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.

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

Click HERE to see more SFV Street Name Origins.

 

 

 

 

 
(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 center of the photo.  

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Birmingham Army Hospital (Site of today's Birmingham High School)

 
(1945)#^*^  - Aerial view looking southwest showing the Birmingham Army Hospital.  The intersection of Balboa Boulevard and Vanowen Street is in the foreground. Balboa runs diagonally from center-bottom to center-left.anowen is in the foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

Birmingham General Hospital (later Birmingham Army Hospital) was built in Van Nuys in late 1943 and early 1944 to serve as both a general hospital and a debarkation hospital. Originally named Van Nuys General Hospital, it was soon renamed in honor of Named for Brigadier General Henry Patrick Birmingham, Medical Corps, U.S. Army.  Its stucco buildings had 1777 beds, of which 800 were devoted to debarkation activities.^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1945)^ – Postcard view showing the Administration Building and Nurses Quarters at the Birmingham Veterans Administration Hospital.  

 

Historical Notes

The hospital had a small prisoner of war compound. Due to its location so close to Hollywood, many radio and movie stars visited patients at the hospital. Jack Benny even broadcasted his annual Christmas Part from the hospital in 1944.

 

 

 

 
(1945)#^*^ – View showing a Birmingham Army Hospital wartime medal ceremony.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1946 Birmingham became a VA hospital, which closed in June, 1950, just as the Korean War was about to begin. The combination Birmingham Jr High/High School opened in 1955.

 

 

Then and Now

 
 
(1945) vs. (2017)#*^# - Today, three schools sit on the former Birmingham Army Hospital site:  Mulholland Middle School, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School, and Birmingham Community Charter High School.  

 

Historical Notes

The VA closed the hospital in 1950. After 1950 the facility was converted into local use for public schools, while the army retained a piece for use in the air defense of Los Angeles. Part of the former Birmingham Army Hospital facility was used as an air defense missile battalion headquarters from 1956 to 1968.^

 

 

 

 

 
(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 (Originally Zelzah)

 
(ca. 1940)#^*^ – View looking north on Reseda Boulevard showing the Northridge Milling Co located at 8729 Reseda Blvd, NW Corner at Eddy St.   Also seen is the Zelzah Café, which was the local hangout for many years.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1930’s, Northridge Milling Co was known as North Los Angeles Feed Store and located 1 block further north.  It changed names alongside the name change of the town to Northridge. In early 1952, the business changed hands and was then called Brown’s. #^*^

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

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^x^ - View looking south on Reseda Boulevard from Rayen Street at Christmas time.  Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 

 
(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

 
(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 .#^*^

 

 

 
(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. *^

 

 

 
(1950)* - Close-up view of the Devonshire Downs grandstand with racetrack on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

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. #^*^

 

 

 

   
(1969)#^*^ - Attended by an estimated 200,000 fans on June 20–22, 1969, this festival was the largest pop concert up to that time and is considered one of the most famous Pop Festivals in Southern California, possibly because of the appearance of the top-billed Jimi Hendrix Experience.    

 

Historical Notes

In the summer of 1969, an estimated 200,000 people—a record number at the time—dropped in to the sun-drenched Devonshire Downs racetrack in Northridge (now part of the CSUN campus) to hear a stellar list performers including Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater, The Rascals, The Byrds, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Ike & Tina Turner, Eric Burdon, Jethro Tull, Marvin Gaye, The Grass Roots, Three Dog Night and Johnny Winter.

 

 

 
(1969)^x^ - Rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix performs onstage with his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar at the Newport Pop Festival on June 20, 1969 in Devonshire Downs.  

 

Historical Notes

List of Performers:

Friday, June 20, 1969:  Ike & Tina Turner, Albert King, Edwin Hawkins Singers, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Joe Cocker, Southwind, Spirit and Taj Mahal.

Saturday, June 21, 1969:  Albert Collins, Brenton Wood, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Charity, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eric Burdon and War, Friends of Distinction, Jethro Tull, Lee Michaels, Love, Steppenwolf and Sweetwater.

Sunday, June 22, 1969:  Booker T. & the M.G.'s, The Chambers Brothers, The Flock, The Grass Roots, Johnny Winter, Marvin Gaye, Mother Earth, Jimi Hendrix jam with Buddy Miles, Eric Burdon and Mother Earth, Poco, The Byrds, The Rascals and Three Dog Night.*^

 

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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.*^

 

 

 
(1956)^.^ - A woman hangs clothes on a clothesline while carrying a baby.  Not often seen today.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1955, only 10 percent of U.S. households had a clothes dryer, probably because they were expensive. Back then, the average price for a dryer was $230. Adjusted to today’s dollars, that lowly laundry appliance would have cost between $2,000 to $3,000.^

 

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.

