Early Views of the San Fernando Valley

Historical Photos of the San Fernando Valley
(ca. 1913)* - A man is seen behind the wheel of an early model car sitting on top of a completed section of the LA Aqueduct.  


Historical Notes

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

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




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


Historical Notes

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




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





(1913)* - Four men open the gates allowing Los Angeles Aqueduct water to cascade down to the San Fernando Valley.  





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


Historical Notes

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

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

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




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


Historical Notes

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

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





(1915)* – An early model car traveling past the terminus of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in present day Sylmar just south of Newhall Pass in the San Fernando Valley. The aqueduct had been completed by William Mulholland two years earlier in November 1913. The road in photo is likely the predecessor to Highway 99 and Interstate 5 heading towards the Ridge Route between Los Angeles and Bakersfield which had just been completed the same year of 1915.  





(n.d.)^# - Terminus of the Los Angeles Aqueduct - This photograph shows a sign advertising the terminus of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which had been completed in November, 1913. The sign was located near where present day Interstate 5 runs just east of the Van Norman Reservoir in Sylmar. In the background to the North are the San Gabriel Mountains, just east of the Newhall Pass. To the left of the sign can be seen the original water cascade that marked the terminus of the Aqueduct. The sign states "Terminus of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Length 233 Miles. Capacity 260 Million Gallons Daily".  



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


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


Historical Notes

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

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




(ca. 1908)^- View of field and buildings on the Daic Ranch in Calabasas. Left to right: Bly House, Liberty School House, and Daic Ranch buildings.  


Historical Notes

When large ranches were divided into farms in the late 1800's, families of settlers struggled against poverty and drought. In her book, "Calabasas Girls," Catherine Mulholland brings the era to life with photographs and letters of her ancestors, the Ijams. When water and power came to Owensmouth (Canoga Park), they were happy to leave the difficult life of Calabasas pioneers. *




(Early 1900s)* – View showing the Liberty School, one of four one-room schoolhouses in the Calabasas/Las Virgenes area around the turn of the 20th century.  Photo courtesy of the Calabasas Historical Society  


Historical Notes

In 1897, land for the school was purchased from John Enos for one dollar and eighty-seven cents. It was created from the Las Virgenes and Calabasas Districts, and was built on the Liberty Grade, west of Las Virgenes Rd. It was located near the Daic homestead, which itself was located near the present-day Grape Arbor Park at Lost Hills Rd. Wencil Daic helped start the school, and served on the school board for ten years; its location near his ranch was convenient for his children to attend.

Additional land was purchased for the school in 1941 from Herman & Dorothy Moser. In the 1940’s, a new state law forced one room schools to form a union school district, at which time, Arthur E Wright, a member of the Liberty School Board, helped pull the new district together.

The building has a feature that was not common in other schoolhouses - it had a porch.*




(1914)* – View looking west showing contstruction of Ventura Highway near Calabasas using horsepower.  


Historical Notes

In 1913-1914, the state highway from Calabasas on through to Ventura was being reconstructed and paved. Here is a view of the reconstruction in Calabasas. This is the westbound view in between what is now Liberty Cyn Rd and Chesebro Rd.




Then and Now

(1914 vs 2020s)* – Ventura Freeway (Hwy 101) between Liberty Cyn Rd and Chesboro Rd near Calabasas.    





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


Historical Notes

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

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




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


Historical Notes

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



Calabasas Grocery Store, Oak Garage and the Calabasas "Hanging Tree"

(ca. 1910s)* - Charles Cooper, on the left, standing next to his grocery store and the Oak Garage in Calabasas. In the background stands a large oak tree and an El Camino Real Mission Bell Marker. This particular oak tree was used on numerous occasions to dispense swift justice and thus became known as the Calabasas "Hanging Tree".  


Historical Notes

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

Adjacent to the grocery store was the Oak Garage, named for the oak tree, known as "Hangman's Oak". The tree was used for hangings along with a second tree located at the Calabasas Jail across the street.




