San fernando valley

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File:San Fernando Valley vista.jpg
San Fernando Valley looking northeast; from the Top of Topanga Overlook Park above Woodland Hills in foreground

The San Fernando Valley (colloquially known as "The Valley") is an urbanized valley located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of southern California, United States, defined by the dramatic mountains of the Transverse Ranges circling it. Home to 1.76 million people, it lies north of the larger and more populous Los Angeles Basin.

Nearly half of the land area of the city of Los Angeles lies within the San Fernando Valley. The other incorporated cities in the valley are Burbank, Glendale, San Fernando, Hidden Hills and Calabasas.



The San Fernando Valley is about Template:Convert<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> bounded by the Santa Susana Mountains to the northwest, the Simi Hills to the west, the Santa Monica Mountains and Chalk Hills to the south, the Verdugo Mountains to the east, and the San Gabriel Mountains to the northeast. The northern Sierra Pelona Mountains, northwestern Topatopa Mountains, southern Santa Ana Mountains, and Downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers, can be seen from higher neighborhoods, passes, and parks in the San Fernando Valley.

The Los Angeles River begins at the confluence of Calabasas Creek (Arroyo Calabasas) and Bell Creek (Escorpión Creek) at Canoga Park High School beside Vanowen Boulevard in Canoga Park. Those creeks' headwaters are in: the Santa Monica's Calabasas foothils; and the Simi Hill's Hidden Hills, Santa Susana Field Laboratory, and Santa Susana Pass Park lands. The River flows eastward along the southern regions of the Valley. One of the river's two unpaved sections can be found at the Sepulveda Basin. The seasonal river, the Tujunga Wash, drains much of the western facing San Gabriel Mountains, and passes through the Hansen Dam Recreation Center in Tujunga south along the Verdugo Mountains through the eastern communities of the Valley to join the Los Angeles River in Studio City. Other notable tributaries of the River include Dayton Creek, Caballero Creek, Bull Creek, Pacoima Wash, and Verdugo Wash. The elevation of the floor of the valley varies from about 600 to Template:Convert. above sea level.

Most of the San Fernando Valley is within the jurisdictional boundaries of the city of Los Angeles, although a few other incorporated cities are located within the Valley as well; Burbank and Glendale are in the southeast corner of the Valley, Hidden Hills and Calabasas are in the southwest corner, and San Fernando, which is completely surrounded by Los Angeles, is in the northeast valley. Universal City, an enclave in the southern part of the Valley, is unincorporated land housing the Universal Studios filming lot. Mulholland Drive, which runs along the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains, marks the boundary between the Valley and the communities of Hollywood and the Los Angeles Westside.

Government and political representation

San Fernando Valley is composed of six incorporated cities. The majority of the valley is governed by the incorporated City of Los Angeles. The unincorporated communities (Census-designated places) are governed by County of Los Angeles.


The Los Angeles city section of the valley is divided into seven city council districts: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12. Of the 99 neighborhood councils in the city, 34 are in the Valley. The valley is represented in the California State Legislature by seven members of the State Assembly and five members of the State Senate. The valley is divided into five congressional districts. It is represented in Congress by senior figures from both parties including Representative Henry Waxman (D), Representative Howard Berman (D), and Representative Howard McKeon (R). In the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, it is represented by two supervisorial districts.

The San Fernando Valley is for the most part, a politically divided region, swinging between Republicans and Democrats in national and state elections. However, in local elections, along with the Los Angeles Harbor district, it tends to support Republican candidates.

The Los Angeles satellite administrative center for the valley, The Civic Center Van Nuys, is in Van Nuys. The area in and around the Van Nuys branch of Los Angeles City Hall is home to a police station, municipal and superior courts and Los Angeles city and county administrative offices. Northridge is home to California State University, Northridge (originally named San Fernando Valley State College).


  • Branch libraries of the Los Angeles Public Library are in many of the "Communities of the City of Los Angeles" in the "Municipalities and districts" list below.<ref>LAPL.branch libraries index; 5/30/2010</ref>
  • For independent libraries see "Incorporated Cities (independent)" in the "Municipalities and districts" list below.
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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (AKA "LACMTA" or "Metro", even "MTA") operates a vast fleet of buses. As of 2009, the LACMTA operated the second-largest bus fleet in North America<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>, with a total of 2,911 buses.

File:Mission San Fernando Postcard, circa 1900.jpg
Mission San Fernando: in a circa 1900 postcard

Template:California history sidebar The history of the San Fernando Valley from its exploration by the 1769 Portola expedition to the annexation of much of it by the City of Los Angeles in 1915 is a story of booms and busts, as cattle ranching, sheep ranching, large-scale wheat farming, and fruit orchards flourished and faded. Throughout its history, settlement in the San Fernando Valley (usually called simply "The Valley") was shaped by availability of reliable water supplies and by proximity to the major transportation routes through the surrounding mountains.

Native peoples and the coming of the Spaniards

Topography and early settlement

Before the flood control measures of the 20th century, the location of human settlements in the San Fernando Valley was constrained by two forces: the necessity of avoiding winter floods and need for year-round water sources to sustain communities through the dry summer and fall months. In winter, torrential downpours over the western-draining watershed of the San Gabriel Mountains entered the northeast Valley through Big Tujunga Canyon, Little Tujunga Canyon, and Pacoima Canyon. These waters spread over the Valley floor in a series of braided washes that was seven miles wide as late as the 1890s,<ref name="Wash">Gumprecht 1999, p. 134</ref> periodically cutting new channels and reusing old ones, before sinking into the gravelly subterranean reservoir below the eastern Valley and continuing their southward journey underground. Only when the waters encountered the rocky roots of the Santa Monica Mountains were they pushed to the surface where they fed a series of tule marshes, sloughs, and the sluggish stream that is now the Los Angeles River.<ref name="LAR1">Gumprecht 1999, pp. 11–15, 135–136</ref>

By the time the Spanish conquest of Mexico reached Alta California in 1769, successive groups of indigenous peoples, or Native Americans, had inhabited the area for at least 7,000 years.<ref name="LAR2">Gumprecht 199, p. 31</ref> These peoples tended to settle on well-watered and wooded areas at the Valley's margins. The Tongva, who spoke the Tongva language, a Uto-Aztecan or Shoshonean language, had a series of villages in the southern Valley along or near the river, including Totongna (near modern-day Calabasas), Siutcanga (near Encino) and Kawengna (which the Spanish would write as Cahuenga). In the north-central Valley was an apparently permanent village called Pasakngna, in the lower foothills of the mountains near natural springs and a tule marsh. Other characteristic place-names of Tongva origin in the Valley include Tujunga and Topanga. The Tataviam were established in the valleys to the north; Pacoima is believed to be of Tataviam-Fernandeño people's Tataviam language origin.<ref name="LAR2" /><ref>Roderick 2001, p. 20</ref><ref>Jorgenson 1982, pp. 34–35</ref>

