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.*




(ca. 1875)#* – Panoramic view of the San Fernando Mission looking south across a largely unimproved San Fernando Valley.  In the distance are the Hollywood Hills with Cahuenga Pass (low point on the horizon in the upper-right) and the back of Mount Lee (highest peak and ridgeline). ##^  


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).*^




(ca. 1875)^^ - A closer 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.  


Historical Notes

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.*^





(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".  


Historical Notes

Construction of the arched Convento Building began in 1810. 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. *





(1897)^ - The convento building at San Fernando, Rey de Espana Mission as it existed in 1897. Timber roof supports are visible. Donor: Milt Fries.   


Historical Notes

The San Fernando Mission was abandoned in 1847. From 1857 to 1861, part of it was used as a stagecoach station. By 1888, the hospice was used as a warehouse and stable, and in 1896, the quadrangle became a hog farm.

In 1896, Charles Fletcher Lummis began a campaign to reclaim the property, and conditions improved.*



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





(1880s)*^*^* - Panoramic view showing Rancho Los Encinos. This is the best surviving photograph of Rancho Los Encinos during its time of greatest prosperity. All the key elements of the current park are visible, as well as some interesting frame structures (probably used for grapevines) and a fence or structure running West from the South end of the De La Ossa adobe.  


Historical Notes

Because of its water supply from a natural spring, 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 a French Provincial two-story limestone house adjacent to the existing adobe. He was a French Basque and the house was similar to those in his homeland.#^

The Garniers were energetic builders, and added much to the Rancho. They built a stone-lined pond, in the shape of a Spanish guitar at the site of the spring; they built a two story limestone building to serve as a bunkhouse and they built a roadhouse across the road (Ventura Blvd.) which became the focal point of the local Basque community.




(ca. 1945)#^ - View looking north showing Rancho Los Encinos. The Garnier House and original adobe sit on the other side the large stone-lined pond. Ventura Boulevard can be seen in the foreground with what looks to be an early model pick-up truck at lower right. Note the vast open space in the distance.  


Historical Notes

The name of the rancho comes from the original designation of the San Fernando Valley by the Portola expedition of 1769: "El Valle de Santa Catalina de Bononia de los Encinos", with "encino" being the Spanish word for oak, referring to the many oak trees in this area, to include a fair number which still exist on the site.*^*^*




(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.

Prior to purchasing the Rancho Los Encinos, Domingo Amestoy was a successful banker and one of the original founders to provide the financing for the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Los Angeles in 1871.*^

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

Louise Avenue was named after Louise Amestoy, a daughter of Domningo and Marie Amestoy.*^*^*




(1920s)#^*^ - View showing sheep grazing near the Garnier House.  


Historical Notes

In 1916, 1,170 acres of land was sold from Rancho Los Encinos. This parcel was subdivided and became the city of Encino.*

The Amestoys held on to 100 acres, which included the old adobe until selling the property in 1944.*^




(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. The Garnier House is seen in the distance behind the adobe.  


Historical Notes

In 1949, through the efforts of Mary Stuart in mobilizing the local community to save the buildings from developers, the last remaining parcel of land, containing the De La Osa adobe, Garnier House and spring were purchased by the State of California, and the Los Encinos State Historic Park was created. *^*^*





(2014)#*^# – View of Los Encinos State Park with the Garnier Building on the left and the Rancho Encino adobe at center. Location: 16756 Moorpark Street, Encino.  


Historical Notes

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).

The Visitors' Center in the Garnier Building is open for self-guided tours during regular park hours.  The park is opened Wednesday through Sunday between 10 AM and 5 PM.  Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.  Click HERE to see more.





(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.



(1882)* - Exterior view of the residence belonging to Isaac Van Nuys located in the San Fernando Valley.  


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.*^





(1888)*^^^ – View of the Hotel Cecil in Lankershim (North Hollywood).  It was one of the first hotels 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.  


Historical Notes

Cecil Wilcox was the husband and his wife's given name was Clara. They appear in the censuses. He owned a furniture/book store and was apparently the publisher of a San Fernando Valley newspaper "The Lankershim Laconic." While it is not mentioned in the censuses, a newspaper article in the early 1950's promoting a "pioneer picnic" in Toluca/Lankershim, lists her as a widow who was the owner of the hotel. The photo date more than likely should be 1898 since Cecil was born in 1876. Clara (Hoegerman) and Cecil were married in 1897 in Los Angeles County. Cecil had died in 1933. Clara died in 1958. Ancestry.com has a picture of Clara and her sister Rose.*#^#




(1888)^ - View of children and adults playing in front of the first elementary school in Lankershim (now North Hollywood).  


Historical Notes

Lankershim’s first elementary school was located on Vineland Avenue, just south of Third Street (now Riverside Drive). Mary Crawford, visible in front of the doorway, was Lankershim's first elementary school teacher.^



(ca. 1889)* - Group portrait of children and adults in front of the second Lankershim Elementary School, built in 1889. Today, the elementary school is located at 5250 Bakman Avenue, North Hollywood. The arrow is pointing to Fred Weddington who graduated in the second class.  


Historical Notes

Wilson Weddington opened a general store and employed his two sons, Guy and Fred. Fred Weddington was appointed the town's first deputy sheriff. He made news in 1904 by using his horse to chase down two robbers who had assaulted a man and then fled into a barley field. They were convicted and sent to prison.

Fred Weddington went on to become a land developer, and he opened the town's first bank. He remained active in North Hollywood affairs until his death in 1967.^^^




(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. 1895)* - View of the Weddington ranch house, now the location of the El Portal Theater, 5269 Lanershim Boulevard, North Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

The above photograph was used for an article in the Valley Times dated March 4, 1949; it reads, "Tiny palm sprout in front of porch of this building, the early Weddington ranch house, grew to be large enough to be lifted out with a steam shovel for groundbreaking for the El Portal theater in 1926. This house was built in the 80's, later was post office of Toluca before town became Lankershim." *




(ca. 1894)^ - Picnic by the Los Angeles River and Tujunga Avenue. W. H. Andrews on the left, standing. Either a Methodist Church or a family social gathering.  


Historical Notes

William H. Andrews was superintendent of lands owned by the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company in Toluca/Lankershim.




(ca. 1900)* - View looking down Vineland Avenue just south of Third Street (now Riverside Drive) showing the residence of William H. Andrews.  


Historical Notes

On the Van Nuys / Lankershim lands, in the late 1880’s, as wheat profits began to decline, JB Lankershim, son of Isaac, formed a group, the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company, and bought the easternmost 12,000 acres, and plotted the area for fruit-growing farms. William H. Andrews was the superintendent for these lands, and was the on-site director for the sale and lease of the farms for JB. As the farms grew, Andrews was instrumental in securing lands in the area for the Southern Pacific Railroad; the line that slanted across the valley to Chatsworth. #^*^




(ca. 1900)#^*^ – Front view of William H. Andrews' House, once the only house on the Lankershim Ranch.  


Historical Notes

William Andrews was married to Mary "Mollie" Weddington, the sister of Sheriff Wilson Weddington of Storm Lake Iowa. During the winter of 1890, the Andrews invited their relatives to spend the winter in warm Southern California. The Weddingtons came and saw real opportunity in the San Fernando Valley. That same winter, William Andrews conducted a land auction for the Lankershim Land and Water Company, and the Weddingtons made their first big purchase of Valley land.^^#




(ca. 1900)#^*^ – Fruit processing at Andrews’ ranch.  Freshly picked fruit are lined up in large wooden trays.  


Historical Notes

W. H. Andrews was in charge of a labor force consisting of 120 Chinese workers.  Utilizing 200 mules, they cut roads through the brush and stubble of the Lankershim Ranch. The same force was also used in laying out the new town of Burbank.^^#




(ca. 1890s)^ - Fruit trees planted by Ruben Ahlstrom on ranch north of Devonshire at the end of Canoga Avenue, Chatsworth Park.  




(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 as well as a newly constructed hotel seen at far left. Note the beautiful oak tree in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

The above 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.^




(ca. 1890s)#^*^ – Panoramic view showing a train stopped just east of "Topanga" and north of the later Marilla.  Stoney Point is seen in the background and the Train Station is at the right with the Chatsworth Hotel just behind it.  The Hill/Graves store is at the left and Topanga (then Santa Susana Rd) dead ends at Marilla.  


Historical Notes

In 1893 Southern Pacific Railroad completed the Burbank Branch to Chatsworth, ending along what is now Marilla and between what is now Topanga and Farralone. An additional mile of train track was also laid westward into the Chatsworth Park Quarry (Bannon Quarry) in 1898.^#




(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

Once the railroad came to Chatsworth in 1893, the town's economy began to expand.  First, the railroad gave farmers a broader market to sell their crops.  Second, the construction of the Santa Susana railroad tunnel 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)^## - Cranes lift large boulders onto flatbed railroad cars at the Chatsworth Park Quarry (Bannon Quarry), located 1.5 miles northwest of the original Chatsworth Station (now Marilla and Topanga).  


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.#^^



(ca. 1900)#^*^ – View looking at the Santa Susana Mountains in Chatsworth Park near Tunnel No. 27 before tracks were built.  




(ca. 1914)^ - Postcard view of a Southern Pacific Train near Chatsworth Tunnel No. 27.  


Historical Notes

The first car after the locomotive is a steel Railway Post Office Car carrying the mail. Steel cars were not built until circa 1910.^



(n.d.)#^*^ – Interior view of the 7,369-ft long Tunnel No. 26 as seen from ground (rail) level.  




(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. Horse-drawn wagons and cars share the street.  


Historical Notes

Chatsworth is one of the earliest settlements in the San Fernando Valley and has had its own United States Post Office since 1890. The above location (3rd Post Office location) was on Topanga Canyon near Lassen, about where the Country Deli is today. It was the center of town about 1900. The Graves and Hill Store owned by Jess Graves, one-time sheriff of Chatsworth, and Lovell Hill, Minnie Hill Palmer's older brother. He lived with his family on property known to Chatsworth today as The Homestead Acre at 10385 Shadow Oak Drive.^#




(1910s)****^ - View showing two men in front of the Graves & Hill General Merchandise Store at Topanga and Lassen, Chatsworth.  


Historical Notes

The Graves and Hill General Store was operating on Topanga at Lassen from 1906 to 1915.  Fred Graves and Lovell Hill bought the store after he death of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, the previous owners.

Lovell Hill was the postmaster from 1912 to 1915.****^



(n.d.)^# - Photograph of a poster showing the various locations of the Chatsworth Post Office made by a former Chatsworth woman, Mrs. Elsa Braun. It was made for the opening of the Post Office when it was located on Topanga Canyon Boulevard just north of Devonshire Street in the 1950s. The poster shows the list of Postmasters and shows where the Post Office was located during their terms of office.  


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.

The location of that first post office was on the stage line at the foot of the Santa Susana Mountains on the northern boundary of Oakwood Memorial Park. And it was not far from the stagecoach marker that can be seen from Chatsworth Park South today.^#



(1890)^# – View showing Joe Horner in Stage Wagon on the Stagecoach Trail. Joe Horner ran the Simi Stage from Simi Hotel to San Fernando in 1890.  


Historical Notes

There have been three Santa Susana Pass Roads over the years:

◆  The first road, the “Santa Susana Pass Wagon Road”, was in use from 1859-1895. It became known as the Stagecoach Trail, and was also called “Devil’s Slide”. 

◆  The second road was built north of the first road, “The New Santa Susana Pass Road through William’s Cañon”. It was a graded dirt road and in use from 1895 to 1917. It was commonly called the Chatsworth Grade Road, and is called El Camino Nuevo on the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park maps.

◆  The third road was built just north of the second road in 1917, was paved with asphalt, and is known today as the Santa Susana Pass Road.^#




(n.d.)#^*^ – View showing the remains of the Old Santa Susana Stage Road. Hewn out of solid rock, the route was used by the Overland Stage Company.  Plaque reads:  “Old Santa Susana Stage Road, 1859-90 - Marked March 17, 1939 - Native Daughters of the Golden West – Topanga Parlor”  


Historical Notes

In 1859, the state put up $15,000 to fix up the Santa Susana Pass Wagon Road, under the supervision of James P. Thompson. Thompson was also the man awarded the contract to use the pass for carrying mail. The first overland stagecoach to use the pass made its run between San Francisco and Los Angeles on April 6, 1861. The trip took 72 hours.

Devil’s Slide, was the portion of the trail where the grade was so steep that extra precautions were needed to prevent accidents involving runaway coaches. These precautions included tricks such as tying wheels together, using a windlass, blindfolding easily spooked horses, and cutting step grades into the stone paths.

The Santa Susana Pass became the main transportation link between L.A. and San Francisco during the Civil War and remained so for about a dozen years. However, a group of new owners abandoned the stage line in 1875, although local ranchers and farmers continued to use the pass. The Chatsworth Grade Road (pretty much the 118 today), built in 1895, rendered the old Santa Susana Pass obsolete.*#^^

In 1972, the Old Stage Coach Property was designated LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 92 (Clcik HERE to see complete listing).




(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)^^ - Panoramic view showing 13 horse-drawn plows on Van Nuys grain ranch. Six horses and a driver are on each team. The long line of teams is lined up at the edge of a large field prepared to begin plowing for the day. A line of trees devoid of foliage is visible behind them. This wheat field is located in the southeasterly portion of the San Fernando Valley.   





(ca. 1900)#* - Grub time on Van Nuys Ranch, eating in the field. About a dozen men and a dog take a break for a meal.  




(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.*^




(ca. 1912)+## – Postcard view showing six horse-drawn wagons carrying sacks of walnuts for shipping in Lankershim (now North Hollywood).  





(ca. 1900)^^ – Anderson's pear orchard, Toluca (Lankershim), San Fernando Valley. View is down the space between two long rows of trees. A man is standing at right and the silhouette of mountains is visible in the distance.  


Historical Notes

The land boom of the 1880s went bust by the 1890s, but despite another brutal drought cycle in the late 1890s, the fruit and nut farmers remained solvent. The Toluca Fruit Growers Association was formed in 1894. The next year the Southern Pacific opened a branch line slanting northwest across the Valley and stopping at Lankershim on its way to Chatsworth. *^



(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 Espiritu Leonis, wife of Miguel Leonis.  


Historical Notes

El Scorpion, or El Escorpion, a ranch that once occupied a large tract in the west Valley, was granted to three Indians in Calabasas in the 1830's. About 25 years later, Miguel Leonis, the Basque "King of Calabasas" acquired the ranch and 1100 acres by his marriage to Espiritu, an Indian who had inherited the property from her father. #^^^

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





(ca. 1902)^ - View of a man leaning against the Calabasas jail house. A corner of the Leonis Adobe can be seen between the "hangman's tree" and the jail.  


Historical Notes

The Calabasas jail house was built in 1869 and was moved to Chatsworth in 1902. In 1910 the jail house was torn down.^

What is now the Sagebrush Cantina was originally a group of small stores built by Lester Agoure, Sr. in the early 1920's. The parking lot once was the local jail. Outside was the famous hanging tree, dead, but still standing today. It is the identifying logo of the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce. #^^^





(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.^




(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.*#*#




(1905)#^ - The Weddington Bros. General Merchandise Store was established in the 1890s and was stocked with groceries and dry goods. The store was owned by Wilson C. Weddington who was a very prominent citizen and civic leader of North Hollywood.  


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.*^^^




(ca. 1910)*^^^ - View of the Whitley Mansion located at 5849 Van Nuys Boulevard. Two men are standing on the driveway next to a steamroller that has smoke billowing out of its stack. On the right, a man is seen behind the wheel of an early model automobile.  


Historical Notes

Hobart Johnstone Whitley, also known as H.J. Whitley and the "Father of Hollywood", was a real estate developer who helped create the Hollywood subdivision in Los Angeles. He is also known for helping develop the San Fernado Valley.

After Whitley saw the San Fernando Valley and heard of Mulholland's ideas for a new aqueduct, he began discussing opportunities with business associates in Los Angeles. The city's approval of the Los Angeles aqueduct project in 1905, with a proposed terminus in the San Fernando Valley, inspired the formation of a land speculation syndicate, the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. Its partners included Whitley, Isaac Newton Van Nuys, General Moses Sherman, James Boon Lankershim, and Harry Chandler, manager of the "Los Angeles Times," as director.

The Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company syndicate purchased the 47,500-acre parcel from the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company, owned by Van Nuys and son-in-law Lankershim, in 1909. It comprised nearly the entire south half of the San Fernando Valley (south of present day Roscoe Blvd.). The price was $2,500,000, or just under $53 an acre.

On the land he planned the new towns of Van Nuys, Marian (present day Reseda), and Owensmouth (present day Canoga Park and West Hills. Though located 15 miles to the southwest, Owensmouth was named for the new Owens River aqueduct's terminus/mouth in the northern valley, that opened in 1913. The Janss Investment Company was contracted for developing and promoting Van Nuys and Owensmouth.*^



(ca. 1920s)^^# – View of the Whitley Mansion of Van Nuys, later to become a funeral home.  


Historical Notes

The Whitley Mansion was eventually sold to the Praiswater Family and in 1939 became the Praiswater Funeral Home.#**#

Keys Toyota Dealership on Van Nuys Boulevard now stands where the Whitley - Praiswater Mansion once graced the San Fernando Valley. No trace of the original structure remains today.^^#



(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).  




(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)#** - Right panel view showing the railroad tracks crossing Van Nuys Boulevard. A partial view of the train depot is seen on the right. Note the vast expanse of open land toward the northeast.  





(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.^*^*




(ca. 1911)#^# – Postcard view showing Van Nuys Boulevard shortly after the installation of Pacific Electric streetcar tracks.  




(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 showing the ceremony for the arrival of the first Pacific Electric "Red Car" in Van Nuys. Note the photographer with tripod-mounted camera at lower right.  


Historical Notes

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





(1911)* - View showing a crowd of people in Van Nuys at the arrival of the first Pacific Electric "Red Car." American flags are draped over buildings and on lines that run over the tracks.  





(1911)#^ - View showing hundreds of people at the arrival of the first Pacific Electric Car in Van Nuys.  The Van Nuys Tract office, visible behind the train, is open for business.  


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


Historical Notes

From North Hollywood to Kester Junction, a distance of 2.26 miles, this line originally shared the right-of-way and finally the rails of Southern Pacific’s North Hollywood Branch.^***^




(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.^*^*




(1911 - 1952)***^^ - Map showing the Lines of the Pacific Electric Ry. in the San Fernando Valley.  


