San Fernando Valley in California

Friday, 23 April 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Greater Los Angeles Area
Reading Time:  9 minutes

Mission San Fernando Rey de España © Geographer/cc-by-2.5

Mission San Fernando Rey de España © Geographer/cc-by-2.5

The San Fernando Valley, known locally as The Valley, is an urbanized valley in Los Angeles County, California. Located just north of the Los Angeles Basin, the valley incorporates part of the City of Los Angeles, as well as the incorporated cities of Burbank and San Fernando. The valley is well known for its iconic film studios such as Warner Bros. Studio and Walt Disney Studios. In addition, it is home to the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

The San Fernando Valley is about 260 square miles (670 km²) bound 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), between Canoga Park High School and Owensmouth Avenue (just north of Vanowen Street) in Canoga Park. These creeks’ headwaters are in the Santa Monica Calabasas foothills, the Simi Hills’ 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. A seasonal river, the Tujunga Wash, drains much of the western facing San Gabriel Mountains and passes into and then through the Hansen Dam Recreation Center in Lake View Terrace. It flows 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 ft (180 m) to 1,200 ft (370 m) above sea level.

Most of the San Fernando Valley is within the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles, although a few other incorporated cities are located within the valley as well: Burbank is in the southeastern corner of the valley, and San Fernando, which is completely surrounded by Los Angeles, is in the northeastern valley. Universal City, an enclave in the southern part of the valley, is an unincorporated area housing the Universal Studios filming lot and theme park. 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. The San Fernando Valley has connection to other regions: The Santa Clarita Valley via Newhall Pass, the Westside via Sepulveda Pass, Hollywood via Cahuenga Pass, Simi Valley via Santa Susana Pass, and the Crescenta Valley via Interstate 210.

Walt Disney Studios in Burbank © Coolcaesar/cc-by-sa-4.0 Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank as seen from Universal Studios © Headsillroll/cc-by-sa-3.0 Aerial view of Calabasas © flickr.com - brewbooks/cc-by-sa-2.0 Burbank © RogerHam/cc-by-3.0 Glendale © Gedstrom Hidden Hills © hiddenhillscity.org Mission San Fernando Rey de España © Geographer/cc-by-2.5 © Oakshade/cc-by-sa-3.0 San Fernando © flickr.com - Shawn/cc-by-sa-2.0 Universal Studios Hollywood © BrokenSphere/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank as seen from Universal Studios © Headsillroll/cc-by-sa-3.0
Through the late-19th-century court decision Los Angeles v. Pomeroy, Los Angeles had won the rights to all surface flow water atop an aquifer beneath the valley, without it being within the city limits. San Fernando 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. This induced several independent towns surrounding Los Angeles to vote on and approve annexation to the city so that they could connect to the municipal water system. These rural areas became part of Los Angeles in 1915. The aqueduct water shifted farming in the area from dry crops, such as 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 postwar suburbanization leaving only a few enclaves, such as the “open-air museum” groves at the Orcutt Ranch Park and CSUN campus (Los Angeles Aqueduct).

In 1909, the Suburban Homes Company, a syndicate led by H. J. Whitley, general manager of the board of control, along with Harry Chandler, Harrison Gray Otis, M. H. Sherman, and Otto F. Brant purchased 48,000 acres of the Farming and Milling Company for $2,500,000. Henry E. Huntington extended his Pacific Electric Railway (Red Cars) through the Valley to Owensmouth (now Canoga Park). The Suburban Home Company laid out plans for roads and the towns of Van Nuys, Reseda (Marian), and Canoga Park (Owensmouth). The rural areas were annexed into the city of Los Angeles in 1915. Laurel Canyon and Lankershim in 1923, Sunland in 1926, La Tuna Canyon in 1926, and the incorporated city of Sunland-Tujunga in an eight-year process lasting from 1927 to 1935. These annexations more than doubled the area of the city. Two valley cities incorporated independently from Los Angeles: Burbank and San Fernando in 1911. Universal City remains an unincorporated enclave that is home to Universal Studios and became home to Universal CityWalk later in the century. Other unincorporated areas in the valley include Bell Canyon and Kagel Canyon. The advent of three new industries in the early 20th century—motion pictures, automobiles, and aircraft—also spurred urbanization and population growth. World War II production and the subsequent postwar boom accelerated this growth so that between 1945 and 1960, the valley’s population had quintupled. Los Angeles continued to consolidate its territories in the San Fernando Valley by annexing the former Rancho El Escorpión for Canoga Park-West Hills in 1959, and the huge historic Porter Ranch at the foot of the Santa Susana Mountains for the new planned developments in Porter Ranch in 1965. The additions expanded the Los Angeles portion of San Fernando Valley from the original 169 square miles (438 km²) to 224 square miles (580 km²).

By the late 1990s, the San Fernando Valley had become more urban and more ethnically diverse with rising poverty and crime. In 2002, the valley tried to secede from the city of Los Angeles and become its own incorporated city to escape Los Angeles’ perceived poverty, crime, gang activity, urban decay, and poorly maintained infrastructure. Since that unsuccessful secession attempt, a new Van Nuys municipal building was built in 2003; the Metro Orange Line opened in October 2005; 35 new public schools had opened up by 2012, and the valley’s ethnic plurality is now Hispanic, edging out its white population by 0.8 percent. By 2017, numerous urban development projects began in the valley, mainly in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of North Hollywood, Panorama City, and Woodland Hills. These projects started with the first few in Woodland Hills and the NoHo West project in North Hollywood began groundbreaking and construction on April 6, 2017. LA Metro will begin construction on upgrades of the Metro Orange Line in 2021 with at-grade crossing gates and two bridges crossing both Sepulveda and Van Nuys Boulevards. The valley will get its first light rail line in seven decades by 2027, with construction of the line beginning in 2021 along Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road.

San Fernando Valley is known locally as The Valley. In the 1980s, a distinctive valley youth culture was recognized in the media, particularly in the 1982 Frank Zappa/Moon Zappa song “Valley Girl” and the 1983 film Valley Girl. These helped fix the socio-economic stereotype of the “Valley girl” into the public consciousness, including a distinct Valley accent.

Read more on DiscoverLosAngeles.com – San Fernando Valley Guide, Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Walt Disney Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood, Wikivoyage San Fernando Valley and Wikipedia San Fernando Valley (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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