

Historical Notes

The town fire station (with Spanish tiled roof) can be seen on the right. The building next to the fire station, which advertises "PRINTING" was the headquarters for the town newspaper, the Owensmouth Gazette.#^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1927)^#** - Volunteer Company Owensmouth located at 7224 Remmet Ave, in service until 1931. At that time the LAFD established Engine Co. No. 72 who moved into a new nearby facility on Owensmouth Ave.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1927 there were still rural areas throughout the city, such as parts of the San Fernando Valley, Bel Air, Harbor City, Pacific Palisades, and Encino Acres that utilized volunteer firefighters.  Some were still using two-wheeled hand drawn hose and/or chemical carts. However, most were using Ford Auto Combination hose wagons (seen above), loaded with 2 1/2" (from 500' up to 1200'), chemical hose, and sometimes some 1 1/2" hose was added.  The chemical tank was a 60 gal. soda/acid.^#**

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)#^ - View of the newly constructed firehouse for Engine Co. No. 72 located at 7248 Owensmouth Ave.  

 

Historical Notes

The new Owensmouth Station was built in 1931 but did not open until 1933 due to manpower shortage.^#**

 

 

 

 

 
(1939)^#** - Engine Company No. 72.  From left to right are: Captain E. S. Shiveley, R. J. McLaughlin, J. L. Stringer, and E. H. Newmyer.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)#^ - View of the 1890 Calabasas schoolhouse in the 24400 block of Calabasas Road. Replaced on the same property with the 1924-1925 schoolhouse.  

 

 

 

 

 
(Late 1920s)^ - Second Calabasas School on property in 24400 block of Calabasas Road, circa late 1920s. Built in the 1924-1925 school year, it was a one-teacher school until June 1948.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1947, the Calabasas School District joined Liberty, Cornell and Las Virgenes to form a unified school district. In 1950, the school building and three acres were sold to Charles Mureau. Subsequent modifications for tenants, including their current (1984) Pelican's Retreat restaurant, have left only the front wall of the original building, the retaining wall and the steps up from the road.^

 

 

 
(1929)* - Exterior of the Leonis Adobe at 23530 Ventura Blvd. in Calabasas. Miguel Leonis occupied the adobe intermittently as a ranch house. Wooden additions at the rear were added in 1919. For a number of years it was part of Warner Bros. ranch properties and resided in by actor John Carradine and family. In 1965 it was one of the few remnants of the San Fernando Valley's heritage standing in original form. Built in 1844.  

 

Historical Notes

Leonis Adobe is one of only four surviving adobe residences remaining in the San Fernando Valley. When the Los Angeles Cultural HItorical Board was formed in 1962, Leonis Adobe was the first designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument (Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List). By 2007, there were nearly 900 separately numbered sites that had received the designation, but Leonis Adobe has the prestige of having been designated as Historic-Cultural Monument #1. In 1975, the adobe was listed on the National Register of Historical Places.^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - Kramer's grocery store on Calabasas Road, Calabasas, circa 1930's. This store was originally owned by Charles Cooper and was known as Cooper's. After he died, his widow, Alice, married Laurence Kramer and they renamed it Kramer's. Kramer owned and operated the store until he retired in 1968.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - M. Costa Texaco gas station at 23513 Ventura Boulevard, west of Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Woodland Hills, circa 1920-1935. The Eastside Lunchroom is visible at left in background.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^^ - Birdseye view over an orchard on the Mission San Fernando, looking east from the Santa Susana Mountains towards the Cahuenga Pass. A wide swath of treetops can be seen spanning the width of the image, while other planted rows stand behind them. Still farther out, residential buildings are spaced out disparately over a large plot of flat ground. In the foreground, a cleared and unplanted patch of soil can be seen.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^*## - Map of the San Fernando Valley in the early 1930's. Several of the communities have changed names since this map was printed including Girard, North Los Angeles, and Granada. This was a time before freeways, and the pass through the Santa Monica Mountains, Sepulveda Pass, was still a dirt road.  

 

Historical Notes

The community of Girard is identified in the center-left of photo near the intersection of the State Highway and Topanga Canyon. In 1945 it became known as Woodland Hills.*^

Originally called Zelzah, the town that we call Northridge today was renamed North Los Angeles on July 1, 1929. In 1938, this area of the San Fernando Valley was renamed Northridge Village. Few evidences of the "village" remain.^^#

The community of Granada was founded in 1926.  The “Hills” was added 15 years later in 1941.*^

The Ventura Freeway would not be completed across the San Fernando Valley until 1960.*

 

 

 
(1930)**^# - Los Angeles Mayor John Porter turns the key in a giant symbolic lock during opening ceremonies of the Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel in the Santa Monica Mountains. September 27, 1930  

 

Historical Notes

Descendants of the Sepulveda rancho family attended the ceremony and the San Fernando High School band played. The program contained ads for Valley chicken farms and the brand new Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport, "at the Heart of the San Fernando Valley, Woodley Street and Saticoy Boulevard." That's now Van Nuys Airport.^^^#

 

 

 
(1930)**^# - View of a procession of cars, horses and wagons moving south through the new Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel following opening ceremonies. After eight years of road construction, the new tunnel connected the San Fernando Valley with West Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

The Sepulveda Tunnel opened on September 27, 1930.  Until then, the Sepulveda Pass consisted of just a dirt road and some trails.  Most of the traffic between the Valley and the city moved over Cahuenga Pass and narrow passages like Laurel Canyon and Beverly Glen.^^^#

 

 

 
(1935)* - View of cars about to enter the Sepulveda Tunnel through the Santa Monica Mountains shortly after the dirt road was paved for the first time.  This is part of the Sepulveda Highway connecting Ventura Blvd. to Sunset.  

 

Historical Notes

Sepulveda Pass was paved and became a state highway route in 1935.^^^#

 

 

 

 
(1939)^^ – View of Sepulveda Boulevard looking south from Magnolia Boulevard before improvement. Sepulveda is at center and is a paved, two lane road with dirt shoulders. Wide ditches can be seen on both sides of the road, and several automobiles are driving on its surface. A collection of small wooden buildings can be seen at left, while at right is an open field. A line of utility poles runs parallel to the road at left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940)^^ - View of Sepulveda Boulevard looking south from Magnolia Boulevard after improvement, June 18, 1940. Sepulveda is at center and is now a six-lane road with a dirt divider in the middle. Note: The pole line has been removed.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930)^ - Aerial view in 1930 of Van Nuys Airport when it was known as Metropolitan Airport.  

 

Historical Notes

Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport opened in 1928 and was spread over 80 acres amid the trees and farmland. In 1929, Hollywood discovered the airport. Howard Hughes, Hoot Gibson, Cecil B. DeMille, Gene Autry and Wallace Beery were among the growing number of stars flying at the new airport. The airport continued to expand and grow with three factories, six hangers, and a control tower on airport grounds. The airport also began hosting air races.  During one such race in 1929, Amelia Earhart set a new speed record.*^#

 

 

 
(1940)* - Aerial view showing the Metropolitan Airport, later Van Nuys Airport, on April 15, 1940.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1942, with the outbreak of World War II, the U.S. government purchased Metropolitan Airport and converted it into a military base to help protect the West Coast. The military also purchased an additional 163 acres of land for the construction of the Van Nuys Army Airfield, using new runways to train hundreds of P-38 Lightning pilots.*#^

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)* - Aerial view, looking east, of the San Fernando Valley. The Metropolitan Airport is at lower right. The image was published for "Roy C. Seeley Company, Business and Industrial Realtors" whose stamp is visible in the upper left corner of the image.  

 

Historical Notes

The Metropolitan Airport became a vital defense-manufacturing center during the war. In 1944, a joint venture between the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Corporation created an aircraft modification facility known as the Navy Lockheed Plant. In the meantime, Hollywood continued to use the airport for filming, most notably when scenes from the classic Casablanca were filmed at the airport.*#^

 

 

 
(1946)* - Aerial view of San Fernando Valley, north of the Metropolitan Airport, now known as Van Nuys Airport.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1949, the city of Los Angeles purchased the airport from the War Assets Administration for a token payment of one dollar, with the condition that it remain the home of the California Air National Guard until 1985. The airport was renamed San Fernando Valley Airport.

At one point in the late '40s, it was envisioned as a base for Air Force fighter/interceptor planes to defend against a feared attack by Soviet-piloted bombers from Siberia. To provide the space needed for early jet fighters, a runway was extended an additional 2,000 feet south from Saticoy Street to Vanowen Street. To avoid blocking busy Sherman Way, the street was routed into a tunnel under the runway, which is still in use today. But, by the time hundreds of homes had been razed and the expansion completed, the defense role was taken over by Nike anti-aircraft missiles, leaving the airport with an extraordinarily long (8,000 feet!) runway for a general aviation field, an unintended legacy of the Cold War.*^#

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early L.A.

 

 

 

 

 
(1931)* - This Van de Kamp's Bakery's building, designed to resemble a 16th -century Dutch farmhouse, located on San Fernando Road and Fletcher Drive served as headquarters for the chain of bakeries and coffee shops whose trademark "windmill" buildings and neon signs prevailed throughout mid-20th century Los Angeles. The building was designed by New York architect J. Edward Hopkins in 1930 in the Dutch Renaissance Revival style, reflecting the company's Dutch corporate image. Theodore J. Van de Kamp and Lawrence L. Frank were the owners and originators of the Van de Kamp Bakeries. Fondly known as the "Taj Mahal of all bakeries", the Van de Kamp's headquarters was declared city of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 569 in 1992 Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List***).  

 

Hisorical Notes

San Fernando Road was graded across the barren eastern edge of the Valley in the 1870s for use by wagons hauling ore between San Fernando and Los Angeles.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)#^ - View looking north of Eucalyptus Lane, located on March Avenue just south of Roscoe Boulevard. Orcutt Ranch is to the right.  

 

Hisorical Notes

Orcutt Ranch was the vacation and retirement estate of William Warren Orcutt, an early pioneer of oil production in California and the discoverer of one of the first prehistoric skeletons at the La Brea Tar Pits. The Rancho Sombra del Roble, Spanish for "Ranch of the Shaded Oak", was originally a 210-acre cattle ranch and citrus orchard at the foot of the Simi Hills. Orcutt bought the property in 1917,and hired architect, L.G. Knipe (who designed some of the original campus structures of Arizona State University) to design his home on the ranch. The 3,060-square-foot residence, in the blend of Spanish Colonial Revival Style and Mission Revival Style architecture, was completed in approximately 1926.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^ - Two guitar players dressed in costume sitting on ornate chairs under a tree. The 200 acre Orcutt Ranch was owned by William Orcutt and his wife Mary. The ranch was also known as Rancho Sombre del Roble, which means "ranch shaded by the oak."  

 

Historical Notes

Orcutt Ranch is located east of March Street and south Roscoe Boulevard.

Roscoe Boulevard derives from the town of Roscoe, now Sun Valley. The thoroughfare originated as a plowed furrow that extended the length of the Valley and marked the boundary between the Lankershim Ranch on the south and the Maclay-Porter ranches on the north.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1948)^ - March Avenue, south of Roscoe Boulevard looking north. Orcutt Ranch is in the background.  

 

Hisorical Notes

In 1966, the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks purchased the Orcutt Ranch estate and gardens. It has since been designated Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument Number 31 and is an horticultural facility. The ranch is located at 23600 Roscoe Blvd., Canoga Park (Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List***).

 

 

 

 
(1935)^^^* - Aerial view of the Lower Van Norman Reservoir looking northeast.  Rinaldi Street runs east to west in the foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

Also called the Lower San Fernando Dam, the Lower Van Own Reservoir was built as the southern terminus of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, storing drinking water for the city. After the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake, the Los Angeles Dam was constructed and a new reservoir would replace the Lower Van Norman Reservoir.

