Tel: (818) 347-9665 PST

Monday, June 29, 2009


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Maria Avila - Jack Lankershim Reading Rood 2009 - Photo for the Archives of the Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht (click on image to enlarge)
In the newly refinished Lankershim Reading Room at the Andres Pico Adobe, Maria Avila posed in front of an enlarged painting of Jack Lankershim's Ranch. Quipped Maria, Jack only had one cow at the time he painted this picture, but he didn't like to skimp on things. Maria was married in 1929. She and her husband worked for Jack Lankershim for many years.
Maria Avila attended Lankershim School in North Hollywood. She left school at 16 to marry. Like nearly all of her family she attended the Catholic church and recalls when a small chapel was built in the "Mexican Village". It was called Saint Suzanna.
Maria attended Phyllis Hansen's lecture on her recent book "Charmed", and brought small trinkets given to her over the years by members of the Lankershim family from their vacations.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


2009 The Year of Valley History
Liane Schirmer - at the Phyllis Hansen "Charmed" book lecture for the San Fernando Valley Historical Society - June 2009. Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley - (click on image to enlarge)
Well know linguist and translator, Liane Schirmer leads The Museum of the San Fernando Valley's on-going effort to preserve and share the religious heritage of the greater San Fernando Valley. She was photographed in front of a hand carved statue of Nuestra SeƱora de La Purissima Conception (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception), in the Andres Pico Adobe in Mission Hills.

Want to help Leianne out? Send histories of your church, synagogue, mosque or temple to:
Liiane Schirmer
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
21031 Ventura Boulevard
Suite 419
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Historic postcards, photographs, brochures, religious images and ritual materials, and books about Valley-related spiritual organizations are greatly welcomed. As you read this, Liane is working on a traditional Roman Catholic "holy cards" collection and upcoming exhibit.
You can leave telephone messages for Liane and her Valley Religions Committee at 1 (818) 347-9665


2009 - The year of Valley History.
Deuk and Beth Perrin at Phyllis Hansen's "Charmed" book lecture at the San Fernando Valley Historical Society - June 2009. Photo for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht. (click on image to enlarge)

History's treasurers, in most cases, don't survive by accident. America's Campo de Cahuenga in North Hollywood is a good example. Without the leadership of Deuk and Beth Perrin, one of our country's most important landmarks could easily have slipped into a dusty and forgotten place. Beth and Deuk and the members of the Campo de Cahuenga Historical Memorial Association volunteer hours and hours on our behalf. In their case, a "double thank you" in certainly in order.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Michael Jackson (click on image to enlarge)

For many years I taught the United States History for non-history majors, at Moorpark College. I had no illusions about the students' motives for taking the class (easy grader - least painful way of completing their history requirements etc). At the outset of the lectures, I asked students if they thought sex, drugs and rock and roll were interesting - and, then asked them, "Have sex, drugs and rock and roll played part of history?"
Will the music and life of Michael Jackson be considered important when future historians write our lives and time?
- I think so! What do you think?
The decision of what is important, and worth our attention, is often a very personal one. Some would have us ignore pop culture because it belongs chiefly to the young or because it is often disrespectful to matters considered more important. Since our nation has several military academies and a Department of Defense (once more honestly called the Department of War) and no academies of peace, one could say that it is evident what has greater importance in our culture.
The Los Angeles City School District has just removed the arts from its curriculum. An either-or scenario has been bought into play, with the arts removed from our classrooms - and ours is a city whose entertainment industry owes its existence to artists and the arts.
Michael Jackson lived among us in Encino for several years, and had just finished doing rehearsals for his planned show in London, in Burbank, California.
Your Museum collects works and artifacts concerning the life and performances of Michael Jackson.
It might surprise you that we also study and collect information about the Mexican American War, the Van Nuys company that distributed Smirf figurines, Lockheed Aircraft during World War II, and the lives and deeds of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and Charles Manson.
Why is your Museum so interested in Michael Jackson?
Simply, if for no other reason, because Michael Jackson was the most influential entertainer in the world in his lifetime.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


2009 The Year of Valley History
Lockheed "Army Chapel" Burbank, California - gift to the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2009 (click on image to enlarge)

During The Museum's meeting last evening, Fred Berk announced that he is nearly ready for an exhibit of The Museum's historic postcards for several Los Angeles Public Library locations in the mid San Fernando Valley.