Historical Notes

The San Fernando Valley line followed the Santa Monica Boulevard line as far as the intersection of Santa Monica and Highland Avenue (7.12 miles).  There it turned north on Highland Avenue, using the tracks of the Highland Avenue line to the mouth of Cahuenga Pass (MP 8.66) where its own trackage commenced.  This line originally negotiated Cahuenga Pass via a double track line located to the east of the highway.  Construction was quite difficult and its successful completion was regarded at the time as being somewhat of a triumph for the Los Angeles Pacific construction crews.  Once through the pass, the line passed Universal City (11.11 miles) and arrived at Lankershim (North Hollywood) where the double track ended, 13.83 miles from the Subway Terminal in Downtown Los Angeles.

From Kester Junction this line proceeded on its own single track to the town of Van Nuys, passing through the town on double track to North Sherman Way, 19.93 miles, where the line branched into two lines.  One branch turned west on Sherman Way, arriving at Reseda, 24.91 miles, and finally at its terminus, Owensmouth (Canoga Park), 29.10 miles.  This was single track except for short portions of double track through the two towns.  The other branch continued north from Sherman Way via Mission Acres (MP 22.81), Plummer (MP 23.81) and the San Fernando Mission to the city of San Fernando (MP 27.47).  This also was single track save for about three blocks of double track operation in the city of San Fernando.

Operation through to Owensmouth and San Fernando was terminated on June 1, 1938; thereafter the terminus of this line was at Van Nuys Boulevard and North Sherman Way.  On December 28, 1952, busses over the Hollywood Freeway replaced all rail service on this line.^***^




(1914)^ – View showing the Van Nuys Pacific Electric Station. To the right is the Van Nuys Water Company's pump house and water tower.  


Historical Notes

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.  


Historical Notes

The sprawling San Fernando Valley was a vast field of grain when the Los Angeles Pacific (LAP) began building north through the Cahuenga Pass from Hollywood in 1911.  During the course of construction the LAP was merged with the Pacific Electric (PE).  By the time of its completion the line was PE.^***^




(ca. 1912)#^ -  Brochure for W. P. Whitsett's free automobile tour to Van Nuys - "The Town That Was Started RIGHT".  


Historical Notes

Above is the inside of a 2-sided brochure that was handed out to prospective buyers during their free automobile tour of Van Nuys. It was a promotion developed and coordinated by W. P. Whittset.

The brochure also identifies the 'Control Board' members of the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company: Gen. H. G. Otis, Gen. M. H. Sherman, H. J. Whitley, O. F. Brant, and Harry Chandler. It also identifies W. P. Whitsett as the Sales Manager.





(ca. 1912)#^ -  Tag advertising a free trip by automobile from downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley.  


Historical Notes

Whitsett began to develop Van Nuys as early as 1910. To promote his development, he passed out coupons in the form of tags that offered a free tour of Van Nuys by automobile. #^





(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.  


Historical Notes

W. P. Whitsett was extremely successful in bringing prospective land and home buyers into the Valley.

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





(1913)^ – Panoramic view looking north showing early development along Van Nuys Boulevard. Two sets of tracks and an electrical pole line run down the center of the street. All of these buildings have been torn down and replaced, except 6211 Van Nuys Boulevard, now known as the Van Nuys Hotel, visible here with the "Hotel" sign on it. At left-center can be seen the newly constructed Van Nuys High School located at 6535 Cedros Avenue.  





(n.d.)^^ – Front view of Van Nuys High School showing the impressive Ionian columns framing the main entrance, located at 6535 Cedros Avenue at Haynes Street.  


Historical Notes

Van Nuys High School opened in 1914, four years after Van Nuys was established. For years, the only high schools in the Valley were Van Nuys, Owensmouth (now Canoga Park), San Fernando, and North Hollywood.  The football and track stadium, originally built at the same time as the current high school, is named for Bob Waterfield, and the baseball field for Don Drysdale, the two most famous athletes to have played for VNHS.*^

Marilyn Monroe also attended Van Nuys High School. Click HERE to see more Notable Alumni.



(ca. 1911)#^*^ – View showing Frank M. Keffer standing in front of the Van Nuys News building located at 14441 Sylvan Street.  


Historical Notes

The paper, founded by E.R. Elkins, debuted as The Van Nuys Call on Nov 3, 1911, just nine months following the birth of the town. Purchased by Frank Keefer, a reporter from Pittsburgh, it was published as The Van Nuys News on Nov 24, 1911. The first building was at 14441 Sylvan Street (seen above). It was published as a 4-6 page weekly for a number of years. Walter Mendenhall joined as co-publisher in 1920, and in June of 1922, the paper went semi-weekly. Keffer retired in 1932, and joining Mendenhall as co-owners were brothers Maurice W and Ralph J Markham. In September of 1936, the News moved into its new home at 14539 Sylvan Street.

Wanting to reinforce its reputation as the Valley Paper, in the 1940’s it became the Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet, when the front page was printed on a pale-green broadsheet to distinguish it from its competitors, in the early 1950’s becoming the Valley News and Green Sheet, and expanded its reach, eventually into the Conejo, Simi and Santa Clarita Valleys. Frequency increased to tri-weekly in October, 1954, and then to four-times-a-week in 1959. New branch offices began to appear in North Hollywood, Canoga Park and Thousand Oaks.

The Tribune Company, headquartered in Chicago, acquired the news in December of 1973. In 1976, it became a daily newspaper, and in 1981 changed its name to the Daily News. Subsequently, ownership of the newspaper has changed several times since. #^*^



(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.*#*^

By 1917, most of the valley was already annexed into the City of Los Angeles. Not only was there enough water for the Valley, but there was also more than enough electricity to serve a growing city.

Click HERE to see more in Electricity on the Aqueduct.




(1919)*^^^* – Map showing the San Fernando Valley routing of Pacific Electric streetcars (yellow) and Southern Pacific trains (red) in 1919.  Image courtesy of Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps (RareMaps.com)  


Historical Notes

General Moses Sherman directed the Los Angeles Pacific Railroad electric railway line's construction. It ran from Lankershim to the three new towns the syndicate's partner Hobart Johnstone Whitley had planned for the valley, Van Nuys, Marion (present day Reseda), and Owensmouth (present day Canoga Park and West Hills). The tracks ran in the middle of Sherman Way, a broad new 'lavishly landscaped' and paved avenue to the Owensmouth terminus.*^




(1920s)#^*^ - View of the Pacific Electric Train Depot near Reseda and Sherman Way. It later became the Reseda Women's Club meeting room.  


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.*^




(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.**^^




(ca. 1910s)^- Water well in Owensmouth installed by the town’s developers near today's intersection of Sherman Way and Deering Avenue.  


Historical Notes

In April 1910, a rig was set up to drill Well No. 3 near Canoga Station (south of Sherman and east of Deering), and In October, a pump was installed and a fifty-horsepower gas engine to run it. The well was delivering water by March of 1911. #^*^



(1911)#^*^ – View showing the Owensmouth pump house and water tower located south of Sherman Way and east of Deering Ave. This was Owensmouth's water supply until water came in from the LA Aqueduct in 1917.  


Historical Notes

Prior to the opening of the aqueduct, the valley had few sources for water. One source was this well on the south side Sherman Way and east of Deering, providing the early water needs for the town of Owensmouth. The well had a pumping capacity of 20,000 gallons. Whitley and Otis had declared the well sufficient to supply the needs of a population of 10,000, a claim which, fortunately, never had to be put to the test. #^*^




(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. 1915)^ – View showing the Owensmouth Southern Pacific Train Depot located at 21355 Sherman Way, on the northeast corner of Sherman Way and Canoga Ave. It would later become Dicecco’s Hardware Store.  


Historical Notes

Built in 1912, the Owensmouth's Southern Pacific Railroad Station was one of the few Spanish Revival railroad Stations in the Valley to survive to the late 20th century. It was declared an historic-cultural monument on May 30, 1990. In 1995 it was damaged by fire and razed.^



(1912)^^*^^ – Topographical relief map titled "Drainage Basin of Los Angeles River." The San Fernando Valley can clearly be seen.  It’s so vast that when you’re inside it, you can’t fully see it.  





(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.  





(1915)#^ - View of new Topanga Highway winding down north slope into a nearly vacant West San Fernando Valley.  





(ca. 1913)#*^^ - A man is seen behind the wheel of an early model car sitting on top of a completed section of the LA Aqueduct.  


Historical Notes

The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913 provided surplus water to the city and accelerated the development and growth of the San Fernando Valley.

Click HERE to see more in Construction of the L.A. Aqueduct.



(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.^

It is generally accepted that Calabasas as the city name is derived from the Spanish calabaza meaning "pumpkin," "squash," or "gourd" (cf. with the word calabash). Some historians hold the theory that Calabasas is a translation of the Chumash word calahoosa.*^






(1915)^ - Samuel John Cooper family playing games. Left to Right: Rosie (daughter), Dollie Farnum (cousin), Rose (mother), unknown in wagon, Stanley Masson (cousin), Sam Cooper (father), Sam Marx Cooper (son).  


Historical Notes

The first subdivision in Calabasas, called Park Moderne (in Mulwood near Calabasas High School), was a retreat for artists, craftsmen, and writers. It was built on land traded off as part of Sam Cooper Jr.’s homestead in 1928.#^^^






(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.***#



(ca. 1915)^ - View of the first Daic Bros. garage, built 1915, across from Leonis Adobe, on property purchased from Juan Menendez. Frame building beside garage came with the property. Donor Beverly Daic Taber.  


Historical Notes

Juan Menendez was the son of Espiritu, from her first marriage.  Espiritu later married Miguel Leonis. #^^^




(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 class of 1915 (Canoga Park H.S.) pose for a photo.  


Historical Notes

Top row L to R: 3rd person Margarite Coig, Laura Hyden, Edith Haas, Dorothy Tweedy, Antonya Weber, Helen Pillcher, Mary Knapp, the rest unknown. 2nd Row L to R: Earl Haas, Carol Driscoll, ?Herby Mitchell, Merrick Gschwind, Clarence Daic, unknown, Marx Cooper, ?Herby Mitchell.

These students are from pioneer families in the West Valley. You may recognize some of the surnames.



(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. Wilson Drug Store shares the building with 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. 1920)^ - Wide angle view of the Bank of Lankershim and J. E. Jones Druggist's store located at the SE corner of Chandler and Lankershim Blvds.  


Historical Notes

Named for one of the area's founding families, Lankershim Boulevard is one of the oldest streets in the area surrounding what is now the neighborhood of North Hollywood. It was a major thoroughfare for the town of Toluca (which was itself renamed "Lankershim" in 1896), connecting it to Los Angeles by way of the Cahuenga Pass. In the center of Toluca it crossed the Southern Pacific Railroad, with a depot near the current location of the North Hollywood Metro Station at Chandler Boulevard.*^





(ca. 1919)^ – View showing the North Hollywood Pacific Electric Car Station, located at the intersection of Chandler and Lankershim boulevards.  


Historical Notes

The North Hollywood PE Station was part of a very efficient rail system that was dismantled due to competition from the automobile in 1952, though the station itself is still standing.^





(ca. 1914)***^# – Panoramic view showing Universal City as developed circa 1914. The water tower at center-right would later be converted into a castle tower. (Universal Handout Photo).  


Historical Notes

In 1913, 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).*^





(1915)^^^* - View of the Universal City opening day ceremony, March 15, 1915.  


Historical Notes

Universal City celebrated its grand opening on March 15, 1915. Something like 20,000 members of the public responded to studio head Carl Laemmle’s invitation to visit his new studio at the north end of Cahuenga Pass that day to check out the fancy administration building, open air stages and bleachers on which, until the advent of sound filmmaking a decade later, they were welcome to come back and watch real movies getting made.***^#




(1915)***^# – View showing the beginning of Opening Day festivities just inside the front gate at Universal City.  




(1915)***^# – Crowds are seen gathered on hillside and below in autos to watch the Opening Day ceremonies of Universal City on March 15, 1915. Smoke fills the sky most likely from cannon fire or fireworks.  


Historical Notes

Besides showing off the facilities on opening day, Laemmle staged cowboy stunts and had engineers create a fake flood, which actually swamped a few vehicles.***^#




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


Historical Notes

After the gala opening, Carl Laemmle continued to let the general public visit his Movie City - "The City of Wonders."





(ca. 1916)*#^# – Postcard view showing bridge over the Los Angeles River leading to the front entrance to Universal City, “The Home of the Movies”.  


Historical Notes

The tower building near the front entrance is actually a water tower modified to resemble a castle tower (see earlier photo).





(ca. 1916)^^*^^ - Postcard view showing Laemmle Boulevard and the Entrance to Universal City.  





(ca. 1916)*^^ - View showing the Lankershim Blvd. entrance to Universal Studios. Two security gaurds in uniform stand at watch under the large archway. A tall castle-like tower is seen on the left. Passengers sit in the back of an early model vehicle.  





(ca. 1916)*#^# - Postcard view showing tour buses at the front entrance to Universal City,  possibly the precursor to today's tram ride.  




(ca. 1916)***^# - View showing the visitors observation platform where guests could watch the filming of a movie.  


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.^*#^



(ca. 1915)^^ -  View showing the filming a western movie on the Front Lot Stage at Universal City.  A bar scene can be seen at center, and several men and women are visible in western clothing. A man and a woman are seated at a table in the foreground at right. At left, the director and cameraman can be seen, along with several other assistants. People can be seen sitting on a high balcony at left, in an area labeled "Visitor's Observatory".   


Historical Notes

Guests sat in outdoor bleachers and were encouraged to cheer for the heroes and boo the villains! The advent of sound meant the end of the early Universal Studio tour (as the noise the visitors made now disrupted filming) and Universal closed its gates to the general public. Three decades would pass before the studio gates would open again.^*#^

During that time, Universal developed into a powerhouse studio, producing numerous classics such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Dracula, and Frankenstein. With its success, Universal City (and other San Fernando Valley studios) influenced the residential and commercial development of nearby North Hollywood, Studio City and Toluca Lake that took off in the 1920s.




(1964)****# – Postcard view showing the Universal Studios Tour Tram as it appeared in its first year of operations.  


Historical Notes

In 1961, Universal decided to once again open up the studio gates, but this time guests toured the lots by bus. The cumbersome and noisy busses, ill-suited for discreet travel through the busy lots, were swapped out for trams in 1964. This was the year the tour officially became known as the Universal Studio Tour. For only $6.50, two adults and a child could peek into the behind-the-scenes world of one of Hollywood’s most famous studios; and if they were lucky, catch sight of star.****#

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Universal Studios.




(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)^ - Postcard view looking south on Maclay Avenue 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".




(1912)#^ - View of the Porter Hotel decorated with patriotic bunting for the grand opening, San Fernando, 1912. The hotel was located on the west side of San Fernando Road north of Brand Boulevard and occupied the second floor of the building.  


Historical Notes

From the brochure highlighting the delights of the new Porter Hotel in San Fernando:

San Fernando with its altitude of 1100 feet and its pure air and health giving climate is only 20 miles from both Los Angeles and Pasadena over the finest boulevards in California.  Good Roads and boulevards lead to the San Fernando Mission (1797) and to the mountains with their beautiful and easly accessible wooded canyons.  More than a million dollars has been spent in the San Fernando Valley for ideal roads, well-lighted boulevards unsurpassed in the world.  Few places in California are so inviting to the tourist and the city man.  A quiet place near the mountain foothills surrounded by orange, lemon and olive groves, within walking distance of the famous aquedct, reservoir dam and other places of interest.

The Southern Pacific and the Pacific Electric from Hill Street Station furnish transportation from Los Angeles. #^




(1912)#^# – Postcard view of the Porter Hotel in the City of San Fernando.  


Historical Notes

An advertisement describes the new 1912 Porter Hotel as follows:

The Porter Hotel is a new house, equipped with all modern conveniences, electric lights, steam heat and private baths and is under the personal management of John G. Holborrow.  Auto parties and other guests making their first visit to the Porter Hotel never fail to express their pleasure with the entertainment furnished.  You wil like it.

Rates are extremely moderate, considering appointments and cuisine, $2 per day and up.  Reservations may be made by either phone, calling San Fernando 642 at our expense. #^




(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.  


Historical Notes

The city's founding in 1874 was spurred by a land boom in Southern California and the Southern Pacific Railroad's building of a rail line between Bakersfield and Los Angeles through Fremont Pass. Soon populated with an influx of settlers, San Fernando became known as the railroad's "gateway to the north," and with its Mediterranean climate and deep wells that provided water for irrigation, the community cultivated an abundance of vegetables and fruits, especially citrus and olives. That independent water supply allowed San Fernando to remain autonomous and incorporate in 1911, while most of the valley's other communities felt compelled to annex to Los Angeles in 1915 to avail themselves of the waters of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which started flowing in 1913.*#^*



(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.  




(Early 1900s)^ - Exterior view of men standing in front of the Bargain Store in San Fernando. The store was owned by Joe Iverson (second from left). Donor: Bob Sherman (nephew of Joe Iverson).  




(Early 1900s)#^ - View of the first billiards and pool hall in San Fernando. Bruno Praster, the owner, is the second person from the right. To the right of him is Roy York.  





(ca. 1922)^ – Postcard view of the Bank of San Fernando. Four cars are parked diagonally against the curb as an early model car passes through the intersection.  





(ca. 1925)^ - View of Brand Boulevard at San Fernando Road, San Fernando. A street car from the Van Nuys line of the Pacific Electric Railway is prominent at center.  




(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.








(1940)*^*^ – Aerial view of Canoga Park High School and surrounding area.  The photo has been annotated to show street names, building names and date of construction.  




(ca. 1948)#^*^ – View looking south on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in front of Canoga Park High School.  The trees to the right is where Topanga Car Wash and In-N-Out Burger exist today.  





(ca. 1924)* - Detailed map of the San Fernando Valley as it appeared in the mid-1920s. Note that Mulholland Skyline Drive (later Mulholland Highway) is under construction. Also four community names are shown that do not appear on today’s maps (l to r): Girard, Owensmouth, Zelzah, and Lankershim.  


Historical Notes

Skyline Drive was renamed Mulholland Highway in December, 1924.

The town Girard was founded in 1923 and named after its developer, Victor Girard Kleinberger.  By 1941, the community was renamed Woodland Hills.