The reservoir was named after Harvey Arthur Van Norman who was a long time employee and engineer for the City of Los Angeles under his chief and close friend William Mulholland. When Mulholland retired Van Norman took his place as head of the Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Bureau of Water Works and Supply. When the separate water and power bureaus were merged into a single organization he became head of the new Department of Water and Power.*^

Click HERE to see more Early L.A. Water Reservoirs.

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Aerial view of the field which became the site for Republic Studios, near Ventura Blvd. and Colfax Ave. in what is now Studio City.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)* - View of Republic Studios in North Hollywood, now Studio City, in the San Fernando Valley. Trucks are parked in a line in the foreground and a building is under construction on the far left. By this time, Noah Beery Sr.'s ranch in the background is part of the 70-acre studio complex.  

 

Historical Notes

The studios were originally built by Mack Sennett in 1928 and his enterprise became bankrupt in 1933. Herbert J. Yates took over the site and in 1935 formed a production company entitled Republic Pictures Corporation and the studios became known as Republic Studios.*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)* - Exterior view of the Geronimo Lopez adobe in San Fernando. It was built by Valentino Lopez for his father, Geronimo, in 1878. It later was used as a stage station, then was the San Fernando Valley's first post office. It is located at 1100 Pico Street, on the corner of Maclay Avenue and Pico Street.
 

 

Historical Notes

Maclay Avenue was named after Charles Maclay, town builder and former state Senator, founded San Fernando.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)* - View of the Chatsworth Community Church, the 2nd oldest church in the San Fernando Valley, located at 10051 Topanga Canyon Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The Chatsworth Community Church was built in 1903 using volunteer labor. It was also used as the community's high school from 1906–1908. It was a center of community life in the early days of Chatsworth, serving as a haven from floods and fires.

In 1958, its name was changed to the Chatsworth First Methodist Church. After the church was closed in 1963, it was left vacant and became the victim of vandalism. The church was "the last remaining community building" of old Chatsworth, and became threatened by development.

In January 1963, the Chatsworth Community Church was designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 14 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

In order to save it from demolition, the Chatsworth Historical Society raised $19,725 to move the church in 1965 from its original location at 10051 Topanga Canyon Boulevard to its present site at 22601 Lassen Street, on the grounds of Oakwood Memorial Park.

Since November 15, 1981, the building has been occupied by the congregation of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican-Rite Catholic Church.*^

 

 

 
(2008)*^^# - View of the Minnie Hill Palmer Residence at 22360 Devonshire Street, built in 1911. The house was designated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 133 in 1974 (Click HERE to see complete listing).  

 

Historical Notes

The Minnie Hill Palmer House, also known as The Homestead Acre, is the only remaining homestead cottage in the San Fernando Valley. The cottage is a redwood Stick-Eastlake style American Craftsman-Bungalow located on a 1.3 acres site in Chatsworth Park South, Chatsworth.

The Homestead Acre and Palmer House have been preserved as they were in 1911 when the surviving cottage was built. It is owned by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and maintained by the Chatsworth Historical Society as a monument.  The city maintains the building's exterior, and the Chatsworth Historical Society maintains the interior.

The Chatsworth Historical Society conducts tours of the cottage by appointment for groups of 10 or more and on the first Sunday of the month from 1-4 p.m. Many of the trees and flowers on the property were planted by Minnie Hill Palmer and her family. According to the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Palmer House has become a popular location for weddings and private parties and is also rented as a movie location.*^

 

 

 

 
(1931)^^^* - View looking southwest of Stoney Point and the West San Fernando Valley.  

 

Historical Notes

Stoney Point is the site of a Tongva Indian rancheria until the 1790s, with the Spanish invasion. It was used as a marker by the Southern Pacific Railroad during construction of the railroad through the Santa Susana Mountains. It is also said to have been used as a hideout by the outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez in the 1870s.

In 1974, Stoney Point was designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 132 because of its historic value (Click HERE to see complete listing).*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)^ - View from Stoney Pt. looking southwest. Topanga Cyn Boulevard runs from lower right to upper left of photo. The street crossing Topanga at a 45 degree angle is Andora Avenue.  At upper right-center can be seen the Chatsworth Reservoir.  

 

Historical Notes

The Chatsworth Reservoir in the Northwest San Fernando Valley was placed in service in 1919. Click HERE to see more in Early LA Water Reservoirs.

 

 

 

 
(1940)^#^* - Scene from the movie The Grapes of Wrath showing when the Joads finally arrive in California…what they are looking at is Chatsworth. Stoney Point can be seen to the left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Grapes of Wrath (1940) was one of the first 25 films to be chosen (in 1989) by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry because it is "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

While the film was lensed at more than a dozen and a half locations it does include some rich scenes filmed on the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth.^#^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)^*#* - Santa Susana...Iverson Ranch. A lot of western movies and other films were made here. The location of the ranch was in the northwest corner of Chatsworth, along the western side of Topanga Canyon Boulevard where it currently intersects with the 118 Freeway.  

 

Historical Notes

Karl and Augusta Iverson, who owned a 500-acre family ranch in the Simi Hills on Santa Susana Pass above Chatsworth, first allowed a movie to be shot on the property as early as 1912, with the silent movies Man's Genesis (1912), "My Official Wife" (1914) and The Squaw Man (1914) among the features most often cited as the earliest films shot on the site. A long and fruitful association soon evolved between Hollywood and the Iverson Movie Ranch, which became the go-to outdoor location for Westerns in particular and also appeared in many adventures, war movies, comedies, science-fiction films and other productions, standing in for Africa, the Middle East, the South Pacific and any number of exotic locations.*^

 

 

 
(Early 1900s)^^** - View of Stoney Point and Santa Susana Pass Rd.  

 

Historical Notes

The Old Santa Susana Stage Road or Santa Susana Wagon Road is a route taken by early travelers between the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley through Chatsworth and over the Santa Susana Pass. The main route climbs through what is now Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park, with a branch in Chatsworth Park South. It was an important artery linking the Los Angeles Basin and inland Ventura County, and was part of the main route for travel by stagecoach between Los Angeles and San Francisco from 1861 until the opening of rail traffic between the cities in 1876.*^

 

 

 

 

 
(Early 1900s)^##^ - Postcard view showing the Santa Susana Pass Road as it begins its ascent from the San Fernando Valley and continues out to Simi Valley, with Stoney Point in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

The Santa Susana Pass Road continued in use as an alternative to the route along El Camino Viejo from 1861 to 1875, replacing the older road as the main route between Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 1876, the Southern Pacific Railroad opened a tunnel through the Newhall Pass, enabling rail connections from Los Angeles north to San Francisco, and rail travel soon replaced travel by stagecoach between Los Angeles and San Francisco. From this time, the stagecoach traffic to Santa Barbara once again used the coast route, and the Santa Susana Pass road was relegated to local traffic.*^

 

 

 

 
(1917)^^** - The Santa Susana Pass Road as it appeared from the Susana Knolls in Simi Valley just after the grading was completed. This was actually the third road over the Santa Susana Mountains and is still in use today.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1895, a new wagon route bypassing the deteriorating Devil's Slide was opened. Initially called El Camino Nuevo (the New Road), it was later named the Chatsworth Grade Road, which continued in use until Santa Susana Pass Road (now Old Santa Susana Pass Road) was built in 1917.*^

 

 

 

 
(1941)*##^ - View of Santa Susana Pass Road as it appeared in 1941.  

 

Historical Notes

The Old Santa Susana Stage Road is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Part of the stage road is also a Historic-Cultural Monument of Ventura County and of the city of Los Angeles under the name 'Old Stagecoach Trail', No. 92 (Click HERE to see the LA Historic-Cultural Monuments List).

 

 

 

 
(1936)* - Aerial view of Chatsworth, looking southeast. Devonshire Street can be seen running across the San Fernando Valley (lower right-center diagonally up to upper left-center of photo).
 

 

Historical Notes

The present town was first called 'Chatsworth Park' and developed in 1888. It was named after Chatsworth House, the family seat of the Duke of Devonshire in Derbyshire, United Kingdom. The Devonshire name was also used for the naming of the major east-west boulevard in Chatsworth.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)* - Exterior view of the Oak Garage, a gas station and auto repair garage on Calabasas Road in Calabasas. A bell marker identifying El Camino Real is visible on the left side of the image. Calabasas Road is partially visible in the background on the right. The garage is named for the oak tree, known as "Hangman's Oak", whose limb is seen across the top of the image. The tree was used for hangings at the Calabasas Jail, which used to stand near the site shown here.  

 

 

 

 
(1936)^ - Members of the Volunteer Fire Department of Woodland Hills sitting on an engine in front of their fire house.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - Postcard photograph of aerial view of the San Fernando Valley from the summit, Topanga, Calif.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)* - Palms line the road between citrus groves in Granada Hills. Photo by Herman Schultheis.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1916, the San Fernando Valley's first oil well was drilled in what is now Granada Hills. The oil well was located at the northern tip of Zelzah Avenue.

Granada Hills was founded in 1927 (as "Granada;" the "Hills" was added 15 years later) and started out as a dairy farm and orchard known as the Sunshine Ranch.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)* - A sign that says "chicken thieves and others caught trespassing these premises after dark will be shot without further notice" is posted in front of an orange grove in what is now known as Granada Hills. Photo by Herman Schultheis.  

 

Historical Notes

According to a 1938 Los Angeles Times article a large number of citrus groves were sold around Granada between 1935 and 1938. The Granada Orange Estates development included 400 acres of orange, lemon and grapefruit groves, and the "Granada townsite itself" included another "867 orange sites." A 1936 tract lot shows that the Granada Orange Estates was bounded approximately by Balboa to the east, San Jose to the south, Zelzah to the west, and Rinaldi to the north, which places it in area of Los Angeles currently known as Granada Hills.*

Among the crops harvested in Granada Hills were apricots, oranges, walnuts and beans. Vestiges of former citrus groves can still be seen as small groups of orange, lemon or grapefruit trees in some residential yards.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^ - Panoramic view of Sunshine Ranch facing north, with the Santa Susana Mountains in the background, circa 1932. The citrus trees are on the south side of Rinaldi Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1917, Oklahoman oil magnate J. H. Mosier purchased 4100 acres of the Porter Ranch from George K. Porter and renamed it Sunshine Ranch. Between 1917 and 1924 over 2000 acres of the ranch were planted with citrus trees.

In 1925 the land was sold to Suburban Estates, Inc. and shortly thereafter they subdivided the real estate into residential and commercial lots. The first home and commercial building was built in 1926. At this time the area was still known as Sunshine Ranch.^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^ - Spence air photo of Sunshine Ranch facing south showing the citrus trees, mostly on the south side of Rinaldi.  The arrow in the lower left points to the Wickson Grove.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1927 the name of the subdivision was changed to Granada. It was named after a town in Spain that has a very similar climate and topography to the north San Fernando Valley. #*#

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - View of the Granada Building, built in the 1930s, at the corner of White Oak Avenue and Chatsworth Street.  

 

Historical Notes

The Char-Mar Malt and Coffee Shop was an early occupant of this Spanish-style building. It was also used as a community meeting center. The offices of California Trust Co., responsible for the sale of much of the land that makes up present-day Granada Hills, were located here as well. It is now a one story building.^

Suburban Estates, Inc., went into receivership in 1932 and was taken over by the California Trust Co., which had furnished much of the money for the development of the community. This company set up offices in the corner store of the Granada Building, operating there until all the lots were sold in 1940. #^#^

 

 

 

 

 
(1940)^ - Aerial view showing Granada Hills in the northern end of the San Fernando Valley. The two main streets running diagonally from bottom to center of photo are Zelzah (left) and Balboa (right). Chatsworth Street runs from east to west across the center of photo. The race track at Devonshire Downs can be seen at lower-left on the corner of Zelzah and Devonshire. Crop fields can be seen throughout.  