The "Army Chapel" of Lockheed Aircraft Factory School, in Burbank, California was mailed on the 23rd of February, 1945. It is addressed to Mrs. Tina B. Ranger of 775 North Towne Avenue in Pomona, California. It is from P.F.C. Justin O. Ranger
BA (?)1-72 (?) 18127377
3715.AAFBU(class 30 -45)
Lockheed Factory School, Burbank, California
"This may get home Saturday evening before I do, or I found a quicker way to send it off. Today, I feel much up to par, have pretty well snaped (sp) out my cold. I had a haircut tonight and waited out a line for an hour. I'll be home later because I won't get through school and calestents (sp) till five and will leave post about six or after. It was warmer this morning. Love Justin."
No postage stamp was required - it is marked "free".

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Bank of Lankershim and J.E. Jones Drug Store - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley (click on image to enlarge)

Just re-elected Treasurer of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, Rania Pallad of Tarzana wants everyone to know that your Museum is solvent. In this time of economic hardship, there will be no Museum layoffs, nor will we be accepting government bailouts unless we are asked to do so.
Seriously, in hard times, it is to your Museum's advantage to be without lots of overhead. You can help bring about a great Museum of history and culture for the San Fernando Valley by modest contributions. Volunteer for the civic betterment of the San Fernando Valley by contacting your Museum today: 818-347-9665.

J. E. Jones Druggist sold Edison Records among many other early Valley necessities.


Richard Hilton, Cecilia Rasmussen, and Guy McCreary - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley June 2009 (click on image to enlarge)

Your Museum continually works to bring about a greater interest in the history of the San Fernando Valley and California. This week we were called upon to advise Cecilia Rasmussen of the non-profit organization Angels Walk. We provided her with historic content and ideas for the upcoming placement of a dozen history kiosks for North Hollywood.
Representing your Museum were board members Richard Hilton and Jerry Fecht. Museum advisor Guy Weddington McCreary gave important details of North Hollywood history. Ms. Rasmussen is the former feature writer of Los Angeles Then and Now, for the Los Angeles Times. After the meeting, Cecilia was given her very own Museum of the San Fernando Valley Walking Tour.


Roses at the Entrance to the Home of Diane and Guy McCreary - June 2009 (click on image to enlarge)

What greater luck could The Museum of the San Fernando Valley have had than our introduction to Phyllis Hansen. Attracted to historical preservation through her interest in the great California artist Orpha Klinker, Phyllis has proved to be a genuine treasure. An author, free lance writer, historian, master of research and a "creative bombshell", Phyllis is one of a kind. We are grateful for her support and leadership in The Museum.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


(click on image to enlarge)

The multi-award-winning NoHo Arts Center Ensemble (NoHo ACE) in association with Larry Russo present a world premiere musical, INSANITY, from the creative team that brought you Dorian, The Ghost and Mrs Muir and Lizard, with music and lyrics by Scott DeTurk, book and additional lyrics by James J. Mellon, choreography by Suzanne Carlton, musical direction by Bobby Naffarete and direction by James J. Mellon. INSANITY will preview on Thursday, June 18 at 8:00pm; Friday, June 19 at 8pm; Saturday, June 20 at 8pm; Sunday, June 21 at 3pm and Thursday, June 25 at 8pm and will open on Friday, June 26 at 8:00pm and will run for eight weeks through Sunday, August 9 at the NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd. (at Lankershim) in North Hollywood.

Staring Broadway’s Kevin Bailey, Bob Morrisey and Dana Meller

Friday, June 19, 2009


(click on image to enlarge)


Gary Fredburg 2007 Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley (click on image to enlarge)
In 2005, Gary Fredburg of Burbank, California, became a member of the Board of Directors for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley. Since that time, Gary has regularly contributed historic documents, photographs, postcards and San Fernando Valley memorabilia to our collections. He was elected Secretary of The Museum's Board in May of 2009. Prior, he was the general Vice President of The Museum.



Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The Toluca Lake Garden Club - will dedicate a beautiful new monument to the men and woman who have served and continue to serve our Nation in the armed services. Blue Star monuments are placed across the United States to commemorate places of conflict and peace. In case you don’t know, Toluca Lake meets both standards. Our little village sits on the battlefield of the Second Battle of Cahuenga, where Californios forces – under the command of Pio Pico – after a three day cannon battle, defeated the Mexican forces under Governor Micheltorena.

Toluca Lake is also home to the Campo de Cahuenga, the site where Andres Pico surrendered all California forces to General John C. Fremont and Christopher (Kit) Carson – ending the Mexican-American War and fulfilling the American dream of manifest destiny – a continental United States , which stretched from Atlantic to Pacific oceans.

Please take a few minutes tomorrow (Thursday) morning as the Garden Club unveils and dedicates Toluca Lake ’s Blue Star monument. Join us at the “village square”, corner of Forman Avenue and Riverside Drive , at 11:00 a.m. Councilman LaBonge will join in the celebration, and refreshments will be served at Marie Calendar’s following the dedication.

Please forward this e-mail and invite your neighbors and friends to attend. As so many of our sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, friends and loved ones continue to serve us in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and beyond, let’s take a few minutes from our day to honor them.

Richard Bogy
Chair, Community Development and Govt. Affairs
Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce

Saturday, June 13, 2009



The Board of Directors and Board of Advisors of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley will meet on
Wednesday 24 June, 2009
Executive Committee: 5 PM until 6 PM Full Board Meeting: 6 PM until 8 PM
Special Presentation by Nancy Bianconi on Progress in the No Ho Arts District

Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley Building
5121 Van Nuys Blvd # 200 Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Information: 1 (818) 347-9665

WANT TO BE ON THE AGENDA ?- Call 1 (818) 347-9665

Mural at the North Hollywood Adult Center - Photo in the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Gerald Fecht 2009 (click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