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


Historical Notes

The oak tree seen above carries with it some historical significance. It was one of two oak trees in Calabasas used repeatedly to dispense swift justice.*




(1920s)^ - This Southern California historical building used to be a farmhouse but was later turned into a grocery store and hotel. The two-story building has about four rocking chairs on the front porch. Same building as above but 10 years later. On the right is the famous Calabasas "Hanging Tree" with the Oak Garage to the right (out of view).  


Historical Notes

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




ca. 1968)^ – View showing members of the Calabasas Cattleman's Association posing in front of the old Calabasas Store. The group of men are well armed and the man on the right is holding a hanging noose. The Calabasas "Hanging Tree" is to the right and out of view. Photo by Debbie and Tom Cleaveland  





(1951)* – Close-up view showing Kramer's General Store on Ventura Boulevard with the Calabasas ‘Hanging Tree’ on the right.  





(ca. 1930)^ – View showing the Oak Garage and Gas Station with Frank Cooper standing in the doorway.  In the background is the Calabasas “Hanging Tree",  





(ca. 1936)* - Exterior view of the Oak Garage, a gas station and auto repair garage on Calabasas Road in Calabasas. A bell marker identifying El Camino Real is visible on the left side of the image right in front of the "Hangman's Oak", whose limb is seen across the top of the image. The tree was used for hangings along with another oak tree at the Calabasas Jail located nearby across the street..  





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


Historical Notes

The above tree known by many as the Calabasas 'Hanigng Tree' stood until 2017 when it was removed since it was dying and was deemd a public hazard.

The other well known "Hanging Tree" met its demise several years earilier. In 1965, Rocketdyne needed to transport a prototype rocket through Calabasas to its testing facility in Simi Hills. The landmark tree (in bad shape at the time) created a bottleneck for the oversize load. To solve the problem, a crane operator carefully transported the lifeless 30-foot trunk down the road to Leonis Adobe, a Calabasas house once owned by a prominent nineteenth-century Basque rancher. Here the beloved mock gallows, concreted into place, stood until 1995, when a winter storm toppled it. The desiccated wood shattered instantly, and in the aftermath, someone absconded with the decorative noose.*




(2017)* - Workers begin the process of taking out the rotted 20-foot-high oak tree trunk, while the city’s historic El Camino Real bell remains undisturbed. Photo courtesy of The Acorn  


Historical Notes

Legend has it that the tree was used for public hangings along with another oak tree located not too far away across the street next to the jail. The oak was estimated to be between 200 and 250 years old. It stood in front of Calabasas Jewelers on the historic Kramer store property, just across the street from the Sagebrush Cantina in Old Town.

Arborists determined the oak was dying and that it presented a hazard to the public. The tree was cut down and only a 20-foot-high section of trunk was left standing as a tribute to the past, but it too had to be removed due to internal rot.*


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


Historical Notes

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




(1915)^ – View showing Thompson's Auto Stage, the first bus (taxi) service to Hollywood. Viewed in this image are people from Calabasas leaving for a shopping trip to Los Angeles. The taxi serviced Newbury Park, Cornell, Calabasas, and Hollywood.  





(1918)* - View showing the future Route 101 highway heading north from what is now Lost Hills toward Las Virgenes (Malibu Canyon) and the Conejo Valley on what was then the El Camino Real from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.  



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Roscoe (later Sun Valley - 1948)

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


Historical Notes

In the 1880's Sun Valley was known as Roberts, the name of a general store in town. The name was changed to Roscoe in 1896 and subsequently, Sun Valley in 1948.

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

Click HERE to see more early views of Sun Valley.


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(ca. 1905)* - Early panoramic view looking north on Brand Boulevard at Fourth Street (later Broadway) with the First National Bank of Glendale seen at right.  Rail tracks run north and south on Brand with electric power poles in the middle of the street.  To the far right (N/E corner) stands the Pacific Eelctric station.  