 

Historical Notes

Because of it’s remote location in the 1920’s, the number of residential homes did not start to increase until the 1940’s. Actor James Cagney owned the “Cagney Ranch” in the 1940s, nestled in the hills north of Rinaldi, west of Balboa. #*#

In May, 1942 the name of the community was changed to Granada Hills, so as not to conflict with Grenada, California, and the Granada Hills branch post office was opened. #^#^

 

 

 

 
(ca 1940s)#^# – View of Rancho Oro Grand (aka Bull Canyon Meadows, aka Cagney Ranch) located in Granada Hills above Rinaldi between Zelzah and Balboa.  Photographed by Alvin Kleeb of Granada Hills in the early 1940s from the top of old Shoshone Street.  

 

Historical Notes

The construction of “Rancho Oro Grande” began in 1939 and was completed in 1940. Mr. Wells of the Layne-Wells Corp. in Los Angeles built the ranch and used it as a Thoroughbred Stud farm, which included two stallions and about thirty brood mares. There were also nearly 400 head of  beef cattle on the ranch as well.

Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Wells sold the ranch to Gilbert Adrian, the clothes designer from MGM, and his wife Janet Gaynor, the actress from 20th Century Fox. Mr. Adrian and Ms. Gaynor continued to use the ranch for horses and called it “Rancho Oro Grande”.

The ranch at this time was about 800 acres in size. #^#

 

 

 

 
1956)^ – View of James Cagney looking down at his ranch located at 17801 Bull Canyon Road in Granada Hills. Photographed by Flyod McCarthy from the main entrance which is at the present day intersection of Louise and Rushing Drive. #^#  

 

Historical Notes

In 1953, James Cagney and wife, Frances Vernon, bought 450 acres of the ranch from Actress Janet Gaynor and husband, Gilbert Adrian, and later purchased a 90 acre orange grove that fronted old Balboa Blvd. The orange grove purchase gave the Cagney’s easier access to the ranch because the original entrance on old Shoshone Ave was a very narrow winding road. During the Cagney’s tenure the ranch was called “Bull Canyon Meadows”.

The Cagney's used the ranch strictly for raising horses. Among some of the horses boarded there were trotters, pacers, and some of the purest bred Morgans in the country. Although the Cagneys loved the ranch, they did not like the encroachment of housing developers; therefore they decided to sell it. The Cagneys sold the ranch around 1964. The new owner was James Roache and he named the ranch the Triple –A Ranch. It was at about 500 acres at the time.

Parts of the ranch were subsequently sold (1970s) leaving only 150 acres.  In the late 1980s the last remaining 150 acres were sold to developers. The main stable and foal barn were torn down during the summer of 1988 when the land was developed for houses. Today, the main house is all that is left of the ranch. #^#

 

 

 

 
(1946)^ - The Bates Market building, located on Chatsworth Street, 1946. Also known as the Granada Hills Market, it served as a hardware store as well.  

 

Historical Notes

Chatsworth Street - The western portion used to be known as Ben Porter Avenue, for the owner of the rancho across whose land the road passed. For a time, the portion near Zelzah Ave. was named Santa Susana Pass Road.^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)^ - View looking east on Chatsworth Street where Zelzah Avenue curves into it.  

 

 

 

 
(1961)* - View looking northeast at the curved corner of Zelzah Avenue and Chatsworth Street in Granada Hills.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)* - Exterior view of an adobe in the San Fernando Valley in the 16000 block of Victory Blvd. in present-day Van Nuys. It was built circa 1911 by Frank P. Ghiglia as a house for ranch hands.
 

 

Historical Notes

Victory Boulevard was named in honor of the Valley's World War I veterans in 1924. The segment west of Balboa Boulevard did not open until 1955.

 

 

 

 
(1937)* - San Fernando Valley north of Panorama Ranch, August 3, 1937.  

 

Historical Notes

Panorama City was developed as a planned community by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Contrary to popular perceptions of the development of the central and western San Fernando Valley as solely being a bedroom community for jobs in downtown Los Angeles and Burbank, Panorama City originally included General Motors' largest assembly plant to date, as well as a Schlitz brewery that eventually came under the ownership of Anheuser-Busch.*^

Henry John Kaiser (May 9, 1882 – August 24, 1967) was an American industrialist who became known as the father of modern American shipbuilding. He established the Kaiser Shipyard which built Liberty ships during World War II, after which he formed Kaiser Aluminum and Kaiser Steel. Kaiser organized Kaiser Permanente health care for his workers and their families. Kaiser was involved in building civic centers, roads, and schools. He was part of the consortium that constructed the Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam. Kaiser is also noted for advancing medicine with the development and construction of several hospitals, medical centers and medical schools. His mining town of Eagle Mountain, California, part of the West Coast's first integrated mining/processing operation linked by rail to his mill in Fontana, California, was the birthplace of Kaiser Permanente, the first health maintenance organization.*^

 

 

 

 
(1930s)*^^ - Tract housing stretches into the horizon on Oxnard Street, North Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

in 1927, in an effort to capitalize on the glamour and proximity of Hollywood, Lankershim was renamed "North Hollywood". The result was a massive development of housing which transformed the area into a suburban development of Los Angeles.*^

Oxnard Street was named for Henry T. Oxnard, sugar beet magnate in the Ventura County area. The name dates from 1916, when the Valley was developing into a major beet producer.

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)* - Aerial view of the San Fernando Valley looking north at what is now Northridge.  Most of the land seen is part of the Marwyck Ranch, owned by Barbara Stanwyck and Zeppo Marx. The intersection of Reseda and Devonshire is in the upper center-right.  Devonshire is the tree-lined street running left to right. Both the Stanwyck and Marx homes can be seen on the south side of Devonshire (center of photo).  

 

Historical Notes

Both Barbara Stanwyck and her agent Zeppo Marx with wife Marion each purchased 10 acres on Devonshire Street high on a knoll at the northern edge of the ranch from silent star Janet Gaynor. Both built formidable, large, rambling ranch style homes that overlooked the breeding facility and farmland.^**#

Marwyck Ranch spread from the southern edge of the residences, along Reseda Boulevard, to what is now Lassen Street where the 6 furlong (¾ mile) training track was located. Just south beyond the track was the famous Huntsinger Turkey Farm.*^

“Marwyck” is a combination of the owner’s last names (Marx/Stanwyck).

 

 

 
(1937)^*#* - Devonshire looking east toward Reseda Blvd. Barbara Stanwyck's Estate, at 18650 Devonshire Street, is in the foreground and Zeppo Marx's in the upper corner.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1939, Barbara Stanwyck married actor Robert Taylor. In 1940, she then sold her Paul R. Williams designed home on 10 acres to actor Jack Oakie. Oakie resided in the property for decades along with his wife Victoria Horne Oakie. At that same time Stanwyck also sold her share in Marwyck Ranch to Zeppo Marx who retained ownership of Marwyck until 1943. At that time, Marwyck Ranch was sold to John H. Ryan who renamed it Northridge Farms. Ryan continued to breed and train champion thoroughbred race horses.^**#

By this time, Northridge was known as the "Horse Capital of the West," with regular Sunday horse shows, annual stampedes, and country fairs.*^

In 1956, Ryan held a Dispersal Sale selling horses, track, supplies and land. By the mid 1960’s land developers began subdividing the ranch and constructing residences.^**#

In 1990, the property and home at 18650 Devonshire St. were designated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 484 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(1929)#^ - View of the Zelzah Train Station showing several people on ladders in the process of replacing the “ZELZAH” sign with one that reads “NORTH LOS ANGELES”.  


Historical Notes

The last official act of the community of Zelzah occurred on Saturday Oct. 12 1929 when Miss Grace Trulsen removed the sign from the Southern Pacific depot and placed in its stead a sign bearing the new name North Los Angeles. Mayor John Porter and Councilman Charles Randall were also present at the ceremony. Eventually the name was changed to Northridge in 1938. #^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)^ - Northridge Train Station on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge. The depot was given the name of Northridge that year.  

 

Historical Notes

Originally called Zelzah, the town that we call Northridge today was renamed North Los Angeles on July 1, 1929. In 1938, this area of the San Fernando Valley was renamed Northridge Village. Few evidences of the "village" remain.^^#

 

 

 
(1938)^ - Photo of the Northridge train depot in the Fall of 1938. The billboard to the left read: "S. P. Coach Fares SLASHED to San Francisco."  

 

Historical Notes

With a new name in 1938, the Northridge Southern Pacific Railroad Station graced the north Valley until 1961.^##

 

 

 
(1938)#^ - Tree planting on Reseda Boulevard between Parthenia Street and Roscoe Boulevard. Carl S. Dentzel, a community leader, is visible at the center, wearing a suit. The other people in the photograph are from the Parks Department and Department of Forestry, City of Los Angeles. Note the new ornate streetlight on Reseda Blvd. (Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights).  

 

 

 

 
(1937)* - View of the Reseda Community Center as seen from an unpaved Victory Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 
(1937)* - Reseda Boulevard Community Building and Plunge located at 18411 Victory Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1938)* - View of Sherman Way one half block east of Reseda Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

In May 1929, the city's namesake roadway, Reseda Avenue, was renamed Reseda Boulevard by a Los Angeles City ordinance. Parts of the original 1920s and 1930s residential neighborhood remain and are found to the southwest of Sherman Way and Reseda Boulevard.*^

 

 

 

 
(1938)^^ - Aerial view of flooded area of San Fernando Valley in March, 1938. At center, a wide river can be seen extending into the extreme background. At the center of the river, part of the river can be seen overflowing into the adjacent city blocks at right. A large stream of water covers several roadways and fields.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)^ - Sherman Way and Mason Avenue looking east during one of the worst floods in the Valley's history.  

 

Historical Notes

There have been eight major floods in the Valley since 1861, but the Los Angeles River Flood in 1938 was one the worst. The rains lasted for 3 days and streets throughout the San Fernando Valley were flooded.^

Mason Avenue was named for Azubeth H. Mason in 1917.^*

 

 

 
(1938)#^ - Looking south on Topanga Canyon Boulevard around Hart Street or Bell Creek.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1938)^^^* - View of homes being washed away during the great storm of 1938.  Photo taken at Riverside Drive and Tujunga Avenue looking west on March 4, 1938.  

 

Historical Notes

After the 3rd straight day of torrential rain the Big Tujunga Wash levee broke. Seventy-seven of its spreading basins were destroyed. Telephones and electrical power was shut down. Buildings on the Warner Bros. lot and the Olive Avenue bridge were washed out. It took 30 days to clean-up the storm debris.^

 

 

 

 
(1938)^##* - An aerial view of Toluca Lake and Burbank as the waters of the Los Angeles River overflow its banks in March 1938. The Warner Bros. Studio is visible in the center of the picture.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)* - Aerial view of the Lankershim Bridge in Universal City, that was destroyed by flood waters. People gathered at the ends of the bridge to watch the waters rage past the now destroyed bridge.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)#** - Aerial view of the devastation in North Hollywood when the LA River overflowed its banks.  

 

Historical Notes

After the great storm of 1938, due to public outcry, the Army Corps of Engineers began a 20 year project to create the permanent concrete channel which still contains most of the of riverbed today. Also, to install a network of channels and flood basins to control the rampages of Valley waterways.*

The introduction of the new flood control channels have alleviated most of the flooding problems of the past.^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)* - Exterior view of the Encino Post Office, which shares a building with the Encino Store, located at 17020 Ventura Boulevard. A few celebrities from Encino are present in the image: Al Jolson, at center holding a white hat, the man next to the flag is actor Edward Evertt Horton. Just right of the flag is Peter Amestoy, in the dark suit with the white hair. Two people over to the right of the flag is the actor Phil Harris and two people from him on the right is actor Don Ameche.  

