Early Views of the San Fernando Valley

Historical Photos of the San Fernando Valley
(1939)^^^* - Hillside view looking north showing Van Nuys and North Hollywood.  Note how much land is still undeveloped. 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.  



Van Nuys City Hall

(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).




Whitsett and Victory

(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.  





Then and Now

(1940s)^^^* - View looking northwest at the intersection of Whitsett and Victory.   (2014)#*^# - View looking northwest at the intersection of Whitsett and Victory.



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





(1941)#^*^ – View looking north on Sepulveda Boulevard at San Fernando Mission Boulevard (today Mission Hills).  On the N/E corner there is a sign for the Spanish Café.  It was located at 500 Mission Boulevard, San Fernando.  On the S/E corner stands a gas station.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  





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


Historical Notes

In 1944, Bing Crosby’s recording of “San Fernando Valley” reaches No. 1 on the charts, no doubt prompting plenty of GIs to move here after the war.





(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.  




Northridge Market

(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. #^#^


Devonshire Downs

(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 .#^*^


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(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.#^



Van Nuys Boulevard

(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 in the "Central Business District" of Van Nuys. 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.^**^



(1950)^^#^ – Pacific Electric car no. 5110 heads south on Van Nuys Boulevard.  To the right is Frolics Restaurant located at 6216 Van Nuys Boulevard.  Further back is a Chevrolet Dealership and in the distance can be seen the Rivoli Theatre.  




(1952)##^ - High water, looking south on the 6200 block of Van Nuys Boulevard.  Pep Boys and The Rivoli Theatre can be seen in the background.  




(1952)#^*^ – View showing the 6200 block of Van Nuys Blvd, east side.  From left to right are: Shoe Center, Toy Store, Stark Jewelers, Dolan’s Sporting Goods, Pep Boys, and the Rivoli Movie Theatre.  




(1950)#^*^ – View showing Pep Boys (Manny, Moe, & Jack) located at 6264 Van Nuys Boulevard.  The top of Van Nuys City Hall can be seen in upper left. Photo courtesy of Rich Krugel  




(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.*^^^



(1952)#^*^ – View looking toward the west side of the 6300 block of Van Nuys Blvd.   Many post war (WWII) businesses opened in this section. On the two corners of Friar are Courdrey’s Drugs, & See’s Candies, then left to right – Shirlee Dress Shop, Town Gift Shop, Standard Outfitters, Whelan Drugs, Dr. R E Elliott, Sun Store, Law Offices of Corman and Hansen (upstairs), Van Nuys Stationery Store (Bush’s), Bill Kemp Sportswear, and Dentist Dr. Sitkin. Photo courtesy Keith Hart  




(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.*^


Van Nuys Drive-in Theatre

(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.^**^



(1948)**#^ – Ground view looking southwest showing the Van Nuys Drive-in shortly after it opened.   




(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.^**^


General Motors Plant

(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.*^^^





(1960s)*^*# - View showing the assembly line at the General Motors Plant in Van Nuys.






(ca. 1960s)^ - View showing an assembly worker putting the final touches on a Chevrolet Impala at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Van Nuys.  


Historical Notes

The GM Assembly 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.*^


Panorama City Shopping Mall

(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 Furniture 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.



Orcutt Ranch

(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.*^^*


Castle Peak

(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.


Woodland Hills

(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.  





(1949)#^*^ - Aerial view of Woodland Hills.  Same as previous photo but annotated to show street names and landmarks. The upper center of the picture is the intersection of Oxnard and Shoup. Note the pepper trees along Canoga and the pine trees along Shoup. Mrs Beachy's (of Calabasas fame) house on the hill covered witih citrus, now The Summit; and the barren hill now Shoup Park.  Annotated by Dean Fields  



Los Angeles River

(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).**^^



Sepulveda Dam

(1941)*^ – Sepulveda Dam in the latter stages of construction, showing the outlet channel, control tower, and service bridge.  