 

 

Panorama Market

 
(1954)* - View showing the construction of Panorama Market on the northwest corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Devonshire Street.  Architect:  Arthur Froehlich  

 

Historical Notes

Photo caption dated October 27, 1954 reads "Contractors are rushing to complete work on the new Panorama Market located at 10321 Sepulveda Blvd. at Devonshire Street. Company officials revealed today it will open during November. This new layout pictured above embraces 55,000 square feet of floor space and among its many features will be a free check cashing booth, free parking for hundreds of cars and unlimited one-stop shopping facilities at one of the most modern shopping centers with the latest innovations in the Southland. Ground for the project was broken last Spring. Arthur Froehlich is architect."

 

 

 
(1957)* – View showing Panorama Market, 10321 Sepulveda Boulevard at Devonshire Street, Mission Hills. Today this is a Vons Market.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  

 

 

 

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 (Sherman Oaks)

 
(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.  

 

 

Ventura Boulevard (Studio City)

 
(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.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1950s)^ – Postcard view showing Ventura Boulevard as it runs through Studio City in the San Fernando Valley.  

 

 

 

 

 
(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.

 

 

 

Ventura Boulevard (Encino)

 
(1948)#^*^ - View showing Fairchild’s Mohawk service station located at 17660 Ventura Blvd (at White Oak) in Encino. Actually, it is a "semi-self service" station, where you save 4 cents per gallon by pumping your own gas. Here we see customer Stanley Kalmonivitz with Mr. Fairchild. Click HERE to see more Early Views of LA Gas Stations.  

 

 

 

 
(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.  

 

 

Ventura Boulevard (Woodland Hills)

 
(1949)#^*^ – View looking west on Ventura Boulevard toward Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills.  Sign on the northeast corner (at right) reads 2 miles to Canoga Park (if you turn right on Topanga Cyn).  On the southwest corner can be seen a Standard Gas Station and on northwest corner an Associated Gas Station. Click HERE to see contemporary view.  

 

Historical Notes

This photo was originally identified as being in Canoga Park because of the large sign seen on the corner. But if you look underneath the "Canoga Park" sign there is an arrow pointing right (north) on Topanga Cyn. Blvd.

 

 

 
(1949)#^*^ – View showing two men shoveling snow in front of an Associated Gas Station located on the NW corner of Topanga & Ventura boulevards.  Photo date: Jan 12, 1949. Today, a Chase Bank stands at this corner. Click HERE to see more Early LA Gas Stations.  

 

 

Snow in the San Fernando Valley (Storm of 1949)

 
(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

Snow fell in the San Fernando Valley and in most of Southern California during a 3-day storm from Jan 9 through Jan 12, 1949.

 

 

 

 
(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.  

 

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 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.  

 

 

 

 
(1949)* - Heavy flakes of snow fell in the darkness of the early dawn on January 11, 1949, and stalled traffic on this road in Coldwater Canyon, as a record-breaking snowfall hit Southern California. Many motorists were turned back on this road.  Herald-Examiner Collection  

 

 

 

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

 

* * * * *

 

Chatsworth

 
(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.

 

 

Los Angeles River (near Reseda Park)

 
(1955)^ – View showing two boys playing at the edge of the Los Angeles River between Lindley Avenue and Reseda Boulevard with what appears to be Reseda Park at upper-right.  

 

 

 

Reseda Park (Then and Now)

 
(1932)^^# - Aerial view looking north over Reseda Park showing the LA River running diagonally across the park.  Below the park, in the foreground, is Victory Boulevard running left to right (west to east). The two major streets runing north-south are Reseda Boulevard (left) and Etiwanda Avenue (right).  

 

Historical Notes

Completed in 1933, Reseda Park was made possible through federal funding by the New Deal Agency: Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC).  The Annual Report from 1932-33 of the Los Angeles Board of Park Commissioners reads: 

“Reseda Park is one of the city parks located in San Fernando Valley at Reseda and Etiwanda Avenues, Kittridge Street, and Victory Boulevard. Being forty acres in area it provides a delightful recreational spot for the residents of San Fernando Valley.

A great deal of improvement was accomplished during 1932-1933 with the help of the RFC and County Welfare workmen. Fifteen hundred lineal feet of walks were built, involving the grading of 600 cubic yards of dirt, and lining the walks with 2,100 lineal feet of 1×4 redwood curbing. The flood channel for 1,450 feet was improved necessitating the removal of 2,250 cubic yards of dirt. Three acres of park land were cleared and eight acres graded, removing 2,400 cubic yards of dirt. New picnic grounds were also built, totaling two acres. A new sprinkling system was installed necessitating the laying of 10,880 lineal feet of pipe. Improving the park from a landscape standpoint, 520 trees were trimmed, 350 trees moved, 1,280 new trees planted, 7,520 new shrubs planted, and 24,700 flowering plants were placed in the shrub beds and around the banks of the lagoon. About five acres of ground were planted in new grass. One pergola was also built and a new comfort station constructed in the picnic grove. This park is becoming very popular with residents of the San Fernando Valley for picnic suppers during the extreme warm weather.” **

 

 

Now

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

 

 

 

 
(2015)#*^# – Aerial view of Reseda Park showing a cement-lined Los Angeles River.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(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.