 

Historical Notes

Peter Amestoy is the son of Domingo Amestoy who came to California by way of Argentina in 1851. Amestoy started a modest sheep business and within a few years he parlayed it into a fortune. He was one of the largest wool producers in Southern California during the 1860s. In 1871, he bought $500,000 worth of shares in the newly established Farmers and Merchants Bank in Los Angeles. In 1874 he went back to France and married. In 1875 Amestoy moved his family to 650 acres of the "Rosecrans Rancho" in what is now Gardena. By 1880, he had over 30,000 head of sheep, most of which were fine-wooled Spanish merinos.

In 1889 he acquired all 4,500 acres of Rancho Los Encinos in the San Fernando Valley. After Domingo Amestoy died on January 11, 1892, his sons, John and Peter Amestoy, assumed ranch operations and changed the name to Amestoy ranch. Like other ranches in the San Fernando Valley at the time, the Amestoys cultivated wheat and barley. The Amestoy family held title to rancho for fifty-five years. In 1915, subdivision of the rancho began later developing into the communities of Sherman Oaks and Encino. The Amestoys held on to 100 acres, which included the old adobe until selling the property in 1944.

Amestoy Avenue in the San Fernando Valley was named in honor of Domingo Amestoy (also Amestory Elementary School in Gardena).*^

 

 

 
(1938)* - A lighted marquee at Studio City Theater reads, "Watch for our opening date" and "Watch for our grand opening." The theater is located at 12136 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City.  

 

Historical Notes

Opened in 1938 the Studio City Theater was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres and its successor companies. The last operator was Mann Theatres. It's been known as the Studio Theatre, the Studio City Theatre and the Fox Studio City. 

The theater closed in 1991. The interior is largely intact but has been converted into a Bookstar/Barnes & Noble bookstore.***^

 

 

 
(1939)* - Exterior view of the La Reina Theater, located at 14626 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. Movies currently showing are "Thanks for Everything" and "Trade Winds", starring Fred March, Joan Bennet, and Robert Benchley.  

 

Historical Notes

The theater, which opened in 1938, and was designed by famed architect S. Charles Lee. The theatre originally held 875 seats and was one of the most stylistically sophisticated theaters ever built in the San Fernando Valley.*^^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)* - This view looking east on Ventura from Vantage towards Laurel Canyon in Studio City includes the traditional windmill style Van de Kamps Holland Dutch Bakery at 12169 Ventura Boulevard on the right and the Bond's Market at 12160 Ventura Boulevard. There are no traditional windmill Van de Kamp's buildings left standing.   

 

Historical Notes

Theodore J. Van de Kamp and brother-in-law Lawrence L. Frank were the owners and originators of the Van de Kamp Bakeries. Fondly known as the "Taj Mahal of all bakeries". Van de Kamp and Frank also founded both the Tam O'Shanter's (1922) and Lawry's The Prime Rib (1938) restaurants..*^

 

 

 
(1937)* - A Foster and Kleiser billboard advertising doughnuts sold at Van de Kamp's Bakeries. Photo by Herman J. Schultheis  

 

Historical Notes

The bakery was sold by the Van de Kamp family and acquired by General Baking Co. in 1956. The company was sold to private investors in 1979, and closed in bankruptcy in 1990. The Van de Kamp's brand is now owned by Ralphs supermarket chain and used for their line of private-label baked goods.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^^ - Panoramic aerial view over Hollywood showing the Chauenga Pass as it heads toward a sparsely populated San Fernando Valley. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^^ - Panoramic view of the East San Fernando Valley as seen from the Hollywood Hills.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1939)^^ - Panoramic view looking over the Santa Monica Mountain ridge with a dirt road (Mulholland) cut into it toward the largely undeveloped San Fernando Valley.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1939)^^ - View of the West San Fernando Valley looking north as seen from Topanga Canyon. The Santa Susana Mountains can be seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
1939)^^ - Looking east across the Cahuenga Pass showing Universal City in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1939)^^ - Looking east across the Cahuenga Pass from the Santa Monica Mountains showing Universal City and the eastern part of the San Fernando Valley.  

 

 

 

 
(1939)^^^* - Hillside view looking north of Van Nuys and North Hollywood.  Van Nuys City Hall can be seen in the upper left of photo.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^^^* - Aerial view of Van Nuys looking north. The intersection of Hazeltine and Oxnard Boulevard is seen at lower right. Van Nuys City Hall, center-left, is the tallest building in the Valley.  

 

 

 

 
(1939)* - Van Nuys City Hall, also known as the Valley Municipal Building, located at 14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys.  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1932 as the Valley Municipal Building and designed as a miniature of Los Angeles City Hall by architect Peter K. Schaborum, Van Nuys City Hall gained recognition as a Historic-Cultural Monument in 1978.*#*

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)^^^* - Postcard view of the Valley Municipal Building looking east on Sylvan Street. A Safeway Market can be seen in the lower right.  

 

Historical Notes

Originally, the Valley Municipal Bulding housed a Hospital in one wing of the base and the Police Department and Municipal Court, complete with jail, in the other. With the population growth in the fifties and sixties, the hospital and police station were eventually relocated to roomier sites, and the building was remodeled to house other City offices.*#*

 

 

 
(1947)^ - Workers repairing the roof aerials on the Van Nuys City Hall, also known as the Valley Municipal Building, located at 14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys.  

 

Historical Notes

On October 18, 1978, the Valley Municipal Building (Van Nuys City Hall) was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 202 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)* - View of the Royal Albatross, an airplane used as a service station, located on the eastern vertex of a narrow strip of land bordered by Ventura Boulevard (south), Ventura Place (north, seen here, foreground) and Laurel Canyon Boulevard (west). Gasoline pumps are set up under the wing spans.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)* - A Pacific Electric Railway car on its San Fernando Valley route circa the 1940s.
 

 

 

 

 
(1946)* - Aerial view of the San Fernando Valley north on Sepulveda Blvd. from Sherman Way.  

 

 

 

 
(1946)* - Aerial view of the San Fernando Valley, east of Northridge on the S. P. coastline.  Farmland predominates the horizon.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)^ – View of Northridge Market, also known as the "Downs" market, located at Zelzah Avenue and Devonshire Street. The building was constructed in 1933. Note the "woodie" station wagon parked in front of the building.  

 

Historical Notes

Mr. A.G. Rowlands built a market on the corner of Devonshire and Zelzah early in 1933. This grocery store has changed hands several times, but has been in continuous operation since its opening. #^#^

 

 

 
(ca. 1946)*^^^ - View looking north of Devonshire Downs in Northridge. The race track was located at the corner of Zelzah & Devonshire Street (now the north campus of CSUN).  

 

Historical Notes

In 1943, Helen Dillman and Pete Spears purchased 40 acres for $80,000 with plans to construct a harness racing track, but a wartime construction moratorium temporarily put the project on hold. Weekly Sunday afternoon harness races, called matinees, began in 1946. The State of California bought the property for $140,000 in 1948, at which time it also became the home of the 51st District Agricultural Association's annual San Fernando Valley Fair.

Devonshire Downs later became a venue for concerts and other events.*^

 

 

 

 
(1951)^^ - A rodeo cowboy shows off his roping and riding talents at Devonshire Downs during the San Fernando Valley Fair.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1948)^^# - Snow blankets the San Fernando Valley in 1948. Looking south on Lindley Avenue from Nordhoff Street.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)#^ - View of John Carpenter's Heaven on Earth Ranch.  

 

Historical Notes

The Heaven on Earth Ranch, first located in Glendale, California (later moved to Lake View Terrace), was available for visitors to come and spend a day with the horses and enjoy the mock western town that served as the ranch's backdrop.#^

 

 

 

 
(Early 1940s)^^^* - View looking west on Ventura Boulevard at Van Nuys Blvd in Sherman Oaks.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^^^* - View of cars parked in front of the Nordvord Building located at 6420 Van Nuys Blvd., just north of Victory Blvd. Some of the stores in the building include (left to right):  Arnold W. Leveen Hardware, Dr. Stretch Chiropractor, Mode O’ Day, and the Van Nuys Stationary Store. Note the ornamental streetlight in front of the building. Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1946)* - View looking north on Van Nuys Boulevard near Delano Street. The Rivoli Theatre can be seen on the east side of the Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The Rivoli Theatre, at 6258 Van Nuys Boulevard, was opened in 1921 as a Fox theater. It was renamed Capri Theatre around 1960.  In the early-1970’s the theatre was razed for a parking lot for the Federal Building.^**^

 

 

 
(1948)**#^ - Outside view of the Van Nuys Drive-in Theater located at 15040 Roscoe Boulevard. The featured movie is On An Island With You, starring Esther Williams and Peter Lawford. The drive-in had swings under the screen for the children to play.  

 

Historical Notes

The Van Nuys Drive-in was one of many Pacific drive-ins that had murals on their screen towers. The outdoor theater opened in 1948 and parked 891 cars. It lost its mural and original screen tower when it became a tri-plex drive-in.^**^

 

 

 
(1964)* - View looking southwest showing the Van Nuys Drive-in Theater located at 15040 Roscoe Boulevard, Van Nuys (Roscoe & Noble, where Vista Middle School is today).  

 

 

 

 
(1979)^^^* - Night view of the Van Nuys Drive-in mural with it's neon lights illuminating the back of the screen.  

 

Historical Notes

During its last year, it was the last drive-In located in the San Fernando Valley. As Pacific Theatres closed the theater, its marquee said “closed for the season”. That season never came.

The Van Nuys Drive-in sat empty for a few years and was being used to store cars from a nearby dealership. It was demolished in the late-1990’s.^**^

 

 

 
(1949)^ - Exterior view of the California Bank on the corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Sylvan Street, Van Nuys.  

 

Historical Notes

The California Bank building was built in 1911 by H.J. Whitley and was originally known as the Bank of Van Nuys. The building is now the Country General Store and has been family owned since 1956.*^^^

 

 

 
(1949)^^ - Aerial view of the San Fernando Valley as it appeared in 1949.  The Panorama Ranch and Chevrolet plant (foreground) can be seen before unprecedented boom which made it one of the fastest growing areas of its kind in the world at the time.  

 

Historical Notes

Steel magnate Henry J. Kaiser had a motto: "Find a need and fill it." After World War II, Kaiser and land developer Fritz B. Burns realized returning GIs would need homes and plenty of them. Kaiser Homes bought about 400 acres of the Panorama Ranch dairy farm with plans to build 3,000 two- and three-bedroom homes. With $500 down, a veteran could purchase a two-bedroom home for $10,000. For Kaiser, whose father went blind and daughter died due to improper medical care, healthcare was a priority. Central to the plan for Panorama City was the Permanente Hospital. It was renamed Kaiser Permanente in 1953.^^^

 

 

 
(1948)^ - Closer view of the General Motors plant in early suburban Van Nuys. The General Motors Assembly plant started production in 1947. It was one of the first major industrial companies to come to the San Fernando Valley and aided in its transformation from an agricultural to a suburban/industrial area.  

 

Historical Notes

"The Plant" opened in 1947 and produced GM models such as the Chevrolet Corvair, Nova, Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird. When in full production, the plant employed 3,500 workers and helped to expand industrial, commerce and residential development.*^^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1960s)^ - The General Motors Assembly Plant in Van Nuys, circa 1960's.  

 

Historical Notes

The plant was closed in 1992 when Camaro/Firebird production was moved to Sainte-Thérèse Assembly in Quebec.