Historical Notes

After the great flood of 1938, the Army Corps of Engineers took the lead role in channelizing the river and constructing several dams which would create flood control basins behind them. Channelization began in 1938, and by 1960, the project was completed to form the present fifty-one mile engineered waterway. Included in this work were Hansen Dam, completed in 1940 and followed by Sepulveda Dam in 1941.*^




(1948)* – View of the Sepulveda Dam located in the south-central part of the San Fernando Valley.  The control tower can be seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

For 28 years the Sepulveda Dam did its job without incident until 1969 when the Los Angeles River overflowed its banks causing millions of dollars in damage. In 1988 the Los Angeles River's banks were raised to avoid another incident. In 1994 a hundred-year flood occurred in the Los Angeles River. The dam was restored and went without incident for another 11 years until the Los Angeles River again overflowed its banks in 2005.*^




(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.**^^




Ventura Boulevard

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


Historical Notes

To this day, despite the flood control channels, flooding still occurs in certain intersections of the San Fernando Valley especially after heavy rains.





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




(1952)##^– View looking northeast showing a flooded intersection at Ventura Boulevard and Woodman Avenue in Sherman Oaks.  A Signal Gas Station is on the left (N/E corner) and a barber shop is seen on the right.  




(ca. 1948)#^*^ – View looking east on Ventura Boulevard from near Laurelgrove Avenue toward Vantage Avenue (12200 blk of Ventura). The Hollywood Hills behind Universal City can be seen in the background.  




(1954)*##^ -  Ventura Boulevard between Vineland and Tujunga, looking northeast.  A Mohawk Gasoline station is seen at left.  




(1950)^^- View showing the Topper Motel on the north side of Ventura Boulevard, west of Colfax Avenue.  Part of the Carlton Motor Lodge, 11811 Ventura Blvd, can be seen behind the Topper.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  





(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".  





Then and Now

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






(1949)* – View showing the newly built Encino Theatre with large oak tree by the front entrance, located on the south side of Ventura Boulevard east of Leoline Avenue.  


Historical Notes

The Encino film Theatre opened in August 10, 1949 and was located at 16342 Ventura Blvd. The theater featured two hours of entertainment nightly; a feature, a short and a newsreel at one admission price. The theater held 1,000 seats which were staggered to provide clear views from every chair. The bottom half of the marquee is advertising the 1948 film noir, "They Live by Night." *^^^




(2015)#*^# - Google street view showing the mixed-use housing complex located at the site of the old Encino Theatre, 16340 Ventura Boulevard.  


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(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.  




(2015)#*^# - Google aerial view looking north over Reseda Park. The intersection of Victory and Reseda boulevards is at lower-left.  


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(1950s)+#^ – View showing the Southern Pacific overnight “Lark” as it makes its way through the Chatsworth Mountains toward downtown L.A.  


Historical Notes

The Lark was an overnight passenger train of the Southern Pacific Company on the 470-mile run between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It became a streamliner in 1941 and was discontinued on April 8, 1968. The Lark ran along the same route as the Coast Daylight and was often pulled by a locomotive wearing the famous Daylight paint scheme of orange, red, and black.*^




(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)^ - View of Chatsworth's second railroad station located at Devonshire Street. The view is looking northwest toward Devonshire. This station coexisted with the first station until the latter was destroyed by fire in 1917.  


Historical Notes

The Original Chatsworth Depot was built in 1893 near the intersection of Marilla and Topanga. Chatsworth's second depot (seen above) was built around 1910, located south of Devonshire Street on the west side of the tracks.



(1956)#^*^ – View is looking south from Devonshire showing the Southern Pacific Chatsworth Depot on the west side of the tracks.  


Historical Notes

By the early 1960s the above Chatsworth Depot fell into disuse and was razed by Southern Pacific (December, 1962).

In 1997 a new depot and town center was erected between Devonshire and Lassen streets.



Snow in the San Fernando Valley

(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 the San Fernando Valley and in most of Southern California.




(1949)#^*^ - Aerial view looking northwest showing the effect of a three day snow storm (Janurary 9th through January 11th).  Sepulveda Boulevard is seen crossing at center left to right with the Sepulveda Dam and Basin just behind it.  





(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.^^^



(1949)++## – View showing a walnut orchard on Hazeltine Avenue in Van Nuys after three days of snow (Jan 9th thru Jan 12th).  


