Thursday, August 30, 2007
Corriganville Ranch 1957
Collection - The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
Gift of Gary Fredburg 2007
In the days of Spanish colonization, California's rugged coastline proved impassable from Malibu to the Oxnard plain. Explorers were forced to find routes north and west through the San Fernando Valley into Ventura County. Until the construction of the Conejo Grade in 1937 (now U.S. Highway 101), it was virtually impossible to descend by car into Camarillo from what is now Thousand Oaks.
Eventually, the now historic Spanish roadway, El Camino Real made its way across the year-round ford at Campo de Cahuenga, and bumped its way across the San Fernando Valley into a very treacherous Santa Suzanna Pass. That narrow access, where U.S. 118 cuts through into Ventura Country, was once one of America's most dangerous but strikingly beautiful roads.
In the 1930s, the motion picture industry was well on its way to dominate the economy of the Valley. Location scouts searched all of Southern California for exotic places, suitable for the backgrounds of films. The northwest Valley, Canoga Park and the Santa Suzanna pass proved highly desirable.
In the late 1930s, Ray "Crash" Corrigan purchased a less than successful ranch in the Santa Suzanna mountains above the sleepy little farm town of Chatsworth. By 1938 the property was being used for the creation of films.
The "cliff hanger" series, Jungle Girl utilized the cave set that Corrigan built on the property. The huge Chatsworth boulders were great backdrops for western gunfights and cowboy stunts. A Corsican village was built at the ranch for the film Vendetta as well a manor house for The Swordsman.
One wonders if the volunteer soldiers who accompanied Colonel Carlton and the famous Kit Carson on their way to fight the nomadic peoples of Arizona and New Mexico, would have recognized the Fort Apache made in 1947 at the Corrigan Ranch. Carson stayed at the Mission San Fernando when plans were being made to build Union forts across the desert.
In 1949, Crash Corrigan recognized that a growing population in the San Fernando Valley desired places for amusement and recreation. He opened Corriganville Ranch to the public. Across the Valley, in his new Burbank studios, Walt Disney watched Corrigan's frontier village with curiosity. By the 50's the ranch had changed and re-changed hands. In 1966, Bob Hope bought the site but soon lost interest in his investment. The trick of creating an amusement park within a working film studio was still to be perfected.
Antique car climbs a perilous Santa Suzanna Pass - c. 1935
Photo gift to the Museum from Gary Fredburg
Special thanks to Brother William Nick CSC and Katie Feeney of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks for sharing their beautiful new faculty meeting room with the Museum Community. The Board of the Museum met at the school on Wednesday August 29th.
Notre Dame High School was founded by the Roman Catholic Congregation of Holy Cross in 1947, and has been a vital part of Valley life since that time. In 1985, NDHS became a coeducational school, when Corvallis High School, an all girl Catholic high school closed nearby. (Your Museum Community is actively engaged in collecting the disappearing history of Corvallis High School.)
You are invited to visit the blog site of the Notre Dame High School Class of 1957's upcoming 50th Reunion.
The "Tigers" and the "Indians" are important to Valley history.
Thanks to the never-ending search for San Fernando Valley photographs and documents by Gary Fredburg, your Museum's collection of Contemporary History and Popular Culture, grows steadily. Most collections in the Valley concentrate on pioneer history or events before the 1950s.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley is interested in all aspects of Valley history and culture. Pony-Colt Baseball has long been a vital part of growing up in Los Angeles County. Your Museum Community invites you to share sports and recreation history through the Museum's collections.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Ruins of Historic Campo de Caheunga North Hollywood, California
Where America became a nation "from sea to shining sea."
Dear Members of the Museum Community,
A very important interview of Deuk Perrin and Richard Bogy of the Friends of Campo de Cahuenga about the integrity of this vitally important American historical site will be aired on KCET tonight! 7:00 pm.
The interview by Hena Cuevas will be repeated on Wednesday at 1:00 am.
After these showings, it will be available on line at the PBS / Life and Times website.
Please watch this interview and alert others who care about the history of the United States, California, Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley to see this.
The San Fernando Valley deserves a great Museum of history and culture.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Lankershim Ranch Wheat and Golden Poppies
Symbols of the San Fernando Valley
Lobby of the
San Fernando Building
Downtown Los Angeles
The August Board meeting for the Museum of the San
Fernando Valley will take place:
August 29, 2007
5:30 to 7 pm (very promptly)
Faculty Resource Center
2nd Floor of the Fritz Burns Center for Arts and
Notre Dame High School
13645 Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Parking is free in the Woodman Avenue lot. (main lot)
Notre Dame High School is located on the northeast
corner of Woodman Avenue and Riverside Drive. From the
101 Freeway take Woodman Avenue off ramp north.
We will not have access to a telephone connection, so
do try to make the meeting.
Be well and happy, Jerry Fecht
The San Fernando Valley deserves a great Museum of
history and culture.