Owensmouth was named for the new Owens River aqueduct's terminus/mouth in the northern valley, that opened in 1913. It was renamed Canoga Park in 1931.

Zelzah Avenue was part of the 19th-century wagon route from San Fernando to the Hawk Ranch, which became the town of Zelzah (a Biblical name for "oasis," or "watering place in the desert").  In 1929 the name was changed to North Los Angeles.  In 1938, the name changed again to Northridge Village and promptly shortened to Northridge.

The town of Lankershim was named after its founding family. It was first named Toluca before being renamed Lankershim in 1896 and finally North Hollywood in 1927.*^



(1924)#^*^ – Aerial view looking toward the northwest San Fernando Valley. The intersection of Sherman Way and Winnetka is at lower center-left.  Sherman Way has the palm trees. Today, Sutter Middle School (built in 1949) is located at the northeast corner, right where the crop field is shown.  




(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.  



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 10940 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.).




(ca. 1913)*#^* - After a day of building roads in Topanga, contracted mule and wagon teams followed the creek bed to the beach.  


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.*^





(Early 1900s)#^*^ – View of Topanga Canyon Road under construction.  Photo credit: Laura B. Gaye, from her book "Land of the West Valley."  


Historical Notes

Topanga 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. 1914)#^ - Travelers on Topanga Canyon Road near Garrapattas Canyon.  





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





(ca. 1920s)*^*# – View showng an early model car making its way up an unpaved Topanga Canyon Road.  





(1920s)^*^*^ – View showing a full parking lot at the Topanga Canyon Summit.  To the left is a two-level structure with a viewing platform on top. At right is a large billboard perched on the hillside reading: “Arrowhead Ginger Ale”.  At center stand several buildings, possibly including a food stand.  





(ca. 1920)#^ -  View of a food stand in Topanga Canyon with large sign on the roof reading: “Refreshments”. The sign above the front counter reads “Glen Spring”  and the type of ice cream they're selling is called “Crescent Ice Cream”.  





(ca. 1920)#^ - Postcard view showing two people sitting in a car at the Summit of Topanga Canyon Road looking out towards the San Fernando Valley.  





(ca. 1914)^^ – Birdseye view of 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.  





(ca. 1921)^ - Panoramic view showing the San Fernando Valley from the Topanga Summit.  





(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)#^# – Postcard view of Girard and the San Fernando Valley from Topanga Canyon Drive. Note the hundreds of new trees at upper center-right that Victor Girard planted for his new development.  





(ca. 1922)*#^* - View of the San Fernando Valley from Topanga Road. Photo taken in the early stages of Girard's development. Note the absence of trees at center-left (compare to previous photo).  





(1924)^ - Aerial view looking north on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Girard (later Woodland Hills). The intersection of Ventura Blvd and Topanga Cyn can be seen at upper-center where the road widens and has a center median. Brant Ranch is at upper-right.  




(ca. 1920s)* - Aerial view, looking northwest, of farms and fields in Owensmouth (now Woodland Hills/Canoga Park), located just north of Girard 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.*^





(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.


Historical Notes

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.*^




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


Historical Notes

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.*^




(1924)^ - Sherman Way in Canoga Park looking west with a crowd of people, rows of cars, telephone poles and streetcar tracks visible.  





(1920s)##^* - Panoramic view of Sherman Way showing two sets of rails and a power pole line running down the center of the street.  Note the ornate streetlights located on the intersection corners in the foreground..  Click HERE to see more in Early LA Streetlights.  


Historical Notes

The lack of an independent water supply made annexation to the City of Los Angeles inevitable, and on February 26, 1917 Owensmouth 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)*^




(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.*^




(ca. 1920)^ - View of orchards in the San Fernando Valley.  





(1925)#^ - Tilling the soil on the Halverson farm. The Halverson farm was located in Zelzah (now Northridge) and was part of the land of the future campus of the California State University, Northridge (CSUN).  




(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 HIghway.  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.^*



(ca. 1924)^ - Construction of Mulholland Highway at the corner of Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Girard (now called Woodland Hills), looking southeast.  


Historical Notes

Mulholland Drive has its origins in 1921 as a scenic drive, with the “working name” of Skyline Drive, engineered by DeWitt Reaburn.  The scenic drive was engineered in small sections, with work actually beginning at several points along the route simultaneously.  The road was originally planned to encompass a right of way of 200 feet and intended to be 20 miles long, taking a mere two years to complete. 

For reasons, some to honor Mulholland, but mostly to use his stature and accomplishments to silence opposition, the most traveled scenic highway conceived as Skyline Drive became Mulholland Highway. #^#*




(1924)^^ - View of over a dozen early model cars clustered at the opening of the Mulholland Highway. 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 is hung between two trees.  





(1924)^*^*^ – Closer view showing dignitaries assembling near a banner which reads:  Welcome Mulholland Highway - December 27, 1924 – 55 Miles of Scenic Splendor – The Gift of Los Angeles to her 1,250,000 Inhabitants  





(ca. 1924)##*^ – Postcard view showing two early model cars near the intersection of Mulholland Highway (later Drive) and Franklin Canyon.  


Historical Notes

Curving ingeniously through the eastern Santa Monicas, the Mulholland Drive motorway once brought a heavy slew of Angelenos into the Valley. In the early 1970s, however, 5,000 local activists successfully prevented the cement paving of most of that stretch. To this day, that section is known as 'Dirt Mulholland', and is only open to cyclists and pedestrians. From the famous Mulholland Bridge east, Mulholland Drive completes its creator's vision, and winds through the affluent Hollywood Hills to Mulholland Drive's easternmost terminus at Cahuenga Boulevard, near Universal Studios, until again becoming an unpaved footpath to Griffith Park.

The paved road begins again east of Topanga Canyon Boulevard at Santa Maria Road. Shortly thereafter, the thoroughfare splits into Mulholland Drive and Mulholland Highway. Mulholland Drive terminates at U.S. Highway 101 (the Ventura Freeway), where it becomes Valley Circle Boulevard. Mulholland Highway continues to the southwest until it terminates at State Route 1 (PCH) in Leo Carrillo State Park at the Pacific Ocean coast and the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.*^



Click HERE to see more in Mulholland Monuments





(ca. 1920s)**^*- Aerial view of the Hollywoodland Sign showing the newly developed land in the foreground. Beyond the Hollywood Hills can be seen the vast amount of open space and farmland of the San Fernando Valley. The HOLLYWOODLAND sign sits below Mt. Lee. Another sign ( just the letter 'H') is seen to the left on top of Mt. Cahuenga.  




(ca. 1924)*^ - Aerial view overlooking the Hollywood Hills and HOLLYWOODLAND sign into Burbank in the east San Fernando Valley. Farmland and open fields can be seen throughout.  


Historical Notes

Real estate developers Woodruff and Shoults called their development "Hollywoodland" and advertised it as a "superb environment without excessive cost on the Hollywood side of the hills". They contracted the Crescent Sign Company to erect thirteen letters on the hillside, each facing south. Each letter of the sign was 30 feet wide and 50 feet high, and the whole sign was studded with some 4,000 light bulbs. The sign would flash in segments; "HOLLY," "WOOD," and "LAND" would light up individually, before lighting up entirely. Below the Hollywoodland sign was a searchlight to attract more attention.

The sign was officially dedicated on July 13, 1923.*^





(ca. 1924)*#^# - Same view as previous photo but blown up to show details with street names annotated. Note the vast amount of famland and open fields.  




Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood





(1914)#^ - Panoramic view showing the area called Los Terrenitos - Vale of Monte Vista, currently Tujunga.  


Historical Notes

In the early 1900s, the area now known as Tujunga was undeveloped land, the former Rancho Tujunga. In 1913, William Ellsworth Smythe, working alongside M.V. Hartranft (they had purchased the land together), formed a Utopian community called Los Terrenitos— Spanish for The Little Landers. Smythe was the leader of the Utopian Little Landers movement and had already established colonies in Idaho and San Ysidro, California. He advocated the principle that families settling on an acre or two of land could support themselves and create a flourishing community.*^




(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).  




(1925)^ – View of the business district, looking south on Commerce Avenue towards the Verdugo mountains. The cross street is Valmont. At this time only the business district streets were paved. Originally Commerce Avenue was called Sunset and Valmont was originally called El Centro. On the right is the Breidt Building and next to it is a real estate office.  




(ca. 1928)#** - View of the residential area of Tujunga, looking north. 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.^#*#

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



(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 Early Views of the Chatsworth Reservoir.



(1924)* - Aerial view of Owensmouth just north of Girard (now Woodland Hills/Warner Center) looking northwest.  Brant Ranch is seen at center of photo.  Oxnard Street runs diagonally from lower-right to upper-left.  Tree-lined Canoga Avenue runs from left to right in the foreground.  




(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)^ – View showing Joe Daic in front of the water pump and silos on the Brant Ranch, Woodland Hills/Girard.  




(1913)#^ - The cook's wagon on Brant Ranch, Woodland Hills/Girard, with the harvester crew. Joe Daic is visible sitting on steps. The man at the right is holding a bottle of wine or whiskey (?).  




(1924)* - Aerial view of of Girard (now Woodland Hills/Warner Center) looking southwest. Brant Ranch sits at the center of the photo. The intersection of Canoga Avneue and Oxnard Street is at lower center-left, with Oxnard running diagonally from lower-left to upper-right. Ventura Boulevard runs from left-center to top-center (Calabasas)  


Historical Notes

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).***




(1924)^^ – View of Victor Girard, left, surveying the hillside and making plans for his new West San Fernando Valley development.  


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.*##




(1924)^ - Aerial view looking north on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Girard (later Woodland Hills). The intersection of Ventura Blvd and Topanga Cyn can be seen at upper-center where the road widens and there is a center median. Brant Ranch is at upper-right.  


Historical Notes

Girard (later to become Woodland Hills) is seen in the later stages of subdividing, paving and installation of utilities. Topanga Canyon Boulevard runs away from the camera from lower right to the middle distance with the residential streets radiating left and right. First street at the bottom is Dumetz Road and then, in order, Providencia, San Miguel, De La Osa, Velicata, Lopez, Celes, Martinez, Galvez, De La Guerra, Crespi, Avenue San Luis, Del Valle, Costanso and finally Ventura Boulevard with the Girard real estate buildings built east and west along the boulevard. Road that skirts the base of the hill on the right is Don Pio Drive and on the left is San Feliciano Drive.##^




(ca. 1924)* - View looking east on Ventura Boulevard. This is the intersection of today's Ventura Boulevard and Topanga Canyon Boulevard (center-left), in the real estate development of Girard.  


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






(ca. 1924)#* – 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.*^^^




(ca. 1924)*#^# - Map showing route of the promotional 80 Mile Tour offered by Victor Girard.  


Historical Notes

Girard offered a free lunch and organized bus shuttles on a sightseeing tour that included, among other things, a stop at his new town. #*#*



(ca. 1924)^^ - A Ticket for one of Girard's bus tours to his new town of “Girard”.  





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








Historical Notes

The town of Girard officially opened in 1923 with an advertising blitz. Newspaper ads and pamphlets distributed in train depots and hotels across the region promoted the new town's location and the soon-to-be developed amenities. #*#*



(1930s)* - 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.*^



(1930s)* - 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

Girard is credited for planting more than 120,000 sycamores, eucalyptus, fir pine, and pepper trees across the townsite for which Woodland Hills would later be named for. #*#*



(1920s)^^ - View of one of Girard's Moorish-style houses. The houses were scaled on the small side.  


Historical Notes

Would-be buyers could purchase an undeveloped parcel for as little as $500, or choose from a small selection of houses that would be constructed on the lot of their choice. With an advertised "marvelous view," $1,625 bought a four-room house that could be designed in the Moorish style Girard loved so much. However, the most common pick was a small cabin that sold for $985. Sometimes placed on lots as small as 50 by 125 feet, the cabins were in line with Girard's standards and thus constructed with cheap materials and wooden foundations that sat directly on the ground. #*#*



(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.  


Historical Notes

Unbeknownst to many of the buyers, Girard and his Boulevard Land Company added a lien on every lot in his town to help pay for all the improvements, forcing the residents to repay the funds at a later date.  After the 1929 Stock Market Crash many of the residents were confronted with the debt that Girard incurred on their behalf. Many simply left—by 1932 there were only 75 families remaining. Girard and the Boulevard Land Company faced a slew of lawsuits, most of which accurately contended the company had misrepresented the land it was selling. Unable to sell the heavily taxed 1,350 acres it still possessed, the Boulevard Land Company eventually folded.#*#*

By 1941, the community was renamed Woodland Hills. Also, 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.*^



(1930s)^ – View showing the town of Girard in an area that would become Warner Ranch and later Warner Center, Woodland Hills.  


Historical Notes

During the 1940s, Harry Warner of Warner Bros. acquired over 1,000 acres of land in what was then Girard. Called the Warner Ranch, he built his home there and raised thoroughbred horses on the surrounding property. A portion of this land is now the Warner Center in Woodland Hills.^



(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.




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


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.^^^



(1948)*  - View showing four 60-foot, concrete silos on the Adohr Milk Farms located at 18000 Ventura Boulevard.  Photo date:  October 14, 1948.  


Historical Notes

In 1948, the land was sold by Merrit H. Adamson, head of the Adohr Milk Farms, to builders who planned to demolish the 31-year-old landmarks and divide the land into parcels for construction of low-cost housing for veterans.*


(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?)  







(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.^




(1920s)^# - View showing three boats filled with people in upper Twin Lakes.  The Mayan Observation Building is at upper right and the dam with guardrail is at left.  


Historical Notes

Promoted as a retreat for the weekend, season, or holiday, 750 lots were subdivided from the George W. Haight ranch, and over the next few years 400 to 500 parcels were sold.

The upper lake dammed up Devil Canyon creek, and was named Raymond Lake in the sales brochure. George W. Haight’s son was named Raymond.^#



(1930s)#^*^ - View showing three women in two row boats enjoying the day on one of the Twin Lakes located in Chatsworth. A dam is seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

The upper lake dammed up Devil Canyon creek, and was named Raymond Lake in the sales brochure. George W. Haight’s son was named Raymond.^#



(1933)^# - View of Stoney Point looking south. Twin Lakes Park Entrance Archway on Mayan Road is identified with an arrow at center-right.  




(ca. 1937)^ - Back view of the Twin Lakes Park Entrance Archway over Mayan Road, looking toward Santa Susana Pass Road.  


Historical Notes

Mayan Road was accessible from Santa Susana Pass Road before the continuation of Topanga to the 118 freeway in the 1970’s.^#



(1937)^# - Front view of the Twin Lakes Park Entrance Archway, located 80 feet north of Santa Susana Pass Road.  


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.^



(1927)^^ - View of Van Nuys Boulevard looking north from Delano Street. Utility poles stand at the center of the frame, with lanes of automobile traffic to either side of them, as well as streetcar rails embedded in the boulevard. Small commercial buildings line the street to either side, cars parked diagonally along the sidewalks. Legible signs include: "Studebaker Allington-French Co. Studebaker", "Buick", "Farms", "Soda Pool Cigars", "Nash Motor Cars", "Ford Fords [...] Sales Service", "Real Estate / Mark Grimes & Co.", and "Hotel".  





(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.  




(ca. 1926)** - View showing the northeast corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Oxnard St.  The buildings on the corner are part of the Van Nuys Distribution Headquarters of the Bureau of Power and Light, later DWP.  


Historical Notes

The LA Department of Water and Power (DWP) has seen six different name changes since it was first created in 1902.  Click HERE to see DWP Name Change Chronology.





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


Historical Notes

The Robert Mortan Organ Company was a producer of theater pipe organs and church organs, located in Van Nuys. Robert Mortan was the number two volume producer of theatre organs, building approximately half as many organs as the industry leader Wurlitzer. The name Robert Mortan was derived not from any person in the company, but rather from the name of company president Harold J. Werner's son, Robert Mortan 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 Mortan 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 Lankershim 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)*- Aerial view looking northwest showing Lankershim High School (later North Hollywood High School) on the northwest corner of 4th Street (later Magnolia) and Colfax Ave. Colfax runs diagonally from lower-left to middle-right.  4th Street runs from lower-bottom to middle-left.  


Historical Notes

Built in 1927, Lankershim High School 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.^*

Lankershim High School would be renamed North Hollywood High School in 1929. ##*#




(ca. 1927)* – View showing the main building at Lankershim High School, 5231 Colfax Avenue. Note the bicycles lined up against the building.  


Historical Notes

The original building that houses North Hollywood High School was built in 1927 and was then called Lankershim High School. An addition was added three years later to form what is now Kennedy Hall.  In 1937, a mural of a Tataviam village was created by the WPA artist Fletcher Martin. The mural was 20 feet high and was located on a wall in the auditorium.^





(1942)^ - Graduation ceremony at North Hollywood High School, 1942.  


Historical Notes



School Mascot: Huskies

School Colors: Blue, White, Grey


Click HERE to see Notable Alumni


Alma Mater:

Near the valley’s purple mountains
In the golden tinted plain
Near the Padre’s sacred fountains
Reaching to the sounding main
Stands our noble Alma Mater,
Stands the high school that we love:
And our noblest aspirations
Are inspired by Heaven above
We will always love our high school
As her sons and daughters should;
And our fondest, noblest wishes
Are for you, North Hollywood. ##*#




(1943)^ - Front side of a World War II era report card for Robert Holtby, a graduate of North Hollywood High School.  


Historical Notes

Classes included: Business Correspondence, Mechanical Drafting, and Military Math. All future needs for a young man in 1943.^




(1965)* - View of the entrance to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hall (main building) at North Hollywood High School.  


Historical Notes

Known for years simply as the "main building" at North Hollywood High School, it was renamed the John F. Kennedy Hall in 1965 by the Senior class of 1963 who petitioned to Board of Education to name the building in memory of the slain President.*




(1930)^^ -  View showing 4 men standing behind a tire in front of a Union Gasoline service station on the corner of Lankershim and Victory boulevards. Sign reads:  Al Monroe Service – Diamond Tires  




(ca. 1920)* - View of a nearly completed new building at the Lankershim Elementary School, located at 5250 Bakeman Avenue in North Hollywood.  The original school building can be seen in the background on the right.  




(ca. 1920s)* -  Aerial view from the southwest of Lankershim Elementary School, located at 5250 Bakeman Avenue in North Hollywood. The intersection of Lankershim and Weddington is in the upper left.  


