Timeline of Valley history

Researched by Kevin Roderick for The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb

1769-1800 — A New Land

1769 — Expedition led by Gaspar de Portola camps at village of native Tongva near present-day Encino. Spanish name the area El Valle de Santa Catalina de Bononia de los Encinos.

1774 — Spaniard Juan Bautista de Anza leads expedition from Sonora across El Valle de los Encinos.

1781 — Los Angeles founded beside the Rio Porciuncula as El Pueblo de Nuestra SeƱora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula.

1784 — Spain grants 36,000 acres as Rancho San Rafael to Corporal Jose Maria Verdugo. It includes land now part of Glendale and Burbank.

1797 — Franciscans establish Mission San Fernando, Rey de Espana on rancho of Francisco Reyes. El Valle de los Encinos becomes El Valle de San Fernando.

1800-1850 — The Californios

 — Mission San Fernando church completed.

1809 — Los Angeles and the Valley mission clash over water in L.A. River.

1810 — Construction begins on arched convento at mission.

1812 — Strong earthquake damages mission.

1822 — Spanish California becomes province of new empire of Mexico. Mission convento completed.

1826 — Authorities at the mission prohibited from inflicting floggings of more than 15 lashes.

1829 — American scout Kit Carson visits Mission San Fernando.

1831 — Gov. Victoria injured and soldier killed in battle with rebels fought on the Valley floor with lances and pistols. Victoria flees to Mexico.

1833 — The Los Angeles Ayuntamiento sends Jose Antonio Carillo to Valley to defend pueblo’s water rights “with all the power of the law.”

1834 — Franciscans conduct final baptism at the mission, which comes under civilian control.

1837 — Forces led by Gov. Juan Alvarado briefly occupy Mission San Fernando.

1840 — Governor grants Rancho Tujunga to Pedro & Francisco Lopez.

1842 — Gold discovered in Placerita Canyon by Francisco Lopez, setting off a miniature Gold Rush.

1843 — Rancho Providencia and Rancho Cahuenga land grants made by Governor Micheltorena.

1845 — After another military skirmish in the Valley, Pio Pico becomes Governor and leases the Valley to his brother, Andres Pico. Don Pio grants Rancho Encino and Rancho El Escorpion.

1846 — After U.S. declares war on Mexico, Pio Pico sells the Valley to Eulogio de Celis for $14,000, ostensibly to fight off the Americans.

1847 — Andres Pico surrenders California to Col. John Fremont at Rancho Cahuenga. Father Ordaz, last resident priest, leaves mission.

1850 — California admitted as 31st state in the union.

1851-1900 — Yankees arrive

1851 — Vicente de Osa sells Rancho Providencia to Alexander Bell and David Alexander, first American landowners in Valley, and completes purchase of Rancho Encino.

1852 — Andres Pico serves in state assembly and as presidential elector.

1854 — First stagecoach leaves the Valley headed north through Newhall Pass.

1856 — de Celis tries but fails to sell Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando for 50 cents an acre.

1857 — Large earthquake topples mission buildings and opens fissures in ground. Bandit Juan Flores captured and hanged in Los Angeles.

1858 — Butterfield Overland Mail stage crosses Valley three times a week, stopping at Lopez Station depot in hills west of San Fernando.

1861 — Overland Mail Co. builds “Devil’s Slide” stage road through rocks of Santa Susana Pass.

1862 — Andres Pico transfers half-ownership of Valley to his brother, Pio Pico. President Abraham Lincoln retores church title to 170 acres around Mission San Fernando Rey.

1863 — Beale’s Cut finished in Newhall Pass.

1867 — Dr. David Burbank, a dentist, acquires Rancho Providencia.

1869 — Isaac Lankershim’s San Fernando Farm Homestead Assn. buys half interest in Valley for $115,000 — about $2 an acre. Post office opens at Lopez Station.

1871 — Lankershim receives southern half of partitioned Valley. Miguel Leonis of Calabasas finagles ownership of historic Rancho El Escorpion.

1872 — Eugene Garnier buys Rancho Encino and erects house of limestone beside de Osa adobe. Isaac Van Nuys builds first wood-frame house in Valley.

1873 — U.S. government confirms legal title to old Rancho ex-Mission San Fernando at 116,858.43 acres — the largest private land parcel in old California.

1874 — Charles Maclay pays $117,500 for northern half of Valley and establishes town of San Fernando. Southern Pacific Railroad extends there from Los Angeles.

1875 — Settlement of Robert’s Store opens on the Southern Pacific railroad, at today’s Sun Valley. Andrew Glassel buys Rancho Tujunga.