The Hokan-speaking Chumash people inhabited Malibu, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Simi Hills in the western area of the Valley, and much of the coastal areas to the northwest. At Bell Creek below the rocky outcropping called Escorpión Peak (Castle Peak), Chumash pictographs and other artifacts have been identified by archeologists at a site, Hu'wam, which is thought to have been a meeting place and trading center for the Tongva-Fernandeño and Chumash-Venturaño.<ref>Roderick 2001, p. 25</ref><ref>Jorgenson 1982, p. 33</ref><ref name="SSPSHP ethnohistory">SSPSHP ethnohistory</ref> In the Simi Hills the Burro Flats Painted Cave pictographs are located on Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory property, inaccessible but well protected. The Tataviam-Fernandeño people inhabited the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains in the Valley (and north in the Santa Clara River area).<ref name="SSPSHP ethnohistory"/> The Tongva-Fernandeño inhabited the Valley, along the tributaries to the Los Angeles River.<ref name="SSPSHP ethnohistory"/>


In 1769 the expedition led by explorer Gaspar de Portolà reached the Los Angeles area of California overland from Baja California. Accompanying him were two Franciscan Padres, Junípero Serra and Juan Crespí, who recorded the expedition and identified locations for a proposed network of missions, along which the royal highway (El Camino Real) was eventually built.

After camping at and naming the location that would become the Pueblo de Los Angeles, the expedition proceeded westward before turning north through the Sepulveda Pass over the Santa Monica Mountains on the feast day of Saint Catherine of Bologna.<ref name="Rod1">Roderick 2001, pp. 20–4</ref>


The watering place was a pool fed by a perennial spring at what is now Encino, near the village of Siutangna. The name El Valle de Santa Catalina de Bononia de los Encinos<ref>Bearchell and Fried 1988, p. 93</ref> refers to the encinos or evergreen Coast Live Oaks that studded the area. The expedition proceeded northward, camping at a site in the northern Valley before crossing over the mountains into the Santa Clarita Valley.

Father Crespí had identified a location along the Los Angeles River that would be perfect for a settlement, possibly a mission, but in 1781, King Charles III of Spain ordered that a pueblo be built on the site, which would be the second town in Alta California after San José de Guadalupe, founded in 1777. By royal edict, all of the waters of the river and its tributaries were reserved for the Pueblo de Los Angeles, a condition which would have a profound impact on development of the Valley.<ref>Link 1991, p. 17</ref>

Mission San Fernando

By the end of the century, Spain had issued two grazing concessions north of the pueblo that included the southeastern corner of the Valley, Rancho San Rafael and Rancho Portesuelo. Francisco Reyes, alcalde or mayor of Los Angeles from 1793–1795, had set up a grazing operation which he called Rancho Encino located in what is now Mission Hills near the village of Pasakngna. Reyes's property had a substantial water supply from artesian wells and limestone for building, and was situated a day's walk from the existing missions San Gabriel and San Buenaventura.<ref name="Rod1" /> In or shortly before 1797 he was persuaded to cede this land to the Franciscans to be the site of a new mission, receiving in exchange a square league (Template:Convert) of land in the southern valley by the perennial spring where the Portola Expedition had first entered the Valley. This property he also called Rancho Encino (also recorded as El Encino and Los Encinos).<ref>Bearchell and Fried 1988, pp. 28, 68-69, 93-95</ref>

Mission San Fernando Rey de España was founded at Reyes's original rancho site on September 8, 1797 by Father Fermín Lasuén. The mission's grazing lands extended over the flatlands of the valley, and it also claimed jurisdiction over several smaller valleys to the north and west. From this time the valley began to be called after the mission.<ref name="Rod1" />

The fathers were charged with "civilizing" the native peoples, which they named according to the mission which had jurisdiction over them. The native peoples associated with Mission San Fernando were called Fernandeños regardless of tribal affiliation or language,<ref>Jorgenson 1982, p. 32</ref> as those associated with Mission San Gabriel were called Gabrielinos. As the 19th century dawned, 541 Indians did the heavy work of the Mission San Fernando, tending the livestock and working the farmlands watered by irrigation from the mission's wells. The mission was famed for its red wine, and also grew pomegranates, figs and olives. By 1826, 56,000 longhorn cattle and 1,500 horses grazed on the mission lands of the valley floor.<ref name="Rod1" />

Mexican rule


File:Rancho Providencia Map.png
Sketch map or diseño of Rancho Providencia along the Los Angeles River, 1840s.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (AKA "LACMTA" or "Metro", even "MTA") operates a vast fleet of buses. As of 2009, the LACMTA operated the second-largest bus fleet in North America<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>, with a total of 2,911 buses. In 1821, Mexico achieved its independence from Spain, and California came under control of the Mexican government. The 1824 Mexican Colony Law established rules for petitioning for land grants to individuals in California. Regulations enacted in 1828 attempted to break the monopoly of the missions and also made land grants easier to obtain. The procedure included a diseño - a hand drawn sketch map.<ref>Cleland 1941, p. 24</ref> The Mexican Governors of Alta California gained the power to grant state lands, and many of the earlier Spanish grazing concessions were subsequently patented under Mexican law.

Many Californios in the Los Angeles area wanted the mission's rich grazing lands to be made available to private citizens, while those in the north, including Mexican governor General Manuel Victoria, preferred to keep the mission system intact. Late in 1831, the Californios rose in armed rebellion against the governor, who led a party of soldiers to the Valley to put down the rebellion. The southern ranchers rode into the Valley via the Cahuenga Pass and the two armies faced off in a skirmish (Battle of Cahuenga Pass) that left one man dead on either side. Although the rebels retreated to the pueblo, they were victorious in defeat; the wounded governor resigned and returned to Mexico. Popular pressure increased on the government to disestablish the missions, and laws were passed to secularize the missions on August 17, 1833.<ref>Roderick 2001, p. 24</ref><ref name="yenne18-19">Yenne, pp. 18-19</ref>

In 1843, Don Vicente de la Osa (or del la Ossa) was granted one league of land along the Los Angeles River at the southeast corner of the Valley which he named Rancho Providencia.<ref>Brief History of Vicente de la Ossa and Family</ref> The nearby Battle of Providencia of February 20, 1845, was another face-off between Californios and an unpopular Mexican governor, Manuel Micheltorena, who proposed to return the mission lands to the control of the church. The only reported fatalities in the day-long cannon battle along the river were two horses and a mule, but Governor Micheltorena was captured and summarily shipped back to Mexico. He was replaced by Pío Pico, a native Californio, who would become the last Mexican governor of California.,<ref>Roderick 2001, pp. 25–26</ref><ref>Link 1991, p. 19</ref>

Mexican-American War

File:Andres Pico.jpg
Don Andrés Pico

California was "land rich but poor in every other way, lacking cash, gunpowder, and support from Mexico."<ref>Roderick 2001, p.26</ref> Governor Pico prepared for the inevitable war with the United States, and in 1845 began dispersing the vast mission lands. A square of land at the west end of the Valley near the historic Chumash village Hu'wam was granted to three of the mission Indians under the name Rancho El Escorpión. The majority of the mission's grazing lands and mission buildings were leased to the governor's brother Andrés Pico. After the United States declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846, Pico sold the mission property outright to Eulogio de Celis for much-needed cash; Celis graciously extended the terms of his friend Andrés Pico's lease.<ref>Roderick p. 26</ref> From this time the property was known as Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando.