Historical Notes

In 1938, Student Norma Jean Baker won awards for track and field, and the high jump. At Lankershim she was known as Norma Jean the jumping bean. She later found fame as an actress. Today we remember her as Marilyn Monroe.^#^^




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




(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 (Frederick T. Woodman was Mayor of LA, 1916-19).

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




(1926)^^ - View of the original building of Van Nuys Elementary School, built in 1911 and located at 6464 Sylmar Avenue.  The street sign on the light post reads Sylmar Avenue and Gilmore Street.  


Historical Notes

The original domed building was three stories high; the tallest building at the time, and a landmark to the center of the Valley that could be seen from all sides around it.




(ca. 1920s)* - View of the front entrance to Van Nuys Grammar School.  


Historical Notes

One of Van Nuys Elementary's early principals was Oletha Stearns. She was principal for 29 years from 1924 through 1953. In 1964, when the school was 54 years old, she wrote a history of the school. It's fascinating! Click HERE to read the school’s history.^#^^




(1928)^^ - View looking southeasterly at the Universal City entrance as seen from the Los Angeles River bridge.  





(1928)^^ - View of Lankershim Boulevard opposite Bluffside Drive looking northwesterly across Los Angeles River bridge as seen from the entrance to Universal City.  





(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.*^



(ca. 1926)^^ – View looking north showing two men standing in the middle of a Van Nuys crop field.  





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


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.**^




(ca. 1928)#^ -  Postcard view looking down Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys.  





(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.  





(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. ##^




(1926)#^*^ – View looking south on Reseda Boulevard toward the intersection with Sherman Way.  The road appears to be in the process of being widened and paved.  The Reseda State Bank building can be seen on the southwest corner of Sherman Way and Reseda.  


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.*^





(1928)* - Reseda State Bank building at the southwest corner of Reseda Ave. and Sherman Way. Note the ornate streetlights on the corners.  


Historical Notes

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.*^




(2014)#*^# - Google street view looking at the southwest corner of Reseda Blvd and Sherman Way.  




Then and Now

(1928)^ - Southwest corner of Sherman Way and Reseda.   (2014)#*^# - Southwest corner of Sherman Way and Reseda.





(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. Henri's Restaurant stands at this corner today and in 1955 it was the Red Apple Restaurant.  


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-built Calabasas School house in the 24400 block of Calabasas Road.  





(ca. 1910)^ - View of children gathered around the 1890 Calabasas School house. 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.  




(1922)^ - Interior view of the counter at El Camino Cafe, Calabasas.  This restaurant was operated by the Costa family.  


Historical Notes

Mariano Costa and his family, moved to the West Valley in 1922, where they had a house on Shoup. While living here, the Costas had another child, John, who was the first child born in Girard (Aug 7, 1923).

Mariano operated a restaurant in Calabasas called the El Camino Cafe, at the corner of what is now El Canon Avenue and Calabasas Road. #^*^



(ca. 1930)^ - M. Costa Texaco gas station at 23513 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills. The Eastside Lunchroom is visible at left in background.  


Historical Notes

In 1925, Mariano Costa built a home at 22513 Ventura, then added a gas station and restaurant, which were the first businesses west of Topanga (seen in the photo).

By 1930, their oldest son, Nick, had developed quite an interest in ranching, ultimately becoming one of the largest sheep raisers in the Valley, and a frequent advisor at Pierce College. By the early 1960’s, grazing land was dwindling, forcing Nick and his herd over the hill into the Conejo Valley.

Date of photo: 1928 or later. Texaco did not operate service stations in California until 1928, when it acquired California Petroleum (Calpet), and converted the Calpet stations to Texaco. #^*^



(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. 1944)* - Aerial view, looking east, of the San Fernando Valley. The Metropolitan Airport is seen at lower right after its expansion.  


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

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.*^#



(1950)#^ - Metropolitan Airport is renamed San Fernando Valley Airport in 1950.  


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. One year later, the airport was renamed San Fernando Valley Airport.*#




(1950s)#^ – Postcard aerial view of the runway at Van Nuys Airport.  


Historical Notes

The above photo is mislabeled. In 1950 the airport was still known as the San Fernando Valley Airport. It would be renamed Van Nuys Airport in 1957.*^#




(1958)#^^* – Aerial view showing the construction of the Van Nuys Airport runway extension and Sherman Way Tunnel.  




(1958)*^*# - View of the Van Nuys Airport runway extension and building of the Sherman Way tunnel with a DC-4 flying overhead.  




(2006)*^ - Aerial view of Van Nuys Airport as it appeared in 2006.  


Historical Notes

Van Nuys Airport is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports.  Through 2005, it was the busiest general aviation airport in the world (the second busiest being Phoenix Deer Valley Airport).  In terms of takeoffs and landings, it was also the 25th busiest airport in the world. With two parallel runways, Van Nuys Airport handled 448,681 aircraft movements in 2005, averaging over 1,200 operations/day; in 2006 it handled 394,915 movements, nearly 1,100 per day. That’s amazing considering no major airlines fly into this airport. Los Angeles International Airport (with 4 runways and many airline flights) has roughly 1,700 operations a day.*^



(2014)#^^* – The Pilot View - Night landing at Van Nuys Airport.  



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.  


Hisorical Notes

J. Edward Hopkins designed Van de Kamp’s headquarters in Glassel Park.  Harold Griffith “Harry” Oliver, a set designer by profession, designed the windmill stores.  Oliver also designed the Spadena Home/“Witch’s House” (1921) in Beverly Hills and the altered Montgomery’s Country Inn/Tam O’Shanter Inn of Los Feliz (1922).  The stores were portables!, designed to be moved from location to location if business just wasn't there.

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

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***).

Orcutt Ranch is located east of March Street and south of 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.^*





(1932)#^*^ – View looking south on Mason Ave from Sherman Way. At the base of the hills is where Pierce College stands today.  


Historical Notes

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




(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.  


Historical Notes

Mack Sennett, a silent film producer and director, came to the San Fernando Valley and opened his new movie studio at this location (at what's now Ventura Boulevard and Radford Avenue) in May 1928. He previously operated a smaller studio on Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park (then called Edendale) where he produced films featuring the Keystone Kops, Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, and Fatty Arbuckle.*^




(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 didn't fare well and in 1933 Mack Sennett and his enterprise became bankrupt. Herbert J. Yates took over the site and in 1935 formed a production company entitled Republic Pictures Corporation. The studios became known as Republic Studios.*

Republic Pictures’ studio facilities is best known for specializing in westerns, movie serials, and B films emphasizing mystery and action. It financed and distributed one Shakespeare film, Orson Welles' Macbeth (1948), and several of the films of John Ford during the 1940s and early 1950s. It is also notable for developing the careers of John Wayne, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers.*^



(ca. 1939)* - View showing Republic Studios and its sound stages. A billboard for Schlitz is visible, as cars zoom up and down the boulevard. The words "Republic" and "Studios" are written separately on two sound stages. Another smaller building at left also has the film studio's name printed on the wall.  


Historical Notes

Republic Pictures ceased production in 1958 and began leasing its lot to CBS studios. CBS began to place their network-produced filmed shows there, including Gunsmoke, Rawhide, My Three Sons, and Gilligan's Island. (The Wild Wild West followed in 1965).

While under lease, the facility was renamed the CBS Studio Center. The network purchased the 70-acre lot outright from Republic in February 1967, for $9.5 million. CBS built new sound stages, office buildings, and technical facilities. To make up for these investments, CBS began to rent out its studio lot for independent producers, and the newly created MTM Enterprises (headed by actress Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband, Grant Tinker) became the Studio Center's primary tenant, beginning in 1970.

Since 2007, the Studio Center serves as the home to CBS's Los Angeles flagship TV station, KCBS-TV, along with sister station KCAL-TV, as they vacated Columbia Square to move into a newly built, digitally-enhanced office and studio facility located where the house for the hit CBS reality series, Big Brother, once stood.

The CBS Studio City Broadcast Center also houses the Los Angeles bureau of CBS News, which is shared with the KCBS/KCAL local newsroom.*^



(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 toward Stoney Point in Chatsworth. It is also known as the Stoney Point Outcroppings or Chatsworth Formation.  


Historical Notes

Stoney Point is the site of a Tongva Indian rancheria until the 1790s, with Spanish invasion. It is believed that the Village of Momonga was located at Stoney Point. It is culturally significant because Momonga was multilingual and multiracial, allowing intermarriage of Chumash, Fernandeno and Gabrieleno peoples.

A sulphur spring, believed to possess spiritual properties runs adjacent to Stoney Point Park on the Eastern side. It is said that shamans would visit Stoney Point in preparation for the Winter Solstice celebration that drew native people from as far away as Temecula.

It was used as a marker by the Southern Pacific Railroad during construction of the railroad through the Santa Susana Mountains.*^

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)^ - Close-up view of Stoney Point showing vineyards running all the way up to the outcropping.  


Historical Notes

The Chatsworth formation is part of the Pacific Plate, which grinds against the North American Plate, and therefore is continuously pushed northwest at a rate of 2.5 inches per year. The Chatsworth Formation was pushed out of the ocean, and, as part of Simi Hills, created part of the Transverse Ranges. Because any fossils left in the ocean were ground up on the journey up, there are very few fossils to be found in the area.*^




(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.*^

The demise of the Iverson Movie Ranch was largely caused by the decline of cowboy movies and that new invention called TV. Also, the construction of the 118 Freeway doomed the Ranch as it split the lands and added a layer of unacceptable noise.



(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)^# – Aerial view of Stoney Point looking south, before Topanga went through to the 118 Freeway. The old Santa Susana Pass Road begins its ascent up the hills at this point.  





(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).




(ca. 1937)+^* - View showing a Southern Pacific 'Daylight' train as it passes the Garden of Gods area in Chatsworth.  


Historical Notes

Southern Pacific trains known as 'Daylights' ran during the daytime between San Francisco and Los Angeles beginning in 1937. The first 'Daylight' train left at 8:15 a.m. In January 1940 the 'Noon Daylight' train was added to accommodate additional passengers; it departed daily at noon.+^*



(ca. 1930s)^^ - View showing a railroad handcar passing by one of the many rock formations near the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth.  


Historical Notes

Because of its unique rock formations and also its remoteness, Iverson Ranch was used to film over 3,500 movies and televison episodes..........more than any other movie ranch. The long-running TV western The Virginian filmed on location at Iverson in the ranch's later period, as did Bonanza and Gunsmoke.

In the mid-1960s the state of California began construction on the Simi Valley Freeway, which ran east and west, roughly following the dividing line between the Upper Iverson and Lower Iverson, cutting the movie ranch in half. The waning popularity of the Western genre and the decline of the B-movie as an important business model for the studios coincided with the arrival of the freeway, which opened in 1967, and greater development pressure, signaling the end for Iverson as a working movie ranch.*^



(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.*^





(1936)* - Illustrated map of a tour to the San Fernando Valley. Note how Topanga Canyon Boulevard stopped at Devonshire. Beyond Devonshire it would turn into Santa Susana Ave.   


Historical Notes

Tour Description: Starting at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, the tour goes west on Sunset through Hollywood, north over Cahuenga Pass to North Hollywood and Universal City, on to Van Nuys via Lankershim and Victory Blvd. and continues via Van Nuys Blvd. to the city of San Fernando which is bordered by Verdugo Hills and the San Gabriel and Santa Susana Mountains. The route turns west, passes the San Fernando Mission and continues on Devonshire St. to Chatsworth. From there it goes south to Canoga Park on Topango [sic.] Canyon Blvd., then east on Ventura Blvd., passing the Chalk Hills, the cities of Tarzana, Encino and Sherman Oaks and the Hollywood Country Club and turns south at the Cahuenga Pass and back to City Hall.*




(ca. 1939)#^*^ - Panoramic view looking south on then, 'Santa Susana Ave' (Now - Topanga Canyon Blvd) at Devonshire Street. Sign reading ‘118’, with arrow pointing east on Devonshire, is seen in the lower right (northwest corner).  Also on the northwest corner (out of view) is the Chatsworth Elementary School.  


Historical Notes

The first school to be built on the N/W corner of Topanga (then Santa Susana Ave) and Devonshire was the Santa Susana School, established in 1890. In 1916, Chatsworth Park Elementary School was dedicated with a new building on the existing site. In 1933, the Long Beach earthquake caused severe damage and in 1935 the new Chatsworth Park Elementary School building was dedicated, with an Auditorium to follow in 1937.^#

Before the Simi Valley Freeway was built, route (SR 118) 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.

Construction began on the 118 Freeway in 1968 and the last section opened in 1979. 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.*^



(n.d.)#^*^ – Two men are seen crossing Topanga Canyon Boulevard heading toward Chatsworth Pharmacy located on the southeast corner of Topanga and Devonshire.  


Historical Notes

The building on the southeast corner of Devonshire St. and Topanga Cyn. Boulevard was the "Chrisler Building". It was built in 1928 and razed in the mid-1960’s. A Shell Gas Station was on the corner for many years and today a Chevron Service Station sits on the site.#^*^




(ca. 1936)#^*^ – View looking at the northwest corner of Saticoy Street and Canoga Avenue showing "Freddie & Mac Filling Station".  





Before and After

(ca. 1936)#^*^ - Northwest corner of Saticoy St. and Canoga Ave.   (2014)#*^# - Northwest corner of Saticoy St. and Canoga Ave.






(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. 1940)##*^ - View of the Summit at the top of Topanga Canyon, elevation 1560 ft.  





(ca. 1937)^ - Postcard view showing the San Fernando Valley as seen from the Summit, Topanga Canyon.  





(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.



(1937)^^ - View looking south on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood.  The El Portal Theatre, located at 5269 Lankershim Boulevard, appears at center-right.  





(ca. 1935)#^*^ – Panoramic view looking southeast from Wilbur Wash across Devonshire Street. This is the future location of the Marwyck Ranch.  





(1939)^**# - Aerial view showing the Porter Ranch/North Valley section of the San Fernando Valley.  The intersection of Devonshire and Reseda is seen lower right-center with the Marwyck Ranch and track at center-bottom. The Wilbur Wash can also be seen as it crosses Devonshire and heads south towards the west end of the track.  




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



(ca. 1937)^**# – Aerial view looking north, with a closer look at the horse track on the Marwyck Ranch.  The Marxs and Stanwyck Estates can be seen at top-center just south of the tree-lined street (Devonshire). Lassen Street runs along the southern edge of the track.  


Historical Notes

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.*^



(ca. 1937)^**# – View looking north showing the estates of Zeppo Marks (right) and Barbara Stanwyck (left).  


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.^**#



(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 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.*^




(ca. 1930s)* - Aerial view of Sherman Oaks looking southeast from Sepulveda Blvd (bottom left to right) and Magnolia Blvd (left bottom to top). Ventura Blvd is on the right and Cahuenga Peak is center-top. The LA River is seen at center.  




(ca. 1930s)#^*^ – Aerial view of Sherman Oaks looking southeast.  Same as previous photo but annotated with street names.  Annotation by Rich Krugel at West San Fernando Valley – Then & Now.  




(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.^



(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.*^^^



(1930s)#** – View of the Art-Deco style Sherman Oaks Service Station located at 15362 Ventura Blvd, southeast corner of Ventura Blvd. and Sherman Oaks Ave.  




(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.  


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..*^

There are no traditional windmill Van de Kamp's buildings left standing in the San Fernando Valley. One early Van de Kamp windmill survives, altered, sans blades, at 4157 South Figueroa St, Vermont Square.  A newer, hexadecagon (16-sided) with a folding plate roofline  (Harold Bissner & Harold Zook, 1967) survives under Denny's livery, 7 East Huntington Drive, Arcadia.



(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.*^



(1930s)*#^# -  Postcard view showing the Troquet Motel located at 11440 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City.  




(2014)#*^# - Google street view showing the Ridgemoor Square, located at 11440 Ventura Blvd (S/W corner of Ventura and Ridgemoor Dr), Sutdio City.  





Before and After

(1930s)*#^# -  Troquet Motor Motel, S/W corner of Ventura and Ridgemoor Dr.   (2014)#*^# - Ridgemoor Square, S/W corner of Ventura and Ridgemoor Dr.






(1930s)^^^* – Postcard view showing the Cypress Moter Motel located at 10740 Ventura Boulevard (S/E corner of Ventura and Fruitland Drive).  





(2014)#*^# – Google street view showing the Universal Inn located on the southeast corner of Ventura Blvd and Fruitland Dr.  





Before and After

(1930s)^^^* – Cypress Moter Motel, S/E corner of Ventura and Fruitland Dr.   (2014)#*^# – Universal Inn, S/E corner of Ventura and Fruitland Dr.






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


Historical Notes

The Cahuenga Pass has long been a convenient shortcut between the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Basin. The first Southern Californians likely blazed a foot-trail millennia ago, and by the late 18th century the villagers of Cabueg-na or Kaweenga (the origin of the name "Cahuenga") near Universal Studios regularly trekked through the pass. In 1852, a steep wagon road replaced the old trail, and in 1911 the Pacific Electric stretched its interurban railway tracks through the pass. Any remnants of the pass' rustic character vanished in 1940, when the Cahuenga Pass Freeway -- one of L.A.'s first – opened.**^^



Click HERE to see more Early Views of Cahuenga Pass





(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)^^ – View looking east over Universal City Studios toward Burbank and the Verdugo Mountains.  




(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.  




(1938)^^^* – Aerial view looking north on Tyrone Avenue.  Van Nuys City Hall on Sylvan Street stands out at center-left of photo.  




(1933)^^ - Front view of Van Nuys City Hall, also known as the Valley Municipal Building, as seen from across Sylvan Street.  


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.*#*



(1933)^^ - View looking up toward the top of the Van Nuys City Hall.  Note the bas relief details of the panel above the front entryway that appears to be supported by two Greek-style columns.  




(1939)* - Van Nuys City Hall (aka Valley Municipal Building), located at 14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys.  


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.*#*




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





(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.  





(1940s)^^^* – View of the intersection of Whitsett Avenue and Victory Boulevard. Whitsett runs from lower-left diagonally to middle-right.  


Historical Notes

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





(2014)#*^# - Google street view looking toward the northwest corner of Whitsett and Victory.  





