Tel: (818) 347-9665 PST

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ABC7 News - In the Neighborhood: Dave Kunz offers tour of hometown Northridge

Thanks to Dave Kunz of ABC7 news for his segment on his hometown of Northridge. 

Since I too grew up in Northridge and we are the same age, we had to cross paths at Nobel Junior High, on the field at Northridge Little League, sitting in a booth eating pizza at Shakey's after a Granada football game shopping at Dale's market and maybe engulfing a Trough at the Farrell's on Reseda Blvd.

We appreciated his enthusiasm for his childhood memories in Northridge and he really enjoyed touring The Museum.

Here are excerpts from the video copy - Enjoy!

The massive earthquake of 1994 put Northridge on the worldwide map.

But long before that, Northridge was the center of my world. Happy times, growing up in a very different time.

"You'd leave in the morning, and be gone all day. You might hear your parents ringing a cow bell or something and realize it's time to go home for dinner. Today we won't let kids out of our sight," said Michel Stevens, the president of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, who grew up in Northridge.

This community in the far northern reaches of the city of Los Angeles is a fitting place for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley. The museum's various rooms hold lots of artifacts that chronicle a simpler era in the San Fernando Valley, and in Northridge.

Which was an ideal place for my parents to raise two boys, with good schools, like Darby Avenue Elementary. Darby is still a good school today, winning numerous awards and being named a California Distinguished School.

After Darby, I attended Nobel Middle School, Granada Hills High School, Pierce College, and Cal State Northridge. You could say I loved being in the San Fernando Valley!

And since I got around Northridge on two wheels in my early days, I decided to do a tour via pedal power! My old Schwinn Varsity is long gone, but riding any kind of bicycle around your old neighborhood is a great way to revisit memories of childhood.

Not far from our house on Reseda Boulevard was the intersection of Devonshire and Reseda, a sort of "center of my universe," starting with a growing kid's favorites for food. The McDonald's restaurant of my childhood was torn down a few years ago, replaced with a modern rendition in the same spot.

But right next door, Shakey's Pizza still looks exactly the same.

Well, on the outside anyway. The Shakey's interior has changed a bit with remodels over the years. But this is essentially the place where generations of Northridge families ate pizza, celebrated the weekend, and listened to the player piano. The piano is still there, plinking out favorite tunes to the delight of children who love watching the keys move up and down by themselves.

"A majority of our customers tell us they came here as a kid. And they now bring their children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren here," said Kasim Idrees, whose family operates the Shakey's, after taking over for the long-time operator who ran it for over 50 years.

"While a lot of things have changed, Shakey's stays the same," added Idrees.

Continuing my bicycle tour down memory lane, I made a familiar stop at the showroom of Baher Chevrolet on Devonshire to peek inside at the new models. Actually, it used to be Baher Chevrolet, but now it's Rydell Chevrolet in the exact same location. Any chance I got, I'd stop by there to daydream. And if I was lucky, I'd score some brochures for new Corvettes and Camaros, and then hop back on my bike to go home and plan for the day I'd have my own car.

But I knew I could forget about a new Corvette as a teenager. I had to set my sights a bit lower.

And If I wanted to buy any kind of car, I'd need to earn some money. Dale's Supermarket was right across the street, and it was there that I landed my first real job bagging groceries.

The building that was Dale's store #31 is still there, but it's now Smart and Final Extra. In between, it was a Lucky Market, then Albertson's. The store is still a hallmark of my old neighborhood, and still a great place for a first job.

Just ask Sanestina Hunter, a recent CSUN graduate who works at Smart and Final. She and I chatted quite a bit about working in retail as a young person, and agree that doing so adds great life skills.

"You want to build customer service experience. These are life skills, which you can take with you, and they can teach you a lot," she said.

Other staples of the intersection of Devonshire and Reseda were Bob's Big Boy (turned into a Carrow's years ago; now that's gone too, replaced by a Chick Fil-A), The Fox Northridge Theatre, the Peppertree Three Theatre, Northridge Little League, and the huge ice cream parlor called Farrell's

For playtime, kids like me learned that hot Valley summers meant trying to find a cool spot, so Northridge Park often came to the rescue. It always had lots of shade, and a huge pool, which was upgraded in 2008 to become the Northridge Aquatic Center.

For those triple-digit Northridge summer days, it's still a solution to cooling off. "Nothing like getting into a nice cool pool when it's 110-plus outside," said Dwayne Finley, the director of Northridge Recreation Center.

Northridge: it was a great place to grow up.

And it still is a great place, all these years later.