The site was razed in 1998. A retail and industrial complex, known as The Plant, was built on the 68-acre site, as well as Station 81 of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The retail portion totals 365,000 square feet and is home to 35 retail stores and restaurants. A 16-screen movie theater honors the site history with an automotive theme décor. GM continues to operate a car-testing facility on 27 acres next to The Plant.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1948)^ - March Avenue, south of Roscoe Boulevard looking north. Orcutt Ranch is in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

The Orcutt Ranch, formally called Rancho Sombra del Roble, was the vacation and retirement estate of William Warren Orcutt and his wife Mary Logan Orcutt. The adobe residence, as well as the estate’s garden, ranch structures, oak trees, and citrus orchard have historic significance because of the distinction of its owner W.W. Orcutt, pioneer of the oil production industry in California and discoverer of the prehistoric fossils at the La Brea Tar Pits.

In January 22, 1965, the City of Los Angeles designated a 24-acre portion of the estate as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 31 (Click HERE to see complete listing), which included the residence, ranch structures, garden, oaks, and citrus orchard. At that time, Mrs. Orcutt was still residing within the adobe residence. One year later, the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, acquired the property, preserving the site.*^^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1947)^^^* - View of the Leonis barn in Rancho El Escorpión as seen from Valley Circle Boulevard.  Castle Peak is seen in the background.   

 

Historical Notes

Rancho El Escorpión was a 1,110-acre Mexican land grant given in 1845 by Governor Pío Pico to three Chumash Native Americans - Odón Eusebia, Urbano, and Mañuel.

In 1871, Miguel Leonis, of the historic Leonis Adobe in Calabasas, acquired Rancho El Escorpión. He used the land for cattle and sheep herds. Leonis took control of the rancho and added land by bullying, litigating, or buying up homesteaders. Though illiterate and only speaking Basque, he was often in court, with over thirty property disputes recorded. He hired Mexican and Malibu Chumash gunmen to expand his lands by threatening homesteaders and squatters.*^

In 1850 Miguel Leonis, took Espiritu, the daughter of a Chumash chief Odón Eusebia , as his wife and moved to the base of Castle Peak. When Leonis died, he left only a small portion of his estate to Espiritu, who retained lawyer Horace Bell to acquire the whole of the estate.

As payment for legal services rendered, Espiritu gave Bell some of the land.  Bell's son Charles, also a lawyer and Calabasas Justice of the Peace in 1906, later built his home there. The community of Bell Canyon derives its name from Charles.*##*

 

 

 
(1947)*##* - Leonis' barn in 1947 - taken from Valley Circle Blvd.  Castle Peak is in the background.   (1992)*##* - The same view but taken in 1992. All traces of Rancho El Escorpión have been obliterated

 

Historical Notes

The Leonis barn was demolished by developers in the 1960's and the entire little valley filled in.

In the late 1960s, the land, then a 1,700-acre cattle ranch, was purchased by Spruce Land and Boise Cascade, subdivided and named Woodland Hills Country Estates.  One year later, the new subdivision of Bell Canyon went on the market and almost all of the 700 lots sold during the first weekend.*##*

The remaining land, encompassing parts of present day West Hills and Woodland HIlls, was also quickly developed.

 

 

 
(1949)#^ - Aerial view of Woodland Hills in 1949. The main street running perpendicular across the center is Shoup Avenue. In the center of the hills, covered with orange groves, is Mrs. Beachy's house. The bare trees to the right of her house is Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Beyond that are pepper trees along Canoga Avenue.  

 

 

 

 
(1943)#^ - L.A. River looking west from Canoga Ave. Bridge, January 24, 1943. There is a car barely visible upstream that had fallen in the river.  

 

 

 

 
(1949)* - Caption Reads: Compiled by the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, this map shows the network of channels and flood basins which will eventually control the rampages of Valley waterways. Many of the projects have already been completed or are now underway.
 

 

Historical Notes

Between February 27th and March 3rd, 1938 Los Angeles was inundated with two storm systems delivering record breaking rainfalls. By March 3rd, the San Gabriel Mountains received 32 inches of rain, more than their average yearly total, and Los Angeles received over 10 inches of rainfall over the 5-day storm. 115 people lost their lives, thousands more were evacuated, over 6000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and 108,000 acres - one third of Los Angeles - was flooded. The San Fernando Valley, Venice, Compton, and Long Beach were the worst hit. The Los Angeles River was completely warped - new inlets were carved by the rushing water and the channels in areas shifted, nearly as much as a mile.

Total channelization of the river began a few months later. With funding from the Works Progress Administration and the federal government as a result of the Flood Control Act, contractors and construction crews worked around the clock under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, lowering and widening the channel and cementing the banks and river bottom. By the end, 20 years later, contractors had moved "twenty million cubic yards of earth (roughly 800,000 dump truck loads worth).**^^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1949)^^^* - View of a flooded Ventura Boulevard at Woodman.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1949)^ - Aerial view looking north over Reseda Park.  Below the park in the foreground can be seen Victory Boulevard running left to right (west to east). The main street running from lower left to upper right is Reseda Boulevard.  Etiwanda Avenue is on the right of the park running from lower right to top center-right of photo.  

 

 

 

 
(1950s)^ - Chatsworth's second railroad station, built around 1910, and located at Devonshire Street. This station coexisted with the first station until the latter was destroyed by fire in 1917. By the early 1960s this second station fell into disuse and was razed by Southern Pacific in December, 1962. In 1997 a new depot and town center was erected on the site.  

 

 

 

 
(1948)* - Aerial view of the San Fernando Valley. View shows the "HOLLYWOODLAND" sign on the mountain. The letter "H" is missing. Within months of the time this photo was taken the sign would be shortened to read "HOLLYWOOD". Photo dated: December 13, 1948.
 

 

Historical Notes

The HOLLYWOODLAND sign was erected in 1923 to advertise a new housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. In 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce contracted to repair and rebuild the sign. The contract stipulated that “LAND” be removed to reflect the district, not the housing development.* (Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood).

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)^#* - This photo was a 'give-away' from the new Valley Plaza Shopping Center. View is looking southeast toward Cahuenga Pass. Neither the Ventura Freeway nor the Hollywood Freeway were completed at the time of this photo. The future home of Valley City College is indicated in the lower right.  

 

Historical Notes

The Valley Plaza Mall was built in 1951 and, at the time, was the largest mall west of the Mississippi River. It was the first mall in the U.S. geared toward the automobile and was built in anticipation of the yet to be completed Ventura and Hollywood Freeways.^*#

The 101 Freeway from Ventura to its intersection with the Hollywood Freeway in the southeastern San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles (the Hollywood Split) was built in the late 1950s and opened on April 5, 1960. East of the Hollywood Freeway intersection, it is signed as State Route 134 which was built by 1971.*^

The Hollywood Freeway (Route 170) between the Ventura Freeway and the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5) was completed in 1958.*^

Los Angeles Valley College was founded on September 12, 1949 to meet the tremendous growth of the San Fernando Valley during the 1940s and early 1950s. The college was officially chartered by the Los Angeles Board of Education in June 1949, and was located on the campus of Van Nuys High School. In 1951 Valley College moved to its permanent 105-acre site on Fulton Avenue in Valley Glen.*^

 

 

 

  (1955)^^^* - View of a Mobil Gas Station across the street from the Valley Plaza Mall. There were only two options: Regular Gas - 27.9 Cents/Gallon and Premium Gas - 31.9 Cents/Gallon, which also included Full Service!

 

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1961)^^^* - View of the Valley Plaza on Victory Blvd. in North Hollwyood. Love's Pit Barbecue Restaurant is seen on the right. A Van De Kamp's bakery sign appears on the facing of a market.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950s)^^^* - View of Van De Kamp’s located on Laurel Canyon Blvd between Victory & Oxnard in North Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

There were at least two other Van De Kamp’s coffee shops in the San Fernando Valley.  One was at San Fernando Road and Fletcher Drive.  The other, was on the southeast corner of Roscoe Blvd and Reseda Blvd, where the Facey Medical Building is located today.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1951)^^^* - View looking north of a flooded intersection at Van Nuys Blvd and Oxnard Street where the tracks are. A stop sign sits in the center median of Van Nuys. Serbers Market is at the northeast corner in the center of the photo. The spire of Van Nuys City Hall can be seen in the background just behind the market.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1952)*^^ - Riders queue for the Van Nuys line Red Car at the North Hollywood Pacific Electric Railway station.  

 

Historical Notes

When it first opened in 1893, the train depot at the corner of Lankershim Boulevard and Chandler Boulevard was crucial to the rapid growth of the town that was first called Toluca, then Lankershim, and finally, North Hollywood.

The depot still stands today, is one of the oldest existing structures in the San Fernando Valley.  It has been named a cultural and historic monument by the city of Los Angeles and is slated to be restored.^*#

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1952)* - A Los Angeles-bound Pacific Electric Railway car on Sherman Way. The line ran from North Hollywood through Universal City to the Subway Terminal Building in downtown Los Angeles.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1952)^*** - A Pacific Electric Red Car headed south in the median of the Hollywood Freeway near Barham.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1948)* - This view of the Cahuenga Pass in 1948 shows one road of cars end to end.  

 

 

 

 
(1953)* - Nearing completion is the huge brew house of Anheuser-Busch's $50,000,000 brewery at Roscoe Boulevard and Woodley Avenue in San Fernando Valley, where Budweiser beer will be produced. The brewery will have a capacity of 920,000 barrels. Photo dated: December 17, 1953.  

 

Historical Notes

Woodley Avenue was named for Frank A. Woodley, a county supervisor and state legislator. Laid out as Alvarado Avenue north of Roscoe Blvd. in 1916.^*

 

 

 

 
(1953)^^ - View of the picturesque Northridge Southern Pacific station. The station was built in 1910 in what was then Zelzah.  

 

 

 

 
(1953)*^^^ - San Fernando J.C. Penney Grand Opening, located at 1140 San Fernando Road. People are seen waiting in line to see the new store. A 1953 Buick Skylark convertible is parked in front.  

 

Historical Notes

The store closed its doors in July 2012 despite having historical significance to the San Fernando community.  J.C. Penney has had a store open in San Fernando since 1920.*^^^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)^^^* - View looking north on Reseda Boulevard toward Sherman Way.  

 

Historical Notes

By 1950, Reseda had over 16,000 residents and in the early 1950s, a population explosion took place, making Reseda one of the most popular and populated of all Valley communities. Because of this, Reseda's merchants provided bus service to transport shoppers throughout the busy downtown Reseda areas.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1954)^ - Reseda Boulevard looking north, one block south of Sherman Way. California Bank building is on southwest corner of Reseda Boulevard and Sherman Way and is still standing today. American flag on right is above Reseda Post Office. Gas pumps in lower right belong to Atlantic Richfield gas station.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1954)^^^* - View from right to left is a 1953 Oldsmobile, 1954 Ford, and a 1952 Chevy on Sherman Way across from the Reseda Theater.  The building with the striped awning is Traders Pawnshop, on the northwest corner of Reseda and Sherman Way.  

 

 

 

 
(1950)* - A wooden fence encloses the barnyard next to the shingle-roofed Zelzah barn at 8369 Reseda Boulevard. Photo caption reads: "Still standing. Believed to be a hundred years old is the original Zelzah barn in Northridge. Thousands of fertile acres surrounding it were once sown to beans and wheat". Photo dated: Dec. 4, 1950.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1955)^ - Aerial photograph taken circa 1955 of the home and farm of brothers Louie and Albert Beltramo, who were among the earliest farmers in the San Fernando Valley. The Beltramos began farming in 1919. Their operation grew until eventually it fed and housed over 100 Mexican nationals, who worked on the farm. The farm was located on Owensmouth and Roscoe Blvd. and remained in the area even after being completely surrounded by urban development.  

 

 

 

 
(1956)* - Photograph caption dated May 10, 1956 reads, "Fission housing lowered into place. Container to house core, or component in which nuclear fission takes place to produce 20,000 kilowatts of heat, is lowered into position at Sodium Reactor Experiment site in Santa Susana Mountains near Canoga Park. Reactor is part of program to develop commercial power from atomic energy."  