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(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.*^


Valley Plaza Mall

(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.  




(1962)* -  Photograph caption dated February 19, 1962 reads, "Motorists splash through flooded North Hollywood intersection - Corner of Victory and Laurel Canyon boulevards was awash."  - Valley Times  






(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.^^^



(1960)++# - John F. Kennedy campaigning on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in North Hollywood.  The Valley Plaza sign is seen in the background. Note: The woman in the back seat is not Jaqueline Kennedy. It is JFK's sister, Patricia Kennedy Lawford. Photo by Cornell Capa  


Historical Notes

The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1960. The Republican Party nominated incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon, while the Democratic Party nominated John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. The incumbent President, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible for re-election after being elected the maximum two times allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment; he was the first President affected by that amendment. This was the first presidential election in which voters in Alaska and Hawaii were able to participate, as both had become states in 1959.

Kennedy received 112,827 (0.17%) more votes than Nixon nationwide and although Nixon won the popular vote contest in more individual states (26 to 22), the electoral votes held by those various states, when cast, gave Kennedy an Electoral College victory of 303 to 219. Nixon was the first candidate in American presidential electoral history to lose an election despite carrying a majority of the states.*^



(1965)* - Aerial view, looking south, of the Hollywood Freeway extension under construction. Near the top of the photo is Laurel Canyon Boulevard (1). In the foreground is Victory Boulevard (2). At the top of the photo is the freeway going to Los Angeles (3). At left-center can be seen the Los Angeles Federal Savings Building and the Valley Plaza.  




(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.




(1960s)^^^*  - View looking east on Magnolia Boulevard at Laurel Canyon Boulevard where the Big Donut Drive-in stands on the northeast corner.  


Historical Notes

Russell C. Wendell, a doughnut machine salesman, created the Big Donut Drive-in. There were 10 locations, built over the course of the 1950s. At least five Big Donuts survive: they are Kindle's Donuts in unincorporated Westmont (this is the original location, built in 1950), (2) Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood near LAX, the Donut King II in Gardena (3), Dale's Donuts in Compton (5), and Bellflower Bagels in Bellflower (8). Each features the distinctive giant doughnut constructed of rolled steel bars covered with gunite, a material used in swimming pools. Five Big Donuts have been demolished. They were located in Culver City (4), North Hollywood (6), Inglewood (on Imperial Hwy, 7), Van Nuys (9) and Reseda (10).

The building style dates to a period in the early 20th century that saw a proliferation of Programmatic Architecture throughout Southern California. This style had its heyday from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. By the 1950s however, the trend of designing structures in the shape of the product sold there had changed to focus on signs rather than architecture itself.*^

Click HERE to see more examples of Programmatic Architecture.




(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  




(1954)* – View looking northwest over the intersection of Van Nuys and Victory on a very clear day.   


Historical Notes

Valley Times photo captions reads: “Clear skies in Van Nuys - November, 1954. A 15-mile visibility could be seen with no smog in sight. The City had recently changed the home incinerator burning hours from morning to evening. Landmarks noted include Van Nuys High School, Saint Elisabeth Catholic Church, and the former VA hospital in Sepulveda.”



(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." ++#


Cupid's Hot Dogs (Van Nuys)

(1950s)++^^ – View showing Cupid’s Hot Dogs on the southwest corner of Victory Boulevard and Tyrone Avenue in Van Nuys.  


Historical Notes

Cupid's was originally established in 1946 as Walsh's Hot Dogs by Richard and Bernice Walsh. Shortly thereafter Richard changed the name to Cupid's; which was Bernice's nickname. For nearly 40 years Richard and Bernice ran the North Hollywood, Van Nuys and Canoga Park locations.

In the early 80's their long haired surfer son Rick took over.  2009 brought on the 3rd generation of Walsh's to continue the Cupid's tradition. Sisters, Kelly and Morgan Walsh, have now taken the reigns.++^^



(1950s)+++ – View looking east showing two men in suits posing for the camera in front of Cupid’s located on the southwest corner of Victory Blvd and Tyrone Ave in Van Nuys.  