Michel Stevens

Monday, July 16, 2018

Celebrating 90 Years of Flight at Van Nuys Airport (VNY) (1928–2018)

Kudos is in store for Van Nuys Airport (VNY) that will be commemorating its 90th anniversary this year.

VNY and LAWA will also being paying tribute to aviation pioneers and visionaries who first introduced the San Fernando Valley to the freedom of flight.

 VNY was dedicated on December 18, 1928, marking the 25th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight. From that day forward, VNY attracted legendary pilots such as Amelia Earhart.

She lived and worked in the valley from 1928 until her disappearance in the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

Over the years, the valley and airport had a steady stream of aerospace leaders, business entrepreneurs and some Hollywood filmmakers to propel its innovation.

VNY is identified as Los Angeles’ business airport and has been one of the world’s busiest general airports for decades. A vital economic engine, it contributes approximately $2 billion to the Southern California economy and supports over 10,000 jobs annually.

For more information on Van Nuys Airport, please click HERE.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

New Museum Exhibit: Small Lens on Big Lives...and the Hollywood Shorties.

The Museum SFV is pleased to announce a new exhibit called Small Lens on Big Lives...and the Hollywood Shorties.

In the late 1930’s, an international casting call brought talented dwarves from around the world to Los Angeles to make “The Wizard of Oz” and a lot of them stayed.  Often in Burbank, groups of little people would socialize at the original Bob’s Big Boy and hold events in the surrounding areas and parks.

This exhibit, inspired by Ryan Steven Green, who created a documentary called “The Hollywood Shorties,” explores through photos, artifacts and film clips the joy, excitement, poignancy and societal contributions of the players of the first professional sports team ever created entirely of little people. 

Billy Barty (vaudeville entertainer, film actor, LPA activist) and Jerry Maren (the “Lollipop Kid” The Wizard of Oz”) formed The Hollywood Shorties baseball team in 1949, just after WWII.

The Hollywood Shorties was originally a team of actors and stuntman ranging from 3’5’’ and 4’9” who played charitable baseball games against celebrities and faculties of high schools primarily across the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas. In the 1970’s The Shorties introduced basketball to their fans and found themselves in great demand by NBA teams, often playing mini-games for the NBA game crowds at half-time.  

The exhibit opens on June 28th and there will be a VIP reception on Saturday, July 21st from 5:00 - 8:00 pm. Some members of the Hollywood Shorties and executives of the Little People of America are expected to attend. RSVP on EventBrite or by contacting Jackie Langa at The Museum at 818-347-9665 or

The Museum is located at 18860 Nordhoff St., Ste. 204, Northridge, CA 91324. For more information, please visit

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Pacific Electric Railway and the Red Car; nice article on history of valley transportation

Pacific Electric Railway and the Red Car - what a history. What memories for all that rode these cars to and from Los Angeles and through parts of the valley.

Please read this terrific article by Olga Grigoryants of the Los Angeles Daily News (LINK HERE).

A few factoids about the Pacific Electric:

1911 - Pacific Electric Railway Company begins service to the Valley

The car line was approximately 19-miles operating from Los Angeles along Chandler Boulevard, curling north up Van Nuys Blvd. to Sherman Way. The line later ran to the areas known today as Reseda and Canoga Park.

1913 - more than 368,000 passengers boarded the line.

1926 - passengers totaled one million.

Late 1940s - after WWII, the Pacific Electric popularity began to decline.

1963 -the last Red Car line was taken down.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Welcoming Back the Reseda Blvd Summer Art Series...

The Reseda Blvd Summer Art Series returns this weekend! The first date is today with three more scheduled throughout the summer months. 

Come out to enjoy food trucks, live performances, and incredible art. 

The event takes place along Reseda Blvd at Rayen in Northridge. For additional details check out the flyer below.

Event Dates; June 23, July 14, August 4 and August 25

Friday, June 22, 2018

Historic Walking Tour of Van Nuys Sunday, June 24th; 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m

Join us for a stroll back in time through the "Town That Was Started Right!"

Learn about the origin of the Daily News and the company which was a nationwide maker of silent movie theatre organs. Who were Hobart Johnstone Whitley, Wayne E. Bechtelheimer and Whitley Van Nuys Huffaker? Relive "Wednesday Nights on Van Nuys Boulevard." We will have historic photographs and stories to share as we wander this surprisingly historic San Fernando Valley treasure.

