Looking Back

The LA Daily News has put up an interesting retrospective of the San Fernando Valley by decade. It is interesting to look at the different years. Here are some of the items that caught my eye:

March 20, 1915: Residents in Van Nuys, Owensmouth, Chatsworth, Pacoima and Roscoe vote to be annexed by Los Angeles, allowing them to share in the new water supply coming from the Owens Valley.

May 29, 1915: A modern road opens through Topanga Canyon to Santa Monica, cutting the 60-mile drive to the beach for Valley residents to 16 miles.

Jan. 5, 1917: A subway is proposed to connect Owensmouth and downtown L.A.

Jan. 24, 1920: The Van Nuys Cannery announces plans to build a $50,000 plant on East Bessemer Street that can process 30 tons of apricots a day.

Aug. 6, 1921: More than 2,000 people gather for the opening of Marian, a trading center at Sherman Way and Reseda Avenue surrounded by lush orchards and farmland.

Sept. 12, 1922: The Valley and Hollywood began a move to widen the Cahuenga Pass road to 100 feet and smooth down its high point, reducing the grade from 10 percent to 5 percent.

Feb. 27, 1923: Plans are announced for a “great scenic highway” from Griffith Park to Topanga Canyon to be named for city engineer William Mulholland.

Sept. 7, 1923: “Gasoline Row” is established on Sherman Way between Calvert and Delano streets as buildings are leased to dealers for Buick, Studebaker, Chevrolet, Willys-Knight and Overland, Chalmers and Maxwell. (Note: Sherman Way at this point later became Van Nuys Blvd)

Feb. 26, 1924: Leesdale Street is renamed Victory Boulevard as a memorial to those who died in the Great War. The city approves a Cahuenga Pass route with a 5.5 percent grade.

Nov. 22, 1924: Franklin Canyon Road opens through the Santa Monica foothills.

Dec. 27, 1924: Mulholland Drive opens amid much fanfare.

Oct. 26, 1926: Van Nuys High begins serving a “mid-morning lunch” of graham crackers and milk to female students deemed underweight.

May 6, 1927: A group of businessmen proposes extending Sepulveda Boulevard northward, providing a shortcut to the Antelope Valley.

June 19, 1928: Louis Greenberg spearheads plans to build a synagogue in Van Nuys. KNX announces it will move to Sherman Oaks.

Jan. 19, 1929: Boeing Co. announces it will build an airplane factory at Sherman Way and Vineland Avenue.

Jan. 24, 1930: The 40-bed Valley Hospital of Van Nuys opens at Sherman Way and Van Nuys Boulevard. RKO begins shooting a series of 10 “all-talking” Western movies. The city plans to extend Sherman Way through the entire Valley.

July 29, 1930: Gov. C.C. Young opens Weldon Canyon Road near Castaic, giving Valley drivers a new, faster way to reach Bakersfield and points north.

Jan. 15, 1932: Amazed and awe-struck Valley residents awake to find 2 inches of snow blanketing the ground

June 30, 1938: Walt Disney Productions offers to pay $100,000 for 51 acres near Riverside Drive and Alameda Street in Burbank.

July 2, 1943: Construction begins on a 1,720-bed Army hospital at Victory and Balboa boulevards. The San Fernando Valley Historical Society is formed.

Dec. 16, 1946: Kaiser-Burns shows models of prefabricated homes at Vanowen Street and Whitsett Avenue, and announces it can build 1,800 of the houses for returning vets.

July 3, 1947: Radio station KGIL plans to build a new station in the 14000 block of Lassen Street.

Feb. 5, 1948: Central and West Valley school enrollment totals 14,944. Van Nuys High is the largest in the state.

Sept. 12, 1955: Reseda High opens, the first new high school built since 1937 in Los Angeles.

Dec. 12, 1955: Plans are approved for construction of Valley Presbyterian Hospital at Vanowen Street and Sepulveda Boulevard.

Sept. 14, 1959: Twelve new Valley schools open as 165,000 kids head back to school. Plans are announced for a 13-story office building, the tallest in the Valley, at Van Nuys Boulevard and Vanowen street.

June 3, 1960: Three fatal traffic crashes are reported in a week’s time on a ramp that was built to route autos both on and off the 101 Freeway in Encino. Officials recommend the ramp’s design be changed.

July 27, 1962: A two-level “shopping city” is proposed on Warner Ranch in Canoga Park. More than 200 merchants clamor to move into the Topanga Center along with the May Co., the Broadway and Montgomery Ward.

Dec. 21, 1962: A 5.7-mile, eight-lane stretch of the San Diego Freeway opens between the Valley and West Los Angeles.

Jan. 5, 1964: A meeting is held in Granada Hills to decide on a route for a Valley-to-Simi freeway. Residents object that the east-west routes would cut through heavily populated areas.

August 1966: Anheuser Busch adds a $5 million theme park and monorail to its Van Nuys brewery. A bird sanctuary was added in January 1977, but the tourist attraction later closed.

March 17, 1970: An appellate court rules that a Valley school’s ban on long hair for boys is unconstitutional. The LAUSD is ordered to rewrite its dress code.

Jan. 8, 1971: A special freeway lane is proposed only for buses and car pools.

June 12, 1976: Construction starts on the fifth northbound lane of the 405 Freeway between the Santa Monica Freeway and Ventura Boulevard.

Nov. 11, 1976: Construction of Birmingham High is completed, culminating a 10-year effort to pair a World War II veterans hospital with a school.

May 15, 1977: Property owners are warned to expect a 17.5 percent increase in the assessed value of their homes. Elderly residents complain they cannot afford the tax bills, laying the groundwork for passage of Proposition 13 in November. The landmark legislation sets a base value on homes and allows only a 2 percent increase each year.

Feb. 15, 1979: Anheuser- Busch announces a $250,000 million expansion of its Van Nuys brewery, along with the closure of its landmark Bird Sanctuary. The expanded brewery creates 600 to 700 jobs.

March 26, 1999: Former Monroe High School student Kevin Mitnick pleads guilty to five wire fraud and computer fraud. His computer hacking exploits fueled Web sites and books and earned him a place on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.