The town grew steadily, weathering the drought and depression that hit Los Angeles in the 1890s and in 20 years, the community had a bank, newspaper, high school and a thriving business district with a hardware store, livery stable, dry goods store, general store, and bicycle repair shop.
By 1916 Burbank had 1,500 residents. By 1930, as First National Studios, Andrew Jergens Company, The Lockheed Company, McNeill and Libby Canning Company, the Moreland Company, and Northrop Aircraft Corporation opened facilities there, the number increased to 16,662.
The Federal government officially recognized Burbank's status in 1923 when the United States Postal Service reclassified the city from the rural village mail delivery to city postal delivery service.
A predominantly upper-middle class community, Burbank is home to many employees of the motion picture and television studios located in the area. As well as many affluent familes from the same industry including but not limited to media empires, tv channels, etc. Furthermore there are some foreign socialites that reside in Burbank and call it their home.
Entertainment has generally replaced the defense industry as the primary employer, who are attracted by the relative safety and security offered by its own police and fire departments, highly rated schools and hospital. Other reasons cited are its small-town feel while located only 10 minutes away by car to the hip clubs and restaurants of Hollywood.
The Bob Hope Airport services 4.9 million travelers per year with seven carriers, with over 70 flights daily. Burbank is easily accessible by and can easily access the Southern California freeways via the Golden State Freeway (I-5), which bisects the city from northwest to southeast, and the Ventura Freeway which connects Burbank to the U.S. Route 101 on the south and the nearby Foothill Freeway to the east.
Those without cars can use the Metro which operates public transport throughout Los Angeles County, while commuters can easily access the Metrolink and Amtrak for service south into Downtown and Union Station, west to Ventura and north to Palmdale and points beyond.
The Bob's Big Boy Restaurant in Burbank (est. 1949) is the oldest remaining Bob's Big Boy in America, and in 1993 was designated a California Point of Historical Interest. Located at 4211 Riverside Drive, it was designed by Wayne McAllister. The eatery features a soaring pylon sign, an open kitchen and big picture windows, all of which are elements of "googie" architecture. In 1992, the restaurant's new owner sought to raze the structure and replace it with an office building or shopping center, but the landmark designation made it legally more difficult to make significant changes.
Residents enjoy the music of the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, the Starlight Bowl, fine restaurants, the city's Downtown Burbank Mall, a burgeoning "Burbank Village" shopping district, and many theatres, parks, and libraries. Visitors to Burbank are attracted to the Warner Bros. Studio VIP tour and close proximity to all other entertainments and attractions that Los Angeles offers.
Burbank became the first American city in 1991 to pass an ordinance requiring new buildings to ensure adequate first responder communications. Since then municipalities nationwide have copied Burbank's action. Burbank's ordinance allows for spot field-testing by police or fire department personnel. The ordinance required an in-building coverage system, adding expense but increasing safety for building occupants.
In 2003, the murder of Burbank police officer Matthew Pavelka by a local gang known as the Vineland Boys sparked an intensive investigation in conjunction with several other cities and resulted in the arrest of a number of gang members and other citizens in and around Burbank. Among those arrested was Burbank city councilwoman Stacey Murphy, implicated in trading guns in exchange for drugs. Pavelka was the first Burbank police officer to be fatally shot in the line of duty in the department's history, according to the California Police Association officials.
Today, an estimated 100,000 people work in Burbank every day. The physical imprints of the city's aviation industry remain. In late 2001, the Burbank Empire Center opened with aviation as the theme. The center, built at a cost of $250 million by Zelman Development Company, sits on Empire Avenue, former site of Lockheed's "Skunk Works", and other Lockheed properties. By 2003, many of the center's retailers and restaurants were among the top national performers in their franchise, if not the top. The Burbank Empire Center now comprises over 11% of Burbank's sales tax revenue, which doesn't include nearby Costco, a part of the Empire Center development.