Tour highlights include:
  • Van Nuys Bungalow           
  • Women’s Club
  • Old Van Nuys Library (1927)       
  • United Methodist Church
  • Municipal Building Fa├žade       
  • Van Nuys Post Office
  • Abeles Map               
  • Fernando Statue, Crystal Plunge
  • Bob’s Big Boy, Busch Gardens       
  • Lankershim, Van Nuys, Whitsett, Whitley
The development entity known as The Syndicate began the process in 1910, but William Paul Whitsett saw it through to the end. Originally a barley field, Van Nuys became a prosperous center of City Government, agriculture and industry. Come explore what remains to be appreciated: original 1911 buildings hidden beneath modern facades, first churches, a civic center with many special revelations, one of the main hubs of social and official activity, the Women's Club building, Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monuments #201, #202, and #911, and National Register of Historic Places Monument #2509.

Please RSVP and pay in advance with:                                          
EVENTBRITE - Search under: Van Nuys Historic Walking Tour  (Okay to walk-up and pay)
Cost:        $10 per person donation; Also, please visit
Parking:    Street & metered parking in area

RSVP:     1-818-347-9665, email at

Please consider inviting a family member, colleague or friend.

Attendees will meet under the "Bridge/Archway" of the Braude Constituent Center,  6262 Van Nuys Blvd. on the SE corner of  Sylvan Street and Van Nuys Blvd.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

California State Senator Robert Hertzberg has selected The Museum of the San Fernando Valley as its 2018 California Nonprofit of the Year for Senate District 18

The 3rd annual California Nonprofit of the Year event will recognize up to 100 non-profit organizations at an event in Sacramento on June 6, 2018. California State Senator Robert Hertzberg selected The Museum of the San Fernando Valley as its California Nonprofit of the Year for Senate District 18.

Each nonprofit was selected by their CA State Senator and Assemblymember as an exceptional nonprofit organization in the district.

“This is an honor that we very much appreciate,” said Michel Stevens, President of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley. “As a free all-volunteer museum, this award reflects the drive and hard work put in by our past and present board members, advisors, docents, Valley-based artists, tour guides, speakers, curators, Friends of The Museum, all other volunteers, alliance partners and our original founder Dr. Gerald Fecht. This award adds further energy for our mission to continue to educate Valley residents and guests about the history, art and culture of the San Fernando Valley.”

Honorees (attending will be Michel Stevens, President and Jackie Langa, Vice President) will visit the Senate and Assembly floors and then will gather for a luncheon and program joined by many legislators.

"California Nonprofits Day not only honors and spotlights the excellence of individual nonprofits but raises the profile of the entire community to legislators," said CalNonProfits CEO Jan Masaoka.

The California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) is a statewide membership organization that brings nonprofits together to advocate for the communities it serves. It also works with legislators and nonprofit coalitions to develop legislation that will allow nonprofits to bring our full power to serving its communities and remove the obstacles to efficient contracting and high-impact work.

Bob Hertzberg is the first former Assembly Speaker in 86 years to be elected to the California State Senate, and one of only six lawmakers in California history to serve as Assembly Speaker and subsequently win a seat in the Senate. Now representing nearly 1 million residents of the San Fernando Valley in the Senate, Hertzberg remains committed to looking at the big challenges facing California. After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. Hertzberg returned to the Legislature determined to work on governing for the next generation taking on tough issues such as tax reform, water policy, renewable energy and repairing the courts.  He currently chairs the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water and serves on the Committee on Governance and Finance; the Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments; and the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications; the Committee on the Judiciary. The Senator's valley office may be reached at 818-901-5588 or by visiting


6/9 Walking Tour of William Mellenthin Homes - Sherman Oaks

Please join us for a fun morning on June 9th as we explore beyond the book and physically view and discuss the homes of builder William Mellenthin.

Docent and author: Chris Lukather
Saturday, June 9, 2018
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
$10/pp - RSVP in advance on Eventbrite (okay to show up on 6/9, but we would like to know you are attending- send us an email at

Docent and Author Chris Lukather will take attendees on a fun and educational walk through a Sherman Oaks neighborhood that has a cluster of southern California builder William Mellenthin’s ranch style “Birdhouse” homes. 

Cost: $10/pp; PLEASE RSVP and pay in advance via EventBrite.  Walk-in attendees welcome, but we would appreciate advance notice by calling 818-347-9665 or and let us know you will be attending.

At the end of the walk, we will enter one of the homes for a more in-depth discussion and an opportunity for Chris to offer for purchase and he will sign copies of his book. Cost of the book is $30.  He spent three years researching in order to create this terrific book. A portion of proceeds will benefit The Museum.

In the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s housing developments began peppering the available land outside of Los Angeles. Affordable, family-friendly communities like the San Fernando Valley initiated an exodus to the suburbs. It was in the Valley that designer-builder William Mellenthin developed his singular brand of cozy, charming home which became known as the Mellenthin Birdhouse ranch home—so called because they featured a cupola or dovecote built prominently into the roof.

