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North Hollywood

North Hollywood, Steve

The history of the San Fernando Valley and North Hollywood began thousands of years ago with the settlement of the Tongva Indian tribe and others. The territory of California was claimed by Spanish explorers in 1542, but the valley wouldn’t see a strong European presence for centuries. A Spanish expedition in 1769 sought to solidify the Spanish claims by exploring the area and establishing a series of Franciscan missions. The site for El Pueblo de Los Angeles was decided then, to be founded by royal edict in 1781. The San Fernando Mission was established in 1797 by the Franciscan order, and became an agricultural and ranching area. When Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, the land became part of the Mexican state of Alta California. In 1846, Governor Pio Pico granted the Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando to Eulogio de Celis, which includes the current area of North Hollywood. In 1869, after Eulogio de Celis died, the family sold part of the land grant south of present-day Roscoe Boulevard to an agricultural group from northern California led by Issac B. Lankershim.

In 1873, Issac’s son and his future son-in-law, Issac Newton Van Nuys came to the Valley and took over management of the property. Using dryland farming techniques developed on the Great Plains of America’s mid-west, the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company produced wheat and became part of the world’s largest wheat-growing empire.

After the price of wheat began to collapse, Lankershim’s son and a group of developers established the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company, purchasing 12,000 acres from the Farming and Milling Company. They established a town called Toluca in 1887. To prospective buyers, they sold move-in small farms already planted with deep-rooted deciduous fruit and nut trees—mostly peaches, pears, apricots, and walnuts—that could survive the rainless summers of the Valley by relying on the high water table along the Tujunga Wash rather than surface irrigation.

The land boom of the 1880s soon went bust, but despite another brutal drought cycle in the late 1890s, the fruit and nut farmers remained solvent. The Toluca Fruit Growers Association was formed in 1894, and the Southern Pacific Railroad established a rail line and station near the current North Hollywood Red Line station at Lankershim and Chandler. The Chatsworth Limited rail line made one freight stop a day at Toluca, though the depot bore the new name of Lankershim. With the post office across the street being called Toluca, controversy over the town’s name continued, and the local ranchers used to quip, “Ship the merchandise to Lankershim, but bill it to Toluca.” In 1896, under pressure from 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.

By 1903, the area was known as “The Home of the Peach” and by 1912, the area’s major employer, the Bonner Fruit Company, was canning over a million tons of peaches, apricots, and other fruits.

The next major development would come with the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, completed in 1913. Several historic names, including Moses Hazeltine Sherman, H.J. Whitley, Harry Chandler and others led the development of the housing boom of the 1910s and 1920s, mostly on land west of North Hollywood. Valley farmers offered to buy the incoming water from the aqueduct, but federal law prohibited the City from selling outside the City limits. One by one, different communities voted to be incorporated into the city, with San Fernando voting in 1915 and Lankershim voting in 1923.

Eventually, the farms and orchards would give way to housing development tracts. In 1927, Lankershim would be renamed “North Hollywood” in an effort to capitalize on the glamour of Hollywood in the land and real-estate boom. As the aviation industry developed in Burbank and naval and air force members fell in love with California in World War 2, the suburbs grew. And as the 170 freeway was built over a branch of the Tujunga wash, North Hollywood completed its transformation from an agricultural to a residential area.

Portions of the old Tujunga Wash remain visible today, which anchored the old Tongva settlements along the 170 freeway south of Oxnard Street. The rail station, once called Lankershim after a town founder and an old town name, is a historical building and being restored and protected. The old Mission de San Fernando has been restored and is open to visitors. Names of streets, neighborhoods, and more reflect the long and rich history of our area.

Today, North Hollywood is home to the NoHo Arts District and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. It’s home to numerous public and private schools and offers a municipal park and recreation center. The neighborhood is an important transportation center.

Since 2000, the community has been undergoing many changes and developing, thanks in large part to the formation of the 743-acre North Hollywood Development District and the subsequent NoHo Commons projects. The community is changing from a suburb-like setting into a metropolitan center, in large part as a result of the construction of Metro Stations for the Red Line and the Orange Line, two lines that have made the neighborhood into a regional hub for the San Fernando Valley. Medium- and high-density developments are being built around the Metro Station, particularly in the NoHo Arts District, with the intent of creating a walkable urban village.