Historical Notes

Brand Boulevard was named after Leslie Coombs Brand, “The Father of Glendale”. Brand was an important civic booster who built an estate in 1904 called El Miradero featuring an eye-catching mansion whose architecture combined characteristics of Spanish, Moorish, and Indian styles (today’s Brand Library and Art Center).  His most important contributions to Glendale, though, was when he partnered with Henry E. Huntington to bring the Pacific Electric Railway, or the "Red Cars," to the area also in 1904.

The First National Bank of Glendale seen above was the city’s second bank. It was founded by Leslie Brand in 1905. Brand's friend and business partner, Dan Campbell, served as the bank's vice president and manager.




(ca. 1910s)* - View is looking at Brand Boulevard, north of Broadway. Work is being done on the right side of the road. Several businesses are seen including the First National Bank, Glendale building on the right.  





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





(1919)* - View of Brand and Lexington and the surrounding area. The Glendale Press building is on the left. The train in the distance is stopped to pick up passengers waiting along the way.  


Historical Notes

The Glendale Line was pioneered by L.C. Brand and associates starting in October, 1902, through their corporation, "The Los Angeles & Glendale Electric Railway". On June 29, 1903, Brand received a franchise from the Los Angeles City Council for an electric railway line running from Los Angeles to Glendale.  The franchise was soon sold to Henry E. Huntington, owner of Pacific Electric Railway Co., who would bring the "Red Cars" to Glendale by 1904 under the name of Los Angeles Interurban Railway (later changed to Pacific Electric).

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Glendale.



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Lankershim (later North Hollywood - 1927)

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




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


Historical Notes

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





(ca. 1920)^ - Wide angle view of the Bank of Lankershim and J. E. Jones Druggist's store located at the SE corner of Chandler and Lankershim Blvds.  


Historical Notes

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





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


Historical Notes

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





(1920)^ - The Southern Pacific Railroad in Lankershim. The Bonner Fruit Company and Diamond Walnut Plant used the railroad to ship their products across the nation from this station.  




Lankershim Blvd Bridge

(1912)#^*^ - View looking southeast showing the Lankershim Bridge over the Los Angeles River. Universal purchased the surrounding ranches just 2 years later. There appears to be an auto and a man crossing the bridge.  


Historical Notes

In 1912, several ranches were located south of the Los Angeles River and east of Lankershim Boulevard.  In 1914, Universal Studios purchasted these ranches, which included the Taylor, Boag, Davis, and Hershey ranches.  The ranches were once part of the overarching Clyman Ranch that was owned by the Lankershim wheat empire, which was under the guise of the Los Angeles Farm and Milling Company.^^





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




Universal City

(ca. 1914)***^# – Panoramic view looking southwest showing Universal City. The water tower at center-right would later be converted into a castle tower. The Lankershim Blvd Bridge can be seen to the right of the tower. (Universal Handout Photo).  


Historical Notes

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

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

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

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





(1915)^^ – View looking northwest showing Universal City with its whitewashed buildings.  Photo Courtesy:  Marc Wanamaker  


Historical Notes

The main buildings consisted of two main stages, Universal Studio Tours, and the production support facilities that were on the north side of the lot.  At this time, the studio had formerly opened on Lankershim Boulevard.





(1915)^^^* - Crowds arrive, some carrying American Flags, to help celebrate the opening of Universal City on March 15, 1915.  


Historical Notes

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




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




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


Historical Notes

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





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


Historical Notes

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





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


Historical Notes

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





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





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





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





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


Historical Notes

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





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


Historical Notes

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

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





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


Historical Notes

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

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Universal Studios.



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Norwegian Lutheran Church (later Faith Bible Church)

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


Historical Notes

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

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




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







Historical Notes

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

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



Sylmar (Los Angeles Olive Growers Association)

(1909)#** - View showing the Los Angeles Olive Growers Association building in Sylmar, Los Angeles. Railroad tracks and a railroad car are adjacent to the building.  Six men are seen on the platform posing for the camera.  