Directions to the walking tour:
Meet at corner of Addison St. & Ethel Ave. in Sherman Oaks at 9:55 am
Park at north end of Riverside Elementary School on Ethel Ave. & Huston St. (just two blocks south)

Google Map - click HERE:    Tel: 818-347-9665   

The Museum’s blog:

Invite a family member or friend to join this Saturday!

Friday, May 25, 2018

From Holly Andres of the Daily News...

Here is a sampling of area Memorial Day events on May 28 honoring and remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States armed forces.

Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade: 

The 29th annual event, “Saluting the Price of Freedom,” with floats, marching bands and community groups. Opening ceremony, 10, and parade, 11 a.m. Parade begins at the intersection of Owensmouth Avenue and Sherman Way, east on Sherman Way to Mason Avenue. 818-884-4222.

Memorial Day observance at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills: 

Guest speakers, color guard, a rifle salute and wreath-laying, 10 a.m. Doors open, 9 a.m. Keynote speaker is Dr. Jon Williams, United States Army veteran from the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart recipient. Participants include Boy Scouts of America Troop #58, bagpiper Harry Farrar and the Union Avenue Drum Corps. 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles. 800-204-3131.

City of Burbank Memorial Day: 
Concert by the Burbank Community Band, 10:15, followed by the Ceremony of the Rose, 11 a.m.  War Memorial at McCambridge Park, corner of Amherst Drive and North San Fernando Road. 818-238-5378.

Memorial Day at the Pioneer Cemetery: 

The San Fernando Valley Historical Society presents the observance that includes a remembrance of prisoners of war and missing-in-action troops, wreath-laying, rifle salute and Taps, 11 a.m.-noon. Participants include American Legion Post 176, Communities in Schools and the Marine Corps League-San Fernando Valley Detachment #1277. Event includes a dedication of the “Walk of History.” Doors open, 10 a.m. Limited parking; arrival before 10:30 a.m. advised. 14451 Bledsoe St., Sylmar. 818-970-1286.

Memorial Day observance at Forest Lawn-Glendale: 

Guest speakers, color guard, music, a rifle salute and wreath-laying, 1 p.m. 1712 S. Glendale Ave.

Michel Stevens
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

Monday, May 28, 2018: Memorial Day Observance at Pioneer Cemetery in Sylmar 11:00 am

Another popular Memorial Day event is hosted by the San Fernando Valley Historical Society:

Monday, May 28, 2018: Memorial Day Observance at Pioneer Cemetery in Sylmar:

Time: 11 a.m. to Noon on Monday, May 28, 2018. 

The cemetery is located at 14451 Bledsoe Street at the corner of Foothill Boulevard. This is the second oldest graveyard in the San Fernando Valley and contains the remains of over 200 locals, immigrants, and five Civil War veterans. 

The observance will include a special dedication of the "Walk of History" featuring important dates of San Fernando Valley history engraved on bricks along a 90-foot section of walkway. Also included will be a wreath laying ceremony, U.S. flag-raising, rifle salute, and "Taps." 

There will be limited parking at the rear of the cemetery, so please carpool, if possible, and come before 10:30 a.m. for the best seating. Gates open at 10 a.m. For additional information call 818-970-1286.

San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery is a preservation project of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society.

Open houses with free tours are held on the third Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to Noon, rain or shine. The public is invited to visit and assist with maintenance and plot care.

Generously Sponsored by the Sylmar Neighborhood Council.

14451 Bledsoe Street, Sylmar  (Corner of Foothill & Bledsoe)

Michel Stevens
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade: The 29th annual event, “Saluting the Price of Freedom - 10:00 am

We hope valley residents and guests will have the opportunity to visit and experience one of the many Memorial Day events in the San Fernando Valley.

One popular one is the Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade: 

The 29th annual event, “Saluting the Price of Freedom,” with floats, marching bands and community groups. Opening ceremony, 10, and parade, 11 a.m. Parade begins at the intersection of Owensmouth Avenue and Sherman Way, east on Sherman Way to Mason Avenue.

From last year, enjoy these images:

Michel Stevens
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

Educating and promoting the history, art and culture of the great San Fernando Valley

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Tonight - San Fernando Valley Historical Society; speaker event; Lockheed Aircraft Company’s History 1912-1996

Lockheed Aircraft Company’s History 1912-1996

Speaker: Robert (Bob) Ream

Robert Beam started his career at this famous aircraft company in 1971. He contributed to several different projects including the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes. He was a provisioning analyst – Sr. staff on the global sustainment team when he retired in 2016. 