Historical Notes

Today, there are the 3 locations still owned and operated by the original founding family:  Canoga Park, Simi Valley, and Northridge.  The Victory and Tyrone Cupid's seen above no longer exists.  It’s now just a parking lot.


Cupid's Hot Dogs (North Hollywood)

(1956)* – View looking northwest showing the intersection of Lankershim and Burbank boulevards in North Hollywood.  Cupid’s Hot Dogs stand is seen on the NE corner (center-right).  Lankershim Blvd runs from lower-left to upper-right.  


Historical Notes

Today, a Denny's Restaurant is located on the site where the Lankershim and Burbank Cupid's once stood. Click HERE for contemporary view.




(ca. 1950s)#^*^ - Close-up front view of the North Hollywood Cupid's Hot Dog stand located on the NE corner of Lankershim and Burbank blvds. Today, a Denny's stands at this location.  




Valley Times

(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.*


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(1950)* - Photograph caption dated February 24, 1950 reads "Three day celebration of opening of Bay's new supermarket, 10708 Magnolia, Blvd., North Hollywood, will be climaxed at 2 p.m. tomorrow by trick riding of Janice Hays on the pinto pony Dixie."  




(2016)#*^# – Google street view showing the Magnolia Market at 10708 Magnolia Boulevard featuring Antojitos Parral, a small Mexican food eatery.  


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San Fernando Valley Red Car

(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 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, 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.^*#

Click HERE to see earlier views of the above station, when it was called Lankershim Station.




(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).  


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Cahuenga and Lankershim

(1947)* - Looking southeast down Cahuenga Boulevard, from just west of where it crosses Lankershim Boulevard (center). Seen, from left to right, are a Richfield service station, Dieterich Motors used car lot, a Foster and Kleiser billboard advertising 1947 Chevrolet automobiles, homes up in the hills, the Tasty Nook Cafe, and various other businesses. Photograph dated August 1, 1947.  




(1949)* – View looking southeast down Cahuenga Boulevard, from just west of where it crosses Lankershim Boulevard (center). Seen, from left to right are the Lankershim Bridge and Tunnel (only partially visible), a Foster and Kleiser billboard advertising the 1949 Ford automobile (left), homes up in the hills, a Rexall drugstore and a Standard oil service station. Photograph dated June 23, 1949.  


Historical Notes

The bridge/tunnel was built in 1948 as part of the Cahuenga Freeway; it is now known as the Lankershim/101 Freeway Bridge and Tunnel.

The corner where the billboard is seen (left of center) was named Yitzhak Rabin Square in 1995 in honor of the slain Israeli Prime Minister.*




(1950)* - Cars travel south down the Cahuenga Pass Freeway over the Lankershim Bridge and Tunnel, just north of where Cahuenga and Ventura boulevards meet in Studio City.  


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Van Nuys

(ca. 1946)* - Automobiles travel in both directions on Sepulveda Boulevard where it crosses Saticoy Street in Van Nuys. A billboard advertises Signal Gas, pumped next door at the service station (left).  


Historical Notes

Signal Gasoline company was founded by Samuel B. Mosher in 1922. It renamed itself to Signal Gas & Oil in 1928 to reflect its expanding businesses; by the 1950s, Signal was the largest independent oil company on the West Coast of the United States and Mosher held large stakes in American President Lines and Flying Tiger Line. In 1964, Signal merged with the Garrett Corporation, an aerospace company, and the combined company adopted "The Signal Companies" as its corporate name in 1968.

The merger of Allied and Signal made aerospace the new company's largest business sector.  The combined company adopted the name Allied-Signal in 1985. It dropped the hyphen to become AlliedSignal in 1993 to reinforce a one-company image and signify the full integration of all of its businesses. In 1999, AlliedSignal acquired Honeywell for $15 billion and took its more-recognizable name.*^





(1948)* –  View showing Builders Emporium located at 17643 Sherman Way in Van Nuys, before expansion. Store then had only 600 square feet of space. Photograph was published in the Valley Times in 1955 on the occasion of the store's expansion.  