Historical Notes

Sylmar, once home of the largest olive groves in the world, received the creative name meant to mean "Sea of Trees," combining the Latin silva (for "forest") and the Spanish mar (for "sea").^




(ca. 1910)^ - A stereographic view of workers harvesting olives in Sylmar.  


Historical Notes

The foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains at the north slope of the San Fernando Valley were seen as "an unattractive and apparently worthless waste" before 2,000 acres of them were transformed in the late 1890s by the Los Angeles Olive Growers Association.  One observer recalled that the land had been "a mass of ill-looking chapparal and chemisal" before it was planted with olives.  

In 1893, a group of Illinois businessmen purchased from the trustees of the Maclay ranch either 1,000 or 2,000 acres (the sources differ) east of the railroad tracks on San Fernando Road just south of Roxford Street and in 1894 began planting olives trees on up to 1,700 acres.  Experts were brought from France to supervise the work. Calling themselves the Los Angeles Olive Growers, they built a packing plant and sold olives under the Tyler Olives label, later changing to the Sylmar Packing label.

By March 1898 about 200,000 trees had been planted, and by 1906 the property had become the largest olive grove in the world. *^




(ca. 1909)^^ – View showing workers bottling olive oil in Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley.  The men appear to be transferring olive oil from larger containers to the smaller glass bottle containers. Several crates of bottled olive oil sit on the left side of the table. Labels on the bottles of olive oil reads: "Sylmar Brand olive oil, California pure, the olive from which this oil is made were grown and the product manufactured at their grove at Fernando, Cal., and the contents guaranteed absolutely pure by Los Angeles Olive Growers Association.”  


Historical Notes

One source stated in 1981 that it was the "Fusano family" who built a headquarters building for the olive association on Roxford and San Fernando in 1902 and that the first packing plant was built in 1909.

In 1904 the Sylmar brand olive oil won first place at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St, Louis, Missouri, in 1906 at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, Portland, Oregon, and in 1915 at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. *^




(ca. 1926)^ – Postcard view showing olive pickling vats in Sylmar. Photo contributed to CSUN Oviatt Library by West Valley Museum.   


Historical Notes

The pickling plant was located on the corner of Roxford Street and San Fernando Road.*^




(1930s)* - View showing olive groves on Roxford Avenue, north of Sylmar.  


Historical Notes

The first groves were planted with Mission, Nevadillo Blanco and Manzanillo olives.  Some Sevillano and Ascolano varieties were planted for extra-large fruit.  During the picking season in the early 1900s, an extra force of 300 Japanese was employed and housed in a village of tents.

Some of the olive trees were still growing in Sylmar decades after they were planted. In 1963 twenty-five mature olive trees were removed from the site of the Sylmar Juvenile Hall, then under construction, to be planted at Busch Gardens, an entertainment center in Van Nuys.*^



(ca. 1930)^^ - View showing an olive  factory of the Los Angeles Olive Growers Association, Sylmar.  


Historical Notes

In 1927 the packing plant, which had been built in 1910, employed some five hundred workers during its busiest season, November through January. The oil was pressed from the fruit, allowed to separate from the fruit's water content, then drawn into 12,000-gallon concrete tanks lined with glass and set deep into the ground to avoid a change in temperature. Over time, the plant expanded its activities, bringing in figs, pimientos and watermelon rind from the San Joaquin Valley for processing.*^




(1953)^^ - Photo of Harold Riley and Frank Lopez climbing ladders to look into olive vats at a Sylmar packing house.  


Historical Notes

In 1922, the controlling interest in the Los Angeles Olive Growers Association, which had been held by the estate of F.D. Butterfield (Charlotte M. Butterfied, the heir), was bought by Charles C. Moore of San Francisco, and its name was changed to Sylmar Packing Corporation. The management remained with Frank Simonds, who was president of the association. At that time there were 140,000 trees on the property. *^




(ca. 1937)* - A truck loaded with crates of olives and a whole olive tree, parks in front of the Sylmar Packing Corporation, where a sign painted on an industrial building proclaims "ripe olives, Sylmar Brand olive oil, Kadota figs and pimentos," making the observer wonder if they offered fig stuffed olives or if this was a separate line.  