Before and After







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





(1940s)^^*** – Photo of a mural currently at the North Hollywood-Universal City Chamber of Commerce, 6369 Bellingham Ave. Photo by Shel Weisbach  






(1946)#^*^ - Aerial view, looking north, of the central part of the San Fernando Valley, including Reseda and Van Nuys.  The photo has been annotated to show the major streets. Sherman Way runs horizontally across the centrer of the photo.  





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




(1946)* - Aerial view of the San Fernando Valley, north of Northridge.  Photo by Spence Air Photos.  


Historical Notes

Spence Air Photos was a one-man company ~ photographer, "Robert Earl Spence". He began shooting aerials in 1918. In the 1920s he had numerous clients hiring him to shoot homes and businesses. Spence would shoot images at an angle, not straight down, showing many additional building details. Spence was not a pilot, he hired an airplane pilot to fly him overhead while he leaned out from the cockpit with a bulky camera to get angled shots of the landscape. His method captured the details of the homes and their surroundings all the way to the horizon. He continued to photograph homes for 50 years.

In 1971, Spence retired and donated his collection of 110,000 negatives to the University of California Geography Department. He passed away in 1974.****^

At UCLA, the Spence Collection is part of The Benjamin and Gladys Thomas Air Photo Archives.



(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 showing 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.*^



(1951)^^ – Trotting Races at the Valley Fairgrounds, on August 30, 1951.  


Historical Notes

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, including rodeos.*^




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


Historical Notes

The Downs hosted annual fireworks shows and the Scoutcraft Fair, but entertained its largest crowd the weekend of June 20-22, 1969. Newport '69, which drew at least 200,000 people, was the nation's biggest outdoor rock festival until Woodstock, headlined by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon, Marvin Gaye and others. In 1959 the expanding San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN) claimed the land for expansion, but in 2001 virtually the entire site was razed for a private industrial park under lease to the school. #^*^




(1950s)^**# – View looking west down Devonshire Boulevard from above Balboa Boulevard.  The racetrack is Devonshire Downs.  


Historical Notes

Chatsworth is a more developed street than Devonshire at this time because it was the main street of Granada Hills. Lassen is the street on the extreme left. It was a dirt road between Zelzah and Lindley. Lindley didn't go through to Devonshire until the the Police station was built in 70s or 80s. The historic cedar trees on White Oak between San Jose and Chatsworth are visible .#^*^




(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. 1945)#^*^ – View showing an early model car parked in front of the Pump Room Restaurant, located at 14445 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. A man is seen exitng the restaurant.  


Historical Notes

In early 1945, Roy Harlow opened a restaurant at 14445 Ventura Blvd, near Van Nuys Blvd, which he named the Pump Room, inspired by the Pump Room in Bath, England. In 1948, Harlow moved the restaurant to 13003 Ventura Blvd, just west of Coldwater Cyn Blvd. For many years, the Pump Room was a popular Valley restaurant, patronized by local residents for parties and meetings. Celebrities and sports stars were often seen here. In a quote from a 1953 news article, “hardly a day goes by without seeing a flock of Rams football players, Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Angels baseball players in the café."

In 1954, Harlow sold the business, leased the premises to the purchaser for ten years, and granted to the purchaser the right to use the name "Pump Room" during the term of the lease. In 1956, this purchaser sold the business and another party operated the business until either late 1956 or early 1957 when the premises were abandoned and closed for a short period of time. Harlow, as landlord, repossessed the premises early in 1957. About this time Harlow found some partners named Bob Waterfield, Bob Kelley, and Don Paul (all sports stars) and re-opened the restaurant in April of 1957.

The Pump Room appears to have closed around 1978.  In June of 1979, Ali Rabbani opened the Marrakesh at this location. #^*^




(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.^**^



(ca. 1947)* - Interior view of a San Fernando Valley home, showing a television set in the living room corner. Better Homes, Vogue, and Sunset magazines, along with two newspapers, are neatly stacked on the coffee table next to a box of Whitman’s Chocolates.  A phonograph player is seen at left sitting on the shelf of a bookcase.  


Historical Notes

Television usage in the United States skyrocketed after World War II with the lifting of the manufacturing freeze, war-related technological advances, the gradual expansion of the television networks westward, the drop in television prices caused by mass production, increased leisure time, and additional disposable income. While only 0.5% of U.S. households had a television in 1946, 55.7% had one in 1954, and 90% by 1962.

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, color television had come into wide use.*^



(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.^**^



(1947)* - Seen here is the main office for the Valley Times, which was located at 11109 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Photograph caption reads, "Representing advancement in speeding up distribution of the Valley Times to the doorsteps of Valley readers, here is one of a new fleet of four 1948 Chevrolet pickup trucks to be used in faster delivery of America's fastest growing daily to all points in the Valley."  


Historical Notes

Even before large daily newspapers were widely circulated in the San Fernando Valley, residents had many places to turn for news. In the 1880s, it was The San Fernando Comet and the Burbank News. In the 20th Century, they could catch up on local happenings with such community newspapers as San Fernando Valley Press, San Fernando Valley Reporter, San Fernando Valley Journal, Sylmar Breeze, Sherman Oaks Sun, Studio City Graphic, Encinian and Woodland Hills Reporter.^^^

While the newspaper building seen above was later demolished and replaced with a large apartment complex, many of the commercial buildings seen across Magnolia Blvd. (left of center) remain standing.*



(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. Note the vast open space surrounding the assembly plant.  


Historical Notes

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.^



(1953)+^^ - Aerial view of the GM Plant and surrounding area showing the explosion of growth in only 5 years (see previous photo).  


Historical Notes

The importance of industry to the Valley’s development is vividly illustrated in the last two views of the GM Assembly Division plant at Van Nuys. The top picture was taken in early 1948, less than a year after the plant began operations. Five years later, about the same time of year in 1953, as shown in the lower photo, thousands of homes had been built on acreage that was undeveloped real estate when the plant was built.+^^



(1948)* - View looking north on Van Nuys Boulevard near Arminta Street showing traffic at a standstill during an open house for the newly constructed GM/Chevrolet assembly plant.  


Historical Notes

"The Plant" officially 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.*^



(1960)* - Aerial view looking southeast showing the new Panorama City shopping district located near the intersection of Van Nuys and Roscoe Boulevards (center of photo).  Broadway department store, framework on new Robinson's and site of new Montgomery Ward store and additional parking are indicated. The large plant in the background is the General Motors plant.  





(1960s)+## - Postcard view looking north showing the new Panorama City Shopping Mall. The intersection of Roscoe and Van Nuys bouelvards is at center-right.  





(1970s)+## – Closer view of the Panorama Mall showing The Broadway Department Store at the northwest corner of Roscoe and Van Nuys. Gold's Gym is on the southeast corner.  





(1961)* - View showing the nearly completed Robinson's department store in Panorama City.  


Historical Notes

The new Valley Robinson’s was the fifth outlet for the company, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1883 by Joseph Winchester Robinson.*




(1964)* - Photograph caption dated October 6, 1964 reads, "New store - Sculptured three-dimensional panels of concrete emphasize the structural frame of the new Ohrbach's department store, Panorama City, which will open tomorrow." The structure is located at 14650 Parthenia Street. Photo from the Valley Times.  


Historical Notes

With the opening of Orbach's department store in 1964. . . Panorama Mall was the ONLY shopping center in the Valley that had 4 major department stores: Broadway, Robinson’s, Montgomery Ward, and Orbach’s.




(1964)* - Photograph caption dated October 12, 1964 reads, "Part of the large crowd that attended the opening of Ohrbach's new $5-million store in Panorama City last week. The new building on Parthenia Street between Cedros and Tobias Avenues contains 115,000 square feet and is the third Ohrbach's store in California." Photo from the Valley Times.  




(1965)* - Aerial view looking north down Van Nuys Boulevard showing the Panorama City shopping district.  Note the number of parking lots, all mostly filled.  


Historical Notes

People would come from across the Valley to do their shopping here.  The Panorama shopping district had a hundred-plus shops including several major department stores such as Broadway, Robinson’s, Montgomery Ward, and Orbach’s. Perhaps not the most attractive feature of Panorama City, a testimony to the lively retail economy of the time, was 18 acres of parking lots.



(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. 1940s)#^*^ - View of a dirt road winding its way toward a house or barn at the base of Castle Peak near Valley Circle.  




(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).**^^




(1949)* - View showing the construction of the channel walls in the Los Angeles River at Laurel Canyon.  


Historical Notes

Since 1938, 278 miles of river and tributaries were retrofitted and more than 300 bridges were built. With the river encased in cement, the natural sharp turns were now straightened. Any evidence of vegetation was completely removed, allowing runoff from the San Gabriel Mountains to escape through the river and out of Long Beach at up to 45 miles-per-hour. Streets and sewers were connected to drains along the river, designed to quickly capture and move rainfall away from the surrounding streets.**^^






(ca. 1952)^^^* - View of a flooded Ventura Boulevard at Woodman Avenue. The Cherry House Restaurant is seen on the southeast corner.  






(1952)*^^^^ - Heavy rain caused flooding at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Woodman Avenue.  A Signal Gas Station is on the northeast corner.  




(ca. 1948)#^*^ – View looking east on Ventura Boulevard from near Laurelgrove Avenue toward Vantage Avenue. The Hollywood Hills behind Universal City can be seen in the background.  





(ca. 1948)#^*^ – View showing Du-par’s Restaurant located at 12036 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City.  


Historical Notes

The first Du-par's was founded in 1938 at the Los Angeles Farmers Market by James Dunn and Edward Parsons, who combined their surnames to create the restaurant's name. The chain was purchased in 2004 by an investor group led by W.W. "Biff" Naylor, the son of noted California restaurateur Tiny Naylor. Du-par's expanded in 2009 to include several locations from the bankrupt Bakers Square chain.*^




(2014)#*^# - Google street view showing Du-par's Restaurant in Studio City, "Breakfast all day".  





Before and After

(ca. 1948)#^*^ - Du-par's Restaurant at 12036 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City.   (2014)#*^# - Du-par's Restaurant at 12036 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City.






(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.  




(n.d.)#^*^ - View showing the Southern Pacific Coast Daylight heading northbound towards the second tunnel in Chatsworth.  


Historical Notes

The Coast Daylight, originally known as the Daylight Limited, was a passenger train on the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) between Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, via SP's Coast Line. In the eyes of many the "most beautiful passenger train in the world," it carried a stunning red, orange, and black color scheme.*^



(ca. 1946)^ - Southern Pacific's "Daylight Limited" train 98 crossing Devonshire Street in Chatsworth on its way from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  


Historical Notes

The Coast Daylight operated from 1937 until 1974, one of the few passenger trains retained by Amtrak in 1971. Amtrak merged it with the Coast Starlight in 1974.*^



(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.  


Historical Notes

By the early 1960s the Chatsworth station seen above 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.^



(1949)^ – View looking west on Plummer Street in Chatsworth after snowfall, January 11, 1949. The hills in the background are part of the Santa Susana Mountains that surround Box Canyon.  


Historical Notes

From Jan. 9 through 12, 1949, snow fell in Los Angeles and Southern California.^^^



(1949)^^^ – View showing cars lined up on Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks waiting for ice to melt before driving over the hill to West Los Angeles.  Cars with chains were allowed through.  At noon the road was opened. Photo published in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 13, 1949.  


Historical Notes

In a Jan. 10, 1999, Los Angeles Times article, columnist Cecilia Rasmussen wrote:

On Jan. 10, 1949, in the middle of the worst housing shortage in Los Angeles history, more than half an inch of snow covered the Civic Center. The San Fernando Valley was pelted with the unfamiliar white stuff for three days, accumulating almost a foot.

The rare snowfall produced wondrous vistas and unexpected difficulties, as some motorists besieged with frozen radiators were trapped in their cars in Laurel Canyon for several hours.^^^



(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).




(1950)+#+ – View looking northwest showing the community of Van Nuys in the foreground with a wide open San Fernando Valley in the distance.   





(1950s)^^ - View of the San Fernando Valley looking northwest from above Sherman Oaks.  The Santa Monica Mountains are on the left with Ventura Boulevard running from lower right-center to upper-left of photo.  The concrete-lined LA River serpentines its way down from the Sepulveda Basin (top-center) to Sherman Oak (lower-right).  


Historical Notes

The Ventura Freeway wasn’t built until the late 1950s and opened on April 5, 1960.*^



(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.*^



(1950)*^*# - View showing the yet to be completed Sears Roebuck & Co. located at 12121 Victory Boulevard at the new Valley Plaza Mall.  






(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!






(1959)* - View showing a Longs Drugs at 12201 Victory Blvd, which opened in 1959. The Longs chain is but a recent memory and this building now houses an Anna's Linens.  


Historical Notes

Before being acquired by CVS Health in 2008, Longs Drugs was a chain of over 500 stores, located primarily on the West Coast of the United States. They had stores located in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and was headquartered in Walnut Creek, California.*^



(1960)* - View of the LA Federal Savings and Loan Building under construction located near the Hollywood Freeway at Victory Boulevard adjacent to the Valley Plaza. Longs Drug Store can be seen in the lower left.  


Historical Notes

At 165-feet tall and 35-feet wide, it was the tallest building in the San Fernando Valley when its steel frame and precast wall sections rose out of the Valley Plaza Shopping Center in 1960. In those days its 100 thriving stores and shops made up what was believed to be the largest retail complex west of Chicago.^^^



(1961)* - View showing the completed Federal Savings Building with Valley Plaza Camera Exchange in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

The Los Angeles Federal Savings and Loan Assn. spent $1 million on the building, including land and construction costs. Modernist architects Douglas Honnold and John Rex were hired to give the project the maximum bang for its buck.^^^




(1976)#^# – Postcard view of the Los Angeles Federal Savings Building, located at 12160 Victory Boulevard, North Hollywood. The Valley Plaza sign is seen across the street.






Historical Notes

In 1976, a Bicentennial mural was commissioned by LA Federal Savings.

Several financial institutions have operated the Victory Boulevard building over the years. Its current owner is Wells Fargo Bank.^^^



(1960s)* - View of the shopping center across the street from Valley Plaza at Victory and Laurel Canyon Blvd. Thriftmart is seen on the left and Thrifty Drugs at center. This is when an ice cream cone at Thrifty was only 5 cents.  


Historical Notes

Until the early 1980s, every Thrifty store featured a tube tester, usually located near the cosmetics display case. Vacuum tubes were still used in a wide variety of consumer electronics such as TVs and radios, and the local Thrifty store was a convenient place to test them and purchase replacements. Thrifty published a brochure helping customers diagnose which tubes might be responsible for various TV malfunctions. The brochure also provided numbered stickers to aid consumers in reinstalling working tubes in their correct sockets.

Thrifty PayLess Holdings, Inc. was a pharmacy holding company that owned the Thrifty Drugs and PayLess Drug Stores chains in the western United States.  In 1996, Rite Aid acquired 1,000 West Coast stores from Thrifty PayLess Holdings, creating a chain with over 3,500 drug stores.

Rite Aid preserved the Thrifty Ice Cream brand because it won numerous awards in its history, and remained well-known for its affordable prices, quirky flavors, and iconic cylinder-shaped scoops.*^





(ca. 1961)^^^* - Panoramic 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.




(1950s)#^# – Postcard view looking south on Van Nuys Boulevard at Vanowen Street.  






(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)^^ – View showing stuck cars as water rages down Tyrone Avenue near Sylvan Street.  




(1954)* - Camera gets a last look at the old Van Nuys home built by Valley pioneer, George Beals, in 1909 at Sherman Circle and Van Nuys Boulevard. Site will soon be that of a new drive-in sandwich shop. Photo dated: December 2, 1954. – Valley Times  




(1955)++# – View looking north on Van Nuys at Victory Boulevard.  Legible store signs include (R to L):  Moss, Kay Jewelers, Tom McAn Shoes, Sight and Sound, Florsheim Shoes, Oasis, and Hart’s Jewelers.  


Historical Notes

Photograph caption dated September 23, 1955 reads, "Special left turn only lanes, known as shadow lanes, are being used in Van Nuys on Van Nuys boulevard from Oxnard to Vanowen streets. This view is looking north on Van Nuys at Victory boulevard. Left turn lane is immediately to the left of normal center line. This is first time in Los Angeles such lanes have been painted on rather than constructed of raised concrete or bars." ++#




(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.  


Historical Notes

The line ran from North Hollywood through Universal City to the Subway Terminal Building in downtown Los Angeles.*



(1952)**^^^ – View looking north on Van Nuys Boulevard showing a Pacific Electric Red Car bound for Los Angeles. The Rivoli Theatre is seen to the right of the streetcar. The Rivoli was later renamed the Capri and got demolished (for a parking lot) in the early 70s. Photo courtesy of Sean Ault Archives by Osiris Press.  


Historical Notes

Operation of the Pacific Electric Red Car through to Owensmouth and San Fernando began in 1911 and was terminated in 1938; thereafter the terminus was at Van Nuys Boulevard and North Sherman Way.  On December 28, 1952, busses over the Hollywood Freeway replaced all rail service to the San Fernando Valley on this line.^***^




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





(1949)* – View looking south on Lankershim Boulevard towards what is now called the Lankershim/101 Freeway Bridge and Tunnel.  




(1952)*^*# – View of the Lankershim Boulevard underpass at the Hollywood Freeway, showing two Pacific Electric Red Cars passing each other above.  




(1948)* - View of the Cahuenga Pass in 1948 showing one road of cars end to end with tracks seen on the left.  


Historical Notes

Pacific Electric Railway trolleys ran down the center of the Hollywood Freeway through Chauenga Pass until 1952.*^




(1952)^ - Saying goodbye to "Big Red". View showing a group of men standing in front of the last Red Car in the San Fernando Valley. Right: Fred Weddington, he rode the first and last Red Car. Moses Sherman, President of Pacific Electric Car Line, Martin Pollard, first Fernando Service Award, 1959, Paul Whitsett, Richard Gilbranson, President of North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Monty Montanta, cowboy movie star. Far Left: Ferd Mendenhall, owner of Green Sheet Journal (now Daily News).  




