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Chatsworth Historical Society Digital Archives
The Chatsworth Historical Society is a 501(3)c non profit, public benefit corporation.  This website is designed to share digitized resources and information to the broader community for educational and historical purposes.  This is not a static site; we are actively adding new content to our online collections.  Copyright: Commercial use is strictly prohibited by law without prior written consent from the copyright holders.  The responsibility for the use of these materials rests exclusively with the user.

Chatsworth Historical Society Digital Archives, Chatsworth, CA

Prepared by the Chatsworth Historical Society -  Updated March 2015


….       Native American tribes that lived in the valley included Tataviam, Tongva and the Chumash people.


1769    Padre Juan Crespi along with Spanish soldiers entered the San Fernando Valley for the first time.


1797    Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana was founded. Travelers passed through the Santa Susana Pass to Simi House and on to Mission San Buenaventura.  Indians who lived at the San Fernando Mission were referred to as Fernandeños while those at the San Gabriel Mission were called Gabrieleños.


1850    California became the 31st state of the United States of America.


1859    The State of California contracted work to be done on the Stagecoach Trail to be used for carrying mail.  It was completed in 1861, and became known as the “Devils Slide” due to its steep descent.


1862    The Homestead Act encouraged western migration by providing settlers 160 acres of public land.  In exchange, homesteaders paid a small filing fee and were required to complete five years of continuous residence before receiving ownership of the land.


1870    The first English-speaking people, Ann Wilden Johnson and her husband, Neils Christian Johnson, settled in the area.


1880    The Santa Susana School was established. It was a county school that existed before Chatsworth became part of LA City.


1886    Rhoda Jane and James David Hill settle on what became a 230-acre ranch.   Minnie Hill Palmer is born in November.  A portion of this ranch later becomes the Homestead Acre.


1888    Subdivision map for a town called Chatsworth Park was filed with the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office on March 10th.


1890   The Santa Susana School building is built on the northwest corner of Topanga and Devonshire.


1893    Railroad service begins. The first depot and Chatsworth Hotel are located at the northeast corner of Marilla and Topanga Canyon Blvd.  An additional mile of train track is laid westward into the Chatsworth Park Quarry in 1898 to transport sandstone to the San Pedro Breakwater.


1895    The Chatsworth Grade Road is built to carry wagon loads from Chatsworth to Simi Valley through a winding gradual grade.  A more direct route, on the north side of Santa Susana Creek, later became known as the Santa Susana Pass that we have today.


1898    Construction of tunnels through the Chatsworth and Simi mountains begins. Following 6 years of construction, a series of three tunnels connect the railroad line from Simi to Chatsworth. 


1898    The Gray Family builds a home on Lassen Street,  planting olive tree cuttings presumed to be from the San Fernando Mission.  76 Mature Olive Trees on Lassen between Topanga and Farralone are declared LA Historic-Cultural Monument #49 in 1967.


1903    The Pioneer Church is built and dedicated at 10051 Topanga Canyon Blvd.


1904   Three Railroad Tunnels are completed.


1910    Chatsworth's second Train Depot was built located south of Devonshire Street on the west side of the tracks. The 1893 and 1910 depots coexisted until fire destroys the first depot in 1917.


1911    James Hill, Lovell Hill and Willard Johnson build a new five-room redwood bungalow on the site of the original Hill family homestead. This replaced the first house built in 1886 on the Homestead Acre.


1912    Iverson Ranch becomes the backdrop for early Hollywood movies.


1913    Owens River water comes to the San Fernando Valley.


1914    Chatsworth Chamber of Commerce is organized by local businesses.


1915    Residents vote to become part of the City of Los Angeles.


1917    Chatsworth Park Elementary School is dedicated on May 4th, 1917 with a new building on the existing site.


1918    The Chatsworth Lake/Reservoir is completed. It was in service from 1919 to 1969.


1930    Stoney Point becomes popular with early Sierra Club members.  This attention brought early pioneering rock climbers who learned to climb at Stoney Point.  Stoney Point Outcroppings are declared LA Historic-Cultural Monument #132 in 1974.