Historical Notes

The Sylmar Packing Corporation, which was located at 448 South Hill Street in Sylmar, handled the product of the largest olive grove in the world and was once the largest industry in Sylmar. It was demolished in 1958 and there is no Hill Street in Sylmar today, but there is a Hill Crest Avenue and a Hillside drive, both above a street that is still called Olive View Drive.




City of San Fernando

(1899)* - View of the Lopez Market in San Fernando, which was one of the first of its kind to open in the flourishing Valley, way back in 1899. Part of the caption reads: "Open for business - San Fernando's Lopez market is open for business and on hand are C. E. Smith, Steve Lopez, Nattie and Jamaica Pico." Photo Credit: Los Angeles Public Library (Valley Times Collection).  





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


Historical Notes

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




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





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





(ca. 1900)^ - Interior view of an ice cream parlor located on Maclay Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets in San Fernando. Nathaniel Pico (son of Benjamine and Anna Forrester Pico) and Eugene Oliver are visible behind the counter.  





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





(1908)^ - Postcard view looking south on Maclay Avenue in the City of San Fernando. The large building on the right is the Harrison Block. On the other side of the street there is a partial view of the El Rey Hotel.  


Historical Notes

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

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




(ca. 1911)#^*^ - View showing two men riding in a horse-drawn buggy heading north on Maclay Avenue in the City of San Fernando. The El Rey Hotel is on the right. The large building on the left with the 'DRUGS' sign on its side is the Harrison Block.  


Historical Notes

While most of the towns in the surrounding San Fernando Valley agreed to annexation by Los Angeles in the 1910s, eager to tap the bountiful water supply provided by the newly opened Los Angeles Aqueduct, San Fernando's abundant groundwater supplies allowed it to remain a separate city. Even as the San Fernando Valley transformed itself from an agricultural area to a suburban one in the decades after World War II, San Fernando retained its independence.*^




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


Historical Notes

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

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

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




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


Historical Notes

An advertisement describes the new 1912 Porter Hotel as follows:

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

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




(1917)#^*^ - View of Maclay Avenue SP crossing in San Fernando. The photo shows departure of eight coach loads of World War I draftees for Camp Lewis, WA where they will be trained or die of the Spanish Flu. View is to the north; note water tower behind coaches at left.  


Historical Notes

The 1918 flu pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus.  It infected 500 million people across the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world's population), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.  Disease had already greatly limited life expectancy in the early 20th century. A considerable spike occurred at the time of the pandemic, specifically the year 1918. Life expectancy dropped by about 12 years.

Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill juvenile, elderly, or already weakened patients; in contrast, the 1918 pandemic predominantly killed previously healthy young adults. Modern research, using virus taken from the bodies of frozen victims, has concluded that the virus kills through a cytokine storm (overreaction of the body's immune system). The strong immune reactions of young adults ravaged the body, whereas the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults resulted in fewer deaths among those groups.

To maintain morale, wartime censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States; but papers were free to report the epidemic's effects in neutral Spain (such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII), creating a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit—thus the pandemic's nickname Spanish flu.*^




(1920s)#^*^ – Aerial view showing the area around N. Maclay and 1st Street. The SPRR water tower can be seen at lower-left.   Photo annotated by Rich Krugel  


Historical Notes

From the 1921 SFV Directory:  The address of the 'El Rey Hotel' is 118 N. Maclay Ave with an 'Alex Martin' being the proprietor;  the 'Post Office' is 123 N. Maclay Ave and 'Ross H Hille' is the Postmaster;  'Shimmin's Pharmacy' is at 117 N Maclay Ave;  'First National Bank' is at the corner of 1st St and N Maclay;  'Harrison Block Apts' at 131 N. Maclay;  'First Presbyterian Church' is mentioned to be between 2nd & 3rd streets on N. Maclay. #^*^




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





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



* * * * *




Marian Elementary School

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


Historical Notes

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




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




Owensmouth High School (Canoga Park High School)

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


Historical Notes

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

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



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




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


Historical Notes

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

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



(1916)#* - View showing the newly completed Classic Greek-style building at Owensmouth High School (later Canoga Park High School) located on Topanga Cyn Blvd.  