Lockheed was a major presence in the San Fernando Valley during a time when numerous aircraft and defense industries flourished in the area.

Bob will be sharing the history of the company from its inception, development and early years through their involvement in the war efforts and transition to civilian aircrafts, to their merger with Martin Marietta and their departure from the Valley.

Free event (donations welcome) - Free parking - Refreshments served

Time: 7:00 pm


Andres Pico Adobe 
10940 Sepulveda Blvd. 
Mission Hills 91346

To learn more about the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, please visit

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sunday 5/20 The Museum Speaker Series, CSUN Assoc. Professor James Snead - Relevance of Things or Artifacts

The Museum of the SFV is pleased to present James E. Snead, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) will discuss his book, “Missions, Water and Chicken Colonies in the San Fernando Valley” In this talk, he’ll emphasize the relevance of “things” or artifacts as a way into history and cultural identity. This will tie into additional activities on site at The Museum on this day.

The speaker event will run from 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm.

The event will be part of The Museum's annual spring gathering that will be from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. The events will include opportunity for valley residents to discuss artifacts of historic importance and receive a short oral history, arts and crafts for kids and speaker series. A small car show is planned too!

The oral histories, short videos, which offer an opportunity to become part of the archives of The Museum's are free of charge.

Free admission to overall events, excluding any food or beverages. A suggested $10 donation for the speakers event is appreciated.

Free parking. Elevator access to The Museum.

The Museum SFV would appreciate advance notice for this special event by calling 818-347-9665 or and let us know you will be attending. 

Located at: 18860 Nordhoff St., Suite 204, Northridge 91324 (XSt SE Corner Wilbur Ave. & Nordhoff St.)

Please being the family, colleagues and friends interested in history, art and culture to this annual event.

Note: Due to Memorial Day weekend, there will not be a speaker event on Sat., 5/26. The Museum will be open on this day from 1:00 - 5:00 pm.

Thank you.

5/12 Unveiling of Zelzah Cafe and Stampede Mural - Please join us!

Much Kudos to Roger Dolin of Mural Environments, former founder of The Museum's Public Art Initative, long-time board member and now part of the Northridge Beautification Foundation (formerly Northridge Sparkle) on the completion of this mural on Reseda Blvd.

Thanks to Northridge Beautification Foundation, Catalina Paints for donating the wall space and we believe portions of the paint cost, Scott Sterling, Mel Mitchell and the primary painters on the mural.

Also, much thanks to any and all community members that picked up a brush to support the mural. Community engaged murals make these projects and neighborhood enhancements even more special.

We invite The Museum members, Friends of The Museum as well as valley residents and guests to participate in this special FREE event on May 12th.

The event will be held at Catalina Paints at 8814 Reseda Blvd. at 6:30 pm.  Free event.

Making any donation to these worthwhile art and community organizations would be appreciated.

The Museum SFV will have a booth, participate in the program and will be educating folks about its art and art education programming in the valley.

The Museum and its Public Art Initiative along with Northridge South Neighborhood Council and Northridge Sparkle were all behind the first mural of the Zelzah train station at the SE corner of Rayen and Reseda.

On the NW corner of Rayen and Reseda resides a horse, part of The Museum's Horses Across The Valley program (still ongoing) sponsored by Northridge South Neighborhood Council and executed by Northridge Beautification Foundation.

A lot going on in this area. This is what happens when there are a lot of dedicated individuals making a difference in their community and promoting art and culture in the valley.

Please join us on the 12th!

Please leave us a message at 818-347-9665 of to RSVP. If you want more information about the event, please contact Andrea Alvarado at Northridge Beautification Foundation at

Thank you.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

4/28 The Museum Speaker Series - Historian Shel Weisbach; Architectural & Historic survey of Valley

The Museum of the SFV is please to present its next 2018 speaker event.

Historian Shel Weisbach will offer selections from of his series called:

          Pathways, an academic and reader-friendly art, architectural,                            
          contemporary and historic survey of the Valley for the curious                             
          to leisurely explore.

The event will run run from 2:00 - 4:00 pm.  Light refreshments served.

Cost: $10/pp

Free Parking. 
Elevator access.  

Please RSVP and pay in advance via EventBrite. Walk-in attendees welcome. 

The Museum SFV would appreciate advance notice for this special event by calling 818-347-9665 or and let us know you will be attending. 

Located at: 18860 Nordhoff St., Suite 204, Northridge 91324 (XSt SE Corner Wilbur Ave. & Nordhoff St.)