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Saturday, September 26, 2009

WILLIAM ANDREWS KEY FIGURE IN EARLY SAN FERNANDO VALLEY HISTORY

2009 - The Year of Valley History


William Andrews

A few months ago, Guy Weddington McCreary mentioned in passing that the Andrews and Anderson photographs found in the historic David High collection, were involved in the layout of North Hollywood (Lankershim/Toluca) and Burbank. The recent gift of "A Daughter of the Snows" (Story of the Great San Fernando Valley) confirms Guy's comment.
On page 12 the little history published in 1923 states:
"The historic boom of the 80s made its inroad into the grain fields of the "solid south" as well, for the same year that the Maclay and George K. Porter ranches were put up for subdivison a large section of the south side of the Valley, too, was lost forever to wheat culture.
The Lankershim Land and Water Company bought the eastern 12,000 acres of the great Los Angeles Farm and Milling Company Ranch, and diving it up into farmed that ranged in size from one to 250 acres and in price from $5 to $150 per acre, put it on the market under the direction of W. H. Andrews.
The land was one of the seven divisional ranches into which the sellers had divided their great domain for convenience and economy of operation, and was always known as the Lankershim Ranch. The next ranch to it was known as the Sheep Ranch, whose houses and barns stood up to the Fall of 1923. Next to it was the Kester, followed by the Home, Patton, West and Workman Ranches, taking their names for the most part from the name of the superintendent in charge.
Mr. Andrews had a force of 120 Chinamen and 200 mules to cut roads through the brush and stubble of the Lankershim Ranch. He used this same force in laying out the new town of Burbank also. Those were historic days!"

William Andrews was married to Mary "Mollie" Weddington, the sister of Sheriff Wilson Weddington of Storm Lake Iowa. During the winter of 1890, the Andrews invited their relatives to spend the winter in warm Southern California. The Weddingtons came and saw real opportunity in the San Fernando Valley. That same winter, William Andrews conducted a land auction for the Lankershim Land and Water Company, and the Weddingtons made their first big purchase of Valley land.

Note: Many historical organizations skip over information that today is politically awkward. The use of Chinese labor to clear Valley lands is one such example. Great questions deserve to be answered, if we are to amass a genuine record of our past. If you are interested in this and other issues of history, contact your Museum today.

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