Historical Notes

On September 11, 1916, Owensmouth High started the school year with a new building and a new location. The new structure was located near the softball field on the present-day Canoga Park High School campus. It was designed in a Beaux-Arts Neoclassical architectural style, unusual for a small town two years old.*^



(1917)#* – View showing a cooking classroom at Owensmouth High School with hotplates on the benches and electric range up-front.  




(1916)*^*^ - On September 11, 1916, Owensmouth High started the school year with a new building and a new location.  


Historical Notes

The school originally opened October 4, 1914, as Owensmouth High School (located at the Owensmouth Elementary School sight), making it the oldest high school in the west San Fernando Valley. It later moved to its current locattion (as seen above) in 1916.*^

In 1929 a fire partially destroyed the building seen above and it was soon replaced with two new structures.



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


Historical Notes

The Greek Theatre was located on the backside of the school's main building erected in 1916, near the softball field on the current campus. The theatre was used for plays, graduations and various school and community events.




(1918)* - A crowd fills the Greek Theatre to see an orchestra perform. Note the cars parked behind the theatre and also all the open land in the distance.  


Historical Notes

While the original school was demolished in 1929, the Greek Theater remained into the 1950s when it too was demolished to make room for the P.E. field.




(1931)* - View showing the newly rebuilt Owensmouth High School (now renamed Canoga Park High School). The two neoclassic-style structures, connected by an arcade, replaced the 1916-built school destroyed by fire two years earlier (1929).


Historical Notes

The school's name was changed in 1931, after the community of Owensmouth changed its name to Canoga Park. Among the school's features were a Coast Redwood grove planted in 1936 just north of the football field. Also, the classic Greek outdoor theater (out of view), built in 1916, was still part of the School until 1953.



(1932)#^*^ – View showing a snowball fight in front of Canoga Park High School (Owensmouth High prior to 1932) on January 15, 1932.  Topanga Canyon Boulevard is on the right with vast stretches of open land in the background.  


Historical Notes

Over the years, Canoga Park has seen snow a few times. The Canoga Park High School website states that the high school has seen snow in these years: 1915, 1923, 1932, 1941, 1949, 1957 and 1989.



(1942)#^*^ – View looking west showing the flag raising in front of Canoga Park High School, December 7, 1942; on the first anniversary of the bombing. Also seen in the photo is the house and property belonging to the George Thomason family across the street on Topanga Cyn Blvd. Photo from CPHS archives.  




(1968)*^*^ - View showing the front entrance to Canoga High School with it beautiful neoclassical tall columns. This building sustained damage during the Sylmar earthquake and was demolished in 1975.  


Historical Notes

CANOGA is the oldest high school in the west San Fernando Valley. It opened with 14 students and 2 teachers on October 4, 1914, when it was originally named Owensmouth High School.



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


Historical Notes

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

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



  (1924)^ - Owensmouth High School football team in 1924.









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





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


Historical Notes

In 1934 E. Yale Waterman, a former teacher at the school, planted redwood grove near the site to honor the school and civic organizations.*




(1954)* – “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot…” - A bulldozer rips out a eucalyptus tree along Topanga Canyon Boulevard on September 16, 1954 to make room for a student parking lot at Canoga Park High School. Valley Times Collection  





Then and Now

(1948 vs 2021)* - Looking south on Topanga Canyon Blvd toward Vanowen St.  





Then and Now

(1940 vs 2022)* - Canoga Park High School and surrounding area with the intersection Topanga and Vanowen at lower right.  