(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.^*




(ca. 1955)* - Aerial view looking southwest at the Anheuser Busch Brewery in Sepulveda shortly after it was completed. The Van Nuys Airport (then known as the San Fernando Valley Airport) can be seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

Founded in 1852, and incorporated in 1875, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. is the largest brewing company in the United States, and the world's largest brewing company based on revenue. The then-small St. Louis, Missouri brewery was owned and operated by Eberhard Anheuser, who brought in his son-in-law Adolphus Busch as a partner in 1869. In 1876, Busch introduced America's first national beer brand: Budweiser, followed (years later) by several other brands, such as Busch, Michelob, and Bud Light to name a few. With the death of Anheuser in 1880, Busch became president of the company, subsequently becoming the first U.S. brewer to use pasteurization to keep beer fresh, the first to use artificial refrigeration and refrigerated railroad cars, and the first to bottle beer extensively.*

In 1955 the airport was still known as the San Fernando Valley Airport. It would be renamed Van Nuys Airport in 1957.*^#




(ca. 1950s)^^^* – View looking east showing the large Anheuser-Busch Sign in front of the brewery on Roscoe Blvd.  Sign reads:  California Home of Budweiser  


Historical Notes

During the 1870s, Adolphus Busch toured Europe and studied the changes in brewing methods which were taking place at the time, particularly the success of pilsner beer, which included a locally popular example brewed in Budweis (largest city in the South Bohemian Region of what is now Czech Republic). In 1876, Busch introduced Budweiser, with the ambition of transcending regional tastes. The ability to transport bottles made Budweiser America's first national beer brand, and it was marketed as a "premium" beer.*^

By 1957, Anheuser-Busch had become the largest brewer in the United States.*




(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. 1953)+## - View looking south on Reseda Boulevard from Sherman Way.  





(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.  




(1954)* - Photograph caption dated August 12, 1954 reads, "Reseda, 'Hub of the West Valley,' surprises even the old timers who settled in the area when it boasted of bumper wheat crops. Today, the community is a beehive of merchandising activity with thousands of new residents and many new merchants. This view looking west on Sherman Way from Etiwanda avenue reveals some of the stores that will participate in the big Dollar Day week end sale tomorrow and Saturday. Thousands of items at reduced prices go on sale." - Valley Times  




(1954)* - Photograph caption dated October 7, 1954 reads, "Attractive new shopping district along Sherman Way in Reseda will offer special merchandise and low prices during Reseda Harvest Days tomorrow and Saturday. Modern shops are designed with ample shopping areas. Special buses will bring West Valley shoppers to business center." - Valley Times  





(ca. 1955)^^^* - 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.





(ca. 1957)+## – View showing Reseda Boulevard - the main business center of the San Fernando Valley. The two-tone car at center is a 1957 Ford Fairlane.  




(1955)* – View of Reseda High School located at 18230 Kittridge Street, just after it was constructed.  


Historical Notes

Photo title reads, "Aerial view shows new $5,000,000 Reseda High School, the first complete high school plant constructed in Los Angeles since before World War II. It will open to 1,500 sophomores and juniors Monday at 18230 Kittridge St. Dr. Lowell McGinnis, former principal of John H. Francis Polytechnic High School, will head school. Plant eventually will house 2,500 students. Athletic field with seating for 3,000 spectators and night lighting system is included in facilities." On the right is the Los Angeles River.  Photo Date:  September 10, 1955 – Valley Times*




(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.*^




(1957)* - View showing the newly completed atomic reactor building and power station. Photograph caption dated July 16, 1957 reads, "New plant opened by Atomics International, division of North American Aviation, Inc., for Atomic Energy Commission, rests in Santa Susana Mountains. Plant is combination of atomic reactor building at right, and Southern California Edison Co. power station, left. Project is attempting to develop economical power from nuclear energy."  


Historical Notes

This 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.  





(1950s)#^*^ -  Sheep grazing on the hills along Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills.  





(1955)**^# - With the help of policemen, sheep are moved across Ventura Blvd., in Woodland Hills.  Source: LA Times  


Historical Notes

A short article in the Oct. 18, 1955, Los Angeles Times explains:

“Two policemen, three dogs, a shepherd, two goats and a few students from Pierce College combined their talents yesterday to help Nick Costa of Calabasas lead a band of 500 sheep across busy Ventura Blvd. to greener pastures in Woodland Hills.” **^#




(1947)#*^* – Panoramic view of Pierce School of Agriculture (now Pierce College) the year it was formed.  


Historical Notes

Pierce College was founded in 1947 through the efforts of Clarence W. Pierce, M.D. The land for the college was purchased by the L.A. City School District (now the L.A. Unified School District). The original name of the college was the Clarence W. Pierce School of Agriculture.

From the early days when all the students were male agriculture majors come wonderful stories of on-campus dormitories and rain interrupting classes held in tin-roofed huts.

As the San Fernando Valley grew, the need for a comprehensive community college to serve the region was apparent. The college changed its name and its mission when it became Pierce College. The college’s core buildings were constructed and enrollment grew from a hundred or so in 1947 to more than 25,000 at its peak in the early 1980s. #*#^





(ca. 1940s)#^*^ – View showing a laborer loading oranges into crates to be brought to the Canoga Citrus Association packing house for processing. The crates are stamped "CCA" which is the abbreviation for the Canoga Citrus Association.  




(1953)*^^^ – Sheep crossing Roscoe Boulevard near Canoga Avenue in Canoga Park. The Canoga Citrus Association can be seen on the right.  


Historical Notes

The Canoga Citrus Association plant was located at Roscoe & Canoga and it began packing oranges in 1927. There were at least 25 brands packaged at this site.*^^^




(ca. 1928)^^ – Facsimile of Sunkist & Canoga Citrus Association crate label, Owensmouth (later known as Canoga Park).  


Historical Notes

The town was located on the site of an old well used in by stagecoaches and local settlers. 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 1911, the area would be named Owensmouth by the LA Suburban Home Company, in hopeful anticipation of Owens River water that would soon spill into the San Fernando Valley by way of the Los Angeles Aqueduct (1913).

In the late 1920s, residents and business leaders suggested that their town's name revert back to Canoga, complaining that Owensmouth suggested a location hundreds of miles away in the Owens Valley. Concerns about the community's image may have inspired the campaign, too; the older suburbs of East Los Angeles and Sherman had recently changed their names to Lincoln Heights and West Hollywood, respectively.

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





(1940s)#^*^ – Panoramic view showing the Arcade Building on the 21500 block of Sherman Way with California Bank at the end of the long building.  





(Early 1950s)#^*^ - View looking west on Sherman Way in Canoga Park.  The California Bank, at center of photo, is on the southeast corner of Sherman Way and Remmet Avenue.  




(1956)#^*^ – Aerial view looking east over Canoga Park from just west of Topanga Canyon Blvd.  Baskin-Robbins can be seen on Topanga just north of Saticoy (lower center-left).  


Historical Notes

Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1945 by brothers-in-law Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins from the merging of their respective ice cream parlors, in Glendale, California. Burt Baskin owned Burton's Ice Cream Shop (opened in 1945) and Irv Robbins owned Snowbird Ice Cream (opened in 1946). Snowbird Ice Cream offered 21 flavors, a novel concept at that time. When the separate companies merged in 1953, the number of flavors was expanded to 31 flavors.

By 1948, Burt and Irv had opened six stores. Today, Baskin-Robbins has more than 7,300 shop locations in nearly 50 countries.*^




(1953)#^*^ – View showing Bill De Young Service Station on the northeast corner Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard.  




Before and After

(1953)#^*^ - N/E Corner of Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard   (2014)#*^# - N/E Corner of Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard





(1960s)#^*^ – Panoramic aerial view of the intersection of Sherman Way and Topanga Boulevard, looking southeast.  De Young Service Station can be seen at lower left (N/E corner).  This is before Our Lady of the Valley Church was built (1968) on the corner of Gault Street and Topanga Blvd (upper-right).  





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


Historical Notes

The ranch began as a dry-land wheat farm owned by the San Fernando Homestead Association led by Isaac Lankershim and Isaac Van Nuys. Albert Workman, an Australian immigrant, began as the superintendent of Van Nuys' Los Angeles Farm and Milling Company. After 1869 Workman purchased the 9,000-acre ranch, and cultivated it with another 4,000 acres nearby. The ranch also had a thousand head of cattle at one time. Workman imported Australian Blue Gum eucalyptus tree seeds from his homeland and planted them on the ranch. Some claim the numerous eucalyptus trees in California of that species, Eucalyptus globulus, originate from the Workman Ranch groves.*^




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


Historical Notes

The site has multiple Hollywood connections. In the 1930s the Workman Ranch was acquired by Colin Clements and Florence Ryerson, a couple who were screenwriters for the film studio. Ryerson co-wrote the screenplay for the 1939 film 'The Wizard of Oz' while living there. She renamed the estate Shadow Ranch for the amount of shade provided by the numerous large eucalyptus trees, originally planted during the Workman era.

It was acquired in 1948 by another screenwriter, Ranald MacDougall, whose credits include "Mildred Pierce" and "Cleopatra." In 1961 movie director William Wyler used the ranch house as a filming location for 'The Children’s Hour', based on the play by Lillian Hellman.*^

In the 1950's, Shadow Ranch served as a private girls school called Robinnaire. Today, it is part of the Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks Department. #^




(2008)*^ - View of Shadow Ranch House as it appears today. Location 22633 Vanowen Street  


Historical Notes

Today, the historic Shadow Ranch residence stands on a 13 acres parcel, the remaining undeveloped land of the original ranch that is an L.A. city park. The structure is used as a recreational facility and events venue. When the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission was formed in 1962, Shadow Ranch was one of the first ten properties to be designated as a city Historic-Cultural Monument No. 9 (Click HERE to see complete listing).*^




(1958)* - Aerial view looking west on Nordhoff Street toward its intersection with Topanga Canyon Boulevard.  The Southern Pacific tracks are on the right. The Chatsworth Reservoir, filled with water, is seen in the background.  


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.




(1959)#^*^ - View looking west across the southwestern portion of Chatsworth Reservoir showing the Lakeside Community, now a part of West Hills. No water appears in this section of the reservoir at the time.  


Historical Notes

Lakeside came into existence in 1928/1929 and was comprised of 2 major subdivisions ~ Tract #'s 9889 & 9683.  At its eastern base, along Valley Circle was a Park, seen in the center of the image .#^*^




(1930s)#^*^ – WPA Cultural Survey Map showing the community of Lakeside Park.  Note the Park & Picnic Grounds in upper center-left.  





(1960s)*^^^# - View looking northeast from near the intersection of Homezell Drive and Valley Circle Boulevard showing the Chatsworth Reservoir filled with water. Photo courtesy of Bert Emert  



Color photos were included for better contrast.



(2012)#*^# - Google Street View showing an empty Chatsworth Reservoir from about the same location as previous photo, intersection of Homezell Drive and Valley Circle Boulevard.  




(1960s)*^^^# – Closer view of the Chatsworth Reservoir from near Homezell Drive and Valley Circle Boulevard.  If you look closely you can see several deer under the large oak tree at center-left. Photo courtesy of Bert Emert  




(1960s)*^^^# – View showing deer making their way to open space with the Chatsworth Reservoir in the background. Photo courtesy of Bert Emert  



Click HERE to see more Early Views of the Chatsworth Reservoir.



(1958)* - Aerial view of DeSoto Avenue looking south. Nordhoff Street runs east-west at the center of the photo. The open area with a few buildings on it in the upper left area is Limerick Elementary. Aerojet Rocketdyne is currently where the walnut groves are in the center.  


Historical Notes

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




(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). The Southern Pacific tracks run diagonally across the photo (lower-left to upper-right).




(1958)* - Valley Times photograph caption dated August 30, 1958 reads, "Dignitaries attending ceremony which marked first Nike-Hercules base to go operational in nation are dwarfed by huge weapon which can destroy entire enemy squadron of bombers with atomic warhead. In foreground at Oat Mountain Base in Chatsworth are, left to right, Maj. Gen W. A. Perry, Donald Douglas Jr., Don Belding and Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz."  


Historical Notes

In 1958, at top of Browns Canyon at the end of De Soto Avenue there existed an Army base with Nike Hercules missiles armed with nuclear warheads. The Nike Missile Base LA-88 located in Chatsworth on Oat Mountain was part of the “Ring of Steel” that protected Los Angeles from 1958 to 1974.

The Cold War, between the Communist World (the Soviet Union and its allies) and the Western World (the United States and its allies), lasted from 1946 to 1991.

During this time of political, military and economic conflict, various strategies were undertaken by the United States to defend against a nuclear attack.  Nike Missile bases provided that defense. They were initially equipped with anti-aircraft missiles (Nike-Ajax in 1953), followed by the Nike-Hercules in 1958, which was armed with nuclear warheads and could intercept ballistic missiles.^#




(1958)^^ – Close-up view at the Oat Mountain Base in Chatsworth showing a launch pad with two missiles on it (a Nike-Hercules and a Nike-Ajax).  


Historical Notes

By 1958, the Army had established over 200 Nike missile bases within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii).  Los Angeles was defended by a ring of 16 Nike sites, referred to as a “Ring of Steel”. To protect its aerospace industries, Los Angeles received extensive air defenses.

Oat Mountain towers over the San Fernando Valley and provides visibility in all four directions and far out into the Pacific Ocean. LA-88 was the last of the scheduled 16 Los Angeles Nike sites to be completed due to the rugged terrain and only one usable road through Browns Canyon. Construction difficulties leveling a mountain peak and also digging deep into the ground for the three underground launchers caused delays. The site was completed and operational as of August 26, 1956.^#




(ca. 1957)*^^^# - View showing the front entrance to Valley Steam Plant located at 11805 Sheldon Street in Sun Valley.  




(1957)** - View showing the Department of Water and Power's Valley Steam Plant located in Sun Valley (N/E San Fernando Valley.  




(1956)* - Close-up nighttime view showing a well lit Valley Steam Plant.  


Historical Notes

Photo caption reads, "Valley Steam Plant glows with thousands of lights during nighttime operation. Pipes and valves in foreground are part of fuel lines leading to plant. Built on 150-acre site in Sun Valley at cost of $80,000,000, Valley Steam Plant has total generating capacity of 512,000 kilowatts of electricity. Because of mild climate, plant is virtually open to the air with complete housing only for operating personnel and most delicate equipment. Electricity is generated by means of turbines which are powered by super-heated steam, heated in boilers using either gas or oil as fuel."  Valley Times - August 1, 1956*

Click HERE to see more in Early Power Generation.




(1956)* - Photo caption dated July 26, 1956 reads, "Thriving shopping center - Autos line busy Reseda boulevard shopping center of Northridge. Despite motorized majority, some Northridgers still ride to town on horseback. Town expects to encounter parking problem when diagonal parking is prohibited this fall and parallel parking required by city. Business area still retains friendly, small town flavor."  




(ca. 1958)^^ – View showing a man walking by the front entrance to the West Valley Division of the LAPD located at 7137 Reseda Boulevard (West side of Reseda just s/o Sherman Way).  




(ca. 1958)#^*^ – Wider view of the West Valley Police Station showing a police car parked in the alley on the right. Reseda Drug Store is seen next door to the right across the alley.  


Historical Notes

Today, BMW Clinic is at the LAPD site and the Reseda Drug Store has been replaced by Alan’s Flowers and a side parking lot. #^*^




(1965)#^*^ – View looking east on Chatsworth Street from Zelzah Avenue during the holidays.  




(1956)#^ - Aerial view of Los Angeles State College, San Fernando Valley Branch (now CSUN), looking northwest. The intersection of Zelzah and Nordhoff is in the left foreground.  


Historical Notes

In 1952, state officials had originally identified Baldwin Hills as the site of a satellite campus for Los Angeles State College (now Cal State Los Angeles).  In reaction to the decision, Valley leaders organized to successfully overturn the legislation and to later ensure that a four-year college would be sited in the San Fernando Valley.  On December 21, 1954, advocates for a Valley four-year college hosted 23 legislators for dinner at the Brown Derby on Wilshire Boulevard.  Armed with demographic projections, they pitched the Valley as the only logical place for the next state college.  The pitch worked.  In 1955, state Assemblyman Judge Julian Beck sent the legislation for approval to pruchase land in the north San Fernando Valley for a new satellite campus to Los Angeles State 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.^

By September, 1958, enrollment reached 2,525 students and full-time in-state student fees were $29 per semester.##^^



(1959)^ – View of the first graduation at San Fernando Valley State College, June 12, 1959.  


Historical Notes

On June 12, 1959, ninety students received their degrees on the SFVSC football field. This image shows the large expanse of empty land held by the college at this time; visible in the background is the Santa Susana mountain range.^



(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.  


Historical Notes

In 1959, the first permanent building, South Library was dedicated.

In 1960, Construction was completed on the Speech-Drama and Fine Arts buildings, the later designed by famed architect Richard Neutra. ##^^



(1961)^ - Aerial view looking west of the campus of San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge).  Science Buildings 1 and 2 are in the center; Music Building on the left; Zelzah Avenue in the foreground.  


Historical Notes

In 1961, the Music Building was constructed with a 400-seat theatre. "Othello" is the first prodution.

In Feb, 1961, enrollment passes 6,000. ##^^



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


Historical Notes

By 1964, the Physical Education Building, the three-building Sierra Hall complex, the Administration Building, and the Engineering Building were completed as student enrollment reached 12,690. ##^^



(Late 1960s)#^ - Aerial view of San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN) and surrounding area, looking northeast.  


Historical Notes

In 1966, the era began of campus student protests against the Vietnam War, continuing through the early 1970s.

In Fall of 1966, gubernatorial candidate Ronald Reagan gave a speech on campus.  Also, Vice President Hubert Humphrey was heckled by anti-war protestors on his visit. ##^^



(1968)^ – View showing the San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN) Administration Building (now Bayramian Hall). In the foreground are three Valley State students relaxing at the edge of the reflecting pool that once sat to the southwest of the building. The "Two up-Two down" kinetic sculpture by well-known artist George Rickey was installed in August 1968 and still stands in the same general area.  


Historical Notes

In March, 1968, Presidential candidates Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and Sen. Eugene McCarthey drew a record 12,000 spectators during a visit to the campus.  Student demonstrators burned draft cards; and rock singer Janis Joplin performed on campus. ##^^



(1970s)##** – View of the "CSUN" sculpture at the corner of Nordhoff Street and Zelzah Avenue, designed by engineering graduate student John T. Banks, and built in 1975.  


Historical Notes

San Fernando Valley State College was officially named California State University, Northridge (CSUN) on June 1, 1971.



(1958)^^ - View looking toward the northeast corner of Ventura and Sepulveda where a Richfield Service Station is located.  A large truck carrying an Atlas missile is seen rounding the corner of Sepulveda onto Ventura Blvd.  


