A 100 YEAR HISTORICAL VIEW OF THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY




Sheep grazing on a ranch owned by the Weddington family at 4141 Whitsett
Avenue, circa late 1800s. Later, it was a wheat farm, a casaba melon farm,
and eventually a golf course. Undated, but a bit of copyright in the lower
left corner reads "18" so probably late 1890's.


An old time camp outfit near Ventura Boulevard and Valley Circle Boulevard, circa 1900


Calabasas Field of Pumpkins postcard circa 1910


Van Nuys Boulevard 1913

Owensmouth 1915
1915 A person walks through the snow in an area of Owensmouth (Canoga Park). An automotive garage/service station and other structures are present in the background.


San Fernando Valley looking north from Topanga Canyon 1920


Topanga Canyon Boulevard circa 1921


Girard looking east at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Topanga Canyon 1922

Victor Girard Kleinberger was a land huckster with big dreams. Born in Kentucky, he began his sales career peddling Persian rugs -- fakes, of course -- door to door.
Girard's modus operandi was to shove the rolled-up rug into the door frame (thus preventing the door from being slammed shut on him) and begin coughing profusely --
all the while mumbling about tuberculosis and priceless rugs.  It was a ruse that apparently worked, and by 1899, with his fortune already made, the 18-year-old Girard
(he had dropped his last name) headed west to Los Angeles, where he branched out into other enterprises, including real estate.

 

In 1922, Girard Kleinberger bought 2,886 acres in the west San Fernando Valley and founded the town of Girard. He sought to attract residents and businesses by developing
an infrastructure, advertising in newspapers, and planting 120,000 trees.  His 300 pepper trees forming an arch over Canoga Ave. between Ventura Boulevard and Saltillo St.

are Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #93 in 1972.

 

The neighborhood was founded in 1923, named after Victor Girard Kleinberger, developer and founder. The new town was heavily promoted while bus tours from Los Angeles
to the new town were offered.  In 1924 Victor Girard opened a real estate office on what is now Topanga Canyon and Ventura Boulevard and built a mosque-like gate to his
2886-acre subdivision named Girard. He graded the streets, set aside land for parks and schools, and planted thousands of trees.  Although Girard Kleinberger's early efforts
were criticized as providing only a dubious facade of economic activity (local lore has it that in order to attract development he erected false store fronts on Ventura Boulevard,
for which he spent time in jail), the Girard Golf Course completed in 1925 continues to operate today as the Woodland Hills Country Club, and his scheme was ultimately
successful in attracting interest in the community.

By 1941, the community was renamed Woodland Hills. In the 1940s, Harry Warner of the Warner Bros. Studio, bought 1,100 acres in the area for a horse ranch and named it
Warner Ranch. The modern Warner Center commercial zone is named for Harry and features high-rise buildings, hotels, and shopping centers.


Ticket for a sight seeing trip to Girard (Now Woodland Hills)


Brant Ranch in Girard 1924

Girard 1924
1924 View of the Mosque-like buildings constructed by Victor Girard Kleinberger to promote his new real estate housing development located near the intersection of Ventura and Topanga Canyon.

Girad 1930
1937 A sign in front of the minaret and rooftop dome of Girard encourages the traveler to visit Topanga Canyon on a "scenic mountain drive, state highway, easy grade,
13 miles to the ocean." Topanga Canyon Boulevard (now State Highway 27) still enters Topanga Canyon at Woodland Hills and ends at the Pacific Coast Highway.

Girard 1937
1937 The mosque like gatehouse, complete with minaret, rooftop dome, and tiled facade, can be seen behind signs advertising a sale for anyone wanting to buy into the community of Girard.
The bargain is a commercial acre with 10 walnut trees and utilities for $500. A redwood cabin overlooking the golf course is just under a thousand and "E.Z terms" are available. The most luxurious,
a four room home with a mountain view, goes for $1650. Interestingly there is a Palm tree on one side of the building and a Cyprus on the other accommodating all arboreal tastes.

Calabasas 1920
Late 1920s Second Calabasas School on property in 24400 block of Calabasas Road. Built in the 1924-1925 school year, it was a one-teacher school until June 1948.


Adohr 1935-37


M. Costa gas station at 23513 Ventura Boulevard, circa 1920-1935


Encino Post Office dedication day, circa 1935-1942


1936 letter

Calabasas Tree
1939 View of the “Hanging Tree” next to a Union 76 gas station in Calabasas. Photograph by Dick Whittington


Adohr Farms, Woodland Hills, CA aerial view, circa 1940's

      In 1941, the community of Girard was renamed Woodland Hills


Application for church construction loan 1948


Starting 1949 's Do you remember this gadget?


Canoga Park, California, circa 1949


Ventura Boulevard facing west from Hidden Hills, circa 1950s. The flat hill in
the center is called "the Mesa." To the west of the Mesa was the Agoure Ranch.
Ventura Boulevard was originally part of El Camino Real, the roadway that
linked the Spanish settlements and missions along the Pacific coast from
Baja California to San Francisco in the 18th and 19th centuries. It now
continues as Calabasas Road (running parallel to the 101 Freeway). A stage
line, run by Flint, Bixby and Butterfield, operated during the 19th century
along it.


Canoga Park High School after a rainstorm, 1950


Home Brochure 1951


Bill DeYoung Chevron gas station, 1953


Empty store front at 21519 Sherman Way in Canoga Park


A. E. Hanson, Developer and Pat Murphy, salesman Hidden Hills circa 1950s


Ventura Boulevard in the 1950s


Harvey's Restaurant menu circa 1955


Reseda Sherman Way 1955


Pierce College Basketball team, 1958


Tampa Victory 1960


Hidden Hills


Encino 1961


DeSoto Avenue 1961


Ventura Boulevard looking east past Topanga 1962


Reseda Sherman Way 1963


Shoup Avenue, 1965


Shoup between Victory and Oxnard 1965


Opening of Ventura Freeway 1967

Canoga High School
1968 Canoga High School is the oldest high school in the west San Fernando Valley. It opened with 14 students and 2 teachers on October 4, 1914.
Canoga High School was originally named Owensmouth High School.


Pierce College Goats


Pierce College


Rally against school busing in Los Angeles at Reseda High School May 20, 1980


Sears ended the sales of black and white televisions 1990


Earthquake damage, Studio City, Calif. January 1994


Reseda Sherman Way 2009