Historical Notes

Builders Emporium was started in the San Fernando Valley in 1946.   Victor M. Carter bought the ailing Van Nuys hardware store in 1949. He introduced the concept of a self-service hardware store with a "do it yourself" training component that became the model for The Home Depot. Carter built Builder’s Emporium into a leading self-serve retail operation and the largest hardware store in the United States, selling it in 1956, to acquire controlling interest in Republic Pictures just a few years later. The chain was later acquired by Wickes which dismantled its operation in 1989. Builders Emporium was forced to close in 1993 after its former parent had a number of financial problems during the previous decade.*^




Anheuser-Busch Brewery

(1953)* - Photo of the future home of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. in Van Nuys, taken during the ground-breaking ceremony. A billboard reads: "Western Home of Budweiser - Lager Beer - Anheuser-Busch, Inc. - St. Louis. Los Angeles. Newark". A crowd of people can be seen standing next to a 'grand stand' in the background.  


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.*^




(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 Boulevard in 1916.

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




(ca. 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

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

In 1966, Anheuser-Busch transformed a cabbage patch adjacent to the Van Nuys brewery into a tropical beer garden and bird sanctuary. Click HERE to see more on Busch Gardens.



City of San Fernando

(1938)#* – View showing Rennie's Theater, located at 214 N. Maclay Avenue in San Fernando.  Now showing: "Hotel Hollywood" starring Dick Powell and Rosemary Lane; and "Bulldog Drummond's Revenge" starring John Barrymore.  


Historical Notes

Rennie’s Theatre was opened in 1925. In the early-1960’s it was operating as the Crest Theatre. It was still open as a movie theatre in the San Fernando Valley as of January 20, 1980, showing Spanish language films and re-named Azteca Theatre. It is now operating as the Living Hope Community Church. Click HERE to see current (2016) view.




(1940)#* – Night view showing a man purchasing tickets at Rennie’s Theatre in San Fernando.  Mr. Rennie is seen standing at the front entry door on the right.  





(ca. 1950)#* - View looking southeast from the south side of San Fernando Road just west of Maclay Avenue.  


Historical Notes

The junction of State Route 118 with State Routes 99 and 6 was at Maclay and San Fernando. The 118 proceeded north on Maclay to Foothill and then to the La Crescenta Valley and Pasadena.

The City of San Fernando was founded in 1874. Click HERE to see San Fernando in the 1800s.





(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.*^^^




(1948)#^*^ – View showing a group of people posing for the camera in front of Pickering's Reseda Hardware Co. located on the east side of Reseda Boulevard south of Sherman Way (7140 Reseda Blvd).  


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. Pickering's Reseda Hardware is seen on the left.  





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





(ca. 1954)^ - Reseda Boulevard looking north, one block south of Sherman Way, circa 1954. 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)* - Valley Times photo 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." View is looking west on Sherman Way towards Reseda Boulevard.  




(1955)##^ – View looking east on Sherman Way from Reseda Boulevard with Sav-On Drug Store seen at center-left.  




(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.  



Reseda High School

(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*




(1968)+## – Reseda High School Cheerleaders - 1968  


* * * * *




(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.  


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(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.  



Sodium Reactor Experiement

(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.*^



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Ventura Boulevard

(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)^ - View looking east on Ventura Bouelvard from Calabasas.  


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. #^



Hidden Hills

(1950)#+ - Looking from the main gateway along Long Valley Road in Hidden Hills. The oak at the left is between 23704 and 23726 Long Valley Road. The oak on the right is at the northeast corner of Twin Oaks Road and Long Valley Road.  




(1950)#+ - Corner of the intersection of Long Valley Road and 101 before it was a freeway. The Old Miguel Leonis Adobe home is at the photographer's back.  




(1950)#+ - Putting the finishing touches on the main entrance gate. The first sections of the three rail, white fences have just been erected.  




(ca. 1950)^ – View showing the front gate in the new development of Hidden Hills.  A truck with fill dirt is seen entering the subdivision at Long Valley Road.  




(1950)#+ – View showing a large sign on Ventura Boulevard at the intersection of Long Valley Road.  


Historical Notes

Sing reads:  1000 Acres of Elbow Room - Live in HIDDEN HILLS where Living is Fun! Full Acre Lots $4750.

