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Sylmar 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, www.lapl.org
. 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
 that 
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 some films there. These can be found and viewed online: The Female of the Species (1912) The Battle at Elderbush Gulch (1913) Among the actors credited by IMDb with working on these films are Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, Harry Carey, Elmo Lincoln and Donald Crisp. (Oscar winner in "How Green Was My Valley").
          
          A scene in "Female of the Species".
          
                                          
                       

                        EXTRA! EXTRA!                                     Celestials, Escolars graduate
 from Olive Vista.
             See old
 news in the Olive Branch newspaper 

       FORMER TEACHERS: The class of 1963 web site has                information on several former Sylmar faculty members
       as of  May, 2013. Click here

       
       STADIUM LIGHTS: This plaque was dedicated
       October 24,1969 and sits under the Sylmar stadium 
       scoreboard. It contains the names of people and 
       businesses who contributed to building lights for 
       night games. Click on the photo to enlarge.  
       
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