On June 18, 1846 a small group of Yankees raised the California Bear Flag and declared independence from Mexico. United States troops quickly took control of the presidios at Monterey and San Francisco and proclaimed the Conquest complete. In Southern California, the Mexicans, for a time, resisted American troops, but when defeat became inevitable, Pío Pico fled to Mexico. Don Andrés Pico arranged the peaceful surrender of Los Angeles to American forces under Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont. The Capitulation Agreement ending the hostilities in California was signed at an adobe owned by the Verdugo Family at Campo de Cahuenga near the mouth of the Cahuenga Pass, at the southeast corner of the Valley, on January 13, 1847.<ref>Roderick 2001, pp. 26–27</ref>

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848, ended the war and ceded California to the United States, paving the way for California statehood in 1850.

Gold Rush and statehood

Cattle boom

The California Gold Rush of 1849 created a near-insatiable demand for beef, which was raised on the ranchos of southern California, including those in the San Fernando Valley, and driven on the hoof to northern markets serving the gold fields. In the southern Valley, de la Osa sold Rancho La Providencia to David W. Alexander and acquired the Rancho Encino, successfully raising cattle on the property.<ref name="BF94">Bearchell and Fried 1988, p. 94-96</ref> De la Osa took formal title to the Rancho under California law in 1851.<ref>Kielbasa, Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County, p. 34.</ref> Andrés Pico returned to his rancho in the Valley and made the former mission into "one of the most celebrated homes in the new California."<ref name="Rod2">Roderick p. 29</ref> After California became a state on September 9, 1850, Pico served as a state assemblyman and senator, and became a brigadier general in the state militia.<ref name="Rod2" /> In 1854, Andrés Pico's nine-year lease on the Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando expired, and he purchased a half-interest in the property.<ref name="Link 1991, p. 23">Link 1991, p. 23</ref>

Stage stops and the overland mail

In 1851 the Los Angeles Court of Sessions recognized two rights of way through the Cahuenga Pass that connected Los Angeles with the Valley. One followed the old El Camino Real to Santa Barbara via Rancho Encino. The other, Tulare Road, joined El Camino Viejo ("the old road") north via Mission San Fernando, over the San Fernando Pass (now the Newhall Pass) to the Santa Clarita Valley, and through the Tejon Pass to the Central Valley and the gold fields beyond.<ref name="Link 1991, p. 23"/> In 1854, the Army established Fort Tejon in the Grapevine Canyon (La Cañada de las Uvas) near Tejon Pass. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized funds to construct a Template:Convert deep cut to make the steep route north over the San Fernando Pass easier for stagecoach traffic, and a group of businessmen raised funds by subscription to complete the work. Young entrepreneur Phineas Banning's staging and shipping partnership with County Supervisor David W. Alexander acquired the contract to supply Fort Tejon, and Banning drove the first stage run over the new cut in December 1854.<ref>Ripley 1947, p. 43</ref>

The Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach route between St. Louis, Missouri and San Francisco, California via Fort Yuma and Los Angeles made its first run in the fall of 1858.<ref name="Link 1991, p. 25">Link 1991, p. 25</ref> The original route entered the Valley through Cahuenga Pass and traveled northwest to the San Fernando Pass with a stage stop at Lopez Station north of the mission.<ref name="Link 1991, p. 25"/>

In 1859, the California Legislature appropriated $15,000 (with additional funding provided by Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties) towards improving the old Santa Susana Pass wagon road into a new stagecoach road, now known as the Old Santa Susana Stage Road.<ref name="SSP">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name = "WTC">Old Stagecoach Trail at</ref><ref name="Link, Tom 1991, p. 25">Link, Tom: Universal City - North Hollywood, a Centenniel Portrait, Windsor Publications, 1991, ISBN 0897813936, p. 25</ref> The road ran over the Simi Hills between Santa Susana (now Chatsworth) and the Simi Valley. The precipitous portion of the route down from the summit on the San Fernando Valley side was called the Devil's Slide; horses were usually blindfolded and chains were used to augment brakes on the steep descent. Passengers debarked and walked.<ref name="SSP" />

Southern California's boom market in beef had begun to decline as early as 1855 as it became profitable to drive cattle and sheep to California from the Midwest and Texas, and a drought in 1856 increased the pressure on the ranchos.<ref>Cleland 1941, p. 108–109</ref> By 1859, with the cattle market in collapse and besieged by mounting debts, De la Osa converted his house at Rancho Encino into a roadside inn and began to charge patrons for his legendary Californio hospitality.<ref name="Kielbasa, p. 35">Kielbasa, p. 35</ref>

The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 disrupted mail service to California from the east via the old southerly "oxbow route". That year Butterfield obtained a new contract to deliver mail between Los Angeles and San Francisco via a route diverging from the old road at the southeast corner of the Valley and traveling via the former El Camino Real as far as Rancho Encino before striking northwest across the valley floor for Santa Barbara via the recently improved Santa Susana wagon road over the Santa Susana Pass. This road became the main passenger route between Los Angeles and San Francisco,<ref name="Bevill 2007">Bevill 2007</ref> although traffic over the San Fernando Pass to the Central Valley continued.

Civil War years

File:Beale's Cut 1872.jpg
Beale's Cut in the San Fernando Pass, 1872

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (AKA "LACMTA" or "Metro", even "MTA") operates a vast fleet of buses. As of 2009, the LACMTA operated the second-largest bus fleet in North America<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>, with a total of 2,911 buses.

The devastation that ravaged the old rancho way of life between 1861 and 1865 had little to do with the Civil War raging to the east. The rains that started shortly before Christmas, 1861, continued for most of the following month. The flooding that followed drowned thousands of cattle and washed away fruit trees and vineyards. The Los Angeles Star reported that Template:Blockquote

No mail was received at Los Angeles for five weeks. After the floods abated, grazing lands were turned into lush meadows and cattle flourished on the abundant grass. Surveyor General Edward Fitzgerald Beale had the damaged cut in the San Fernando Pass deepened to Template:Convert and named the slot-like roadway Beale's Cut.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> But the reprieve was only brief.<ref name="C131">Cleland 1941, pp. 131-37.</ref>

The flood of 1861–62 was followed by severe droughts in 1863 and 1864.<ref name="C131"/> Cattle perished, or were slaughtered and sold for the salvage value of their hides and horn, and land values plummeted. Ravenous locusts and a major smallpox epidemic completed the devastation.<ref name="C131" /> The rancho economy of the Dons and the Californio way of life fell to a wave of overwhelming debt and unpaid taxes, never to rise again.<ref name="C131" />

After the Dons

New names on the land

In the decade after the Civil War, the majority of the old ranchos in the Valley changed hands. In 1867, David Burbank, a dentist and entrepreneur from Los Angeles, purchased Rancho Providencia<ref name="BF94" /><ref>David Burbank</ref> and Template:Convert of the adjacent Rancho San Rafael. Burbank combined his properties into a nearly Template:Convert cattle ranch.