The "1000 acres" were composed of the following purchases: 1) in 1949, 700 acres acquired from E.E. Hurlbutt; 2) in 1950, 160 acres purchased from Nace, et al; 20 acres from Mrs. Lasher; 119 acres from the Straubinger family; and 5.6 acres from Spinks — a total of 1004.6 acres. #+




(1950s)^ – A man and woman ride horseback near the real estate office at the front gate of the new Hidden Hills development.  


Historical Notes

By 1957, the cost of a three- or four-bedroom home on a one-acre site was $27,500 – $47,500. One- to five-acre home sites were selling for $7,950 – $12,500. #+




(1950s)^ - Developer A. E. Hanson and salesman Pat Murphy shaking hands on the porch of the Hidden Hills real estate office.  


Historical Notes

The Hidden Hills Community was designed and developed in the 1950s by A.E. Hanson, a renowned Southern California landscape architect and planned community developer. His earlier projects included Rolling Hills and Palos Verdes Estates, and the 1920s Beverly Hills Harold Lloyd Estate 'Greenacres'. *^




(ca. 1953)^ - Postcard view showing the entrance to Hidden Hills.  


Historical Notes

Hidden Hills is bordered on the north by the nature reserve and greenbelt of the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, a park with miles of equestrian, hiking, and mountain biking trails. Nearby to the south is the pioneer Leonis Adobe National Historic Landmark, with gardens and a historical Museum. It's across the historic El Camino Real of the Spanish Las Californias and Mexican Alta California eras, now U.S. Route 101.*^




(ca. 1960)#+ - View of entrance to Hidden Hills with Gatehouse.  


Historical Notes

In the spring of 1961, civic leaders in the tiny community of Hidden Hills launched a drive to form a city. They were faced with the prospect of being annexed to the City of Los Angeles and having Burbank Boulevard extended through the community. The petition for cityhood was signed by 79% of the voters, and in spite of the fact that the Los Angeles City Council's Planning Committee opposed the incorporation, it was approved by the Board of Supervisors.

September 19, 1961 was designated as election day, when a total of 358 votes were cast for incorporation (83% of registered voters), with 71 votes against. The area of the new city was approximately 1.3 square miles, with a population of a little over 1,000 and an assessed valuation of $2,681,910. On October 19, 1961, Hidden Hills became the 73rd city in the County. #+




(1960)^ - Photo showing Archie E. Hanson, Jr. and his daughter in a horse-drawn buggy in the Calabasas Christmas Parade.  


Historical Notes

Archie Hanson, Jr. developed Hidden Hills as well as Rolling Hills, CA. Mr. Hanson renovated the Leonis Adobe and lived there with his family for a few years. He also designed the gardens at the Getty House in Los Angeles and the gardens of the Harold Lloyd Estate among other projects. The photo is part of the Leonis Adobe Museum and Plummer House collection, courtesy of CSUN/Oviatt Digital Library.



* * * * *


Woodland Hills

(ca. 1952)#^*^ – Aerial view of Woodland Hills looking east.  The large road running away at bottom-center is Ventura Boulevard.  It makes a slight turn just past Shoup Avenue (center-left).  The freeway was built on top of the second block over to the right with Avenue San Luis paralleling it, next street over.  




(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.^*^




(1957)*^*#- January SNOW FALL has tractors stalled on the Ventura Freeway exit at Topanga Canyon Boulevard during freeway construction. Photo Date: January 29, 1957  


Historical Notes

The bulldozers are parked on the Topanga North off-ramp of the westbound 101. Across the street the cut for the Topanga South off-ramp can be seen. The hill in background is still there and is topped by the private homes on Como Circle. The bus is driving north on Topanga approaching Burbank Boulevard.





(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.” **^#




(1956)* – View showing Ventura Boulevard as it cuts through ‘Chalk Hill’ in Woodland Hills.  


Historical Notes

Photograph caption dated December 26, 1956 reads "Ventura boulevard cuts through famous hills that divide East Woodland Hills from Woodland Hills. Area to south of cut is earmarked for $6 million high school in future. Plans call for a facility similar to Reseda High School with room for some 2,500 students, modern buildings and athletic fields. Southeast of this location is remainder of large estates which once made up much of residential area. Beautiful home and spacious grounds of Lindley Bothwell on Oakdale avenue are example of 'what used to be.' Other sections of area fell under 'urban yoke' and modern structures are addin every day to medern look of community."