1876 — Tunnel in Newhall Pass links Valley by railroad to north. Andres Pico dies.

1878 — Wildfire burns 18,000 acres of wheat and pasture during severe drought in Valley.

1880 — Population in “San Fernando township” covering most of Valley is 1,305.

1881 — The Parisian goes down at sea with 250 tons of Valley wheat bound for England on board.

1882 — Charles Maclay divides north half of Valley with his partners, George Porter and Benjamin Porter. Each gets about a third of the acreage.

1883 — Village of Dundee opens one mile east of Robert’s Store. San Fernando Comet appears, first newspaper in Valley.

1884 — Major flooding on Valley floor. Monte Vista health colony appears.

1885 — Maclay College of Theology opens in San Fernando.

1886 — Historic adobe at Rancho Cahuenga, site of 1847 surrender, collapses.

1887 — Towns of Pacoima, Monte Vista, Glendale and Burbank are settled. George Porter plants navel orange grove 2.5 miles long on land south of Mission San Fernando Rey.

1888 — Toluca and Chatsworth Park founded.

1889 — Miguel Leonis, the bully of Calabasas, dies in wagon accident in Cahuenga Pass. Ostrich Farm Railway from Los Angeles reaches Burbank.

1891 — President Benjamin Harrison’s train stops in San Fernando on April 24 and he gives brief remarks during official visit to Southern California.

1894 — Pio Pico dies a pauper in Los Angeles. Telephone service reaches the Valley.

1895 — Lemon and orange growers form San Fernando Fruit Growers co-op.

1896 — Toluca changes name to Lankershim. San Fernando High School opens.

1898 — First automobiles seen in the Valley.

1901-1950 — Carving up the Land

 — Southern Pacific Railroad’s Coast Line opens across Valley from Burbank to Chatsworth.

1903 — San Fernando Mission Land Co., headed by Leslie Brand, takes secret option on 16,000 acres of George Porter ranch.

1904 — Community of Hansen Heights organized at northern end of Verdugo Mountains.

1905 — Mother Frances Cabrini establishes home for girls in Verdugo Mountains near Burbank. Plans for an aqueduct between Owens Valley and San Fernando Valley unveiled by newspapers.

1906 — Glendale incorporates as city.

1907 — “Fawkes Folly” aerial trolley makes first and only run through Burbank orchard.

1908 — Construction of aqueduct from Owens Valley begins.

1909 — Los Angeles subdividers, led by Gen. Harrison Gray Otis and Harry Chandler of the Times, pay $2.5 million for the 47,500 acre Lankershim ranch.

1910 — Town of Zelzah founded along Southern Pacific Railroad on former Hawk Ranch. Newhall auto tunnel built. Population of Valley 3,300.

1911 — Van Nuys settled. Pacific Electric Red Cars reach Valley from Los Angeles. Burbank and San Fernando officially incorporate.

1912 — Towns of Marian and Owensmouth open for business.

1913 — William Mulholland’s aqueduct brings Owens Valley water to the Valley. Towns of Tujunga and Roscoe founded. Freeze devastates Valley crops.

1914 — Universal City opens as a studio-cum-town. Floods inundate Van Nuys and cut off Valley from Los Angeles.

1915 — Most of Valley votes to join Los Angeles. Subdividing of Rancho Encino begins. The Birth of a Nation shows off Valley terrain.

1916 — Adohr Farms dairy opens at Ventura Boulevard and Lindley Avenue. The name comes from the owner’s wife, Rhoda Adamson, spelled backward.

1918 — First National Studio opens in Burbank. Hansen Heights annexed to Los Angeles.

1919 — Edgar Rice Burroughs buys 1,000-acre Mil Flores ranch of Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, renames it Tarzana Ranch.

1920 — Olive View tuberculosis sanitarium opens in Sylmar. Chatsworth annexed to Los Angeles. Valley population 21,964.

1922 — Weeks Poultry Colony opens. Valley’s first turf golf course opens at Hollywood Country Club, at Ventura Blvd. and Coldwater Canyon Ave.

1923 — Girard development, later Woodland Hills, opens. Lankershim annexed to city. Glendale Airport, the future Grand Central, opens.

1924 — Toluca Lake subdivision begins. Mulholland Highway dedicated through Santa Monica Mountains to Calabasas.

1925 — Tujunga incorporates as city. Homes in Stonehurst built mostly of boulders.

1926 — Dial telephone service reaches the Valley. Veterans hospital in Sylmar dedicated.

1927 — Lankershim changes name to North Hollywood, Mission Acres becomes Sepulveda. Mack Sennett’s Studioland opens near Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards. First traffic light installed at Ventura and Lankershim.

