• Some place to eat

    Los Angeles’ redevelopment authority plans to reinvent the 1959 Canoga Park branch library at 7260 Owensmouth Avenue—a city historic-cultural landmark—as an upscale restaurant. The agency paid $1.1 million for the property last year, hoping that a restraurant near the restored Madrid Theater on Sherman Way would help enliven the old downtown area of Canoga Park. Canoga Park Improvement Association

  • Calabasas observed

    Author and television writer Lee Goldberg describes the wealthy community in the southwest Valley [uh, not the northwest Lee] on his blog in the course of applauding the city’s recent ban on most public smoking. I live in the small, Southern California town of Calabasas, on the northwestern edge of the San Fernando Valley. There are a dozen gated McMansion communities here, horse trails, and an upscale shopping center with a clock-tower that is home to the world’s largest Rolex. This is a town where the only car wash is called an auto salon and serves customers Espressos. But this week our little town made news worldwide for having the most restrictive anti-smoking law…

  • Checking on the Tower of Pallets

    Joe Dungan at the website The Simon drove out to Magnolia Boulevard to see if Sherman Oaks’ most unusual city historic-cultural monument—make that the Valley’s most unusual landmark—still stands. He found that the 22-foot tower of wooden pallets built by Daniel Van Meter starting in 1951 is still there, but barely. An official photographer was there recording the tower for posterity in preparation for its possible tearing down to make way for an apartment development. Dungan has the background on how the pile of discarded pallets from the old Schlitz brewery on Woodman Avenue came to be landmarked. The Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story last year on the decaying tower and how…

  • Running the Orange Line

    Valley boosters are hoping to stage a half-marathon along the Orange Line route to mark the anniversary of the busway between North Hollywood and Woodland Hills. Today’s Daily News says it would be held October 29, supported by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine and the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley. First the MTA has to agree to stop the buses for half a day, and neighborhood groups along the route need to be consulted.

  • Depot costs rising

    The MTA now says it will spend $3.6 million to renovate the old Lankershim train depot in North Hollywood, possibly as a customer service center. But the agency won’t say where the depot at Chandler and Lankershim boulevards will end up being located, and that upsets some people who want the landmark preserved where it has stood since the 1890s. Today’s Daily News covers the issue. The depot parcel is a target for developers as properties around the subway and busway stations become sites for mixed-use housing and retail construction.In the past, various uses – from a restaurant to a bicycle shop – had been considered for the structure, but now…

  • Valley of the redwoods

    The Daily News checks in on the small groves of out-of-place coast redwood trees found at Canoga Park High School and on Cedros Avenue in Van Nuys. Over the years, some of the trees between Burbank [Blvd.] and Oxnard [St.] have been chopped down. Some have grown unevenly for lack of water. And roots from the trees have cost neighbors thousands in plumbing bills.”It gives off a lot of debris in winter, which can be annoying,” Ellen Henderson, 42, said of the 5-foot wide redwood in her yard. “But if they cut (it) down, I’d be really really depressed.” Some arborists, however, say that planting redwoods in Los Angeles is like putting…

  • Daily News bloggers

    2,000 Days in the Valley rounds up all the Daily News staffers who blog. I had most of them; now they are all here. He nominates as the coolest “Editorial assistant Ben Jauron’s edgy, whacked-out, noirish, insert your own adjective here, http://www.sgtwest.com.

  • Crash-ing the Valley

    It won’t do anything good tor the Valley’s image, but Crash is the first Oscar winner for best picture to be set mostly in (and about) the San Fernando Valley. Ventura Boulevard, Ventura Court and Hoffman Street all get serious screen time, and there are references (mostly unflattering) to Studio City, Toluca Lake and Burbank—as well as the Valley itself. Newly added to the roll of locally memorable movie quotes: ♦ “Nobody jacks a car and takes it to Studio City”—one LAPD cop to another, on why they probably didn’t just see a carjacked SUV go by. ♦ “They were going to shoot us on Ventura Boulevard?” —incredulous wife to husband who didn’t defend…

  • Dutton’s gets a sendoff

    The cover of the Studio City Sun features the impending closure of longtime bookstore Dutton’s. Davis Dutton, whose parents opened on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in 1960, met his wife Judy in the library at North Hollywood High. Once the final sale concludes they will relocate to the San Juan Islands in Washington state.