Pierce College

(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. #*#^



Owensmouth and the Canoga Citrus Association

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


Historical Notes

Only after Los Angeles annexed Owensmouth in 1917 did aqueduct water flow into town.  The arrival of Owens Valley water made citrus groves and other forms of intensive agriculture possible.  Sunkist used the Canoga name, which previously referred to a watering hole at the site of the town.

The town was located on the site of an old well used 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").**^^




(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.  





(ca. 1950)#^*^ – Aerial view looking east showing the Canoga Citrus Association processing plant located on Roscoe and Canoga.  Today it’s the Salvation Army building.  


Historical Notes

The Canoga Citrus Association plant was located near the northeast corner of Roscoe & Canoga. It began packing oranges in 1927, with at least 25 brands packaged at this site.*^^^





(1953)*^^^ – View looking west showing sheep crossing Roscoe Boulevard near Canoga Avenue in Canoga Park. The entrance to the Canoga Citrus Association processing plant can be seen on the right.  




(ca. 1950s)##* - View looking northeast showing sheep crossing Roscoe Boulevard in Canoga Park* while a 1951 Nash Rambler Station Wagon waits.  


Historical Notes

*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.)**^^




Canoga Park

(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.  




(1950s)^^^* - View showing Sherman Way heading towards Topanga Canyon Boulevard as seen from near Alabama Avenue.  California Bank is seen on the left.  




(1951)#^*^ – View showing four people (employees/owners?) posing in front of Mar-Wick Food Market located at 21825 Sherman Way.  Partial view of the sign on the left indicates that Larrie's Butcher Shop is inside.  


Historical Notes

Before Follow Your Heart, there was Larrie's Butcher Shop.
Before Larrie's Butcher Shop, there was Mar-Wick Food Mart.
Before Mar-wick Food Mart, there was Chef's Pastry Shop.

Chef's Pastry Shop opened in May 1949. Mar-wick Food Mart was in business by fall of 1950, and Larrie's opened up inside of Mar-Wick in January 1951.

Larrie's soon expanded to include the entire building, and in 1958, enlarged the building by adding 50 feet to its depth. Follow Your Heart moved in in the mid 1970's. #^*^

Click HERE to see contemporary view.




(1951)#^*^ –  Hayward Garlow, Katherine Gathers, Sally Curruthers, and Betty Babcock are standing next to a Maytag washer in front of the Valley Refrigeration Co. Store located at 21715 Sherman Way.  


Historical Notes

The Valley Refrigeration Co. Store opened in the mid 1940’s.  Today, the building is occupied by Work Boot Warehouse.  Click HERE for contemporary view.




(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.  




Then and Now

(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).  



Shadow Ranch

(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).*^



Chatsworth Reservoir

(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 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).  


Historical Notes

Nordhoff Street was named for famed 19th-century health seeker and writer Charles Nordhoff.  Hired by Southern Pacific rail baron Henry Huntington in 1873, journalist Charles Nordhoff wrote the book California for Health, Pleasure and Residence.




(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.  




(1960)* - Photograph caption dated September 27, 1960 reads, "Pilot's view of Chatsworth, looking east from Canoga Avenue, shows area which is expected to one day be a major Valley industrial section. Artist's keyed locations are: (1) Canoga Park Processing, Inc., (2) Amphenol-Western Division, (3) Metal Bellows Corp., (4) Deluxe Check Printers, Inc. (5) Azar Manufacturing Co., Inc., Chatsworth, and (6) Riker Laboratories, Inc., and (7) Orange Empire Co-Op, both in Northridge. Take a good look at the spacious fields--they won't be there long."  


Nike Missile Site (Oat Mountain, Chatsworth)

(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.^#



Valley Steam Plant

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




(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.



Reseda Boulevard

(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. 1950)##^ – View looking south on Reseda Boulevard from Sherman Way showing commercial business on the west side of the street including: Reseda Bakery, Donut Hut, and a shoe repair shop. The large 2-story building in the background is the West Valley LAPD Headquarters. Note the stop sign at left (S/E corner).  




