For hundreds of years Canoga Park was home to Native Americans of both Fernandeno and Chumash tribes. It is believed to be named after Canoga, New York, which derived its name from the Native American village "Ganogeh".
In the 1860s, an Australian, Albert Workman, bought 13,000 acres (53 km2) in this area and became a major producer of wheat. Eventually, the area's zoning was rural/agricultural and its industry was small farms involved in production of fruits, vegetables, melons, some livestock, horses, movie/television studio and stunt location work.
The area was originally named Owensmouth by Los Angeles Suburban Home Company by general manager HJ Whitley due to its proximity to the Los Angeles Aqueduct that brought water from the Owens Valley. The town was founded on March 30, 1912, and the Suburban Home Company contracted with the Janss Investment Company, to sell properties. The lack of an independent water supply made annexation to the City of Los Angeles inevitable, and on February 26, 1917 it joined with its larger neighbor. The name was changed to Canoga Park in 1930.
In 1955, Rocketdyne corporation, then a division of North American Aviation, moved into the area. It became a major employer and other aerospace companies followed, including North American Aviation, Hughes Aircraft (now Boeing), Atomics International, and Teledyne. Small machine shops and other ancillary businesses also sprang up to service the aerospace industry.
Canoga Park is home to a diverse community. Much of the western section of Canoga Park has been renamed West Hills and a portion of the eastern section has been renamed Winnetka. According to some scholars, this may be due to white flight. For example, many residents of Canoga Park would rather send their students to El Camino Real High School in neighboring Woodland Hills than the local Canoga Park High School. Today, Canoga Park is, along with neighboring Woodland Hills, home to what would potentially be the largest mall in the west coast with the planned merger of Topanga Plaza Shopping Mall with the Westfield Promenade. Most of the area is now suburban communities with small industrial areas, however some of the area is still rural; film production, stunt, equine, and feed businesses still exist.
Canoga Park is mentioned on the Frank Zappa album Joe's Garage as the hometown of the main character. It is also mentioned in the songs "Can't Let Go" by Bryan Ferry and "Eat Fried Wheat (a Canoga Park jingle)" by Vycrol.