by editor Dana Larson

"On a plain concrete lot, surrounded by bowed chain-link fence and in the shadows of stark industrial warehouses, sits a boarded-up old clapboard house, out of place and frequented by vandals and homeless squatters. It doesn't look like much of anything. But to hundreds of people in North Hollywood, California, it represents their heritage - they fondly call it "The Mother House" - and they are fighting to save it, Storm Lake roots and all.
It's a long story, reaching back into the earliest days of Storm Lake, as well as meandering through the heart of California history.
Wilson C. Weddington was born in 1847 in Anderson, Indiana, and apparently fought in the Civil War while still very young. After taking a bride, Mary Ann, the daughter of a Civil War surgeon, he was lured to her home state of Iowa by the promise of rich land to be homesteaded.
In the 1870s, the couple settled at the just-founded village of Storm Lake to farm, but Weddington soon left his land when asked to become the third sheriff in Buena Vista County history, an office he held for a dozen years while raising his two sons.
Indians and gypsies and pioneers were giving way to modern trappings in Iowa, and in the fall of 1887, Weddington decided to travel west to visit his sister Mollie, who was married to the superintendent of the vast, desolate Lankershim Ranch which sprawled across 12,000 acres of the sunbaked San Fernando Valley, from the current location of Burbank to the foot of what is now knows as the Hollywood Hills. The region was still frequented by cowboys and Indians. According to family lore, the Iowa sheriff was "dazzled" by what he saw.
The ranch had an auction for some small, dusty parcels of land it didn't need, and Wilson decided to buy a corner lot on streets that existed only on paper - now known as the trendy Riverside Drive. The family went back to Iowa, packed up what they could carry, and left Storm Lake for good the following year. They rented a tiny house on the ranch site, what is now Burbank; scraped up what money they could to start buying a few acres of empty, desolate land - land that today is worth millions and millions of dollars in the heart of the Hollywood Arts District.
They took all of Iowa that they could with them, reportedly having their home in Storm Lake dismantled and carried 1,700 miles west by railroad and wagons, to be reassembled at the edge of a vast barley field on the ranch in 1891.
He probably couldn't have known that he was standing on the most important spot in California. Long known as Toluca, or "fertile valley" to the native Tongva Indians, the region is home to Spanish missions that date to the time of the American Revolution. The precise spot Weddington chose to homestead was the same one where Lt. Col. John C. Fremont of the United States and General Andres Pico of Mexico met on the porch of an adobe to sign the treaty that was to end the war between their two countries. The spot is known as the beginning of statehood for California and the Manifest Destiny for Americans. Every January there is a fiesta and reenactment of this fateful moment.
In 1890, Wilson, convinced his lonely homestead would one day be the site of a booming community, established the location as a city, which he named Taluca in honor of the natives who had preceded him there. Weddington bought 12 acres of the future town site himself for $720 and later purchased an additional 20 acres, and encouraged the 10 other families ranching in the region to support his bold scheme.
Taluca did indeed become a small village, then a thriving town, and by the time it was renamed North Hollywood at Wilson's urging in an attempt to woo the fledgling film industry, it became the host to the new "Universal City" pioneering movie studio and home of film stars such as Bob Hope, as well as the daring female aviator Amelia Earheart
In the beginning, when the Southern Pacific railroad was reaching to bisect the nation, its path went right through the Weddingtons' few acres, and he provided the land they needed, sacrificing his acres of carefully-tended fruit trees. A grateful President Grover Cleveland personally declared Weddington as the first postmaster of that region of California. The railroad named the station Lankershim in honor of one of two original owners of the ranch. The other is the namesake for Van Nuys Blvd. The living room of Wilson's home became the first post office, then he established a general store.
His son Milo became superintendent of the rachos, and president of his own fruit company as rich orchards thrived in the California soil. In fact, the Weddington family, with a few neighbors, are credited with developing the cling peach, still a staple of every grocery store. Area farmers, thanks to the Weddingtons, could now ship their crops across the country and beyond by rail.
Younger son Fred, born in Storm Lake, became the first constable of Lankershim. Around the turn of the century, he earned fame for single-handedly riding down and capturing two holdup men, having them tried, overseeing the sentencing and delivering them personally to San Quentin prison, all within less than 24 hours. Guy and Fred later established and led Hollywood National Bank, opened in 1905, and the Weddington Investment Company, incorporated in 1910. Fred remained active in bulding the community as a land developer until his death in the 1960s.
"The vision, hard work and perseverance of the Weddingtons enabled the town to grow and prosper," a history of the region says.
