Van Nuys: A Look Back.


Van Nuys 1926. Dick Whittington Studios.
Van Nuys 1926. Dick Whittington Studios.
Van Nuys 1926. Dick Whittington Studios.
Van Nuys 1926. Dick Whittington Studios.
Van Nuys 1926. Dick Whittington Studios.
Van Nuys 1926. Dick Whittington Studios.

Another election, another possibility to change the direction of Van Nuys and reorient this community into progress and prosperity.

Over the last 100 years, men and women, with much less technology and money, managed to build, plan, create and civilize a vast, semi-arid valley, a place of schools, homes, factories, industries, churches, women’s clubs and fraternal organizations. A sense of local pride was evident, as seen in these photographs.

When people had less, it seems, they valued what they had more.

Photographs on this page are taken from the USC Digital Archives, CSUN and LAPL.
The 1926 images are from the Dick Whittington Studios now archived at USC.

Van Nuys 1926. Dick Whittington Studios.
Van Nuys 1926. Dick Whittington Studios.
California Bank Van Nuys Blvd/Sylva (circa 1925)
California Bank Van Nuys Blvd/Sylva (circa 1925)
GM Plant on Van Nuys Blvd (circa 1950)
GM Plant on Van Nuys Blvd (circa 1950)

california-bank-van-nuys-1949-csun-digital

Van Nuys Circa 1945
Van Nuys Circa 1945
Old Van Nuys Women's Club (14852 Sylvan near Kester).  Now Eglesia de Jesuschristo.
Old Van Nuys Women’s Club (14852 Sylvan near Kester). Now Eglesia de Jesuschristo.
Van Nuys Blvd. at Friar (circa 1950). Notice diagonal parking and streetcar wiring.
Van Nuys Blvd. at Friar (circa 1950). Notice diagonal parking and streetcar wiring.

13 thoughts on “Van Nuys: A Look Back.

  1. I am stunned! I lived in the first house of this entry! The 14152 Emelita Street one. We lived there in the 70s and it looks pretty much the same way it did then, but it is surrounded by houses. My husband found this entry and said “Hey, this looks like the house you grew up in!” I’m stunned.

    Like

  2. A minor nitpick: That overhead wiring wasn’t for streetcars but for the Pacific Electric Red Cars which ran through the business district on Van Nuys Blvd. until the end of 1952.

    There were never streetcars, per se, in the Valley.

    Like

  3. The last VN Bl photo is mislabeled. The photo is really taken from the NW corner of VN/Sylvan, looking NE.across VN Bl. The long building with the roof treatment is still there– just without the extra details. One of the first buildings in town–built by one of the first merchants.

    In reading the town’s pioneer newspaper, I was struck by the optimism of everyone–as in. any “Old West town”–everyone had a store, a shop, was clerking–and the town was so “new”– the only way to celebrate “The Fourth”, was to organize a baseball game between the “Marrieds”–those who had brought their brides to the nowhere place–and the “Singles”–those guys bragging about their “prospects” in the “Fernando Valley”.
    (They wouldn’t say San Fernando).

    Like

  4. And for those wishing diagonal parking–ain’t going to happen. If Van NUYS Bl gets a major bus corridor—which it will–some way–those few parking spaces on the boulevard are history. This is something where the bus riders and the planners will leave VN Bl an empty tunnel with a stop lights every 500 feet.

    Other optimists suggested a tunnel under Van Nuys Bl for the busses or light rail, but like the tunnel between Palmdale and Pasadena–lots of luck.

    By not being out I front on “old town Van Nuys”, Van Nuys will be out of luck.

    Like

      1. Hey–VN BL is only 7 lanes wide–the sidewalks were cut back many years ago–and you can’t fit what Brand Bl in Glendale has. Take the curb lanes for busses (which MTA will do)–2 lanes either way for traffic–1llane for turning–and that’s all you’ve got. Slowing traffic to 15 or 20 mph for diagonal parking (which they did in the 1940’s) would cut a lane each way—and won’t cut for it for traffic when VN Bl and Beverly Glen is the third option–after the –405– and Sepulveda Bl to get across town–and a busy one at that.

        I can see backing up from a diagonal space into VN Bl traffic. But I wouldn’t do it.

        Like

  5. Recognize the now closed VAN NUYS WAR SURPLUS store–right–first photo–with the
    New car ad painted upon it?

    Look quickly–that old storefront may be gone–as well–soon. I would not know–just speculating–but could happen.

    Like

      1. And my mistake–left side of the photo–the building with the new car ad is the Van Nuys War Surplus Store.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s