 

Historical Notes

This reactor was part of the Sodium Reactor Experiment, a nuclear power plant built by Atomics International of North American Aviation at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, in the Santa Susana Mountains. The reactor was active from 1957 to 1964. *

 

 

 

 
(1956)* - Photograph caption reads: "Atomic reactor to generate power. San Fernando Valley's atomic reactor, above, first non-military reactor in the nation to be operated by private firm to produce electricity is nearing completion stage in Santa Susana Mountains. It is being built by Atomics International of North American Aviation. It will be capable of producing 7,5000 kilowatts. Negotiations are under way between the group and Southern California Edison Co. for sale of surplus heat."  

 

Historical Notes

The Sodium Reactor Experiment-SRE was an experimental nuclear reactor which operated from 1957 to 1964 and was the first commercial power plant in the world to experience a core meltdown. There was a decades-long cover-up by the US Department of Energy. The operation predated environmental regulation, so early disposal techniques are not recorded in detail. Thousands of pounds of sodium coolant from the time of the meltdown are not yet accounted for. The reactor and support systems were removed in 1981 and the building torn down in 1999.*^

 

 

 

 

 

 

(ca. 1950s)##* - View of Ventura Boulevard facing west from Hidden Hills. The flat hill in the center is called "the Mesa." To the west of the Mesa was the Agoure Ranch. The area was later named Agoura Hills.

 

 

 

Historical Notes

In its earliest days, Agoura Hills was nothing more than a stagecoach stop and was referred to as "Vejar Junction." In the early 1920s, after Paramount Studios purchased a ranch in the neighborhood, the community became known briefly as "Picture City." But neither name stuck. In 1928, a group of residents formed a Chamber of Commerce which, as one of its first actions, asked to have a permanent post office established in the community. The Postal Department informed the chamber that it would need to submit a list of ten potential names for the town. One of the area's more colorful early landowners had been a man by the name of Pierre Agoure. Though French by birth and a shepherd in his youth, he favored Spanish costumes and adopted the moniker Don Pedro Agoure. In compiling a list of possible names, the townspeople inserted "Agoure" in the tenth spot. Bob Boyd, the town's first postmaster, later recalled that the tenth name was selected because it was the shortest. How the "e" became an "a" remains an unsettled issue. Some say it was done intentionally for ease of spelling, others lay blame at the door of the post office, arguing that the modification was simply an error.*#^*

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950s)#^ - Ventura Boulevard facing east from Calabasas, circa 1950s.  

 

Historical Notes

Ventura Boulevard was originally part of El Camino Real. It now continues as Calabasas Road (running parallel to the 101 Freeway). A stage line, run by Flint, Bixby and Butterfield, operated during the 19th century along it. #^

 

 

 

 
(1956)* - Construction across Ventura Bouelvard in Woodland Hills, before freeway construction, near Shoup Avenue, about a mile west of Topanga Canyon. Photo dated: Jan. 11, 1956.  

 

Historical Notes

Shoup Avenue was named after Paul Shoup, a vice president of the Southern Pacific Railroad and president of the Pacific Electric Railway Co.^*

Topanga Canyon Boulevard - The name 'Topanga' evidently means 'above' with reference to the village site being above the high water of Topanga Creek. The 'nga' with which the name ends means 'place' and the entire name apparently means 'above place' or, as we would say in current English, merely 'above'. The name is an old Shoshonean word and can also be used in reference to the sky or heaven.^*^

 

 

 

 

 
(1950s)^^ - View looking west of street construction on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills (near where the Ventura Freeway crosses Ventura Boulevard today).  Cranes and other construction equipment sit along the left side of the street, while to its right sits the single-story Woodland Realty office. A sign to the right of the building advertises "Woodland Realty - Real Estate Service - 22233 Ventura Blvd - Drive in - Homes - Lots – Acreage." Another street (possibly Shoup), lined by parked automobiles, intersects the main street in the upper portion of the image.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1958)#* - Exterior view of the Shadow Ranch House located at 22633 Vanowen Street in Canoga Park.  

 

Historical Notes

This home is listed as one of the historic sites in the Canoga Park area. Originally, the ranch was owned by the Los Angeles Farm and Milling Company. Albert Workman, the superintendent for the company, bought the 13,000 acre ranch sometime between 1869 and 1877, and planted several eucalyptus trees. It is believed that he was the first to plant eucalyptus trees in the Valley. Workman sold the ranch and it changed hands several times. Later the Ranch was renamed the Shadow Ranch because of the shadows the large eucalyptus trees create on the main house. The house was restored in 1933 and in the 1950's it served as a private girls school called Robinnaire. Today, it is part of the Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks Department.#^

 

 

 

 
(1958)#* - Another view of the Shadow Ranch House on Vanowen Street in Canoga Park.  

 

Historical Notes

On November 2, 1962, the Shadow Ranch House at 22633 Vanowen Street was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 9 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(1958)* - Aerial view of Chatsworth looking east down Nordhoff Street. DeSoto Avenue is seen at the bottom running from north to south (left to right).
 

 

Historical Notes

Nordhoff Street was named for famed 19th-century health seeker and writer Charles Nordhoff.^*

 

 

 

 
(1958)* - Aerial view of DeSoto Avenue looking south. Nordhoff Street runs east-west at the center of the photo.  

 

 

 

 
(1956)^ - Los Angeles State College, San Fernando Valley Branch (now CSUN), aerial view, looking northwest, 1956. Intersection of Zelzah and Nordhoff in the foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

In fall 1956, the San Fernando Valley campus of the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences (later Cal State Los Angeles) was established on the present Northridge site. Soon after, the state Legislature passed Assembly Bill 971, which provided for the campus to separate from its parent college.^

 

 

 

 
(1958)^ - New sign in 1958 after Los Angeles State College separated from its parent institution and became San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN) Pictured: Howard McDonald (President of L.A. State College), Ralph Prator (President of San Fernando Valley State College) and Delmar T. Oviatt (Dean of Instruction at San Fernando Valley State College).  

 

Historical Notes

On July 1, 1958, the founding date of the present university, the institution became San Fernando Valley State College, with about 3,300 students and 104 faculty. On June 1, 1972, the college was renamed California State University, Northridge by action of the state Legislature and the Board of Trustees of the California State University.^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1960)^ - Campus of San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN), aerial view looking north. Nordhoff Hall, the Music Building on the left; Science buildings 1 and 2 and Bookstore Complex in the center.  

 

 

 

 
(1962)^ - Campus of San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University Northridge), aerial view, looking west from above Zelzah Ave. Clockwise: Sierra Hall construction site, Science Buildings 1 and 2, Bookstore Complex, Music Building, Nordhoff Hall.  

 

 

 

 
(1959)* - Photograph caption dated October 6, 1959 reads, "Bullock's New Site -- Shown above is aerial view of the San Fernando Valley site of Bullock's, Inc., proposed facility. Purchased from McKinley Home for Boys, location is bordered on north by Riverside Drive, on south by Ventura Freeway, on west by Hazeltine Avenue and on east by Woodman Avenue. Coldwell Banker and Co. represented both parties in transaction."  

 

Historical Notes

Original property of McKinley Home for Boys lists a Van Nuys address. This site on which the Bullock's Fashion Square was built is actually part of Sherman Oaks. Conditions of the transaction required that the property be rezoned for commercial use. The McKinley Home for Boys built a new facility in San Dimas, Calif.*

 

 

 
(1959)* - Photograph caption dated September 24, 1959 reads, "New Junior High -- New Parkman Junior High School stands ready for its fall load of students but awaits landscaper's touch to set it in background of cool, pleasant green shrubbery."  

 

Historical Notes

Francis Parkman Middle School first opened its doors as a junior high school in 1959. Situated on a twenty-four acre site, the school was named for an American historian, Francis Parkman(1823-1893).

In 2006, the school changed its name to Woodland Hills Academy.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1957)*#^# - View of Coffee Dan's located at 6576 Van Nuys Boulevard. Photograph by Julius Shulman  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1957, Coffee Dan's was designed by Architect William Krisel of the firm Palmer and Krisel.*#^#

 

 

 
(1960)* - Aerial view of Van Nuys, looking north from about Oxnard Street. Wide street running north-to-south is Van Nuys Boulevard. Van Nuys City Hall is clearly seen in the center of the photo.  

 

 

 

 
(1960)* - Miss Van Nuys on a step ladder holds up sign, reading: Center of population, State of California, 13,465,000, at the intersection of 14,400 W. block of Vanowen Street and 6,700 N. block of Van Nuys Blvd., Sept. 1960.
 

 

Historical Notes

The advent of three new industries in the early 20th century – motion pictures, automobiles, and aircraft spurred urbanization and population growth. World War II production and the subsequent postwar boom accelerated this growth so that by 1960, the valley had a population of well over one million. Los Angeles continued to consolidate its territories in the San Fernando Valley by annexing the former Rancho El Escorpión for Canoga Park-West Hills in 1959, and the huge historic "Porter Ranch" at the foot of the Santa Susana Mountains for the new planned developments in Porter Ranch in 1965.*^

Van Nuys Boulevard was renamed from North Sherman Way as the main boulevard in the town of Van Nuys, which got its name from longtime Valley wheat farmer Isaac Newton Van Nuys.

Vanowen Street - coined because it was the direct route across the Valley between the towns of Van Nuys and Owensmouth.^*

 

 

 

 
(1964)* – View looking northeast of the Victory Drive-in located at 13037 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. Victory Boulevard can be seen crossing the Tujunga Wash.  

 

Historical Notes

Victory Drive-in was torn down and replaced with the Victory Plaza Shopping Center. Today the center includes LA Fitness, Vallarta Market, CVS Pharmacy, and Subway Restaurant.

 

 

 
(ca. 1960s)^##^ – Outside night view of the Victory Drive-in showing a neon-lit western theme mural facing Victory Boulevard. Some of the lights on the sign are out including the letter "T".  

 

 

 

 
(1962)* - View looking north of Reseda Boulevard from above Vanowen Street. The Reseda Drive-in Theater is seen on the right just east of Reseda Blvd.  

 

Historical Notes

The Reseda Drive-in was opened on April 7, 1949 by Pacific Drive-in Theatres. It was located just north of Vanowen and east of Reseda Blvd. The theater lasted till the mid-1970’s when it was torn down.  The site today is occupied by the Mid-Valley Athletic Club and an industrial park.

In 1968, the Reseda Drive-in played host for the location of Peter Bogdanovich’s movie “Target”, staring Boris Karloff.^**^

 

 

 

(n.d.)^##* - Window-mounted drive-in speakers...one for your car...one for the car on the other side of you. Later systems would transmit the signal through your AM radio.

 

 

 

Historical Notes

The outdoor theaters reached the zenith of their popularity during the 1950s.  Piling the kids in the car made for a cheap family night out, and drive-ins were a favorite hangout for teens who'd recently gotten driver's licenses.

The activities of the teenagers prompted another nickname for drive-in theaters — "passion pits." *#^^

 

 

 

 
(1960)* - Photograph caption dated April 18, 1960 reads, "Under Watchful Eye. Motorists on new Ventura Freeway are now under constant surveillance by such special patrolmen as James Murphy, who sit in new high-speed West Valley police car. Specially equipped Pontiac is designed to bring "death" to speeding before speeders literally kill themselves."  

 

Historical Notes

The 101 Freeway from Ventura to its intersection with the Hollywood Freeway in the southeastern San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles (the Hollywood Split) was built in the late 1950s and opened on April 5, 1960. East of the Hollywood Freeway intersection, it is signed as State Route 134 which was built by 1971.*^

 

 

 
(1959)^^ - Aerial view of the West San Fernando Valley (now West Hills).  View is looking west toward the Ramo Woolridge facility with a portion of the Chatsworth Reservoir seen in the upper right.  The main street running horizontally from left to right and then slightly curving up is Fallbrook Ave. The street at lower left running up from bottom is Eccles Street.  

