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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

ARMENIAN-AMERICAN BEGINS FARMING IN THE VALLEY IN 1919

CHERISHING OUR VALLEY                  2013

In the mid 1980s, prominent San Fernando Valley realtor, Jerry Berns wrote regularly on the History of the Valley for the Daily News. On August 19, 1984 Jerry wrote:

EGANS RECALL EARLY YEARS IN VALLEY
     "the response from our readers to this weekly column covering the history of the San Fernando Valley has been wonderful.Long time residents of the area have many varied stories that they are anxious to share. We certainly encourage this response and hope that stories such as this one will continue to intrigue readers and unravel other hidden memories. We enjoy hearing from all of you."
"One couple who recently offered to tell of their past experiences in the is Frankie and and Eddie Egan."
      "in the early 1900s, the San Fernando Valley presented itself as a long of economic promise. Its climate afforded a comfortable place to live and work. Like so many others, their ancestors settled in the Valley in the hopes of fulfilling their dreams and aspirations."
      "Eddie Egan's journey to the Southland started with his family back in Armenia where his grandfather's land produced pistachio nuts. When relatives in New York sent for the family, it was to be the beginning of the journey. The first stop was in Italy and then on to New York, a temporary lay-over they could reach other family members already living in Pasadena, circa 1913."
"Egan and his family settled in Los Angeles until they moved to Van Nuys around 1919. It was here that he attended Van Nuys Elementary School. Tjhe family purchased 15 acres of land on Sherman Way and Haskell Avenue. Today, the post office is located on the property."

 "On 15 acres of land on Sherman Way at Haskell Avenue in the early 1900s was the Egan Ranch.  Photographed just after World War I, which was planted with walnut trees, vegetables and fruit."
(click on image to enlarge it.) 

     "They (the Egans) were among the first land owners to plant walnut trees, which require 10 to 12 years to fully mature. The land on Sherman Way was a choice site and top dollar was paid for it. Sherman Way was already a divided roadway with trees growing up and down the street. The big red cars soon took commuters to work downtown."
      " The Egan Ranch was a truck farm. They raised eggplants, tomatoes, string beans, grapes, figs and pomegranates. The produce was loaded on a Model T. Ford and driven to town to the Grand Central Farmers Market, where it was sold. The route to the market followed Cahuenga Pass."
"Egan attended Van Nuys High School where he was a yell leader, cheering on the school teams. HJe got to school on horseback and later by bicycle. To earn extra money as a youngster, as a caddie to several movie stars of the time at the Hollywood Golf Course. Located at Ventura Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon Avenue, the clubhouse was situated where Harvard School is today."
      "The Egan's are an example of one family family who came to Southern California bringing with them their old country heritage. They, along with so many other families of different national backgrounds, have helped make the San Fernando Valley a region rich in cultural heritage."

"Jerry Berns, president of Jerry Berns and Associates, has been a long time supporter of the renovation and restoration of historical properties."



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