Historical Notes

The Atlas, first tested in 1957, was the United States' first successful ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile).  It launched the Mercury project space capsules and became the foundation for a family of successful space launch vehicles now built by United Launch Alliance. The Atlas rocket family is today used as a launch platform for commercial and military satellites, and other spacecraft.*^



(1958)^^ - View looking west on Ventura Boulevard showing the Atlas missile being transported toward the San Diego Freeway overpass.  A Standard Service Station is seen on the right.  


Historical Notes

The San Diego Freeway, connecting the Westside with the San Fernando Valley, would not open until 1962.*^




(1958)#^*^ – Panoramic aerial view looking southeast over the Sepulveda Basin showing the San Diego and Ventura Freeway Interchange still under construction.  





(1950s)^^^* – View looking west on Ventura Boulevard with the Studio City Theatre seen on the left.  Some recognizable signs on the right (north side of Ventura) include:   Coast Hardware Story, Newberry’s 5-10-25, and Babytown.  


Historical Notes

Opened in 1938, the Studio City Theater at 12136 Ventura Boulevarfd 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.***^



(2014)#*^# - Google street view looking west on Ventura Boulevard next to the Bookstar/Barnes & Noble bookstore at the old Studio City Theatre with CVS on the north side of the street.  





Before and After

(1950s)^^^* – Looking west on Ventura Boulevard, Studio City.   (2014)#*^# – Looking west on Ventura Boulevard, Studio City.






(1957)*^^^^ - Opening day in 1957 at the Dairy Queen located at 11334 Moorpark Street (at the southwest corner of Elmer) in Studio City, now the site of the Girasol Restaurant.  




(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.*



(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.^*




(ca. 1960s)^^^^* – Aerial view showing the Schlitz Brewery adjacent to the railroad tracks, Van Nuys.  


Historical Notes

Schlitz opened its state-of-the-art 35-acre brewery at 7321 Woodman Avenue in Van Nuys in 1954.^^^^*

The Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and once the largest producer of beer in the United States. Its namesake beer, Schlitz, was known as "The beer that made Milwaukee famous" and was advertised with the slogan "When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer". Schlitz first became the largest beer producer in the US in 1902 and enjoyed that status at several points during the first half of the twentieth century, exchanging the title with Anheuser-Busch multiple times during the 1950s.*^




(1975)^^# – Profile ground view showing the Schlitz Brewery, Van Nuys.  


Historical Notes

The company was founded by August Krug in 1849 but acquired by Joseph Schlitz in 1858.

Schlitz was bought by Stroh Brewery Company in 1982 and subsequently sold along with the rest of Stroh's assets to the Pabst Brewing Company in 1999. Pabst now produces Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company's former flagship brands including Old Milwaukee and Schlitz beer.^^^^*

Intense competition within the beer industry and a declining share of the Western market helped force the closure of the Van Nuys brewery in 1990.^^^




(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.  




(1950)*^*# – View showing a line of early model cars waiting to get into the Victory Drive-in Theatre in North Hollywood.  


Historical Notes

Opened in 1949, the Victory Drive-in was designed by William Glenn Balch also known for several other drive-ins in the late 1940s including the one located in Van Nuys. The Victory had a capacity for 650 cars and was operated by Pacific Theatres. Many of the Drive-ins that Balch’s firm designed had large murals painted on the screen towers.^**^



(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".  


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.



(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." *#^^




(ca. 1959)* - Looking west on Ventura Boulevard at Van Nuys Boulevard, showing heavy traffic, telephone poles and garish billboards.  




(1962)* - Valley Times photo caption reads:  It's Shopping Night on Ventura Boulevard! The Ventura Boulevard Merchants Association has declared May 2, 1962 "Shopping Night", with stores stretching the thoroughfare from Laurel Canyon to Fallbrook Avenue open until 9:00 p.m.  





(1960s)+## – Postcard aerial view showing the Encino Velodrome located near the intersection of Louise Avenue and Oxnard Street.  


Historical Notes

The history of the Encino Velodrome began in 1953 when cycling enthusiasts George Garner, Bob Hansing, Jack Kemp and Charlie Morton started talking about building a new velodrome. Their original idea grew and through the help of friends, local businesses and the Corps of Engineers. Money and materials gradually came together allowing the track to be completed in time for the 1961 racing season. In 1963 the original asphalt surface was replaced with concrete and has remained as such to this day.

The Encino Velodrome was selected to host the National Track Championships in 1965. The success of that single event paid for all prior construction costs. #+#




(2014)+#^ – Panoramic view showing riders coming around the turn at Encino Velodrome.  


Historical Notes

The oval track is 250 meters in length, has 28 degree banked turns and 15 degree straights. #+#




(ca. 1960s)^^## - View of the Valley Ice Skating Center located at 18361 Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana.  


Historical Notes

The Valley Ice Skating Center was owned and operated by Ron and Sheila Priestly, both remarkable figure skaters and show performers of their time.

Built in 1960, it was designed by Carl Maston mostly with the help of engineer Richard Bradshaw and had a dome shaped "clamshell" exterior. Maston had never done a project quite like a skating rink before but was knowledgeable of Bradshaw's previous work designing structures to span large spaces. The total construction cost for the completed building was $104,000. Bradshaw, not one to choose a box design when something more exciting could be done for the same price, came up with the creative design and construction process while Maston worked on the more straight-forward front and back elevations.

The Tarzana Ice Rink went on to win a Los Angeles Chapter AIA Merit Award. ("Honor Awards Given by A.I.A." Los Angeles Times, October 16, 1960). #^*^



(ca. 1960s)^^## – Interior view of the Valley Ice Skating Center in Tarzana.  


Historical Notes

Owner and skating legend Ron Priestley served as president of the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce and he was an influential figure in the Ice Skating Institute of America (ISIA) which had been founded in 1959 to promote recreational skating.

The Valley Ice Skating Center was demolished in the 1970s to make room for new development. Today, the land is occupied by the Tarzana Square Shopping Center.



(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

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 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.*^



(ca. 1960)#^ - View of a rocket engine test at the Rocketdyne Field Laboratory in the Santa Susana Mountains. 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.*^



(1960)^ - Closer view of a rocket test at the Rocketdyne facility in the Santa Susana Mountains.  




(1963)* - View showing a film crew documenting a static rocket engine test at the Santa Susana Rocketdyne faciity.  




(1961)#^*^ – Night time engine firing of Rocketdyne’s Santa Susana Field Lab, such as this test on May 21, 1961, regularly lit up the west end of the Valley and could be heard for miles.  


Historical Notes

In 1996, The Boeing Company became the primary owner and operator of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and later closed the site. In 2005, Pratt & Whitney purchased Boeing's Rocketdyne division, but declined to acquire Santa Susana Field Laboratory site as part of the sale.*^

There are still many unresolved issues regarding cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site. Boeing, NASA and DOE are in the process of moving forward on their cleanup plan.



(ca. 1961)^**^ – View showing the Holiday Theatre located at 8383 Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Billboard Reads:  “Hills Bros. Coffee and Hostess Donettes Served – Admiral Color T.V. Given Away Free”. Today you will find a Lowe's Home Improvement store where the theatre once stood.  


Historical Notes

The Holiday Theater opened at Topanga & Roscoe in Canoga Park around 1961 and was a single screen theater. It became a Spanish theater and then a dollar theater before being closed in the 70's and turned into a hardware store. The architect was William N. Bonham and the contractor who built it was John P. Gilbert. #^*^



(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)#^*^ – View looking north at the intersection of De Soto and Sherman Way.  




(1959)* - View looking northeast at the intersection of De Soto Ave and Clark Street. Photograph caption dated September 24, 1959 reads, "New Junior High -- New Parkman Junior High School stands ready for its full 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.*^

The large empty field on the east side of De Soto would become the future home of Kaiser Pemanente Hospital.



(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. 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.*^



(ca. 1962)#^*^ - Aerial view looking northeast showing the Litton Guidance & Control Systems headquarters bounded by Canoga on the left (west), Burbank Blvd. (north), and Ventura Freeway (south).  De Soto can be seen in the upper right of photo.  


Historical Notes

Note the light traffic on the Ventura Freeway and the lack of any development between the freeway and Ventura Blvd., which itself was lightly developed back then along the south side and little more than a four-lane country highway.

To the immediate left of the Litton property on the west side of Canoga Ave. stood the old Warner Ranch, often used in making movies.

There were new housing developments on the east side of De Soto.  Pierce College is to the north of the development and east of where De Soto eventually was put through, following the wash.  Included on the Pierce property was the Warner House – on the knoll by the bend along the culvert east of where De Soto now runs. 
Burbank Blvd. along the northern part of Litton property did not continue west at Canoga Ave.  The large open area on the south side of Burbank Blvd. west of De Soto now houses the Woodland Hills Kaiser Permanente Hospital complex. #^*^



(1961)* - Photograph article dated June 2, 1961 reads, "Binocular-shaped Kaiser Foundation Hospital is rapidly reshaping the skyline of Panorama City where it now towers 10 stories tall as vertical construction nears completion. The hospital will cost more than $6 million when completed. It is being built on a nine-acre site south of Roscoe boulevard on Woodman avenue at Cantara street."  Photo from the Valley Times.  


Historical Notes

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.*^



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


Historical Notes

The Panorama City Kaiser Hospital was completed 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.*^



(1962)*^^# – Close-up view of Kaiser Permanente, Panorama City.  





(ca. 1958)+## - Postcard view showing the Valley Presbyterian Hosipital in Van Nuys.  


Historical Notes

Built on a small plot of land in Van Nuys, Valley Presbyterian Hospital first opened to the community in 1958 with only 63 beds in a building designed by architect William Pereira.The facility specializes in maternal and child health, cardiac care, orthopedics, and critical care services.*^




(1974)*^*#- View showing the Valley Presbyterian Hospital located at 15107 Vanowen Street, Van Nuys.  


Historical Notes

In 1968, the hospital's seven-story Circle Tower was constructed, adding 180 beds. Today, the hospital has 350 beds and is one of the largest independent, nonprofit community hospitals in the San Fernando Valley. +**




(2008)*^  - Close-up view of Valley Presbyterian Hospital located on Vanowen Street near Sepulveda Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

The Valley Presbyterian Hospital specializes in maternal and child health, cardiac care, orthopedics, and critical care services.

Between 2006 – 2014, the Hospital was voted the "Best Medical Center" by the readers of the LA Daily News. +**



(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, 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.**^#




(1960s)*#** - Poscard view of the Monorails at Busch Gardens in Van Nuys.  


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.^




(1960s)#^*^ – View looking up showing two fully-loaded monorails passing each other in front of the Busch brewery building.  




(1960s)* - 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

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

In 1972 Busch Gardens would go through an expensive expansion that saw the addition of the log ride and other attractions of the like, and necessitated the construction of a pedestrian bridge and another monorail line to adjoin the original brewery property to the new section of the park.^^^**



(1970)* - Passengers line up as they prepare to board the Busch Gardens boat ride.  


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 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. **#*



(1970s)*^^^ – View of the Log Ride at Busch Gardens, Van Nuys, with the Bird Sanctuary seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

The Van Nuys park closed permanently in 1979. Two other Busch Gardens, in Tampa, Fla., and Williamsburg, Va., are currently open.**^#

The company was liberal with its "free beer" policy, which extended to the brewery's employees. This, curiously enough, wasn't a problem until 1982, when one employee who imbibed on his break wound up hitting and killing a 16-year-old pedestrian when he drove off the lot. It took several years of discussions between the workers' unions and the brewery, but the free beer finally came to an end on May 1, 1986, and employees had to settle for two free cases a month instead of "beer breaks" they initially had in their contracts.^^^**

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Southern California Amusement Parks.



(1957)^^ - Aerial view looking north toward Sepulveda Pass where construction of the San Diego (405) Freeway is underway.  The section between Wilshire Blvd to Venice Blvd in Culver City is the next segment scheduled for construction.  


Historical Notes

Construction of the 405 Freeway began in 1957 with the first section, mostly north of LAX Airport being completed in 1961.  The section of the 405 that would connect western Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley was part of a 12-mile, $20 million project, then the most expensive California highway project to date.*^



(1957)^^ - The San Diego Freeway makes its entry through the Santa Monica Mountains in 1957. The hill on the right is now the site of the Getty Center.  




(1957)**^^ - View looking north showing construction of the 405 Freeway just south of Sepulveda Canyon.  Sepulveda Blvd is on the right and the Sunset Blvd Bridge is in the distance.  




(1960)#^*^ – Aerial view looking north toward the San Fernando Valley showing the newly completed Mulholland Drive Bridge.  The Sepulveda Pass is chiseled out in preparation for the construction of the new 405 Freeway.  


Historical Notes

This Mullholland Dr. Bridge was constructed like no other, from the top down. The bridge was completed over two years before the freeway that connected West L.A. to the San Fernando Valley would open.^*^*



(1961)^^^ - An aerial view looking south 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.^*^*



(1961)#^*^ – View looking north toward the Mulholland Dr. Bridge over a yet-to-be completed San Diego Freeway.  


Historical Notes

In 2012, 52 years after it was originally built, the 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  


Historical Notes

The freeway's congestion problems are legendary, leading to jokes that the road was numbered 405 because traffic moves at "four or five" miles per hour, or because drivers need "four or five" hours to get anywhere. Indeed, average speeds as low as 5 mph are routinely recorded during morning and afternoon commutes, and its interchanges with the Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101) and with the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10) each consistently rank among the five most congested freeway interchanges in the United States.*^



(1962)* - View looking north toward the San Fernando Valley from the edge of the newly completed 405 Freeway.  An early model Ford Rambler is seen on the left merging onto the freeway, having used the ramp at Sepulveda Boulevard and Fiume Walk in Sherman Oaks. Photo date:  December 26, 1962.  





(ca. 1970s)+## - Postcard view showing the 405 Freeway entering the San Fernando Valley.  





(1961)#^*^ - Wide-angle view looking south on the San Diego Freeway at its junction with the Ventura Freeway shorthly after it opened. What traffic congestion?  

Historical Notes

Note the signage for SR-7 instead of I-405, which changed only a few years later.




(1950s)* - Aerial view of Hollywood, north of Sunset between Highland and Gower before the second section of the Hollywood Freeway was built (1954). The Hollywood Reservoir (middle right) is in the hills above Hollywood. There is a clear view of San Fernando Valley in the background.  


Historical Notes

The Cahuenga Pass has long been a convenient shortcut between the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Basin. The first Southern Californians likely blazed a foot-trail millennia ago, and by the late 18th century the villagers of Cabueg-na or Kaweenga (the origin of the name "Cahuenga") near Universal Studios regularly trekked through the pass. In 1852, a steep wagon road replaced the old trail, and in 1911 the Pacific Electric stretched its interurban railway tracks through the pass. Any remnants of the pass' rustic character vanished in 1940, when the Cahuenga Pass Freeway -- one of L.A.'s first – opened.**^^



(1957)* - Aerial view of the Cahuenga Pass and Barham Bypass, gateway to the San Fernando Valley.  


Historical Notes

The first segment of the Hollywood Freeway built was a one and a half mile stretch through the Cahuenga Pass. That segment opened on June 15, 1940. It was then known as the "Cahuenga Pass Freeway." Pacific Electric Railway trolleys ran down the center of this freeway until 1952.*^



(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).  


Historical Notes

The second section of the Hollywood Freeway that stretched from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown Los Angeles opened on April 16, 1954 at a cost of $55 million.^*



(1957)* - View looking southeast of the Hollywood Freeway during construction at the point where it passes over Vineland Avenue.  In the distance is Cahuenga Pass.  


Historical Notes

The 101 Freeway from Ventura to its intersection with the Hollywood Freeway in the southeastern San Fernando Valley (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.*^




(1957)* – Panoramic view from a spot near today's 210/118 Freeways. The photo was taken from the ridge flanking Lopez Canyon and shows the large ranch of Fritz Burns, Panorama City developer, with a new subdivision in the far background sweeping in from the San Gabriel Mountains. The charred area on the mountain top is above Olive View Sanitarium in Sylmar (Photo from the Valley Times).  


Historical Notes

The Valley Times photo caption reads "People who prefer a rural way of life fled thickly-populated areas to develop canyons for home sites, only to discover their efforts to seek isolation were in vain.

Agricultural acreage in the San Fernando Valley and nearby Santa Clara Valley dropped from 61,300 in 1945 to 35,000 in 1957."

The Fritz Burns Ranch in the foreground has a colorful past that includes a reindeer herd, German POWs and silent films. Starting in the 1950s, the Burns Ranch was home to a reindeer herd that spent the Christmas season at Southern California shopping centers, including Panorama City. Dayle Hunter's family managed and lived at the ranch in the 1960's and '70s. The ranch is also known to have been a camp for a few of the 400,000 Axis prisoners of war held in the United States during World War II. Much of Sylmar was formerly known as San Fernando. The San Fernando prisoners are said to have been used as citrus workers. #^*^

D.W. Griffith owned the ranch before Burns and shot films there. The site of the Griffith Ranch is California Historical Landmark No. 716.




(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.  




(1964)^ – View looking west on Devonshire from Owensmouth toward the Santa Susana Mountains.*^^^  




(ca. 1960s)+## - Postcard view looking northeast showing a two lane Topanga Highway at lower-left with Stoney Point in the background  




(Early 1970s)^# - View looking north from the top of Stoney Point showing Topanga extension to the 118 freeway under construction. Note the freeway buildup to the upper right. Also note the water tank for the mobile home park at the upper left.  




(2014)#*^# – Google satellite view directly above Stoney Point (center-bottom), looking up toward where Topanga Canyon Boulevard (27) intersects with the 118 Freeway. Santa Susana Pass Road can be seen at lower left.  




(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.*^



(1970s)*^#^* – Postcard view of a Fotomat kiosk. This was a common sight in the parking lots of shopping centers throughout Southern California during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.  


Historical Notes

Fotomat was a retail chain of photo development drive-through kiosks located in shopping center parking lots. Fotomat Corporation was founded by Preston Fleet in San Diego in the 1960s, with the first kiosk opening in Point Loma, California in 1965. At its peak around 1980 there were over 4,000 Fotomats throughout the United States, primarily in suburban areas. Fotomats were distinctive for their pyramid-shaped gold-colored roofs and signs with red lettering, usually positioned in a large parking area such as a supermarket or strip mall, as the Fotomat huts required a minimal amount of land and were able to accommodate cars driving up to drop off or pick up film.*^



(1970s)*^*# – View showing a 1969 Volvo 142 at a Fotomat kiosk drive-thru.  Note the 1971 Gremlin parked in the background.  