1928 — St. Francis Dam break kills more than 400 people and ends career of William Mulholland. Metropolitan Field, the future Van Nuys Airport, opens. Stop signs posted at major intersections.

1929 — Charles Lindbergh flies first trans-continental airline passengers from Grand Central Air Terminal. Zelzah takes name of North Los Angeles. Pacoima Dam becomes highest in country.

1930 — Community name of Tarzana approved by U.S. Post Office. Tunnel on Sepulveda Boulevard through Santa Monica Mountains completed. United Airport, future Burbank Airport, opens. Population of Valley is 51,000.

1931 — Dam built in Big Tujunga Canyon. Weekly boxing matches begin at Jeffries Barn in Burbank. Pop’s Willow Lake resort opens.

1932 — Howard Hughes founds Hughes Aircraft in Glendale. Tujunga annexes to Los Angeles. Van Nuys city hall built.

1933 — Long Beach earthquake destroys old Chatsworth grammar school. Line of deodar cedars planted on White Oak Avenue in Granada Hills.

1934 — The Postman Always Rings Twice published, casting a literary eye on the west end of the Valley.

1935 — Sepulveda Pass opens, linking Valley to coast. Richard Neutra builds modernist home for producer Josef von Sternberg. William Mulholland dies.

1936 — Oil field discovered in Aliso Canyon above Granada Hills. No crimes of any kind reported over Labor Day weekend.

1937 — Amelia Earhart of Toluca Lake vanishes in Pacific attempting round-the-world flight.

1938 — Flood covers wide swath of Valley and prompts construction of Hansen Dam and Sepulveda Dam. Northridge changes name from North Los Angeles.

1939 — Pine needle ski run operates briefly at Universal City. Mulholland Highway renamed Mulholland Drive.

1940 — Walt Disney Studios moves into Burbank. Lockheed Air Terminal takes over United Airport. Valley population is 112,000.

1941 — Mass celebrated at Mission San Fernando Rey for first time since 1874. Girard changes name to Woodland Hills.

1942 — President Franklin Roosevelt orders all West Coast residents of Japanese heritage — including 3,100 in Valley, many of them Americans — relocated to inland camps. National Guard squadron at Griffith Park moves to new Van Nuys Army Airfield.

1943 — Birmingham Army Hospital built for paraplegic wounded at Balboa Blvd. and Vanowen St. Republic Pictures film San Fernando Valley starring Roy Rogers opens.

1944 — Bing Crosby tune “San Fernando Valley” tops U.S. charts and tantalizes GI’s overseas.

1945 — Population doubles to 176,000 during World War II. City planning director warns of “indiscriminate scattering of subdivisions.” American Airlines Flight 1 crashes in Verdugo Mountains above Burbank, killing 24.

1946 — Mother Cabrini, a naturalized citizen, canonized as first American saint. Devonshire Downs opens to Sunday afternoon harness racing.

1947 — Cahuenga Pass Freeway opens. Pierce College founded. Rocket testing begins at Santa Susana Field Lab in hills above Chatsworth.

1948 — General Motors plant opens near Panorama City. Khrishna Venta establishes Fountain of the World cult in Box Canyon. Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One pokes fun at Forest Lawn and Calabasas Pet Cemetery.

1949 — Standard Airlines crash in Santa Susana Pass kills 35 people. Bethlehem Star Parade tradition begins in Van Nuys. Valley College opens.

1950 — First Redstone rocket fired at Rocketdyne’s Santa Susana Field Lab. Population reaches 402,538.

1951-2002 — Suburbia

1951 — Richard Neutra-designed Kester Avenue School opens in Sherman Oaks. Marlon Brando appears in The Men, shot at Birmingham Army Hospital.

1952 — Pacific Electric Red Cars depart Valley the last time, after 41 years. Burbank cited by California Crime Commsssion as a mob stronghold.

1953 — RKO studio ranch in Encino shuts down. Two women report being visited by space ship in Tujunga Canyon.

1954 — Hollywood Freeway reaches Valley. Anheuser-Busch brewery opens on Roscoe Boulevard. First golf course opens in Sepulveda Dam basin.

1956 — First students attend San Fernando Valley State College. Valley Steam Plant, highest structure in Valley at the time, built. City consultant warns Valley is losing “livable” qualities to sprawl.

1957 — Mid-air collision over Pacoima Junior High kills eight and injures 74 on the ground. First civilian nuclear power generated in U.S. at Santa Susana Field Lab. “The Adventures of the Real McCoys,” about a rural family that moves to the Valley, begins run on ABC.

