North Hollywood is a district in the San Fernando Valley region of the City of Los Angeles, California along the Tujunga Wash. Established by the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company in 1887, the town was first named Toluca before being renamed Lankershim in 1896 and North Hollywood in 1927. It is home to the NoHo Arts District.
North Hollywood, like most of the rest of the San Fernando Valley, was once part of the vast landholdings of the Franciscan Mission San Fernando Rey de España, which were confiscated by the government during the Mexican period of rule.
Following the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, a small group of Yankees raised the California Bear Flag on June 18, 1846 and declared independence from Mexico. United States troops quickly took control of the presidios at Monterey and San Francisco and proclaimed the Conquest complete. In Southern California, the Mexicans, for a time, resisted American troops, but when defeat became inevitable, Andrés Pico arranged the peaceful surrender of Los Angeles to American forces under Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont. Pico and Frémont signed the Treaty of Cahuenga which ended the U.S.-Mexican fighting in California was signed at Tomás Feliz's adobe house at Campo de Cahuenga on on today's Lankershim Boulevard in January 1847.
In 1869, a group of investors assembled as the San Fernando Farm Homestead Association purchased the southern half of the Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. The leading investor was Isaac Lankershim, a Northern California stockman and grain farmer, who was impressed by the Valley's wild oats and proposed to raise sheep on the property. In 1873, Isaac Lankershim's son and future son-in-law, James Boon (J. B.) Lankershim and Isaac Newton Van Nuys, moved to the Valley and took over management of the property. Van Nuys thought the property could profitably grow wheat using the dryland farming technique developed on the Great Plains, and leased land from the Association to test his theories. In time the Lankershim property, under its third name, the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company, would become the world's largest wheat-growing empire.
The world wheat market remained strong through the 1870s and early 1880s, but then supply began to exceed demand, and prices began to fall. When the Santa Fe Railroad reached Los Angeles in 1885, fare wars between the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific brought ever more settlers to Southern California, and pressure rose to subdivide the great ranches.
In October 1887, J. B. Lankershim and eight other developers organized the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company, purchasing 12,000 acres (49 km2) north of the Caheunga Pass from the Lankershim Farming and Milling Company. Lankershim established a townsite which the residents named Toluca along the old road from Cahuenga Pass to San Fernando. On April 1, 1888, they offered ready-made small farms for sale, already planted with deep-rooted deciduous fruit and nut trees—mostly peaches, pears, apricots, and walnuts—that could survive the rainless summers of the Valley by relying on the high water table along the Tujunga Wash rather than surface irrigation.
The land boom of the 1880s went bust by the 1890s, but despite another brutal drought cycle in the late 1890s, the fruit and nut farmers remained solvent. The Toluca Fruit Growers Association was formed in 1894. The next year the Southern Pacific opened a branch line slanting northwest across the Valley to Chatsworth. The Chatsworth Limited made one freight stop a day at Toluca, though the depot bore the new name of Lankershim. With the Post Office across the street called Toluca, controversy over the town’s name continued and the local ranchers used to quip, “Ship the merchandise to Lankershim, but bill it to Toluca.” In 1896, under pressure from J. B. Lankershim, the post office at Toluca was renamed "Lankershim" after his father, although the new name of the town would not be officially recognized until 1905.
By 1903, the city was known as "The Home of the Peach". In 1912, the area's major employer, the Bonner Fruit Company, was canning over a million tons of peaches, apricots, and other fruits. When the Los Angeles Aqueduct opened in 1913, Valley farmers offered to buy the surplus water, but the federal legislation that enabled the construction of the aqueduct prohibited Los Angeles from selling the water outside of the city limits. For the Valley communities, the choice was consent to annexation or do without.
In 1997, the "North Hollywood shootout" between the LAPD and two heavily armed gunmen who were caught in the act of robbing a Bank of America branch on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, occurred over a period of several hours between Victory Boulevard and Vanowen Street in central North Hollywood. The police arrived but didn't have the firepower to put down the robbers, who wore full body-armor and had superior firepower. The shootout resembled a combat zone, bullets were hitting cars, buildings, and bystanders. The battle was broadcast live on television and ended up being made into a movie (44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out (2003)).
Two suspects were killed in the shootout and 15 people were injured, including 10 policemen. More than 200 police officers were on hand for the siege, which lasted more than an hour. Initially out-gunned, the officers found they needed extra weapons and went to B&B Sales in North Hollywood for high-powered semiautomatic rifles and shotguns.
Today North Hollywood is extremely diverse, with significant Latino, Asian American, Armenian American, African American, Jewish, Jamaican American, Middle Eastern, Iranian American, and Filipino American populations.
Recently, North Hollywood's landscape has been transformed, with condominium towers (including a 15-story building on Lankershim Boulevard) appearing in the midst of older one-storey bungalows and small apartment complexes. The community is changing from a middle class suburb into a regional center, in large part as a result of the construction of Metro Stations for the Red Line and the Orange Line, two lines that have made the city into a regional hub for the San Fernando Valley. Medium- and high-density developments are being built around the Metro Station, particularly in the NoHo Arts District, with the intent of creating a walkable urban village.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these North Hollywood neighborhood statistics: population: 77,848; median household income: $42,791.
North Hollywood is home to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Business and theatre owners in the Universal City/North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce formed the idea of establishing a theatre and arts district in 1992 with support from L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs. They chose "NoHo" as it not only reveals its location, but also plays off the well-known "SoHo" Arts District of New York City.
Central to the new NoHo Arts District, located near Valley Village in North Hollywood, are contemporary theaters, art galleries, cafes, and shops. The area features more than 20 professional theatres producing new work and classics, diverse art galleries, public art and professional dance studios. The district also features the largest concentration of music recording venues west of the Mississippi.
The theater district includes two new large venues that expand upon existing theatres, the newly redesigned NoHo Arts Center (formerly the American Renegade Theatre), and the redesigned Historical El Portal. They add to the existing 31 theatres located in and around the NoHo Arts District. New mixed-use development, the NoHo Commons, is planned near the NoHo Arts District's commercial core and subway station by Los Angeles developer J.H. Snyder Company.
The $100-million, 292-unit loft apartment project by Snyder is the first segment to be completed of NoHo Commons, part of a "transit village" rising at the terminus of the Metro Red Line subway and the Orange Line busway. Also planned are hundreds of other apartments, condos, stores and other developments, including a high school.
NoHo 14 is a 14-story apartment building with 180 units on Lankershim Boulevard and Cumpston Street that is complete and now leasing. The historic North Hollywood train depot at Lankershim and Chandler Boulevards, is being restored to its 1920s condition. The old train depot sits on land owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, across from the Metro Red Line subway station and next to the termination of the Orange Line bus line.
In fall of 2009, J.H. Snyder Company plans to finish a mixed-use structure including a seven screen Laemmle movie theatre, five story office building and 150 residential units on the south end of NoHo Commons.
In summer 2009, a 39 unit condominium complex will be completed on 5016 Bakman Ave. called "Bakman Court" designed by the award winning Architect Michael Naim. More information at www.BakmanCourt.com
In the future, North Hollywood plans a $1 billion mixed-use development at Lankershim and Chandler, surrounding the Metro Red and Orange line terminals. The project would re-develop 15.6 acres with 1.72 million square feet of commercial and residential space, including 562 residential units and three high-rise office towers. The project was awarded to Lowe Enterprises by the Los Angeles Metro board and will be designed by architects AC Martin Partners.