Historical Notes

Photomat sold Kodak-brand film and other photography-related products, and offered one day photo finishing. They often hired female employees to work in the small buildings and called them "Fotomates." The Fotomate uniform was a royal blue and yellow smock top. Male employees were called "Fotomacs" and their uniform was a light blue polo shirt.

The company's main product, overnight film development, was rendered noncompetitive by the late 1980s development of the minilab, which provided one-hour photo development and could be installed on-site without a large capital investment.*^




(Early 1970s)#**^ – View looking northwest of the Northridge Fashion Center. It opened in four phases, between September 1971 and April 1972. Upon its completion, it was the largest mall in Southern California.  


Historical Notes

Northridge Fashion Center had been in the early stages of construction when the Sylmar quake hit on February 9, 1971. There was damage to structures being built, such as the Bullock's store. However, all compromised construction was soon rebuilt, with work proceeding as planned.

Unfortunately, the Northridge temblor of January 17, 1994 caused severe damage to the mall. The Bullock's and Penney's stores collapsed, The Broadway and Sears suffered significant structural damage and two parking garages were leveled. However, the bulk of the mall proper was left fairly intact.

The mall was closed for well over a year while repairs were made. Bullock's was rebuilt from the ground up and expanded to 200,000 square feet. The Broadway, Penney's and Sears were gutted and reconstructed.^###




(ca. 2000s)*^#^ – View looking west showing the Northridge Fashion Center and surrounding area with annotations.  


Historical Notes

A second expansion of the Northridge Fashion Center was undertaken in 1997, with the north end of the structure completely reconfigured. The vacant Robinson's-Robinsons-May North was demolished and the empty Broadway building opened-up and made part of an outdoor concourse and plaza. New stores in the "Entertainment Expansion" included Borders, Cost Plus World Market, Bally's Health Club and On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina.

The focus of the expansion was the Pacific Theatres Northridge 10 multiplex, built on the site of the old Robinson's. The addition was formally dedicated in November 1998, increasing the GLA of the mall to 1,512,700 square feet. The retail roster now listed over one hundred and seventy stores and services.

Dallas-based MEPC American Properties had the misfortune of acquiring Northridge Fashion Center just one month before it was nearly leveled by the 1994 earthquake. After investing over one hundred million dollars into its reconstruction and renovation, they sold the mall to Chicago-based General Growth Properties, in April 1998.^###




(2009)#**^ – View of the front of the Kmart Store located on the southeast corner of Corbin and Plummer in Northridge.

Sign reads: "Store Closing"





Historical Notes

In 2011, the Kmart building was demolished to make room for a housing complex (Terrena Apartments) after standing on the corner of Corbin and Plummer for over 40 years.

The Mulholland Orchard Co. occupied at least the area immediately west of the Northridge Mall to Corbin, between Nordhoff and Plummer.  The Mulholland Home was the site of the late K-Mart, presently the Terrena Apartments.  The grapefruit groves that were recently destroyed for Northridge Toyota's temporary lots and to the north, at the southwest corner of Shirley Ave and Prairie St, were planted by the Chief's son, Perry, circa 1916.

The San Fernando Valley's last groves are at CSUN, O'Melviny Park and south to the Blvd, off Corbin.^^***



(1980s)^**^ – Aerial view showing the Winnetka 6 Pacific Drive-In Theatre in Chatsworth, The drive-in was bounded by Winnetka Avenue (right), Oso Avenue (left), Prairie Street (top), and the Southern Pacific tracks (bottom).  


Historical Notes

This was Pacific’s biggest drive-in for most of its life. It was built to cater for the expanding suburbs in the West San Fernando Valley. The Winnetka 4 (as it was in the 1970's) replaced the old Canoga Park drive-in on Canoga near Roscoe. By the 1980's Winnetka had expanded to 6 screens and was the drive-in powerhouse in the San Fernando Valley. If not for Pacific moving to more indoor multiplexes, the drive-in would still be open. The Pacific Stadium 21 now draws the same audience and more to hotdogs every night......indoors! #^*#



Before and After

(1980s)^**^ - Aerial view of the Winnetka 6 Pacific Drive-In, Chatsworth.   (2014)#*^# – Google satellite view of the Winnetka Pacific Theatres, Chatsworth.


Historical Notes

The Winnetka Drive-In was the last drive-in to be built (1976) and the last to close (1996) in the San Fernando Valley.
The Pacific Winnetka 21 multiplex has occupied the site of the former drive-in since 1998.^**^




(ca. 1996)#^*# – Outside view of the Winnetka 6 Drive-In, located at 20210 Prairie Street in Chatsworth.  


Historical Notes

There was an elevated projection room at the center of the lot with snack bar alongside. The staff used motorized golf carts to move around the site since it was so large. #^*#



(ca. 1990s)#^*# - View showing the six ticket booths at the Winnetka 6 Drive-In Theatre.  


Historical Notes

You guessed it, six screens so six ticket booths! Boom gates helped ensure "runners" did not get in without paying. When big films played here all six boxes were open.#^*#



(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.  




Then and Now

(ca. 1969)^^^* - Intersection of Nordhofft St. and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, looking west.   (2014)^^*** - Intersection of Nordhofft St. and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, looking west.





(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. 1958)#^*^ – View looking northwest showing Harry Warner’s home overlooking Warner Ranch near De Soto Ave and Oxnard Street. Rocketdyne's first completed building can be seen near the SPRR Curve (upper center-right). Then, still some Pepper Trees blocking view to the west side of Canoga where other buildings were built.  


Historical Notes

Harry Warner, the eldest of the Warner Brothers, owned this land since the 1940s which he used as a horse ranch. In 1968, 630 acres of the land was sold to Aetna Life and Casualty for $30 million. Aetna acquired the land for long-term investment and development purposes, and later brought in Kaiser as a joint venture partner. Initially, tracts of the Warner Ranch land had been developed in pieces, such as the Topanga Plaza which opened in 1964 as the first enclosed shopping mall in California, or sold to users such as aerospace companies Rocketdyne and Litton Industries which built their facilities there.

The Harry Warner family donated 20 acres of land in 1967 that became the Warner Center Park (also known as the Warner Ranch Park), located east of Topanga Canyon Boulevard between Califa Street and Marylee Street.*^



(1960)#^*^ – View looking southeast toward the Santa Monica Mountains.  The Rocketdyne facility is seen at center of photo. Canoga Ave is on the left running diagonally from lower left to upper right.  Owensmouth is the street running away from the camera on the right.  If you look to the right, you'll notice that Topanga Plaza had not been built yet. Wouldn't be open for another 4 more years.  Photo by: Alan Scott Crawford  


Historical Notes

The 47-acre facility at 6633 Canoga Avenue, opened by North American Aviation in November 1955, helped propel America’s vaunted space program. The Aerojet Rocketdyne division is now located at 8900 De Soto Avenue in Chatsworth, which opened five years later.

At its height in the mid-1960s, the Rocketdyne division employed more than 23,000 rocket scientists in Canoga Park, Chatsworth and its Santa Susana Field Laboratory above Simi Valley, site of booming rocket engine tests.

For more than 50 years, the massive Canoga Park manufacturing facility has played a central role to the U.S. space program. Workers there designed and built the engines used on the Saturn V rocket in the Apollo program, and then the main engines used on the Space Shuttle. #*##



(1960s)^^ - View showing three men dressed in suits entering the headquarters building of Rocketdyne Company, 6633 Canoga Avenue, Canoga Park. Photoprint reads: "HQ building - Canoga Park, "a small residential and farming community in the west San Fernando Valley", main offices, ranch, developments and manufacturing of liquid, propellant rocket engines.  


Historical Notes

A press release attached to the photo reads: 'High-thrust rocket engines for the arrived forces are designed, developed, and manufactured in this ultra-modern main plant of Rocketdyne, a division of North American Aviator, above. Located at Canoga Park in California's San Fernando Valley, the plant contains in addition to 316,000 square feet, engineering and warehousing facilities nearby. In the Santa Susana Mountains near Canoga Park is Rocketdyne's propulsion field laboratory, where the large, liquid-propellant rocket engines are static-fired in huge steel test stands. It is the free world's most extensive and advanced rocket research center.' ^^



(ca. 1960) - Mechanics at work on a rocket engine at Rocketdyne in Canoga Park.  


Historical Notes

A related press release explains that the mechanics are making: "the final adjustments on an engine which will be used in the U.S. Army Jupiter intermediate range ballistic missile. The Jupiter IRBM will be deployed in operational use by units of the Strategic Air Command. It was an engine of the type shown which was called upon to furnish the powerful first-stage boost of the Army's space probe."



(n.d.)#*## - View showing an F-1 rocket engine like those used to power Apollo missions to the Moon, in front of the Aerojet Rocketdyne facility in Canoga Park. The 18,400-pound engine, berthed since 1979 in front of the Canoga Avenue plant that produced it, is scheduled to be hauled to the company's De Soto Avenue site in 2015.  


Historical Notes

Rocket engines for aerospace and weapons were developed and manufactured by Rocketdyne (1955-2005), Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (2005-2013), and Aerojet Rocketdyne (2013-present) at the Canoga Park facility. At its loudest was its colossal F-1 liquid propellant rocket engine (seen above), the largest, most powerful single-nozzle, liquid fueled rocket ever made, according to NASA.*^

Of its 13 Apollo missions from 1967 to 1973, 24 astronauts escaped Earth’s orbit without a hitch, including a dozen who walked on the moon, using the Canoga Park built rocket engine.

Some 98 F-1s were produced, including some 65 engines flown, according to NASA. One of them was the unused engine on Canoga Avenue resembling the Terminator in an antebellum hooped skirt, now owned by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. #*##



(1960)* - Aerial view looking west onto Rocketdyne Missile Division, Canoga Avenue. At the top left corner is the intersection of Victory and Topanga Canyon boulevards and the very large empty space at top of photo is the future home of the Topanga Plaza Mall.  


Historical Notes

In 2014, the entire Canoga Park Rocketdyne facility was sold to developers. Shortly after the sale, it was announced that a $3 billion project would be constructed on the 47-acre Rocketdyne site that will include a mix of commercial, residential and high-rise buildings forming almost their own mini-city. #*##




(ca. 1963)^^^* - View looking west on Victory Boulevard toward De Soto. In the distance can be seen the Topanga Plaza Mall still under construction.  


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.*^



(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.



(1970s)*^*# – View showing the Ice Skating Rink at Topanga Plaza.  


Historical Notes

The Topanga Plaza 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.*^



(1989)#^*^ – View of the Topanga Theatre at 6360 Topanga Boulevard, located across the street from Topanga Plaza near the N/E corner of Topanga and Victory.  


Historical Notes

The Topanga Theatre was opened as a single screen movie house in the 1960s. It was twinned in the early 80’s, triplexed in the early 90s.

Pacific Theatres was the last chain to operate the Topanga, which became a second-run theatre in 1998 and closed altogether in early 2000. What killed the Topanga theatre was a 16 screen AMC multiplex opened one block away. In the same area there was also the GCC Woodland Hills Triplex, the UA Warner Center 6, the single screen Baronet and, down the road, the GCC Fallbrook 10.

The former Topanga Theatre last housed a furniture store and was demolished in September 2007.^**^

The site currently is part of a massive new construction project, Westfield Village at Topanga, which is scheduled to open in late 2015.



(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.*





(2014)^^^ – Panoramic view of the West San Fernando Valley looking north with Warner Center in the foreground and the Santa Susana Mounains in the distance.  





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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 Library

^* The Valley Observied: Street Name Origins; Timeline of Valley History

^# Chatsworth Historical Society; Chatsworth Nike Site; Chatsworth History Timeline; Post Office Poster

#* 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; Fred Weddington; Getting the Skinny on a Tall Valley Landmark; Valley Newspapers of the Past; West Valley Panoramic; 1949 Snow in L.A.; Schlitz Closure

^^*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

+#+Pinterest - Valley History

+#*Flickr.com: Valley Relics

+^^Panorama City - Commercial Area Concept Plan

+**Valley Presbyterian Hospital History and Milestones

+^*SMU Digital Archive

+#^Facebook.com: Encino Velodrome

++#Facebook.com: Photos of Los Angeles

#+#Encino Velodrome

#**California State Library Image Archive

#^^LA River Railroads - Burbank Branch History

#^#San Fernando Valley Blog: James Cagney Ranch; Porter Hotel; LA Federal Savings Building, North Hollywood; Van Nuys Blvd. Postcard; Van Nuys Blvd Streetcar Tracks; San Fernando Valley View from Topanga Cyn Drive

#*^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

**#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; Weddington House

#*#San-Fernando-Valley-Real-Estate.com: Granada Hills

#^#*Canyon News: Mulholland HIghway

#^#^Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council: Granada Hills History

*##*BellCanyon.com: Bell Canyon History

***^Los Angeles Movie Palaces: Studio City Theater

**^*Retronaut - Hollywoodland Sign

^**^Cinema Treasures: Rivoli-Capri Theatre; Reseda Drive-in Theatre; Van Nuys Drive-In Theater; Canoga Park Drive-In; Winnetka Drive-In; Topanga Theatre; Victory Drive-in; Holiday Theatre

**^^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; When Cahuenga Pass Was Rustic; Before the 'Carmageddon': A Photographic Look at the Construction of 5 SoCal Freeways

*^*^Canoga Park High School Home Page

*^*#Facebook.com: Classic Hollywood-Los Angeles-SFV

*^^*Orcutt Ranch: laparks.org

^***LosAngelesPast.com: Cahuenga Pass

^*^*Metro.net: Mulholland Drive Bridge; PE Line Reaches Van Nuys

^#**Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive


^#^#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; Woodland Hills Sheep

**#*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; Kaiser Panorama City

*^#^Northridge Fashion Mall Jobs

^#^*A Drifting Cowboy: The Grapes of Wrath

^#^^LAUSD.K12 - Lankershim Elementary School; Van Nuys Elementary School

***#BoomCalifornia.com: Witness to a Hanging

**#^San Fernando Valley Historical Society: Van Nuys Drive-In Theater

^^##Encino-Tarzana Patch: Valley Ice Skating Center

^^*#Topanga: Neighborhood Profile

^*#*Pinterest - Memories I Remember Growing Up in the SFV

^*##Godickson.com: San Fernando Valley Map, 1930s

^**#The Friends of Oakridge; theoakridgeestate.com

**##LADWP Historic Archive

*^##SCVhistory.com: Beale's Cut

*###California Department of Transportation

*#^^Big Orange Landmarks: Drive-ins Roared into LA Country; Old Stagecoach Trail

^*^#Official 1913 LA Aqueduct Program: Shirley Gonzales, Morris D. Olney

^^**Pinterest.com: Stoney Pt. and Santa Susana Pass; Santa Susana Pass from Simi Valley


*#*^Openlibrary.org: Westinghouse Automatic Electric Range

*#^*Los Angeles County Library: Agoura Hills; History of Agriculture in the San Fernando Valley; City of San Fernando; 1920 San Fernando Valley View from Topanga Road; Topanga Mule Team

*#**Facebook.com: Museum of the San Fernando Valley; Busch Monorail

*#^#Forum.skyscraperpage.com: Coffee Dan's; Tarzana LIbrary; Beale's Cut; Hotel Cecil; Aerial of Burbank and Hollywoodland Sign; Girard Tour Map; Universal City; Troquet Motel

*#*#California Museum: A Journey Along the El Camino Real

#*#*LA Curbed: How a Visionary Scoundrel Created Woodland Hills in the 1920s

#***Pinterest - California and DailyBreeze.com

#**^Flickr.com: Bibiop – Northridge Fashion Center; Norhridge Kmart Closing

#^*^Facebook.com: West San Fernando Valley Then And Now

#**#History of Funeraria del angel Praiswater

#*^#Google Maps and Street Views

#^*#Worldwide Drive-Ins: Winnetka 6

#^^^City of Calabasas: cityofcalabasas.com

#^^*Facebook.com: Van Nuys Airport

#*#^Pierce College - piercecollege.edu

#*^^A History of the San Fernnando Valley: lahistoryarchive.org

#*^*The First 100 Years: umccp.org

##^*Facebook.com: Canoga Park 100th Anniversary

##^^California State University Northridge History: csun.edu

##**Pinterest: CSUN History

##*^Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

##*#North Hollywood High School Alumni Newsletter

#*##Daily News: Rocketdyne Canoga Park; Proposed $3B Project at Rocketdyne Site

^###Northridge Fashion Mall History

*^#^*Fotomat - Lost Laurel

*^^^#DWP - Water and Power Associates Historical Archives

^*^*^Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles

*^*^*Los Encinos State Historic Park: historicparks.org

^^***Water and Power Associates

^^^**LAistory: Busch Gardens

^^^^*Mbcinfo.com: Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company

***^^Pacific Electric Inventory - libraryarchives.metro.net/

^^*^^Facebook.com: Garden of Allah Novels

***^#Daily News: Universal City Turns 100 Years Old

**^^^LA Movie Palaces: San Fernando Valley

*^^^^Pinterest: San Fernando Valley - My Home Sweet Home


****^Facebook: San Fernando Valley Blog

****#Entertainment Designer: The History of Universal Studios

^***^Pacific Electric San Fernando Valley Line - ERHA.org

^^^*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; Victory and Whitsett; Van Nuys Aerial; Budweiser/Anheiseur-Busch Sign; Ventura Blvd 1950s; Cypress Motor Motel

*^^^San Fernando Valley Historical Society/Facebook.com: Girard; Hotel Cecil; Sun Valley; La Reina Theater; JC Penney; California Bank; 1st Mail Wagon; Whitley Mansion; 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; Devonshire and Owensmouth; Sheep Crossing Roscoe; Log Ride / Busch Gardens

*^ 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 Mortan Organ Co.; Calabasas; Van Nuys Airport; CSUN; Hollywoodland Sign; Mulholland Drive/Highway; Television Set History; H.J. Whitley; Lankershim-Van Nuys Pacific Electric; Shadow Ranch; Leonis Adobe; Lankershim Boulevard; Atlas Missile; Thrifty Drugs; Van Nuys High School; Coast Daylight; Longs Drugs; Du-Par's Restaurant; Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company; Annheiseur Busch; Republic Pictures; Fotomat; Baskin-Robbins; Valley Presbyterian Hospital; Warner Center


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