So much so that the Weddington's family home had to be moved away to make way for progress. Wilson Weddington pushed for a theater to be developed in the 1920s, moving his own house to make way for it beside the family bank.
In all the house was moved three times, finally plunked down in a residential neighborhood a few blocks from the original site, both on Weddington Street. Slowly the neighborhood gave way to the industrial area it is now until only the Weddington House remained. The home's history was largely forgotten, and it passed through the hands of various owners and tenants, its charming touches slowly stripped away, and by a few years ago, it faced likely demolition.
Guy Weddington McCreary, a descendant of the former sheriff from Storm Lake, traced the home to Iowa and a local museum revealed its history and its significance in the establishment of the Hollywood region; destruction of the house was staved off. It was named a California Historical-Cultural Monument in 2007.
Still, controversy raged around the little house, even amid the efforts to save it. The powers that be decided the house should be moved 15 miles away to a museum in Highland Park near the Pasadena Freeway.
Residents of North Hollywood rallied.
"Thank God for e-mail, because literally overnight 400 to 500 people had objected to the city, and that got the city council behind the effort to keep the house here in North Hollywood. We think history belongs where it was made," Gerald Fecht, former director of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley in Beverly Hills, told the Pilot-Tribune this week.
The locals propose to move the house to popular nearby North Hollywood Park, which coincidentally was developed on land Weddington donated to the city for parks. There, it would be restored not to its original form, but to represent the era somewhat later when farmers from places like Iowa journeyed west to transform the arid valley.
It will be fitted out with cutting-edge interactive technology. Visitors to the house will be able to virtually visit historical landmarks all over the state from the house, and use their cell phones to interact with electronic stars around the property.
"It's pretty amazing," Fecht says.
With California hard-hit by the economic crisis, there is no money yet to move the house, even though the descendant of the Weddingtons has pledged $100,000 to.renovate and maintain the home - only if it is kept in North Hollywood. Supporters worry. Four times in the past three months, it has been broken into and vandalized. One fire in what appears to be a vacant old house, and priceless history will be lost, Fecht says.
For Fecht and others, Storm Lake is a part of the history of Hollywood.
Still in the attic of the home are big crates stenciled with the words "Storm Lake," likely used to ship parts of the house and some of the furnishings.
The Los Angeles Times, which has editorialized to keep the landmark in North Hollywood, says it was build in Storm Lake. So does the historical group PreserveLA. But one researcher claims that it was a different house build in Iowa and moved to the ranch, which was torn down years ago. That controversy too rages on, but Fecht said that numerous items and materials found in the original portions of the house can be easily traced to Iowa. Regardless, the house is the oldest surviving home in the North Hollywood region.
Many of the residents of the area have their own roots in Iowa, too - Fecht and his wife among them, both grew up in Iowa.
"There is a strong stereotype here of Iowa - that it is the salt of the earth, and that the hard working and energetic people from Iowa came here with not a lot of money, but they created this place. The Weddingtons alone discovered wells, built the first post office, first bank, first parks, first fire station, first pool - they built a little Iowa town in California."
And there's another legacy. Weddington planted the first English walnut tree in that part of the country. Thanks to countless generations of birds carrying the seeds in their stomachs, English walnut trees are now found all over that part of California.
The Weddingtons never lost their love for Iowa, Fecht says. "They brought all of their Iowa memorabilia with them. And it is strange, but our museum in California has lots of Iowa history, and even a lot of stuff from the Sac and Fox Indians who must have still been in northwest Iowa when the Weddingtons were there."
Even the ambitious pioneer couldn't have imagined what was ahead for the rural village he founded.
Today, a new Universal CityWalk complex has emerged not far from where Weddington first herded cattle. A growing movie studio and modern subway have sprung up where he tended orchards. There are nearly 35 theaters in the area, and the San Fernando Valley he pioneered is home to some 1.8 million people. The bank, the theater, the parks, the fire stations, the railroad depot Weddington established are still there.
Wilson Weddington was a prominent citizen for the remainder of his life, guiding the city he founded for many years. He served as the President of the Chamber of Commerce he created until 1929, almost 40 years after he arrived.
There are few records today of Wilson Weddington's time as sheriff of the barely-founded Buena Vista County, but in the Hollywood Hills, his name will be forever connected with the bold ambition that began it all."