That same year, De La Osa's widow sold Rancho Encino to James Thompson,<ref name="Kielbasa, p. 35"/> who raised sheep on the rancho for two years. Thompson in turn sold the property to the Garnier brothers in 1869. The Garniers also raised sheep on the property, and were known for the fine quality of their fleece, but they in turn became overextended and lost the property to foreclosure in 1878.<ref name="BF94" />

File:Isaac Newton Van Nuys home.jpg
Home of Isaac Van Nuys, 1882

Eulogio de Celis had tried to sell his vast holdings in the Valley, but found no buyers. Squeezed by debt after the flood years, Andrés Pico had sold his half-interest in the Rancho ex-Mission San Fernando to his brother Pío Pico in 1862,<ref name="L27">Link 1991, p.27</ref> retaining Template:Convert called the Pico Reserve around the old Mission. When De Celis died in 1869, Pío Pico, desperately in need of cash, sold his half-share to a group of investors assembled as the San Fernando Farm Homestead Association. The leading investor was Isaac Lankershim, a Northern California stockman and grain farmer, who was impressed by the Valley's wild oats and proposed to raise sheep on the property. Other investors included Levi Strauss. To complete the sale, the Valley was split lengthwise, with the Association purchasing the southern half and the northern half devolving to De Celis's heirs. The line of demarcation was a ploughed furrow across the Valley floor near the route of today's Roscoe Boulevard. In 1873, Isaac Lankershim's son and future son-in-law, James Boon (J. B.) Lankershim and Isaac Newton Van Nuys, moved to the Valley and took over management of the property. Van Nuys built the first wood-frame house in the Valley. Initially the two men raised sheep, changing the name of the company to the San Fernando Sheep Company. Van Nuys, however, thought the property could profitably grow wheat using the dryland farming technique developed on the Great Plains, and leased land from the Association to test his theories. After a drought destroyed the majority of the sheep in 1875, the remainder of the property was given over to raising wheat and barley. In time the Lankershim property, under its third name, the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company, would become the world's largest wheat-growing empire.<ref name="L27" /><ref>Roderick 2001, pp. 32–34, 44–45</ref>

Railroads and boom towns

File:San Fernando Valley all Hall Map 1880.png
Map of the San Fernando Valley in 1880 by William Hammond Hall.

A Template:Convert parcel of De Celis's property north of the great furrow was purchased in 1874 by state senator Charles Maclay of Santa Clara and his partner, George K. Porter of San Francisco. Porter's cousin Benjamin F. Porter subsequently purchased portions of Porter and Maclay's interests. Most of the land except the parcel northeast of the mission was used for wheat farming. Ben Porter's portion to the west (now Porter Ranch) remained one of the last parts of the Valley to be developed.<ref name="D100"/>

In the eastern section nearest the San Gabriel Mountains, Maclay platted the Valley's first town, San Fernando, on September 15, 1874.<ref name="D100">Dumke 1944, p. 100</ref> The town plan included land for a station for Leland Stanford's Southern Pacific Railroad from Los Angeles, which became the depot for the north Valley farmers to ship their wheat crops south to the port at Wilmington.<ref name="J82">Jorgensen 1982, p. 82</ref> In 1876, Southern Pacific opened a tunnel through the pass at San Fernando and ran the first through train from the transcontinental railroad's western terminus in San Francisco to Los Angeles. From this time, rail travel superseded long distance travel by stagecoach in California.<ref name="Bevill 2007" /><ref name="D100" /><ref name="L28">Link 1991, p.28</ref>

File:Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company 1887.png
Map of the Lankershim Ranch properties, 1887

The world wheat market remained strong through the 1870s and early 1880s, but then supply began to exceed demand, and prices began to fall.<ref name="J82" /> When the rival Santa Fe Railroad reached Los Angeles in 1885, fare wars between the two transportation giants brought ever more settlers to Southern California, and pressure rose to subdivide the great ranches of the Valley.<ref name="L28" /> In 1886, David Burbank sold his ranch to Los Angeles land speculators who formed the Providencia Land, Water and Development Company, with Burbank as one of the directors. The land was surveyed and a business district was laid out, surrounded by residential lots. The outlying area was divided into small farms. They named the town Burbank and opened the tract for sale on May 1, 1887.<ref name="Burbank">History of Burbank</ref>

In October 1887, J. B. Lankershim and eight other developers organized the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company, purchasing Template:Convert north of the Caheunga Pass from the Lankershim Farming and Milling Company.<ref name="L31">Link 1991, p. 31</ref> Lankershim established a townsite which the residents named Toluca (later Lankershim, and now North Hollywood) along the old Tulare Road from Cahuenga Pass to San Fernando. On April 1, 1888, they offered ready-made small farms for sale, already planted with deep-rooted deciduous fruit and nut trees—mostly peaches, pears, and walnuts—that could survive the rainless summers of the Valley by relying on the high water table along the Pacoima River (now the central or main branch of the Tujunga Wash) rather than surface irrigation.<ref name="J82" /><ref>Link 1991, pp. 31, 33</ref>

In 1888, Ben Porter sold a portion of his property near the base of Santa Susana Pass to the Porter Land and Water Company, which platted it as the community of Chatsworth Park.<ref>Dumke 1944, p. 102</ref>

The land boom of the 1880s went bust by the 1890s, but despite another brutal drought cycle in the late 1890s, the fruit and nut farmers remained solvent for a time. The Toluca Fruit Growers Association was formed in 1894. The next year the Southern Pacific opened a branch line slanting northwest across the Valley to Chatsworth Park, which made one freight stop a day at Toluca, though the depot bore the new name of Lankershim. In 1896, under pressure from J. B. Lankershim, the post office at Toluca was renamed "Lankershim" after his father, although the new name of the town would not be officially recognized until 1905.<ref>Link 1991, pp. 34-35</ref><ref>Roderick 2001. p. 46</ref>

A new Santa Susana Pass wagon route bypassing the deteriorating Devil's Slide was opened in 1895 to the north. Initially called El Camino Nuevo (the New Road), it was later named the Chatsworth Grade Road, which continued in use until Santa Susana Pass Road (now Old Santa Susana Pass Road) was built in 1917.<ref name="SSP" /> This was the first automobile route between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys. It also was the main northbound 'coast road' to Santa Barbara and San Francisco, until the Conejo Grade in Ventura County between Conejo Valley and the Oxnard Plain on "Camino Real Viejo" (the Old Royal Road, now U.S. Route 101), was improved. Rail traffic through Toluca and Chatsworth Park to Ventura County and points north was made possible by the opening of the Santa Susana Tunnels in 1904, and the new route soon superseded the old rail route to San Francisco via the San Fernando Pass for passenger travel, as that route had superseded the stagecoach route via Santa Susana Pass in the 1870s.<ref name="Bevill 2007" /><ref>Mullaly and Petty 2002, pp. 36, 44, 170–72</ref>