Canoga Park High School and Headwaters of the LA River

(1959)* – Aerial view looking east showing Canoga Park High School in the foreground.  The LA River at the east end is modern, with concrete walls. Bell Creek and Arroyo Calabasas, the two creeks that enclose the school and form the headwaters of the river, still have the rural look.  





Headwaters of the Los Angeles River at Canoga Park High School

(2011)**** - View looking west showing the intersection of the Arroyo Calabasas (left) and Bell Creek (right), aka the headwaters of the Los Angeles River.  The Canoga Park High School football field is seen in the background.  


Historical Notes

The Los Angeles River begins just beyond the Canoga Park High School football field, at the confluence of Bell Creek and Calabasas Creek, which flow down from the Santa Susana and Santa Monica Mountains. The river flows southeast, joined by Santa Susana, Browns, Dayton, Chatsworth, Limekiln, Wilbur, Aliso, Woodley, Pacoima and Burbank creeks, that drain the mountains ringing the Valley.


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River Power House (Studio City)

(1917)** - View showing painters putting the finishing touches on River Power Plant located on the north side of the Los Angeles River with the south end of the building toward the stream and the main entrance toward the west.  


Historical Notes

Built in 1917 and beginning operation on Dec 22 of that year, the reinforced concrete building was erected by the Bureau of Power and Light, located in Studio City near the corner of Diaz Avenue and Ventura Blvd along the Los Angeles River. The plant cost $120,000 and created 4000 watts of electrical energy. In 1937, Diaz Ave was renamed Coldwater Canyon Ave. 



(1917)** - View showing City officials posing in front of the hydroelectric power plant.  


Historical Notes

Water was channeled to the Los Angeles River and sent to the Buena Vista pumping plant in Elysian Park. From Elysian Park, the water could be sent to either east Los Angeles or to the Franklin Canyon Reservoir and then into the west side water system.**




(1938)** - View showing H. E. Thompson closing the control valves at the River Power House. Click HERE to see more Early Views of Power Generation.  



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San Fernando Valley (1920s)

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


Historical Notes

Skyline Drive was renamed Mulholland Highway in December, 1924.

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

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

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

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

Click HERE to see more SFV Communities Name Origins.




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





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





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


Historical Notes

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




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





(ca. 1920)* - View looking southwest at Ventura Boulevard and Firmament Avenue in Encino.  


Historical Notes

The largest hill here is actually, what was once called, Sherman Peak (in Encino), but the peak doesn't exist any longer. The house (forefront) is believed to be that of 'Edna & J. W. Maddrill', that resided at 15530 Ventura Blvd. in the early 1920's.*





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


Historical Notes

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

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

Click HERE to see more SFV Street Name Origins.




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


Historical Notes

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




(ca. 1922)* – Aerial view looking south toward Ventura Boulevard which runs horizontally near the center of the photo.  In the upper right Encino Reservoir can be seen and about center-left is the Rancho Los Encinos.  


Historical Notes

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




Encino Reservoir

(ca. 1921)* - Aerial view looking southwest showing the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Monica Bay, and in the foreground on the Valley side of the mountains, Encino Reservoir.  


Historical Notes

Encino Reservoir was constructed in 1921 to provide and store water for the fast growing San Fernando Valley.





(1921)** – Aerial view looking north over the Santa Monica Mountains Showing the wide-open San Fernando Valley with Encino Reservoir in the foreground.  




(2002)* - View of Encino Reservoir, looking north from Mulholland Drive. Nestled at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, the open reservoir is located opposite from an abandoned Nike Missile Base. Times Photo dated March 23, 2002.  


Historical Notes

Encino Reservoir, which was originally constructed in 1921, is currently no longer in service but continues to hold water for fire and emergency purposes.




Rómulo Pico Adobe (aka Ranchito Rómulo and Andrés Pico Adobe)

(ca. 1876)+++# – View showing Rómulo Pico standing in front of his home.  Rómulo was the son of Andrés Pico, and he lived here with his wife Catarina (Rómulo is at right).  