Friday, August 17, 2007
The Walt Disney Barn in Griffith Park
Saved for future generations through the leadership of Michael Broggie, Board Member of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
Welcome Olga Garay,
The Museum Community and The Museum of the San Fernando Valley extends a warm welcome to Ms. Olga Garay, the new General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Ms. Garay has just arrived in Los Angeles from New York City where was a major arts consultant and the former program director of the Doris Duke Foundation. According to Garay, she was attracted to Los Angeles for several reasons; 1) our city has world class cultural institutions 2) we have the largest creative workforce in the Unite States, 3) Los Angeles has a “vibrant neighborhood structure and a plethora of ethni-cities” and, 4) Our vast city has an active “eco-system for the arts and culture”. She sees Los Angeles as a “national and international leader and crossroads in the arts”.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley has a responsibility to educate Ms. Garay about the cultural history of the Valley, the needs of the 1,800,000 residents of our area, our needs and the coming reality of a great regional Museum of history and culture.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The Historic Van Nuys Public Library Building
When the great Benjamin Franklin founded "The American Philosophical Society" in 1743, he firmly established in our society the importance of libraries and museums. Dr. Franklin, who was instrumental in creating formal public schools and colleges, fully understood the essential role played by museums and libraries as informal (self-teaching) educational opportunities.
From Ben Franklin's time to the present, every significant community in the United States of America has built two great pillars of learning, museums and libraries, as essential partners to their schools and playing fields.
In 1911 the residents of Van Nuys began a library service for their newly created community. By 1925, the people of Van Nuys were ready for a fine new library. They passed a bond allowing the construction of a truly handsome Spanish style to house an important library collection. A beautiful library was opened to the public in March of 1927 at 14555 Sylvan Street.
By 1964, Van Nuys and the surrounding San Fernando Valley had exploded in population. That year alone saw over 350,000 library volumes in circulation. A new branch of the Van Nuys Library was the result, located at 6250 Sylmar Avenue.
The original Van Nuys Public Library building was used for a variety of city purposes until its closure in 2004. The structure has remained vacant since that time. The historic library, still handsome and with great potential, is challenged with earthquake retrofitting issues.
Will this important San Fernando Valley landmark join the growing list of discarded and destroyed historic structures in our city? The original Van Nuys Library building has been put up for auction by the Los Angeles City Council as a surplus structure. (No doubt our city leaders did not consider the approaching critical need for city services' property, just around the corner with the predicted, massive population explosion arrives.) We think the building should be held by the city for future needs.
Doesn't it make sense that a great urban area like the San Fernando Valley have a Museum of its own history and culture? The Museum Community hopes that our city leaders will see the value in retaining the original Van Nuys Public Library building for public use. And, just in case anyone heeds the voice of Dr. Franklin, the space would be ideal for the preservation of our history and the exhibition of our Valley's phenomenal culture.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Post Card of the University of Southern California c. 1935.
Collection of Phyllis Hansen
The astronomical rise in San Fernando Valley property values is putting a relentless squeeze on historic buildings and cultural sites throughout the whole Valley. Most recently the Jack Oakie ranch in Northridge, one of the final historic ranches in our area has been in the news.
The University of Southern California, long the recipient of the generosity of San Fernando Valley residents, plans to sell the Oakie Ranch. What a splendid idea it would be for the great University to return a fraction of the years of Valley support by donating the ranch house to the community.
USC BA, MS, Ph.D.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
Thursday, August 9, 2007
NoHo Arts District
The protection and promotion of
murals is a Museum responsibility.
Building a great Museum is an enormous task. Our physical needs include, land, work with governmental offices, designing spaces to meet the needs of a full-service Museum, building the Board of Directors and Advisory Boards, and the never-ending task of raising funds. All of these efforts must be accomplished while keeping the Museum focused on its mission and assuring the community of the organization's commitment to integrity.
When the Museum Community chose The Museum of the San Fernando Valley as our name, we fully recognized our responsibility to the reputation of the communities that call our area their home. We have no alternative to excellence.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Commercial bronze horse sculpture
Ventura Boulevard - Encino, California
Informal Learning Experiences Support Valley Industry
The San Fernando Valley relies on the entertainment industry as a mainstay of our economy. Informal educational opportunities are essential to creative inspiration upon which the largest creative community in the world relies.
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire" William Butler Yeats
Monday, August 6, 2007
A Splendid Treasure of the San Fernando Valley
Andreas Pico Adabe - Home of the San Fenando Valley Historical Society - Mission Hills, California
Perception plays an enormous role in the illusive mix that makes a community both viable and successful. The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, by presenting the rich history and culture of our region, naturally stimulates interest and pride.
From the fierce animals of the Pleistocene Era and the mystical cave paintings of the Chumash, to the building of rockets for moon exploration and the making of the world's most loved animation films, the story of the San Fernando Valley is a natural invitation to our residents to take part in the the most creative community in the world.
“The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Vince Lombardi
Beautiful Orcutt Ranch - West Hills, California
The challenges of living in our vast horizontal city long dependent on private automobiles, the habit of
multi-tasking nearly a way of life. Valley residents regularly overlap their tasks and leisure activities are not an exception. An evening at the theater is almost always coupled with restaurant meals and impulse shopping.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley recognizes its role as a catalyst to encourage our own residents to make the Valley a focus of their cultural activities.
Southern California is one of the few places in the world where the endanged protea plant grows.
is a Museum
According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, research demonstrates that out of town - out of nation tourists rank the arts, community heritage and other cultural activities as one of the top five reasons for traveling and visiting a location. The presence of a vibrant Museum of the San Fernando Valley acts as a magnate to pull tourists to Universal Studios, the Autry Museum and Griffith Park and West Los Angeles into the Valley. Your Museum becomes a major economic ally to the business community.
“The past is never forgotten;
it's never even past.”
Perspective home-buyers and renters are strongly influenced by amenities like colleges, parks and museums. The presence of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley tells prospective buyers and renters that the people and business of the Valley care about the quality of life in our city. Nothing demonstrates the "investment" of a community in its quality of life more than a fine Museum.