(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. #^*^




Granada Hills

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





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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; Munch Box

*#Mojave Desert.net: Remi Nadeau

#*Huntington Digital Library



**^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; Mulholland Bridge; Panorama City; Getting the Skinny on a Tall Valley Landmark; Valley Newspapers of the Past; Schlitz Closure

^^*LA Times:  Stanley Norris Petit

*##LA Times: Dig Into History You'll Find Snake Oil..Victor Girard Kleinberger

+##Flickr.com: Valley Relics

+#^Facebook.com: Encino Velodrome; American Rails

+#+Pinterest - Valley History

+**Valley Presbyterian Hospital History and Milestones

*++Getty Research Institute


+^^Panorama City - Commercial Area Concept Plan

++^LAparks.org: Travel Town

++#Facebook.com: Photos of Los Angeles

##*Pinterest - California; Roscoe Sheep Crossing

##^Flickr.com: Ryerson

#^#San Fernando Valley Blog: LA Federal Savings Building, North Hollywood; Van Nuys Blvd. Postcard, Valley Music Theatre

*#*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

*##*BellCanyon.com: Bell Canyon History

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

^*^*Metro.net: Mulholland Drive Bridge

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

*^^^San Fernando Valley Historic Society/Facebook.com: JC Penney; California Bank; Devonshire Downs; Topanga Plaza Founain; Devonshire and Owensmouth; Sheep Crossing Roscoe; Log Ride / Busch Gardens

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

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

**^^KCET: LA Flood of 1938: Cement the River's Future; 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; Thematic Cartography and Mapping Los Angeles


**^#LA Times Framework: Busch Gardens Monorail; Woodland Hills Sheep

*^^#Flickr.com: Kaiser Panorama City

**#*EntertainmentDesigner.com: Busch Gardens

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

*^#^Northridge Fashion Mall Jobs

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

++##Facebook: Paul Ayers

^##*Pinterest: Drive-in Speakers

^##^Pinterest: San Fernando Valley

*#^#Forum.skyscraperpage.com: Coffee Dan's

*##^City-Data.com: Ventura Boulevard

*#^*Los Angeles County Library: Agoura Hills

*#^^Big Orange Landmarks: Drive-ins Roared into LA Country

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

^***LosAngelesPast.com: Cahuenga Pass

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

#**^Flickr.com: Bibiop – Northridge Fashion Center

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

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

#*^#Google Maps

#^*#Worldwide Drive-Ins: Winnetka 6

#*#^Pierce College - piercecollege.edu

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

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

##**Pinterest: CSUN History

^###Northridge Fashion Mall History

*^#^*Fotomat - Lost Laurel

^^***Water and Power Associates

^^^**LAistory: Busch Gardens

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

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

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

*^^^#DWP - Water and Power Associates Historical Archives - Courtesy of Rex Atwell

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

^^^*San Fernando Valley Relics: Facebook.com; Leonis Ranch; 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; Van Nuys and Oxnard; Van Nuys Aerial; Van Nuys Blvd, ca. 1940; I-5 and I-14 Interchange; Van Nuys Drive-in; Mobil Gas Station; Canoga Drive-In; Victory and Whitsett; Van Nuys Aerial; Budweiser/Anheiseur-Busch Sign; Ventura Blvd 1950s

*^ 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 Freeway; Los Angeles Valley College; Kaiser Permanente; Van Nuys Assembly; Rancho El Escorpión; Topanga Plaza; Simi Valley Freeway (118); Newhall Pass Interchange; Litton Industries; West HIls; Devonshire Downs; CSUN; Television Set History; Shadow Ranch; Atlas Missile; Thrifty Drugs; Coast Daylight; Longs Drugs; Du-Par's Restaurant; Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company; Annheiseur Busch; Fotomat; Baskin-Robbins; Valley Presbyterian Hospital; Warner Center; Gemco; Valley Music Theatre; Westfield Fashion Square; Paxton Park (Ritchie Valens Park); Big Donut Drive-in; Randy's Donuts; Builders Emporium; AlliedSignal; North Hills; Pacoima; 1960 Presidential Election


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