Historical Notes

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




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


Historical Notes

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

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




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


Historical Notes

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




(1932)+++# – The Andrés Pico Adobe after it was restored by Mark Raymond Harrington who was the curator of archaeology at the Southwest Museum from 1928-1964. Photo Credit: West Valley Museum/CSUN Oviatt Library  


Historical Notes

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




(1935)^.^ - Aerial view looking north showing Sepulveda Boulevard running along tracks as it curves into Brand Boulevard. To the right of the curve is the Andrés Pico Adobe.  In the upper-right can also be seen the San Fernando Mission. Orange and lemon groves can be seen throughout the area.  


Historical Notes

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

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




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


Historical Notes

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



(1965)* - Exterior of the 160-year-old Rómulo Pico Adobe at 10940 Sepulveda Boulevard in Mission Hills about the time it was purchased by the Valley Historical Society.  


Historical Notes

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





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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

#* Huntington Digital Library

*# Mojave Desert.net: Remi Nadeau

**^LA Street Names - LA Times

***Los Angeles Historic - Cultural Monuments Listing

*^^Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles - losangelespast.com

*^*California Historical Landmarks Listing (Los Angeles)

^^^LA Times: Adohr Spelled Succes for the Adamsons; LA Times: Building the LA Aqueduct; Charles Weeks Colony

^^*LA Times:  Stanley Norris Petit

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

*#*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

#**California State Library Image Archive

#*^Northridgevision.org: Zelzah

#^*CarolWolf.com: Tarzana

#^#San Fernando Valley Blog: Porter Hotel; San Fernando Valley View from Topanga Cyn Drive; Charles Weeks Colony

##^Flickr.com: Ryerson

^^^*San Fernando Valley Relics: valleyrelics.com: Twin Lakes; Universal Studios Tour Opening Day


**^*Retronaut - Hollywoodland Sign

**^^KCET: LA Flood of 1938: Cement the River's Future; When L.A.'s Most Famous Streets Were Dirt Roads

*^*^Canoga Park High School Home Page

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

^^*#Topanga: Neighborhood Profile


*#^*Los Angeles County Library: City of San Fernando; 1920 San Fernando Valley View from Topanga Road; Topanga Mule Team

*#^#Forum.skyscraperpage.com: Tarzana LIbrary; Aerial of Burbank and Hollywoodland Sign; Girard Tour Map; Universal City

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

#^#*Canyon News: Mulholland HIghway

^#^#Northridge Historical Images Virtual Tour - Bruce Russell


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

*^^^San Fernando Valley Historic Society/Facebook.com: Girard; Sun Valley; Westinghouse Electric Range; Farmer in Early SFV; Garden of the Moon Park and Campground; Moon Festival

*^^# Flickr.com - Floyd B. Bariscale Photostream: Faith Bible Church

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

**## LADWP Historic Archive

+++# Facebook: San Fernando Valley Historical Society

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

#*** Pinterest - California and DailyBreeze.com

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

#^^^ City of Calabasas: cityofcalabasas.com

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

##*^ Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

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

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

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

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

*^ Wikipedia: Sherman Oaks; Isaac Van Nuys; Encino; Tarzana; Campo_de_Cahuenga; Cahuenga Pass; Chatsworth; Panorama City; Santa Susana Field Laboratory; North Hollywood; Canoga Park; Woodland Hills; Reseda; Orcutt Ranch; Granada Hills; Andrés Pico; Moses Sherman; Van Nuys; Henry Kaiser; Charles Maclay; San Fernando Valley; Mission Point; Hughes Aircraft; Domonique Amestoy; Winnetka, Los Angeles; City of San Fernando; Canoga Park High School; Ventura Freeway; Hollywood; Hollywood Freeway; Los Angeles Valley College; Bolton Hall; Sunland-Tujunga; City of San Fernando; Zelzah - Northridge; Rómulo Pico Adobe; Faith Bible Church; Universal City;; Tarzana; Calabasas; Hollywoodland Sign; Mulholland Drive/Highway; Lankershim Boulevard


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