NoHo Arts District Web Makeover

nohoThe NoHo Arts District has a swanky new web site. OK, sure.

I actually learned something in my boredom-induced clickery when I stumbled upon an article by Michael Higby about the new Universal City development:

Lankershim is diagonal in North Hollywood, because the road was based on the way the cows wandered.

Feel free to use this while breaking the ice tonight in your favorite Valley watering hole.

2 Replies to “NoHo Arts District Web Makeover”

  1. The road was “based on the way the cows wandered”?

    Umm, I don’t think so.

    The old road from the Cahuengua Pass to the San Fernando Mission (originally known as “Tulare Road”) followed roughly the same angle – it was the most direct route from the mouth of the Pass to the Mission, running along the eastern bank of the central branch of the Tujunga Wash – roughly the path of today’s CA-170 Hollywood Freeway (which, in its southern portion, is mostly built over the Tujunga Wash central branch channel.)

    Lankershim Blvd., originally known as “San Fernando Avenue,” was first laid out somewhat west of the old Tulare Road in 1887, and was first graded a year later in 1888, when J.B Lankershim, son of the LA Farm & Milling Company’s manager, Isaac Lankershim, and a group of investors bought the eastern portion of the LAF&MC’s wheat farm (which covered most of the southern half of the Valley), with the intention of subdividing it into 10, 20 and 40-acre “ranchettes”, planted in deep-rooted stone-fruit and walnut trees, watered by the high subterranean water table along the Wash.

    That was well after any idea of cattle ranching in the Valley had been abandoned – the cattle-ranching business was destroyed in the early-to-mid-1860s by a devastating flood followed by four years of the worst drought ever recorded in the Valley, before or since.

    After a brief and unsuccessful experiment with sheep ranching – wiped out by yet another series of droughts in the early 1870s – ranch foreman Isaac Newton Van Nuys began experimenting with growing wheat using the dry-farming techniques developed on the Great Plains. By the late 1870s, the southern half of the Valley was one of the largest wheat farms in the country.

    So cattle ranching in the Valley ended about two decades before Lankershim Blvd, on the alignment we know today, was laid out and graded.

    Its path had nothing to do with “the way the cows wandered.” It’s an artifact of the 1880s land boom – LA’s first big real-estate bubble. It was a road built for peach and walnut growers, not cattle ranchers.

    A map and an advertising flyer for J.B. Lankershim’s “Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company” offerings can be found in CSUN’s San Fernando Valley History Digital Library.

Comments are closed.