Central to the new NoHo Arts District are contemporary theaters, art galleries, cafés, and shops. The area features multiple professional theaters producing new works and classics, diverse art galleries, public art and professional dance studios. The district also features the largest concentration of music recording venues west of the Mississippi. Notable albums recorded in North Hollywood include: Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” (1977), Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Daylight Again” (1982) and “Live It Up” (1990), Marvin Gaye’s “Midnight Love” (1982), Kiss’s “Crazy Nights” (1987) and “Psycho Circus” (1998), Metallica’s “…And Justice for All” (1988) and “The Black Album” (1991), Tom Petty’s “Full Moon Fever” (1989), Nirvana’s “Nevermind” (1991), Ozzy Osbourne’s “No More Tears” (1991), Alice in Chains’s “Dirt” (1992), The Nixons’s “Foma” (1995), Timbaland’s “Shock Value” (2007), Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak” (2008).

The theater district includes two new large venues that expand upon existing theaters, the newly redesigned NoHo Arts Center (formerly the American Renegade Theatre), and the redesigned Historical El Portal. They add to the existing 31 theaters located in and around the NoHo Arts District. New mixed-use development, the NoHo Commons, sits near the NoHo Arts District’s commercial core and subway station by Los Angeles developer J.H. Snyder Company.

There is a new mixed-use structure including a seven screen state of the art Laemmle movie theatre, five story office building and 150 residential units on the south end of NoHo Commons.

In the future, North Hollywood plans a $1 billion mixed-use development at Lankershim and Chandler called the “NoHo Art Wave”, surrounding the Metro Red and Orange line terminals. The project, “touted as L.A.’s biggest transit project,” would re-develop 15.6 acres with 1,720,000 square feet of commercial and residential space, including 562 residential units and three high-rise office towers.

Some former and current notable residents include: P.T. Anderson, Ann-Margret, George Barris, Corbin Bernsen, Brennan Boesch, Alton Brown, Everett G. Burkhalter, Adam Carolla, Maureen Dragone, Amelia Earhart, Marc Handler, Bob Hope, Rex Ingram, Tina Jordan, Chaka Khan, Dorothy Lamour, Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez, Bela Lugosi, Randy Rhoads, Vanity, and Hervé Villechaize.

North Hollywood area schools are as follows:

Bellingham Primary Center
6728 Bellingham Avenue | 818-759-0119
K | Los Angeles Unified School District
Fair Avenue Elementary School
6501 Fair Avenue | 818-761-5444
K-5 | Los Angeles Unified School DistrictLankershim Elementary School
5250 Bakman Avenue | 818-769-3130
K-5 | Los Angeles Unified School District

Maurice Sendak Elementary School
11414 West Tiara Street | 818-509-3400
K-5 | Los Angeles Unified School District

Oxnard Street Elementary School
10912 Oxnard Street | 818-762-3397
K-5 | Los Angeles Unified School District

Victory Boulevard Elementary School
6315 Radford Avenue | 818-761-4676
1-5 | Los Angeles Unified School District

James Madison Middle School
13000 Hart Street | 818-255-5200
6-8 | Los Angeles Unified School District

Roy Romer Middle School
6501 Laurel Canyon Boulevard | 818-505-2200
6-8 | Los Angeles Unified School District

North Hollywood High School
5231 Colfax Avenue | 818-753-6200
9-12 | Los Angeles Unified School District

East Valley High School
5525 Vineland Avenue | 818-753-4400
9-12 | Los Angeles Unified School District

North Hollywood Adult Learning Center
10952 Whipple Street | 818-508-3556
Adult Education | Los Angeles Unified School DistrictDubnoff Center for Child Development
10526 Dubnoff Way | 818-755-4950
1-12 | CA Private SchoolsSan Fernando Valley Professional School
6215 Laurel Canyon Boulevard | 818-985-9485
K-12 | CA Private Schools

St. Patrick Elementary School
10626 Erwin Street | 818-761-7363
K-8 | CA Private Schools

Montessori Academy of North Hollywood
6000 Ensign Avenue | 818-769-0244
K-2 | CA Private Schools

Laurel Hall Elementary
11919 Oxnard Street | 818-763-5434
K-8 | CA Private Schools

Or Hachaim Academy
6021 Laurel Canyon Boulevard | 818-505-1614
K-8 | CA Private Schools

St. Paul’s First Lutheran
11330 McCormick Street | 818-763-2892
K-8 | CA Private Schools

The Wesley School
4832 Tujunga Avenue | 818-508-4542
K-8 | CA Private Schools