Late in the decade the City of Los Angeles sued all the ranchers of the Valley, claiming the rights not only to the surface water of the Los Angeles River and its tributaries, but to the groundwater as well. In 1899, the California Supreme Court sided with the city. Without a reliable water supply, it became impossible to sell farm sites in the Valley.<ref name="L36">Link 1991, pp. 36–38</ref>

The 20th century

Development in the new century

In October 1903, George K. Porter sold an option to purchase his last Template:Convert of land in the north Valley to a syndicate led by Leslie C. Brand of Glendale. In 1904, Brand's syndicate incorporated as the San Fernando Mission Land Company, whose major shareholders included Los Angeles businessmen Harrison Gray Otis and Moses Sherman.<ref>Hoffman 1981, p. 126</ref> One day after the city water commission, on which Moses Sherman sat, approved a proposal to build an aqueduct from the Owens Valley, the Company quietly exercised its option to purchase Porter's land.<ref>Roderick 2001, p.57</ref>

On July 29, 1905, the City announced its plans to bring water south from the Owens Valley—water that would only be made available to city residents.<ref name="L36" /> Construction began in 1908 and water from the Los Angeles Aqueduct reached the San Fernando Valley in November, 1913.<ref>Jorgensen 1988 p. 121</ref>

Growth of the new town of Van Nuys, 1911.

Real estate development once again boomed. In the "biggest land transaction ever recorded in Los Angeles County",<ref name="Rod48">Roderick 2001, p. 48</ref> a syndicate led by Harry Chandler, business manager of the Los Angeles Times, with Hobart Johnstone Whitley, Isaac Van Nuys, and James Boon Lankershim acquired "Tract 1000", the remaining Template:Convert of the southern half of the former Mission lands—everything west of the Lankershim town limits and south of the old furrow excepting the Rancho Encino. As the Los Angeles Suburban Homes company, they laid out plans for the towns of Van Nuys, Marion (now Reseda) and Owensmouth (now Canoga Park, West Hills, and Winnetka), a system of highways, and eventual incorporation into the city of Los Angeles. In the "Sale of the Century" in November 1910 they sold the remaining livestock and non-land assets of the Lankershim Farming and Milling Company at auction. The Los Angeles Times called the auction "the beginning of a new empire and a new era in the Southland".<ref name="Rod48" /><ref>Link 1991, p. 40</ref>

Times were indeed changing quickly. The City of Burbank was incorporated in 1911.,<ref name="Burbank">Roderick 2001, p. 63</ref> and the Pacific Electric Railway reached Van Nuys on December 16, 1911, Owensmouth on December 7, 1912, and San Fernando on March 22, 1913.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In 1914, Carl Laemmle broke ground on a permanent movie-making facility on the Oak Ridge Ranch in the hills east of the mouth of the Cahuenga Pass that would become Universal City.<ref>Link 1991, p. 45–46.</ref>


Valley farmers offered to buy the surplus aqueduct water, but the federal legislation that enabled the construction of the aqueduct prohibited Los Angeles from selling the water outside of the city limits.<ref>Bearchell and Fried 1988, p. 121</ref> For the Valley communities, the choice was consent to annexation or do without. On March 29, 1915, by a vote of 681 to 25, residents of Template:Convert of the San Fernando Valley (excluding Rancho El Escorpión and the communities of Owensmouth, Lankershim, Burbank and San Fernando) voted to be annexed by the City of Los Angeles. Owensmouth was annexed in 1917, West Lankershim in 1919, Chatsworth in 1920, and Lankershim in 1923. Small remote portions of the north and west Valley were annexed piecemeal even later: most of Rancho El Escorpión in 1958 and the remainder of Ben Porter's ranch as late as 1965. Burbank and San Fernando remain independent cities to this day.<ref>Roderick 2001, p. 62–63</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>


The Tongva, later known as the Fernandeño=Gabrieleño Mission Indians after colonization, and the Tataviam to the north and Chumash to the west, had lived and thrived in the Valley and its arroyos for over 8,000 years.<ref>USA Today article USA Today Accessed 5/22/2010</ref> They had numerous settlements, and trading and hunting camps, before the Spanish arrived and took their homeland in 1797 for the Mission San Fernando Rey de España and Las Californias ranchos.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The first Spanish land grant in the San Fernando Valley or El Valle de Santa Catalina de Bononia de los Encinos, called 'Rancho Encino' (present day Mission Hills on the Camino Viejo before Newhall Pass), in the northern part of the San Fernando Valley. Juan Francisco Reyes built an adobe dwelling beside a Tongva village or rancheria at natural springs, but 'Rancho Encino' was short lived with the land traded so a Mission could be sited and built there. Mission San Fernando Rey de España was established in 1797 as the 17th of the twenty-one missions. The land trade granted Juan Francisco Reyes the similarly named Rancho Los Encinos, also beside springs (Los Encinos State Historic Park in present day Encino). Later the Mexican land grants of Rancho El Escorpión (West Hills), Rancho Providencia and Rancho Cahuenga (Burbank), and Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando (rest of valley) were established to cover the San Fernando Valley.

The Treaty of Cahuenga, ending the Mexican-American War fighting in Alta California, was signed in 1847 by Californios and Americans at Campo de Cahuenga, the Verdugo Family adobe at the entrance to the Cahuenga Pass in the southeast San Fernando Valley (North Hollywood). The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the entire war.

Statehood and beyond

The valley, not 'a desert,' was naturally a "Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome" of grassland, oak savanna, and chaparral shrub forest types of plant community habitats, along with lush riparian plants along the river, creeks, and springs. This Mediterranean climate meant that post-1790s European agriculture for the mission's support was primarily limited to cattle and sheep grazing, with small vineyards, crops, and orchards the exception. This continued with subsequent Mexican, Californio, and American ranchers while the Valley became part of Mexican Alta California (1821), the California Republic (1846), and a U. S. State (1850). In 1874 'dry wheat' farming was introduced by J. B. Lankershim and Issac Van Nuys and became very productive for their San Fernando Homestead Association that owned the southern half of the Valley. In 1876 they sent the very first wheat shipment from both San Pedro Harbor and from the United States to Europe.