  • Razing North Hollywood

    The blog Here in Van Nuys turns its gaze east to North Hollywood to point out the creeping destruction of a neighborhood of older, Spanish-style homes where actresses Carol Burnett and Agnes Moorhead once lived. The photo stream at Flickr focuses on Huston and LaMaida streets

  • Forest Lawn turns 100

    The Glendale cemetery known for its statuary and art reproductions opened in 1906. It inspired biting commentary from Evelyn Waugh in The Loved Ones and spawned a chain of six other Forest Lawn memorial parks. Figures from Valley history who are buried there include Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Walt Disney, William Mulholland, W.C. Fields, Spencer Tracy, Don Drysdale, William Holden, Edward Everett Horton, Jack Oakie and Merritt Adamson. Today’s Daily News has a feature. More at Permanent Residents

  • Moving to the Valley

    The blogger (Travels West) known only as M2 appreciates the historical context of his new digs in Studio City. After looking at a lot of typically ugly L.A. dumps, I found the ideal place quite by chance. It’s in Studio City, my favorite ‘hood in the Valley. On the corner of Vineland and Fruitland (don’t start!), the building was built in the 1950s on property that was part of the old Lankershim homestead. In fact, the Lankershim house still stands at the back of the lot, according to the landlord. Exploring his new hometown he discovered a Valley aviation landmark, the Portal of the Folded Wings: In an industrial corner of Burbank, near…

  • NoHo artist-blogger

    Mark Vallen is interviewed by Adrienne Crew at LAist: When I was about six years old, my parents moved to the San Fernando Valley, a place I’ve called home ever since. While I’ve taken up residence in various parts of the city, I’ve always returned to the Valley. Currently I live in the so-called “No Ho Arts District,” a borough in North Hollywood that’s struggling to establish itself as a center for the arts. His blog is Art for a Change

  • Should this site exist?

    The question of whether The Valley Observed is needed was tossed around last week on some Los Angeles blogs. The topic sparked passion you wouldn’t see if the question were “should there be a Silver Lake blog?” or a website devoted to downtown. LAist, where the subject came up, got more comments than usually weigh in on any topic there. That alone makes a strong statement about there being a place for a Valley website. You can probably guess where I come from on on the question. Of course there should be a San Fernando Valley-centric website—many of them, in fact—just as there should be more blogs about Silver Lake and every other Los Angeles community. That the…

  • He remembers Ritchie

    Mike writes: Kevin,I just wanted to say thanks for providing me the opportunity to relive some of my younger days and cherished times of my life. I was born and raised in Southern California in the San Fernando Valley. In grade school I attended Chase Street Elementary school while living in Panorama city. I then went to Junior High School at Robert Fulton Jr. High in Van Nuys. My folks then moved to Pacoima and I transferred to Pacoima Junior High. This is where some of the articles of yours crossed paths with my younger days. I can still remember Ritchie Valens coming out in the cafeteria area and playing his guitar…

  • Northridge in early 50s

    Reader Carole sent along some family photos of the annual Northridge Stampede parade along Reseda Boulevard and her father’s plumbing shop, John A. Sall and Sons. The shop was on the east side of Reseda Blvd. at Eddy until an underpass separating the boulevard and Parthenia Street from the train tracks was built in the late 1960s. Click on the thumbnails to see larger pictures, but beware they are big: 1,000 pixels wide. Northridge Stampede equestrians The old Northridge railroad depot is visible on the left, looking north Looking south at the shop on Reseda at Eddy

  • Studio City Camera, R.I.P.

    The Craigslist posting says that everything must go “including shelves, racks, display cases, counters. We’re trying to make some money so please feel free to come in and make offers.” The cover of the Studio City Sun says the store was around 62 years. Last day will be Feb. 28.

  • Beer man knows

    About the pungent aroma that surrounds the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Van Nuys, Ian R. Beste thinks it is not hops but comes from another ingredient in the process of cooking up Budweiser for the masses. He emails: I take my car to be serviced at the Saturn dealership on Roscoe that is part of the Galpin Auto Empire so I am familiar with the occasional olfactory contribution from the A-B brewery to the west. From my off-and-on ten-plus years of experience brewing beer at home, I haven’t smelled hops, I’ve smelled the mash.To explain: the mash is an early stage of beer-making where the brewer takes malted grain (traditionally barley) and soaks…

  • Lights! Cameras! Action!

    Mayor Villaraigosa, City Council member Wendy Greuel and a bevy of media traipsed out to Reseda and Rinaldi this afternoon for the unveiling of a high-tech traffic control system on major streets along the 118 or Ronald Reagan Freeway. Lights at all the big intersections on Devonshire and Rinaldi streets, from Balboa west to Topanga Canyon Boulevard, are now synchronized by City Hall’s master traffic computer. In theory, engineers can adjust the length of red and green lights to move traffic faster when jams occur or something shuts down the freeway. Cameras mounted above certain key corners are part of the system. The Ventura Freeway corridor east of Reseda Boulevard and the…

  • Where I’d begin a history tour

    Los Encinos State Historic Park holds its Living History Day on February 19 from 1 to 3 pm. (Link from Douglas E. Welch.) As I’ve written several times, the spot on Ventura Boulevard just east of Balboa oozes as much San Fernando Valley history as the area around the mission. It was probably the locale where the Portola expedition in 1769 camped among a rancheria of Tongva, trying to make sense of their stories. The warm springs that still fills the duck pond in the park flowed on the rancho of Vicente de Osa, whose adobe roadhouse is still there. It was Eugene Garnier, a French sheep herder, who dammed the spring into a…