2010 THE YEAR OF VALLEY ADVENTURES
The Whitley Praiswater Mansion of Van Nuys. Hand-tinted photograph taken in 1909 - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Mike Praiswater 2010. (click on this image to get some of the real impact of this beautiful San Fernando Valley treasure image.)
Hobart J. Whitley
During his lifetime, Hobart J. Whitley loomed bigger than life to most residents of Los Angeles. His role in the founding of Hollywood won him a place in the history of the entertainment industry, but it is his leadership in the development of the San Fernando Valley that shapes the lives of thousands of Valley residents to this day.
Whitley came to Southern California with money he’d acquired in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1899 and when he became associated with those preparing to make millions from the infusion of water from the Owens River Aqueduct his fortunes would skyrocket. With the Otis-Chandler family and others, he was part of a syndicate that in 1909 covered nearly the entire South half of the San Fernando Valley.
To enhance his commercial interests, Whitley worked to found the towns of Canoga Park (then called Owensmouth), Reseda and Van Nuys.
Residents of the Valley and visitors who join The Museum of the San Fernando Valley’s historic walking tour of Van Nuys will be amazed at Whitley’s other adventures, including the building of the Whitley Mansion on Van Nuys Boulevard in 1909.
Keys Toyota Dealership on Van Nuys Boulevard now stands where the Whitley - Praiswater Mansion once graced the San Fernando Valley. No trace of the original structures remain.
Photo for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht 2010.