20th century


Through late 19th century court decisions, Los Angeles had won the rights to all surface flow water atop and aquifer groundwater beneath the Valley, without it being within the city limits. After the construction and opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct (Owens Valley Aqueduct) in 1913, pressure was put upon the residents of each independent Valley town to vote for annexation to the city with the 'benefit' being connected to the municipal water system. Concurrently and perhaps pre-aware, the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company, a syndicate led by Harry Chandler, Hobart Johnstone Whitley, president of the company.<ref name="Rivers in the Desert">Template:Cite book</ref> James B. Lankershim, and Isaac Van Nuys, extended the Pacific Electric Railway (Red Cars) through the Valley to Owensmouth (now Canoga Park and West Hills) and laid out plans for roads and the towns of Lankershim (now Toluca Lake), Van Nuys, Marion (now Reseda) and Owensmouth. The rural areas became annexed by Los Angeles in 1915. The growing towns voted for annexation, for example; Owensmouth (Canoga Park) (1917), Laurel Canyon (1923), Lankershim (1923), Sunland (1926), La Tuna Canyon (1926), and the incorporated city of Tujunga (1932); more than doubling the size of the city. A fictionalized story based on these events is told in the 1974 film Chinatown.

The Aqueduct water shifted farming from wheat to irrigated crops such as corn, beans, squash, and cotton; orchards of apricots, persimmons, and walnuts; and major citrus groves of oranges and lemons. They continued until the next increment of development converted land use, with post-war suburbanization leaving only a few enclaves, such as the 'open air museum' groves at the Orcutt Ranch Park and CSUN campus.<ref>CSUN botanical garden; access date: 5/30/2010</ref>


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

Six Valley cities incorporated independently from Los Angeles: Glendale (1906), Burbank (1911), San Fernando (1911) Hidden Hills (1961), and Calabasas (1991). Universal City is an unincorporated enclave that is home to Universal Studios theme park and Universal CityWalk. Other unincorporated areas in the Valley are Bell Canyon and West Chatsworth.

Northridge earthquake

The 1994 Northridge earthquake, striking on January 17, 1994, measured a significant 6.7 on the Richter Scale. It was one of the few major earthquakes to originate and strike directly under a large city in modern times. Its epicenter was 'precisely' located just east of the intersection of Elkwood Street and Baird Avenue under Reseda.

Parks and recreation

The San Fernando Valley is home to numerous neighborhood 'pocket parks,' city parks, Recreation areas, and large Regional Open Space preserves. Many preserves are maintained as public parkland by: the National Park Service's Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the California State Parks, and local county and municipal parks districts. A place to enjoy the big overview is the Top of Topanga Overlook, as shown in the photo at page-top here.<ref>Top of Topanga Overlook- 5/30/2010</ref>

Small garden parks

Recreation areas

Mountain open-space parks

Future Valley natural area

The Backbone Trail System, Rim of the Valley Trail,<ref>Valley rim trail. 6/1/2010</ref> and Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail are each in incremental land acquisition and construction through and around the Valley, with future completion dates. The City of Los Angeles :: Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan<ref>The City Project. Retrieved on 2010-12-07.</ref> and City of Los Angeles :: River Improvement Overlay District – RIO are in planning stages for returning the River to an aesthetic and 'green' amenity with safe and accessible recreation, among many goals, for the 'upper river' in the Valley and downstream.<ref>The City – River Vision 6/1/2010</ref><ref>River Improvement Overlay District. 6/1/2010</ref>

Many future large tracts of undeveloped or ranch lands in the mountains surrounding the Valley are in the priority sights to be transformed into parkland. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and its affiliated agencies contract property trades, conservation easements, land donations, and outright purchases – of small to substantial natural lands in all the Valley's surrounding Ranges; the Santa Monicas, Santa Susanas,<ref>SMMnts parks search-engine. 5/30/2010</ref> Simi Hills, Verdugo Mountains,<ref>SMMnts parks search-engine. 5/30/2010</ref> and San Gabriel Mountains.<ref>SMMnts parks search-engine. 5/30/2010</ref>

Municipalities and districts

File:San Fernando Valley Los Angeles CA.jpg
A long view of the San Fernando Valley looking west from Brand Park in the Verdugo Mountains above Glendale

Incorporated cities (independent)

Unincorporated communities

Communities of the City of Los Angeles

Communities of the City of Los Angeles

Template loop detected: Template:Columns-list

+ Common usage of the term San Fernando Valley include these communities that are in Crescenta Valley.

+ Common usage of the term San Fernando Valley include these communities that are in Crescenta Valley.


The Valley is home to numerous companies, the most well-known of which are involved in motion pictures, music recording, and television production. The former movie ranches were branches of original studios now consisting of CBS Studio Center, NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company (and its ABC television network), and Warner Bros.

The Valley was previously known for stellar advances in aerospace technology and nuclear research by companies such as Lockheed, Rocketdyne and its Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Atomics International, Litton Industries, Marquardt, and TRW's predecessor Thompson Ramo Wooldridge.

Adult entertainment

The Valley became the pioneering region for producing adult films in the 1970s and since then has been home to a multi-billion dollar pornography industry, earning the monikers "Porn Valley", "San Pornando Valley", or "Silicone Valley"—a play on Silicon Valley with silicone breast implants. The leading trade paper for the industry, AVN Magazine, is based in the Northwest Valley, as are a majority of the nation's adult video and magazine distributors.Template:Citation needed According to the HBO series Porn Valley, nearly 90% of all legally distributed pornographic films made in the United States are either filmed in or produced by studios based in the San Fernando Valley.Template:Citation needed


Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys is lined with low-rise commercial establishments, typical of the broad straight boulevards in the San Fernando Valley.


The automobile still remains the dominant form of transportation in the region of the Valley, though gridlock of freeway and surface street transport networks grows. Major freeways cross the Valley, including Interstate 405 – San Diego Freeway, U.S. Route 101 – Ventura Freeway / Hollywood Freeway, State Route 118 – Reagan Freeway, State Route 170 – Hollywood Freeway, Interstate 210 – Foothill Freeway, and Interstate 5 – Golden State Freeway. Most of the major thoroughfares run on a cartographic grid: notable streets include Sepulveda Boulevard, Ventura Boulevard, Laurel Canyon Boulevard, San Fernando Road, Victory Boulevard, Reseda Boulevard, Riverside Drive, Mulholland Drive, and State Route 27 – Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

Rapid transit

Rapid, rail, and public transit, provided by many agencies and reaches of service, are growing in ease of use, flexibility options and ridership in the Valley. Ironically it is the historic Pacific Electric Railway urban 'Red Car' system, that first accelerated population growth here, whose former right-of -ways give locations for new systems.

Metro systems (LACMTA)

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority acronyms: LACMTA; MTA; and METRO, and "Red and Orange" LINES.<ref name="metro1">METRO homepage. 6/1/2010</ref>

The Metro Red Line's two Valley subway stations are also multi-system junctions for travel: nationwide – Bob Hope Airport, statewide – Amtrak, inter-county – Metrolink, regional – Metro Rapid, citywide – Metro Local, and valley-long – Metro Orange Line.