1933    Long Beach earthquake damages 1916 Chatsworth Park Elementary School building.


1935    New Chatsworth Park Elementary School building dedicated.  Auditorium built in 1937.

1938     Rancho San Antonio “Boys Town” opens.


1939    Native Daughters of the Golden West place a tiled monument marker along the stage coach trail at the portion known as Devils Slide commemorating its use from 1861-1890.  The Stagecoach Trail is declared LA Historic-Cultural Monument #92 in 1972 and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.


1941    World War 2 –Soldiers stationed at Chatsworth to guard the train tunnels.


1941    Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz purchase a five acre ranch in Chatsworth on the south west corner of Devonshire and Corbin.


1940’s Electricity brought into the Homestead Acre cottage by Minnie’s son LeRoy and Mr. Berkemeyer.


1946    Chatsworth - LA Public Library located in the Lombardi Building at the corner of Owensmouth and Devonshire.  Later closed in 1952 and the area is served by Book Mobiles until 1963.


1954    United States Army Nike Site opened on Oat Mountain above De Soto Ave.


1955    Roy Rogers and Dale Evans move to Chatsworth, purchase 129 acres and rename it the Double R Bar Ranch. Episodes of the “The Roy Rogers Show” are filmed at the Double R Ranch.


1955    Minnie sells off farmland, retains a Life Tenancy on house and 1.3 acres.  Kitchen and bath with running water added to the Homestead Acre cottage. Aqua Sierra Sportsmans Club opens with a gun club and plans for a fishing lake. 


1956    Chatsworth Jr. Baseball League is founded with 43 boys fielding 4 teams the first year.


1956    The Munch Box opens.  It is declared LA Historic-Cultural Monument #750 in 2003.


1958    Roy Rogers serves as Honorary Mayor of Chatsworth.


1959    Superior Elementary School opens near Oso and Lassen.


1963    The Chatsworth Historical Society is formed to save the Pioneer Church.   The Pioneer Church is declared LA Historic-Cultural Monument #14 the same year.


1963    Chatsworth High School opens on a forty-acre campus north of Lassen on Lurline.


1963    LA Public Library- Chatsworth Branch opens at the corner of Devonshire and Variel.


1963    Germain Street Elementary School opens at Germain St. and Lurline Ave.  First LA City school to have air-conditioning.


1965    Pioneer Church moved from Topanga Canyon Boulevard to its present location in Oakwood Memorial Park.


1968    Ernest Lawrence Middle School opens on Variel north of Lassen.


1970    New Post Office building dedicated on Devonshire near Owensmouth.


1974    Stoney Point is declared LA Historic-Cultural Monument #132.


1975    Chatsworth Reservoir Kiln Site is declared LA Historic-Cultural Monument #141.


1978    Chatsworth Historical Society named as conservator of the Homestead Acre.


1979    118 “Simi” Freeway was completed making the trip from Chatsworth to Simi a 5 minute journey.


1980    Homestead Acre cottage and grounds dedicated, public tours begin.


1981    Minnie Hill-Palmer dies in March at the age of 94.


1996    Chatsworth Transportation Center – Train Depot opens with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans at the dedication ceremony. 


1997    Harvester Farms is declared LA Historic-Cultural Monument #645.  This site was the headquarters of the Palomino Horse Association of America. The horse “The Harvester” sired many Palomino horses including Mr. Ed.


1998    670 Acre Santa Susana State Historic Park is dedicated preserving the Santa Susana Mountains.


1998    The Chatsworth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is chartered.


2004    LA Public Library – Chatsworth Branch building is replaced with larger state of the art facility.


2007    LA purchases equestrian property south of Stoney Point currently known as Stoney Point Ranch.


2008    LA closes Chatsworth Park South due to suspected lead and clay pigeon contamination from the skeet shooting range in the 1950’s.