Minor corrections: The Weddington House was very near Campo de Cahuenga where the final stages of the War with Mexico concluded. Dr. Fecht is the present president of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley. The Museum is not located in Beverly Hills.


Damon Fecht sent us the locations of five warning sirens in the San Fernando Valley

Siren: 013 Vanowen St. and Woodley Ave. 3 - Wire Spool Southwest corner, near DWP facility. 9/16/06
Siren: 014 Weddington St. & Hazeltine Av 3 - Wire Spool Southeast corner, near Chandler Elementary School. 9/16/06
Siren: 015 Otsego St. and Bakman Ave. 3 - Wire Spool Northeast corner. 9/16/06
Siren: 016 Vanowen St. and Canby Ave. 3 - Wire Spool Northwest corner. 9/2/06
Siren: 017 Ventura Blvd. and Lubao Ave. 3 - Wire Spool Northeast corner. On Lubao north of Ventura. 9/10/06

The San Fernando Valley, in the heart of the Creative Capital of the World, deserves a great Museum of history and culture.


Richard Bogy - Photo in the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley 2009
Richard Bogy, Toluca Lake businessman and lifelong Valley resident, works tirelessly to preserve California history. He is an advisor to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley and a member of the Board of Directors for the Campo de Cahuenga Memorial Historical Society. Your Museum salutes Richard Bogy and thanks him for his service to our community and generations yet to come.


"I 've been snooping the internet looking for info on these old air-raid sirens I was remembering the days when the test rockets would fire and the air raid sirens would sound out for testing. As I read it now, it was every last Friday of the month at 10am - I just remember that it was every once in a while, whenever I was trying to play on our swingset on in the sandbox on Strathern. I've taken pictures of 3 of the sirens in their various states of disrepair, including the one by Justice Street School on Woodlake street. I think that it would be a cool project to get them all and make a book... Any idea where I may find a map of locations of these old sirens? Damon F."

You can contact Damon through the telephone of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley at 1 (818) 347-9665

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Since Aristotle founded our Museum Movement in ancient Macedonia, we have had the unique position of educating our visitors and members "informally." (People love to learn at their own pace and without the threat of exams.) Unfortunately, education of all kinds has its enemies, even the informal kind.)
Hitler tried to brand modern art as decadent, even going to the extreme of ordered an exhibit of Decadent Art in Berlin. (He had the show taken down, when he discovered an art-starved city was lining up in droves to see it.) French religious fanatics did their best to prevent Dr. Ben Franklin's explanations of static electricity from being displayed in Paris. Politicians tried desperately to fire the Ohio curator who showed the works of Robert Maplethorp etc. etc. etc.
Today a monster murdered a working museum guard at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. Alas. as the citizens of Kansas have learned this week, there are still many warped people and organizations willing to kill those who present ideas or information with which they disagree.
Like thousands of others, I was sickened by the destruction of the ancient images of the Buddha by the Taliban in far away Afghanistan. I felt helpless and empty. Then I remembered a story, that I learned at USC about President Franklin Roosevelt and Postmaster General Jim Farley watching a newsreel about the Nazis burning books in Germany. FDR is supposed to have said, "Damn it Jim, we ought to show the world that we stand for civilization - just the opposite from these s.o.b. s." Jim Farley thought a moment and said, "How about a special book rate through the Post Office." That book rate was at my last knowledge still in effect today.
Remembering this story, I went to my art studio and made a 1000 images of the Buddha and put them all over the college. My emptiness was a little less for it.
Do you, like me, want to tell the world that we are just the opposite of the monster who killed "our" museum guard in Washington D.C.?
I will be asking one of our Museum Community members to organize a trip for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley to the Holocaust Museum downtown Los Angeles in the next few weeks. By going together we can make our own statement.
Want to go along? Call your Museum soon and let me know if you'd like to be included. 1 (818) 347-9665
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." Thomas Jefferson
Jerry Fecht

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Detail from the Jewels of the Sky Wall at the Griffith Park Observatory - Photo by Phyllis Hansen 2009 (click on image to enlarge)

Busy board member of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, Phyllis Hansen, is now directing the development of The Museum's new logo. She has conducted an international internet search of museum symbols and logos, and plans to present The Museum with her finished concepts within two months. Phyllis is the author of the exciting new book Charms, all about charm collectibles. She recently headed the effort to bring about a new website for Campo de Cahuenga.


With 350 fewer bicycle riders than in 2008, more than 2,000 cyclists and over 500 "roadie" support team workers, raised a whopping $10,500,000 for California and African AIDS programs (May 31 to June 6) this last week. Many of the roadies and riders represented San Fernando Valley communities.

AIDS Lifecycle encampment in Ventura, California. (click on image to enlarge)

In every community through which the AIDS Lifecycle riders and roadies traveled there were familiar El Camino Real bells designed by a founder of the Campo de Cahuenga Memorial Historical Association - Mrs. Armitage Forbes. Riders put up and took down their tents for 7 exhausting days.

