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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Universal Studios - historic postcard - collection of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley - gift of Gary Fredburg 2008

Soon you will likely see the first Big Valley Training Ride for women and men preparing for the 2008 California AIDS Life Cycle ride. The riders will be traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles, with sponsors' donations going to fight AIDS and provide vital services in our State. The president of your Museum has volunteered as a "roadie" (support crew member) for the ride. My job will be to help out in the camp store.
Here's a list that I constructed for the Big Valley Training Riders to learn about our Valley on their training ride.
Jerry Fecht

Hi Riders!
Welcome to the Big Valley Ride!

On this very special ride you will be traveling through some of the most important historical areas of America. Here a few tips about what you will be seeing and riding through.

You will begin your ride in Hollywood and approaching the San Fernando Valley through the historic Cahuenga Pass.
• Cahuenga Pass was once a Spanish dirt highway called El Camino Real.
• On the way to Barham Blvd. you will following the route of the Butterfield Stage Coach.
• During the US Civil War, soldiers accompanied travels in this Pass.
• You'll see signs saying Lake Hollywood - It's a reservoir that supplies water for Hollywood.
• To your left is Universal Studios and City Walk. Near the top of the hill the Battle of Cahuenga between the US Army and the Army of California's Rancheros took place.
• At the bottom of Cahuenga Pass is Campo de Cahuenga where Col. John C. Fremont and General Andreas Pico signed the Treaty of Cahuenga making American a nation "from sea to shining sea."
• Griffith Park is named for Griffith Griffith who gave Los Angeles the largest urban park in the USA. Later he murdered his wife and went to prison.
• The Autry Center of Western History is a terrific museum. Come back and plan to spend the afternoon.
• A little red barn at the Live Steamers in Griffith Park is Walt Disney's barn, where he planned Disney land and played with his trains.
• Travel town is lots of fun to visit if you are into trains and trollies. It's more fun, if you bring a kid along with you to see it.
• Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery has all sorts of celebrities buried there, including Bette Davis who arranged for a tomb that would always look down on her old boss Harry Warner (Warner Brothers).
• Riverside Drive crosses the L.A. River. It drains a huge ancient lake. The Valley has year-round creeks and streams. The River is going to be restored.
• An all-year ford allowed passage from the Valley to the Cahuenga pass. "nga" means village in the Tongva language. Here Cahue-nga.
• The greater San Fernando Valley has 1,800,000 residents. If it weren't part of Los Angeles, it would be the 5th largest city in America.
• Heading north across the Valley, you are retracing the route taken by Franciscan Catholic monks. The mission and Valley is named after San Fernando Rey de EspaƱa, the husband of Isabella.
• At Rinaldi you will be crossing the great Northridge Earthquake Fault. Over a billion dollars damage in less than 10 seconds.
• Laurel Canyon between the Valley and West Hollywood was the source of the California laurel plant, used as a muscle relaxant, before cyclists.
• Sepulveda Boulevard is named for the Spanish rancher whose house is at Olvera Street by Union Station.
• The Valley once was the world's largest producer of olive oil, lots of the trees still grow in the area.
• In the hills you may see the great California aqueduct cascade. William Mulholland brought water to the Valley from the Owens River.
• In the Ice Age, all of the huge creatures caught in the LaBrea Tar Pits traveled the Valley, drank from the large Toluca Lake and interrupted traffic.
• The rocky hills in the west have Tongva and Chumash pictoglyphs, and there the rocket engines for America's moon landing were tested.
• The pine trees in the Valley were brought from Mexico by Spanish monks,
• Reseda was once the home of huge orange, walnut and avocado orchards. Turkey and chickens were raised on mom and pop farms.
• Victory Blvd. was once the site of huge anti-aircraft guns protecting Burbank's airport and air plane industry.
• Lost of airplanes in the mid Valley. Van Nuys Airport is the largest private commercial airport in the USA. Amelia Earhart flew here. Casablana was filmed here. "Play it again, _____!"
• The Valley has the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia.
• F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a guest house belonging to Edward Everett Horton near White Oak Avenue.
• Ventura Boulevard is our friend El Camino Real again.

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