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A Brief Timeline of the San Fernando Valley

about timeline resources

This timeline was created by UCLA student Tiffany Do for the Studio for Southern California History. In addition to pulling from resources like Calisphere, the Library of Congress, and the Digital Archives at California State University Northridge, this timeline uses entries from personal blogs and family photographs that focus on law, protest and popular culture. Please visit the resources page for a complete listing of sources and multimedia (when possible). This timeline was created for the Museum of the San Fernando Valley as a way to support this organization's burgeoning efforts to document the history of this vital place. The timeline uses the Studio's Lesson Plan on timelines and includes approximately 100 entries from its prehistory to 2012.

About the Timeline by Tiffany Do (May 31, 2012)
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and knew it as the Valley. While I know there are a whole bunch of other cities in Los Angeles with valleys in their titles, the San Fernando Valley is THE Valley. I questioned why we were so special to be singled out as a particular valley, but did not really care to answer that question farther than that the Valley is (to my estimation) probably awesome and probably occasionally mentioned in the media as the Valley. Because of that, I figured everyone knew that the San Fernando Valley was the Valley.

So, when I went to college and said I was from the Valley without anyone having a clue what I was talking about, I had to figure out for myself what the Valley is. Having been touted as a great appendage to Los Angeles, even rivaling Los Angeles should it secede, the Valley must be something great.

I have come to learn that it most certainly is. After going through numerous books and articles, the timeline of the San Fernando Valley on this website is only a very general outline of what I have learned about the Valley. There is so much more that could be said, and this timeline only scratches the surface. I have enjoyed finding out about the place I live, learning the background stories to the various neighborhoods in my city.

My favorite entry is the annexation of San Fernando Valley to Los Angeles because of how mixed I feel about it. I at once bemoan the loss of the Valley’s separate identity while rejoice at being a part of Los Angeles. The Valley could do well to be on its own, but it does need the water rights that Los Angeles obtained. Regardless, the Valley has its dark moments and its good moments. The impression I have received the most is that it is a place full of hope and promise. Pack your bags, head out west, and make the Valley your home. 

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