1958 — Krishna Venta and eight followers die in dynamite blast at cult compound in Box Canyon. Plan 9 From Outer Space appears, cult classic about space aliens in Valley.

1959 — Ritchie Valens killed in Iowa plane crash. Grand Central Airport closes. Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev visits the Valley. Partial meltdown of nuclear reactor core at Santa Susana Field Lab releases radioactivity.

1960 — Ventura Freeway completed across the Valley. National Guard jets leave Van Nuys Airport over noise complaints. Population of Valley hits 840,000.

1961 — Sam Yorty of Studio City elected mayor of Los Angeles. City of Hidden Hills incorporates.

1962 — Heirs of Benjamin Porter sell 4,150-acre Porter Ranch for $20 million.

1963 — Ground broken for Valley Music Theater in Woodland Hills.

1964 — The Beatles visit Cinnamon Cinder club in Studio City. Universal Studios launches backlot tours.

1965 — Passenger helicopter service begins between Van Nuys and Los Angeles International Airport. Journalist Tom Wolfe writes of Valley car culture in The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Baby.

1966 — Busch Gardens amusement park opens. Merry Pranksters and the Grateful Dead stage “acid test” in Sepulveda. Northridge woman paints Pink Lady of Malibu Canyon.

1967 — NBC series “Accidental Family” set in Valley. Lockheed Air Terminal renamed Hollywood-Burbank Airport.

1968 — Black students take over administration building at Valley State College, leading to mass trial and major changes at the school, now Cal State University Northridge.

1969 — Newport ’69 rock festival brings 100,000 to Devonshire Downs. Charles Manson family flees Chatsworth after murders of actress Sharon Tate and others.

1970 — Granada Hills High defeats San Fernando High in heated city football championship showdown. Women join assembly line at Van Nuys GM plant. Bethlehem Star Parade ends due to waning interest.

1971 — Sylmar earthquake on Feb. 9 causes 64 deaths and forces 80,000 to briefly evacuate. Underground fire in Sylmar water tunnel project kills 17.

1972 — Richard Neutra-designed home for producer Josef von Sternberg at 10000 Tampa Avenue razed for subdivision.

1974 — Film Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson released with fictionalized depiction of agricultural Valley.

1976 — Work on stealth fighter begins in high secrecy at Lockheed Skunk Works in Burbank.

1977 — Hillside Stranglers murder spree begins.

1978 — Proposition 13 lowers property taxes, in a revolt hatched in part by Valley homeowners. Heavy rain causes landslides and road closures.

1980 — Bobbi Fiedler, leader of Valley’s antibusing forces, elected to Congress.

1982 — Valley Girl craze sweeps the country fueled by spoof song from Frank and Moon Unit Zappa. Best Picture nominee E. T. the Extra Terrestrial features much Valley footage.

1983 — Vicki Morgan, mistress of socialite Alfred Bloomingdale, murdered in Studio City.

1984 — Valley switches to telephone area code 818.

1985 — Roger M. Mahony, who grew up in North Hollywood, named first Archbishop of Los Angeles to be born in the city. He later becomes Cardinal Roger Mahony.

1987 — Pope John Paul II is first Catholic prelate to walk the corridors of the former Mission San Fernando Rey. La Bamba, film about life of Ritchie Valens, opens.

1989 — Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage opens at historic bend in L.A. River in Griffith Park.

1990 — Lockheed-Martin announces plans to leave Burbank after more than 60 years.

1991 — Police beating of motorist Rodney King in Lake View Terrace is videotaped by local resident. Calabasas incorporates.

1992 — Riots engulf Los Angeles and parts of the Valley after LAPD officers acquitted in King beating. General Motors plant in Van Nuys closes.

1993 — Last original Bob’s Big Boy, on Riverside Drive, declared State Point of Historical Interest.

1994 — Northridge earthquake kills 57 and inflicts most property damage of any U.S. disaster. Proposition 187 to bar illegal immigrants from public services stirs strong passions.

1995 — Country music landmark The Palomino closes, ten years after death of owner Tommy Thomas.

1996 — Skirball Cultural Center and Museum opens at top of Sepulevda Pass. Rocketdyne sold to Boeing Aircraft.

1997 — Armored North Hollywood bank robbers exchange gunfire with police on live TV before dying in the street.

1999 — Petitions urging secession study trigger first official action on municipal break-up. Gunman attacks North Hills Jewish center and kills postman in Chatsworth.

2000 — Subway service reaches Valley for first time.

2002 — Los Angeles voters reject creation of a separate city of the San Fernando Valley, though the Valley narrowly endorses secession