 

Historical Notes

Two Hughes engineers, Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge, had new ideas on the packaging of electronics to make complete fire control systems. Ramo and Wooldridge, having failed to reach an agreement with Howard Hughes regarding management problems, resigned in September 1953. They founded the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation, later to join Thompson Products to form the Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation based in Canoga Park (present day West Hills) with Hughes leasing space for nuclear research programs. The company became TRW in 1965, another aerospace company and a major competitor to Hughes Aircraft.*^

 

 

 
(1960)* - Aerial view looking north toward Ramo-Wooldridge & Chatsworth residences. In the background is the Chatsworth Reservoir. The intersection at lower right is Fallbrook and Roscoe (now in West Hills).  

 

Historical Notes

The Chatsworth Reservoir was completed in 1919 and used to store water for the West San Fernando Valley for over 52 years. After the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake it was placed out-of-service and pemanently retired.* Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Water Reservoirs.

West Hills was originally part of Owensmouth (founded 1912) and renamed Canoga Park (1930). West Hills was formed in 1987 after homeowners on the western side of Canoga Park launched a petition drive a year earlier to form a new community. In an unusual move, the area's L.A. City Councilwoman, Joy Picus, polled Canoga Park residents, asking them if they would like to join the new community, to determine West Hills' boundaries.  Today, West Hills is flanked on the north by the Chatsworth Reservoir, on the east by Canoga Park, on the south by Woodland Hills, on the southwest by Hidden Hills and on the west by Bell Canyon in Ventura County.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1960s)^^ - View of the Rocketdyne Field Laboratory in the Santa Susana Mountains. The laboratory is nestled in a canyon just northwest of the Chatsworth Reservoir. Two tall metal scaffolding structures with cranes on top can be seen, while several tanks can sit on the rocky ground.  

 

Historical Notes

Since 1947 the Santa Susana Field Laboratory location has been used by a number of companies and agencies. The first was Rocketdyne, originally a division of North American Aviation-NAA, which developed a variety of pioneering, successful and reliable liquid rocket engines.  Some were those used in the Navaho cruise missile, the Redstone rocket, the Thor and Jupiter ballistic missiles, early versions of the Delta and Atlas rockets, the Saturn rocket family and the Space Shuttle Main Engine.

The Atomics International division of North American Aviation utilized a separate and dedicated portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory to build and operate the first commercial nuclear power plant in the United States and for the testing and development of compact nuclear reactors including the first and only known nuclear reactor launched into Low Earth Orbit by the United States, the SNAP-10A. Atomics International also operated the Energy Technology Engineering Center for the U.S. Department of Energy at the site. The Santa Susana Field Laboratory includes sites identified as historic by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and by the American Nuclear Society.

In 1996, The Boeing Company became the primary owner and operator of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and later closed the site.*^

 

 

 
(1960)^ - Rocket test stand at Rocketdyne in Canoga Park. A related press release reads: "The isolated laboratory, the most extensive rocket research center in the Free World, is located high in the Santa Susana Mountains 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Thousands of pounds of thrust are developed by rocket engines which will power guided missiles for the Air Force, Army and Navy. Engines are anchored in huge steel and concrete test stands where they are 'static tested' to record their thrust and performance."  

 

Historical Notes

During its years of operation widespread use occurred of highly toxic chemical additives to power over 30,000 rocket engine tests and to clean the rocket test-stands afterwards, as well as considerable nuclear research and at least four nuclear accidents, which has resulted in the site becoming seriously contaminated. A long process has been and is still ongoing to determine the site contamination levels and locations, cleanup standards to meet, methods to use, timelines and costs, and completion requirements - all still being defined, debated, and litigated.

Regarding cleanup, the site's current owner is Boeing, with NASA and DOE liable for several parcels within that. In 2005, Pratt & Whitney purchased Boeing's Rocketdyne division, but declined to acquire Santa Susana Field Laboratory site as part of the sale.*^

 

 

 
(1961)^**^ - Aerial view looking east down Strathern Street over Canoga Avenue. The Canoga Park Drive-in Theatre is on the southwest corner. In the center of the photo, surrounded by trees, can be seen Lanark Park.  

 

Historical Notes

The Canoga Park Drive-in was located on the west side of Canoga Avenue one block south of Roscoe Boulevard. It opened in 1961 but only lasted until the mid-1970’s when Pacific Theatre chain shut it down.  The property was sold in 1976 and the drive-in subsequently torn down. The site is now an industrial complex housing a variety of businesses.^**^

 

 

 
(ca. 1961)^^^* - View looking northwest showing the Canoga Park Drive-in Theatre on the corner of Strathern and Canoga. Beyond the drive-in is Lanark Park and further in the background can be seen the Chatsworth Reservoir.  

 

 

 

 
(1961)* - Photograph caption reads: "Litton Industries will soon be joined by other firms in planned industrial complex". Photograph dated: Oct. 17, 1961.  

 

Historical Notes

Named after inventor Charles Litton, Sr., Litton Industries was a large defense contractor in the U.S. It started in 1953 as an electronics company building navigation, communications and electronic warfare equipment. They diversified and became a much bigger business, with major shipyards, etc., and even manufacturing microwave ovens. In 2001, Litton Industries was bought by Northrop Grumman Corporation.*^

 

 

 
(1962)## - Kaiser Panorama City opening day.  

 

Historical Notes

The Panorama City Hospital in Southern California was built in 1962 and featured two circular towers. Within the towers, the concept of "circles of service" was born. Later Kaiser Permanente hospitals retained the basic design but the "binocular" towers were enclosed in rectangles.

In 1942, Henry Kaiser built a steel mill in Fontana to supply steel for the ships he was building to help America win the war. When he learned that his workers couldn’t get adequate health care, he built a hospital and medical offices right on the steel mill grounds. It was the first Kaiser Permanente facility in Southern California.

The name Permanente came from Permanente Creek, which ran by Henry Kaiser's first cement plant on Black Mountain in Cupertino, California.*^

 

 

 
(1963)* - Artist's conception of the Skyrail Tour, a 3,500-foot long, elevated project designed by Arrow Development Company, to be constructed at the Anheuser-Busch Inc. brewery in Van Nuys as part of a $3 million Bush Gardens development.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1954 Anheuser-Busch opened a brewery in Van Nuys, California, followed by an updated version of Busch Gardens in 1966. By this time, the Busch Entertainment Corporation had already opened their Tampa Bay gardens in 1959, which was an admission free hospitality facility with a beer garden and bird sanctuary. In a similar fashion, Busch transformed a cabbage patch adjacent to the Van Nuys brewery into a tropical beer garden and bird sanctuary.**#*

 

 

 
(1966)**^# - View shows the Busch Monorail car moving forward at the ribbon cutting ceremony dedicating the new Busch Gardens in Van Nuys.  

 

Historical Notes

On May 16, 1966, the first pair of cars, containing Busch and other dignitaries, snapped a ribbon as it began moving, and the dedication was official. In total, there were seven pairs of cars that would carry passengers on a 3,500-foot loop around the 17-acre Anheuser-Busch facility.**^#

 

 

 
(1960's)^ - View of what appears to be a Busch Gardens Sky Trolley being repaired or maintained.  

 

Historical Notes

The Busch Gardens theme park featured a monorail that snaked around the facility and passed windows that gave passengers a look at the brewing process.^

 

 

 
(1970)* - Passengers line up as they prepare to board the Busch Gardens boat ride.  

 

Historical Notes

Amongst the many activities provided for visitors were boat rides across a lagoon, a monorail, a log-flume ride, and a suspended trolley tour through the brewery; but perhaps the most popular attraction was the free beer. Once the park admission was paid, anyone of drinking age was allowed “two 10-ounce glasses of beer at each of the five pavilions.” **#*

 

 

 
(ca. 1970s)^^^* - Boat ride at Busch Gardens, Van Nuys. The Sky Trolley rail can be seen on the left. A beautiful waterfall is on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

By the mid-seventies attendance began to slow down and August Busch III decided to close the park in December of 1976.

Busch Gardens, however, reopened on January 5, 1977 as a bird sanctuary and boasted "1500 birds of some 180 different species,". Many wandered freely and some were viewable from the boat ride. Guests began their trip with a 15-minute tour of the brewing facility, with audio narration provided by Ed McMahon. But, that didn't last long.**#*

 

 

 
(ca. 1970s)* - View of the amusement park boat ride inside of Busch Gardens. Busch Gardens was located next to the Anheiser-Busch brewery in Van Nuys, in the San Fernando Valley.  

 

Historical Notes

The Van Nuys park closed in 1979. Two other Busch Gardens, in Tampa, Fla., and Williamsburg, Va., are currently open.**^#

 

 

 

 
ca. 1960s)*#** - Poscard view of the Monorails at Busch Gardens in Van Nuys. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Southern California Amusement Parks.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1961)^^^ - An aerial view of the San Diego Freeway construction project shows the Mulholland Drive Bridge. Dirt is being dug from beneath the bridge and hauled to the San Fernando Valley for freeway fill.  This bridge was constructed like no other, from the top down!  

 

Historical Notes

On Monday, April 4, 1960, the same day the 1959 Academy Awards were held at RKO's Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, Peter Kiewit Sons Co. completed the Mulholland Drive Bridge across the Sepulveda Pass.

In June 1960, bids were opened for a $14-million contract to extend the San Diego Freeway 7.4 miles from Brentwood to Valley Vista Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley. Mulholland Dr. Bridge would finally span a freeway.

In 2012, the same Mulholland Dr. Bridge was demolished and reconstructed to accommodate the widening of the I-405 freeway. The new bridge was widened by approximately 10 feet and designed to the latest seismic standards.^*^*

 

 

 
(1962)^^^ - Six days after the Sepulveda Pass portion of the 405 Freeway opened, there's hardly a car in sight from the Sunset Boulevard bridge into the San Fernando Valley. Photo taken: Dec. 27, 1962  

 

 

 

 
(1960s)* - Aerial view of the Hollywood Freeway as it winds its way through Cahuenga Pass into the San Fernando Valley. The sprawling Valley can be seen in the background and Hollywood in the foreground. The large body of water in the upper right is the Hollywood Reservoir, now Lake Hollywood (Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the Hollywood Reservoir).  

 

 

 

 

 
(1964)* – View looking east showing I-5 as it passes over Pacoima Wash. Adjacent to the wash is the Laurel Drive-in, demolished in 1970 to make room for the 118 (Simi Valley Freeway).  It is situated very near where the 5 and 118 intersect today. Several baseball diamonds are seen in what is still Paxton Park.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1981)#^ - The Simi Freeway (118) construction moves ahead with the mammoth task of removing millions of yards of dirt from the final segment. This area is between Louise and Encino Avenues.  

 

Historical Notes

Construction of the Simi Valley Freeway (118) began in 1968 and the last section of freeway opened in 1981. The segment of freeway between Balboa Boulevard and Tampa Avenue was one of the last freeway segments to be built in the Los Angeles area.

Before the freeway was built, the route went through Simi Valley on Los Angeles Avenue and Keuhner Drive, then crossed into the San Fernando Valley on Santa Susana Pass Road. The eastern segment used Devonshire Street through the San Fernando Valley. During the 1932 Summer Olympics, it hosted part of the road cycling event.

In December 1994, the portion of Route 118 constructed to freeway standards was renamed the Ronald Reagan freeway.*^

 

 

 
(1980s)^^^* - View of the I-5 and I-14 interchange just north of the San Fernando Valley, also known as the Newhall Pass Interchange (officially Clarence Wayne Dean Memorial Interchange). In 1971, the Sylmar earthquake caused major damage to several of these bridges and in 1994, the Northridge quake caused more damage.  

