Sylmar/San Fernando History

 This view, shot from a spot near
 today's 210/118
 Freeways, is from the Valley Times Collection in the digital archive  of  the 
Los Angeles Public Library,
. Here is the caption:
 People who prefer a rural way of life fled thickly-populated areas to develop canyons for home sites, only to discover their  efforts  to seek isolation were in vain. This view taken on February 16, 1957, from the ridge flanking Lopez Canyon shows the  large ranch  of Fritz Burns, Panorama City developer, with a new subdivision in the far background sweeping in from the San  Gabriel  Mountains. The charred area on the mountain top is above Olive View Sanitarium in Sylmar. Agricultural acreage in  the  San Fernando Valley and nearby Santa Clara Valley dropped from 61,300 in 1945 to 35,000 in 1957.
 ABOUT THE SCENE ABOVE                   
 The Fritz Burns Ranch in the foreground has a colorful past
includes a reindeer herd, German POWs and silent films.                                    
 THE REINDEER: Starting in the 1950s, the Burns Ranch  was  home to a reindeer herd that spent the Christmas  season at Southern California shopping centers, including  Panorama City. Dayle Hunter's family managed the ranch in  the 1960s and '70s and lived there. Roy Dimon and Larry  Peterson were  occasional employees at the ranch.                                   
 GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR: The ranch is known to  have
 been a camp for a few of the 400,000 Axis prisoners  held in the United States during World War II. If this seems  surprising, it appears that many places, (Beverly Hills, the  Birmingham High School site, Cucamonga along with San  Fernando) are listed as prisoner camps by some sources.  Much of Sylmar was formerly known as San Fernando. 
The  San Fernando prisoners are said to have been used as citrus  workers.
D.W. GRIFFITH: The movie pioneer owned the ranch before Burns and shot films there. These two can be found and viewed online: The Female of the Species (1912) The Battle at Elderbush Gulch (1913)
         A scene in "Female of the Species" 1912.
Among the actors credited by IMDb with working at the ranch are Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, Harry Carey, Elmo Lincoln and Donald Crisp. (Oscar winner in "How Green Was My Valley").
Click on photo to read the Griffith Ranch

       We were named after the Michigan State Spartans
       at the suggestion of Gloria Hazuka whose sister
       attended MSU. Gloria, Class of 1963, was
       a member of the student leadership council
       when Sylmar High opened in 1961.

                               SYLMAR LANDMARK   
Cascades, opened in 1913. CLICK on
            the photo for more and larger images.

                       OLD SAN FERNANDO
       The Rey Hotel was reportedly built in 1906 and                      fell in the 1971 earthquake.
       Below, service started on the Pacific Electric Railway            tracks in 1913. The tracks took passengers from San            Fernando to Los Angeles via Van Nuys and Hollywood.        The spectators may have been there to see auto races
       which also began on Brand Blvd. in 1913.

       These photos are taken from the 1946 yearbook of
       San Fernando High School.
       CLICK on the images to enlarge.