AIDS Lifecycle 9 Recruiting Poster by Jerry Fecht, given to Information Tent volunteer. (click on image to enlarge)

Detail of AIDS Lifecycle 9 Recruiting Poster by Jerry Fecht (click on image to enlarge) The president of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, Gerald Fecht worked in the AIDS Lifecycle camp store recruiting riders and roadies for AIDS Lifecycle 9. He added drawings of houses, castles, windmills and even blimps to the drawing for each person who visited his recruiting table.


In response to the May 17, 2009 posting on this blog of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, Beverly Graf wrote:

"What I can tell you is on the page with the Panorama City pictures, that you identified the first picture as probably a school. The next 3 photos I believe are Panorama Market.

Before my family moved from Burbank to Northridge in August of 1951, we used to drive out to the new "Super Market" every Friday night. Usually, my sister and I stayed in the car and if we were good, we always got an ice cream cone ( we usually fought like normal siblings, but the moment we saw Mom and Pop, we were angels....that was our pact :-). I can still see the area around the Market as viewed from the parking lot. It was just fields, no other stores, even Thrifty's, it came later.

The market was so big, compared to Bill's Ranch Market in Burbank, where we usually shopped before this market opened.
The meat and fish counter were along the east wall of the store (parking lot side). Then going west were the aisles of canned goods, the shelves ran from north to south, including a coffee grinder to grind the bag of coffee beans you would purchase. I always loved it when I found a stray coffee bean to suck on. The produce section must have been on the west side of the store. On the north side....across from the check out counters was a sundries area that included toys.

The meat counter ran the entire length of the east side from the entrance south and included not only fresh meats, but seafood as well. When my parents had the money they would get jumbo prawns.

Later came the dime store and a hardware store. When we moved in 1999, the hardware store was still there.
If you look at the picture of Panorama City in the 50's you will see how the sign above the market being constructed matches the market in the 60"s

Has anyone remembered Burts Market, on Saticoy St. in Reseda, just west of White Oak? It said it had the coldest beer in the Valley, had a great candy area for kids, including dill pickles in wax and kept accounts on cards ( like recipe cards) that you could settle on payday. I've got check stubs for my parents paying their bills in the 50's.
Also, in the same area, there used to be a seasonal stream that ran down White Oak, where we would go and collect tadpoles. At about that same time west of White Oak and north of Saticoy was a walnut orchard, as was on the southeast corner of Saticoy and Louise, before it became a Ralphs Market.

Long ago and far away, but a wonderful place to grow up in.
Thank you so much for the work you are doing.
Beverly Graf"

The San Fernando Valley, in the heart of the Creative Capital of the World, deserves a great Museum of history and culture.


2009 - The Year of Valley History
Newspaper clipping courtesy of Rodney A. Davis for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley.
Dr. Marie Martin greeted by student leaders (click on image to enlarge)

The San Fernando Valley, in the heart of the Creative Capital of the World, deserves a great Museum of history and culture.


The Museum Community just got this message from our Librarian Fred Berk.

Did you get a notice from the LA Conservancy about an important hearing at City Hall this Thursday? It seems that the city council is considering a revision in the historic preservation guidelines that would weaken, not strengthen, them. We are urged to attend to show opposition. It is scheduled for 1 pm in room 1010, but we're advised to get there much earlier (maybe an hour), as the room could fill up fast.

Monday, June 8, 2009


2009 - The Year of Valley History

News clipping from the Northridger newspaper 1954 - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Rod Davis 2009. (click on image to enlarge)
Putting together the history and culture of Northridge, California is underway by your Museum. Interested parties should contact The Museum of the San Fernando Valley soon, to be included in important centennial committees.
1 - (818) 347-9665

The San Fernando Valley, in the heart of the Creative Capital of the World, deserves a great Museum of history and culture.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Sorry about being away from my blogging post for The Museum of the San Fernando Valley for this last week. My wife, son Brendan and I have been "roadies" (members of the support team) for the AIDS Lifecycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Riders raised over $10,500,000 in spite of the economy. We were so proud of the riders and roadies -- and the people from the cities along the way, field workers, school children, parents and the California Highway Patrol. What an experience!
And, we had lots of participants from the San Fernando Valley too!