 

Historical Notes

A total collapse of the southbound Interstate 5 to northbound State Route 14 overpass occurred as a result of the February 9, 1971 Sylmar earthquake. This collapse resulted in the additional collapse of the intersecting southbound State Route 14 to southbound I-5 overpass (as this connector bridge was directly beneath the 5/14 overpass). Both bridges fell directly onto the southbound I-5 truck bypass. The interchange was rebuilt in 1973, with additional steel rebar reinforcement.

The January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake caused the southbound State Route 14 to northbound I-5 connector to collapse. It also caused the south 14 to south I-5 overpass to collapse directly onto the main I-5 freeway and the southbound I-5 truck bypass, nearly exactly as had happened in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The latter collapse caused the death of Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer Clarence Wayne Dean, who, while reporting to work, fell from a partially collapsed bridge when he was unable to stop in time. The interchange was later dedicated the Clarence Wayne Dean Memorial Interchange in his honor. The collapse also closed the Metrolink's Antelope Valley Line, which began operation to Lancaster soon after. The interchange was partially reopened on July 8, and completed in 1995 with additional reinforcing on the overpass support columns.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1969)^^^* - View looking west at the intersection of Nordhoff St. at Topanga Canyon Blvd. The empty lot on the southwest corner (upper-left) is now occupied by California Chicken Café.  

 

 

 

 
(1965)^##^ - View looking north on Shoup Avenue between Oxnard Street and Victory Boulevard. The Calabasas Creek runs diagonally across Shoup. Today, the "Summit at Warner Center" occupies the land east of Shoup and north of Oxnard.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1963)^^^* - View looking west on Victory Boulevard toward De Soto.  

 

Historical Notes

Looking west on Victory, Desoto is the first street at the bottom of the picture going left to right. The curving road going off to the right is the railroad tracks that paralleled Victory (E & W) then curved up and paralleled Canoga (N & S) - now the Orange Line Busway. The road in the middle with trees along it going left to right is Canoga Ave. The trees in the upper right is Shadow Ranch Park and beyond that is where Fallbrook Square is going to be built....if you look at the hill on the upper-left side of this picture it’s the back of Woodland Hills Park on Shoup.

The construction near the top middle-right is the Topanga Plaza Mall being built and the street just beyond it is Topanga Canyon Blvd.

 

 

 

 
(1964)* - Aerial view of the new Topanga Plaza Mall, looking southeast. Topanga Cyn. Boulevard runs diagonally from bottom-center to right-center of photo. The intersection of Victory and Owensmouth is at top-center. Large area of open undeveloped land can be seen south of Victory at top of photo.  

 

Historical Notes

Opened February 10, 1964, Topanga Plaza was California's first enclosed shopping mall. It was originally anchored by The Broadway, May Company and Montgomery Ward. Nordstrom was added in 1983.The mall also had an indoor ice skating rink, however, due to a series of technical problems with the ice, as well as serious injuries, the rink was demolished by the late 1970s. That area was replaced by an informal food court until it was moved when the new additions were completed.*^

 

 

 
(1964)*^^^ - Several people stand by rail observing the rain fountains at the new Topanga Plaza.  

 

Historical Notes

From the 3-story ceiling, "raindrops" cascaded down columns of nylon monofilaments straight into a garden area and pond. It was located at the south end of, at the time, the world's largest two-level all-enclosed and air-conditioned mall shopping center.

 

 

 
(2002)* - Photograph taken on Ventura Boulevard looking west toward Oakdale Avenue in Woodland Hills. Numerous businesses line the street. Banners reading, "Baseball as America. Natural History Museum" can be seen hanging on each street lamp. In the forefront, the rear view of a white convertible Jaguar XJS as it drives away.
 

 

 

 

 
(2002)* - An aerial view of office buildings at the Warner Center. On the left can be seen Topanga Canyon Boulevard as it winds its way up toward Chatsworth. Warner Center Park is at bottom of the photo.  

 

Historical Notes

Warner Center is a master-planned business hub in the Valley that was named for Harry Warner of Warner Bros. Pictures, who had owned 1100-acre horse ranch in the 1940s. Robert Voit led the commercial development of the land after it was sold in the late-1970s. Warner Center was built to relieve traffic to and from downtown L.A., as well as generate jobs in the San Fernando Valley.

At the band shell of Warner Park (visible in the foreground), sits the site of the Valley's "Concerts in the Park" series, which the Valley Cultural Center stages for free during the summer months. The concerts showcase everything from folk and rock to jazz and big band music.*

 

 

 

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Power:

 

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References and Credits

*  LA Public Library Image Archive

^ CSUN Oviatt Library Digital Archives

#^San Fernando Valley History Digital Library - CSUN Oviatt

** DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^^ USC Digital Archive

^* The Valley Observied: Street Name Origins; Timeline of Valley History

^# Chatsworth Historical Society

#* Huntington Digital Library

*# Mojave Desert.net: Remi Nadeau

## KaiserPermanenteHistory.org

**^LA Street Names - LA Times

***Los Angeles Historic - Cultural Monuments Listing

*^*California Historical Landmarks Listing (Los Angeles)

*^^Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles - losangelespast.com

^^^LA Times: Adohr Spelled Succes for the Adamsons; LA Times: Building the LA Aqueduct; Panorama City

^^*LA Times:  Stanley Norris Petit

*##LA Times: Dig Into History You'll Find Snake Oil..Victor Girard Kleinberger

^##ReoCities: The Chatsworth Tunnels

##*Pinterest - California

##^Flickr.com: Ryerson

#**California State Library Image Archive

#^^LA River Railroads - Burbank Branch History

#^#San Fernando Valley Blog: James Cagney Ranch

#*^Northridgevision.org: Zelzah

#^*CarolWolf.com: Tarzana

*#*Project Restore: Van Nuys City Hall

^*^Topanga Canyon History - LA Magazine

*^#Van Nuys Airport History

*#^LA World Airports - History of Van Nuys Airport

^^#The Museum of the San Fernando Valley: Northridge Train Depot; San Fernando Rd. - 1882; The Snow of 1948; Hollywood Country Club in Studio City

**#Tumblr.com: LA History - Leonis Adobe

^#^Granada Hills by Jim Hier

^#*Photo of the Northeast San Fernando Valley ca.1950 - Laurie Burns

^*#North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch:History of the Laurel Canyon and Valley Plaza Mall; N. Hollywood Train Depot

#*#San-Fernando-Valley-Real-Estate.com: Granada Hills

#^#^Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council: Granada Hills History

*##*BellCanyon.com: Bell Canyon History

***^Los Angeles Movie Palaces: Studio City Theater

^**^Cinema Treasures: Rivoli-Capri Theatre; Reseda Drive-in Theatre; Van Nuys Drive-In Theater; Canoga Park Drive-In

**^^KCET: LA Flood of 1938: Cement the River's Future; When L.A.'s Most Famous Streets Were Dirt Roads; Canoga Park at 100: A Brief History of the Birth of Owensmouth

*^*^Canoga Park High School Home Page

*^^*Orcutt Ranch: laparks.org

^***LosAngelesPast.com: Cahuenga Pass

^*^*Metro.net: Mulholland Drive Bridge; PE Line Reaches Van Nuys

^#**Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive

^#*#Chatsworthreservoir.com

^#^#Northridge Historical Images Virtual Tour - Bruce Russell

^##*Pinterest: Bygone Los Angeles; Drive-in Speakers

^##^Pinterest: San Fernando Valley

*##^City-Data.com: Santa Susana Pass

**^#LA Times Framework: Busch Gardens Monorail; Sepulveda Tunnel

**#*EntertainmentDesigner.com: Busch Gardens

^^#^Facebook.com - Great Photos from Los Angeles' Past: Van Nuys PE Railroad; Porter Ranch Farmers

^^^#LA Observed: Dedication of theSepulveda Tunnel

*^^#Flickr.com - Floyd B. Bariscale Photostream: Faith Bible Church; Minnie Hill Palmer House

^#^*A Drifting Cowboy: The Grapes of Wrath

***#BoomCalifornia.com: Witness to a Hanging

**#^San Fernando Valley Historical Society: Van Nuys Drive-In Theater

^^##North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch: Weddington House

^^*#Topanga: Neighborhood Profile

^*#*Pinterest - Memories I Remember Growing Up in the SFV

^*##Godickson.com: San Fernando Valley Map, 1930s

^**#Theoakridgeestate.com: History of Marwyck Ranch

**##LADWP Historic Archive

*^##SCVhistory.com: Beale's Cut

*###California Department of Transportation

*#^^Big Orange Landmarks: Drive-ins Roared into LA Country

^*^#Official 1913 LA Aqueduct Program: Shirley Gonzales, Morris D. Olney

^^**Pinterest.com: Stoney Pt. and Santa Susana Pass; Santa Susana Pass from Simi Valley

^*#^Studiotour.com

*#*^Openlibrary.org: Westinghouse Automatic Electric Range

*#^*Los Angeles County Library: Agoura Hills; History of Agriculture in the San Fernando Valley

*#**Facebook.com: Museum of the San Fernando Valley; Busch Monorail

*#^#Forum.skyscraperpage.com: Coffee Dan's; Tarzana LIbrary; Beale's Cut

*#*#California Museum: A Journey Along the El Camino Real

#***Pinterest - California and DailyBreeze.com

^^^*San Fernando Valley Relics: Facebook.com; Twin Lakes; Ventura and Woodman; Busch Gardens; Reseda Blvd; Victory Blvd in Woodland Hills; Van De Kamp's; Valley Plaza; Nordhoff St. and Topanga Cyn; Ventura and Van Nuys Blvd; Chatsworth Tracks; Van Nuys and Oxnard; Van Nuys Aerial; Beale's Cut; Van Nuys Blvd, ca. 1940; Stoney Point; 1938 Flood; Van Norman Reservoir; I-5 and I-14 Interchange; Van Nuys Drive-in; Mobil Gas Station; Canoga Drive-in; Universal Studios Tour Opening Day

*^^^San Fernando Valley Historical Society/Facebook.com: Girard; Hotel Cecil; Sun Valley; La Reina Theater; JC Penney; California Bank; 1st Mail Wagon; Weddington Home; Devonshire Downs; Topanga Plaza Founain; Westinghouse Electric Range; Van Nuys PE Depot; Farmer in Early SFV; Toluca Flyer; Garden of the Moon Park and Campground; Moon Festival

*^ Wikipedia: Sherman Oaks; Isaac Van Nuys; Encino; Tarzana; Campo_de_Cahuenga; Cahuenga Pass; Chatsworth; Panorama City; Santa Susana Field Laboratory; North Hollywood; Canoga Park; Woodland Hills; Reseda; Orcutt Ranch; Granada Hills; Andrés Pico; Moses Sherman; Van Nuys; Henry Kaiser; Charles Maclay; San Fernando Valley; Mission Point; Hughes Aircraft; Domonique Amestoy; Winnetka, Los Angeles; City of San Fernando; Canoga Park High School; Ventura Freeway; Hollywood; Hollywood Freeway; Los Angeles Valley College; Kaiser Permanente; Bolton Hall; Sunland-Tujunga; City of San Fernando; Van Nuys Assembly; Zelzah - Northridge; Chatsworth Community Church; Stoney Point; Rancho El Escorpión; Rómulo Pico Adobe; Topanga Plaza; Faith Bible Church; Minnie Hill Palmer House; Northridge; Iverson Movie Ranch; Universal City; Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakeries: Simi Valley Freeway (118); Los Encinos State Historic Park; Tarzana; Lower Van Norman Dam; Newhall Pass Interchange; Litton Industries; West HIls; Devonshire Downs; Robert Morton Organ Co.

 

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