 

 

 

 
(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.  

 

 

 

 
(1953)#^*^ – View looking southeast showing the intersection of Balboa Blvd and Vanowen St in Van Nuys (Today - Lake Balboa).  Caption reads: "Not too long ago - It seems like only months ago when corner of Vanowen street and Balboa boulevard was 'way out in the country.' This scene is another example of Five o'Clock Frustration that faces commuters daily Just try to make a left turn here!"  

 

 

 

 
(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  

 

 

 

 

 
(1950s)#^# – Postcard view looking north on Van Nuys Boulevard toward Friar Street with Owl Drug Store at the N/W corner.  Across the street, on the N/E corner, stands Cowdrey's Pharmacy and the Beneficial Finance Company office.  Behind that can be seen the signs for Hart’s Jewelers and the Oasis Club (see next photo).  

 

 

 

 

 
(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." ++#

 

 

 
(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.”

 

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.  

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 
(ca. 1945)^.^ – View looking northwest toward the intersection of Lankershim and Magnolia.  The 'Drugs' sign on the SW corner is for Merchants Pharmacy. There is also a Thrifty Drug Store north of the corner. Note the two-lamp streetlights have been darkened on top (WWII)  

 

Historical Notes

During the War many streetlights throughout the City were blacked-out on top as a preventative measure. Click HERE to see more in Early View of Los Angeles Streetlights.

 

 

 
(ca. 1946)* - View looking south on Lankershim Boulevard at Chandler Boulevard.  Ornate two-lamp electroliers (without the black-out tops) line both sides of Lankershim. Pictured is the Klump Building on the southeast corner.  Occupying the retail space is Savemor Drug which contains a window display for Coty cosmetics. Visible signage along Lankershim includes the El Portal Theatre and Thrifty Drugs.  

 

Historical Notes

The Klump Building was demolished after sustaining damage in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

See the intersection of Lankershim and Chandler in: 1891 / 1924 / 2018

 

 

 

 
(1950s)^.^ – View looking north on Lankershim Blvd from near Magnolia Blvd.  Things got busy, where there were formerly orchards and a simpler life. Harris & Frank and Woolworth's can be seen at the instersection.  

 

 

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.*

 

Foodtime Market

 
(1950)* - Grand Opening of Foodtime Market located at 12450 Magnolia Boulevard in North Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

The Foodtime Market grocery store, located in the turreted building now occupied by the Valley Village post office, was the largest business in the historic district and operated from 1950 until sometime in the late 1960s.^

 

 

 
(2018)** - Formerly the location of Foodtime Market, 12450 Magnolia Blvd, Valley Village, is now home to the Valley Village* Post Office.  

 

Historical Notes

VALLEY VILLAGE – The history of Valley Village went back to the 1930s, when workers at nearby motion picture studios built houses there. The local post office on Magnolia Boulevard canceled all mail with a "Valley Village" postmark. It was, however, officially a section of North Hollywood.  The idea of separating Valley Village from North Hollywood was brought into public light with a meeting of about 300 homeowners at Colfax Avenue Elementary School in December 1985, yet it wasn't until 1991 that Valley Village got seven new blue reflective markers from the city of Los Angeles to mark its borders.

 

Bay's Market

 
(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 (formerly Bay's Market) at 10708 Magnolia Boulevard featuring Antojitos Parral, a small Mexican food eatery.  

 

 

Rathbuns Department Store

 
(1957)* - View showing the newly remodeled Rathbuns Department Store located at 5311 Lankershim Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

For more than 50 years Rathbun's Department Store was key shopping location in the San Fernando Valley. Established before malls, Rathbun's was one of the few high style stores in the Valley. Shopping downtown Los Angeles was an occasion for holidays.

Hall Rathbun started the store on Pico Boulevard (near where the Stables Center is today) in the early 20th century and moved it to North Hollywood around 1914.  In 1972, Rathbuns was sold to Nahas Department Stores, which didn’t last too many years after that.

Interesting facts: Amelia Earhart bought her clothes and shoes there. Raquel Welch worked with her mom on the switchboard for a while.^

 

 

 

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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

#+HiddenHillsCity.org

##KaiserPermanenteHistory.org

**^LA Street Names - LA Times

***Los Angeles Historic - Cultural Monuments Listing

*^*California Historical Landmarks Listing (Los Angeles)

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

^^^LA Times: Adohr Spelled Succes for the Adamsons; 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

+++Instagram

+^^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

++^^CupidsHotDogs.net

**^#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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