Valley's Orange Line

The Valley's Bus Rapid Transit Metro Orange Line uses a dedicated transitway route, running the east-west length of the Valley connecting the North Hollywood (Los Angeles Metro station) (subway – eastern) to Metro Rapid-Metro Local Warner Center Transit Hub – (Woodland Hills – western), with a continually updated Orange Line Timetable & Map.<ref>Orange Line times-map. 6/1/2010</ref> An extension is under construction through Canoga Park to Chatsworth. Another inter-county Metrolink access junction will be created at Chatsworth.<ref>Orangeline Extension 6/1/2010</ref> The Orange Line features a very high frequency of service, using train-like" long articulated buses on its dedicated transitway with parking and bike lockers at many of its modern stations.

Metro Rapid

Six Metro Rapid bus rapid transit lines serve the Valley area on its major boulevards, with stops spaced widely and only at major intersections, unlike Metro Local. The 'San Fernando Valley Sector' plans and operates Metro service in the Valley, under the policies and oversight of its Governance Council. The six cross-valley Metro Rapid route numbers are 734, 741, 750, 761, 780, and 794) Numerous Metro Local routes crisscross the entire Valley, with many stops for local destinations and reaching rapid system stations.

Daily 'Metro Rapid' bus service between Sylmar and the Santa Clarita Valley in Santa Clarita to the north is operating commute service also now, with Route Map & Schedules.<ref>Metro.maps 6/1/2010</ref>

Metro Local

Metro Local routes can be found on the List of current Metro Local bus routes, with Valley service help and current updates via S.F. Valley Metro Local available.<ref>S.F. Valley Metro</ref>

Rail and air

Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner long distance rail line has stops at Glendale, Burbank Airport station, Van Nuys, and Chatsworth station, before proceeding on to Ventura County, Santa Barbara, and upper California (north) or Union Station and San Diego.<ref>Amtrak California</ref>

The California High Speed Rail is planning two stations in the Valley, in downtown Burbank and in Sylmar – with an initial section possibly opening in 2020.

Air service is located at the Bob Hope Airport Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena airport (scheduled public flights), and the Van Nuys Airport (private planes). The Van Nuys – Airport FlyAway Terminal provides non-stop scheduled shuttle service to LAX and back to the Valley, with parking.

Valley independence and secession

Pre-secession annexation

Through late 19th century court decisions, Los Angeles had won the rights to all surface flow water atop and aquifer groundwater beneath the Valley, without it being within the city limits. With the opening of the 'Owens Valley Aqueduct' in 1913, pressure was put upon the residents of each independent Valley town to vote for annexation to the city with the 'benefit' being connected to the municipal water system. Concurrently and perhaps pre-aware, the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company, a syndicate led by Harry Chandler, Hobart Johnstone Whitley, James B. Lankershim, and Isaac Van Nuys, extended the Pacific Electric Railway (Red Cars) through the Valley to Owensmouth (now Canoga Park and West Hills) and laid out plans for roads and the towns of Lankershim (now Toluca Lake), Van Nuys, Marion (now Reseda) and Owensmouth. Over the 1920s most of the growing towns voted for annexation. Half a century later some reconsidered the decision, and took action.

Independence movements

The Valley had attempted to secede in the 1970s, but the state passed a law barring city formation without the approval of the City Council. In 1997, Assemblymen Bob Hertzberg and Tom McClintock helped pass a bill that would make it easier for the Valley to secede by removing the City Council veto. AB 62 was signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson. Meanwhile, a grassroots movement to split the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and create new San Fernando Valley-based school districts became the focal point of the desire to leave the city. Though the state rejected the idea of Valley-based districts, it remained an important rallying point for Hertzberg's mayoral campaign, which proved unsuccessful.

Measure F

In 2002, the San Fernando Valley portion of Los Angeles again seriously campaigned to secede from the rest of the city and become its own new independent and incorporated city. The movement gained some momentum as many San Fernando Valley residents within city limits felt they were not receiving Los Angeles city services on par with the rest of the city and their tax contributions.

Before secession could come out for a vote, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) studied the fiscal viability of the new city and decided that the new city must mitigate any fiscal loss incurred by the rest of Los Angeles. LAFCO concluded that a new San Fernando Valley city would be financially viable, but would need to mitigate the $60.8 million that the remaining portion of Los Angeles would lose in revenues. Secessionists took this figure as evidence that the Valley gave more money to Los Angeles than it received back in services. This triggered a petition drive led by Valley VOTE<ref>Valley VOTE. Valley VOTE. Retrieved on 2010-12-07.</ref> to put secession on the ballot. Measures F (the proposed new SFV city) and H (the proposed new Hollywood City, which was on the same ballot) not only decided whether the valley became a city but voters also got to pick a new name for it. The proposed names on the ballot were as follows: San Fernando Valley, Rancho San Fernando, Mission Valley, Valley City, and Camelot. Along with Measures F and H, elections were held for fourteen council members and a mayor.

Valley politicians such as State Senator Richard Alarcon and City Council President Alex Padilla opposed the initiatives. The leader of the LAUSD breakup and former congresswoman and busing opponent Bobbi Fiedler also campaigned against secession. Supporters pointed out that the Valley suffered from many of the same problems of poverty, crime, drug and gang activity as the rest of the city.

Measure F did not receive the necessary votes to pass for the Valley to secede. The proposal passed with a slight majority in the Valley, but was defeated by the rest of Los Angeles due to a heavily-funded campaign against it led by then-Los Angeles mayor James Hahn. Republican Assemblyman Keith Richman of Northridge was voted in as mayor of the stillborn city, which according to vote returns would have been named San Fernando Valley. Richman and other activists behind the secession movement attempted to redirect their civic energies toward influencing Los Angeles city politics, but their efforts largely fizzled. Hertzberg's 2005 mayoral campaign, which received heavy support in the Valley, nonetheless finished in third place (only a few percentage points behind incumbent Mayor Hahn), and no secession supporters were elected to positions on the Los Angeles City Council.

Had the measure passed, the southern portion of the city would have remained as the city of Los Angeles, with about 2.1 million people. The northern Valley portion would have created a new municipality of Template:Convert with about 1.3 million residents. Then the ranking at that time in 2002, if secession had passed, would have had the nation's most populous cities as: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, and the new "City of San Fernando Valley" .

Internal renaming secession

Many neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley have 'seceded' from one another in the form of renaming and reforming known community boundaries. Groups are motivated by the desire to disassociate themselves from undesirable connotations that some communities have inherited and, in the process, increase property values. Lake Balboa broke away from Van Nuys. Valley Village separated from North Hollywood. Valley Glen included portions of both Van Nuys and North Hollywood. West Hills and Winnetka separated from Canoga Park. Porter Ranch seceded from Northridge. Arleta broke off from Pacoima but failed to establish its own ZIP code. The new separatist districts are so in name only, none of them gained any governmental authority and remained districts within the City of Los Angeles, merely with new names.


According to the 2008 San Fernando Valley Census Report the population of the San Fernando Valley is 1.76 million, as of 2007. Of the population 45% were Non-Hispanic White, 40% were Hispanic or Latino, 5% were African Americans and 10% were Asian. The largest cities located entirely in the valley are Glendale and Burbank. The most populous districts of Los Angeles in the valley are North Hollywood and Van Nuys. Each of the two cities and the two districts named has more than 100,000 residents. Despite the San Fernando Valley's reputation for sprawling, low-density development, the valley communities of Panorama City, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Reseda, Canoga Park, and Northridge, all in Los Angeles, have numerous apartment complexes and contain some of the densest census tracts in Los Angeles.

Latinos and non-Hispanic whites are nearly even in numbers. In general, communities in the northeastern and central parts of the Valley have the highest concentration of Latinos. Non-Hispanic Whites live mainly along the communities along the region's mountain rim and in the northwestern, southern and southeastern sections of the valley. The city of Glendale has a large Armenian community.

Asian Americans make up 10% of the population and live throughout the valley, but are most numerous in the city of Glendale and the Los Angeles communities of Chatsworth, Panorama City, Northridge, Porter Ranch and Granada Hills. African Americans compose 5% of the Valley's population, living mainly in the Los Angeles sections of Lake View Terrace, Pacoima, Reseda, Valley Village, Van Nuys, and Northridge. Another large ethnic element is the Iranian community with 200,000 people living mainly in west San Fernando Valley such as Tarzana, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Encino, & Sherman Oaks. The valley is also home to a large Jewish community, with a large part of its population in the North Hollywood and Valley Village areas.

Poverty rates in the San Fernando Valley are lower than the rest of the county (15.3% compared to 17.9%). Nevertheless, in eight San Fernando Valley communities, at least one in five residents lives in poverty.

The Pacoima district of Los Angeles is widely known in the region as a hub of suburban blight. Other San Fernando Valley communities, such as the Los Angeles sections of Mission Hills, Arleta, and Northridge<ref></ref>, have poverty rates well below the regional average.

Many wealthy families live in the hills south of Ventura Boulevard.

Property values

In August 2005, the median price of an average one family home in the San Fernando Valley reached $600,000. In 1997, it was only $155,000. In the summer of 2003, it reached $400,000 and by July 2005, it reached $578,500. From July to August (one month) 2005, it rose by $100,000. A cooling off was noted in 2006, when between November 2005 and November 2006, median prices rose by the smallest amount of any 12 month period since mid-1997. Indeed, November prices were lower than October prices, and sales for November had fallen 19.1% compared to a year earlier.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The United States housing market correction affected the San Fernando Valley in 2007–2009 making housing significantly more affordable in the area, the median sales price fell from $660,000 at the peak in May 2007, to $500,000 by March 2008,<ref></ref> stabilizing in 2009 at around $330,000 – $340,000.<ref>California Home Sale Activity by City Chart. DQNews. Retrieved on 2010-12-07.</ref>

Valley in the media

The Valley in the movies

Template:See also

  • Numerous films were shot from the 1920s–50s at the movie ranches located in the east and west Valley hills, within the Template:Convert studio zone union range, making some of the Valley scenery very familiar around the world.

Motion pictures set in and about life in the San Fernando Valley have been filmed and produced by many companies in the San Fernando Valley, including: Template:Col-begin Template:Col-2



Also taking place in the San Fernando Valley were:
  • The first and third Karate Kid films (1984 and 1989 respectively) were mostly filmed in and about it, while the second entry (1986) starts there but in the six-month flashforward, moves its story to Okinawa, the original home of the main character's mentor Mr. Miyagi.
  • Alpha Dog (2007) was based on a true story that happened in the San Fernando Valley in 2000, and it was mostly filmed in the valley in Fall 2004, but, for legal reasons, it was fictionalized within the film to take place in the San Gabriel Valley instead.
  • In the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction directed by Quentin Tarantino, the valley is referenced by Samuel L. Jackson's character, Jules, as being a place where Marsellus Wallace had no friends. This was in response to John Travolta's character, Vincent, accidentally shooting a man named Marvin, point blank in the face there in broad daylight.
  • During Ghostbusters II (1989), Bill Murray's character (Peter Venkman) mocks a ghost warlord with this statement: "You know, I have met some dumb blondes in my life, but you take the taco, pal! Only a Carpathian would come back to life now and choose New York! Tasty pick, bonehead! If you had brain one in that huge melon on top of your neck, you would be living the sweet life out in Southern California's beautiful San Fernando Valley!"
  • Though the show never explicitly claims to take place in Southern California, the Brady Bunch was filmed in Southern California, specifically in the San Fernando Valley. The house can still be found in Studio City. The exterior has been altered but it still looks like the famous house.

Valley songs and recordings

  • Bing Crosby had a #1 hit song in 1944 called "The San Fernando Valley", written by Gordon Jenkins
  • Randy Newman's song "I Love L.A." mentions Ventura Boulevard and Victory Blvd.
  • Roy Rogers' song "Make My Home the San Fernando Valley."
  • The lifestyles of Valley teens, the iconic Valley Girl in the 1980s, and their slang (Valspeak), were satirized in the Frank Zappa song "Valley Girl." The song featured his daughter, Moon Unit Zappa, performing Valspeak (example: "Like, grody to the max!"). Joe's Garage takes place in Canoga Park. "Dummy Up" and "The Blue Light" mention Reseda, both in a drugs-related theme.
  • The protagonist of Tom Petty's song "Free Fallin'" has ended a relationship with a valley girl, and mentions various locations and landmarks associated with the area: "It's a long day living in Reseda," "all the vampires walkin' through the Valley/ move west down Ventura Boulevard," and "I wanna glide down over Mulholland."
  • Soul Coughing's song "Screenwriter's Blues" describes a person who is "going to Reseda to make love to a model."
  • The Sovernty's debut album "Turning The Page", was recorded in Northridge.
  • Waking Ashland has a song named Reseda.
  • Bryan Ferry mentions that "Canoga Park is a straight safe drive" in "Can't Let Go" on The Bride Stripped Bare.
  • "Van Nuys" by Sixx:A.M. released in 2007 on the album "The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack."
  • "Van Nuys (Es Very Nice)" by Los Abandoned is a lament about the many immigrants who have left their country for the seemingly mundane and uncomfortable lifestyle in Van Nuys: "The summer's hot, it's hell the bus is always late/ The great big cloud of smog that makes you choke and hate/ Y dejaste tu pais por esto?"
  • Phantom Planet sang about the Sherman Oaks Galleria in "The Galleria."
  • Rock band Smile Empty Soul's 2009 album Consciousness features the song "Ban Nuys" – referring to the community of Van Nuys.
  • Punk band Bad Religion have a song called "Fuck Armageddon... This is Hell" written about growing up in Woodland Hills.
  • Rap rock band Hollywood Undead feature the song "California" in their 2008 album Swan Songs, in which the first two lines after the chorus say "Comin` straight out of Cali (what)! the 818 valley (what)!"

Valley in books

See also


Adjacent regions:


<references />

Further reading

External links

Template:Commons category

Template:- Template:San Fernando Valley Template:Los Angeles Template:Greater Los Angeles Area Template:California


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