Tarzana, a district of Los Angeles, is surrounded by Reseda to the north, Woodland Hills to the west, Encino to the east, and the Santa Monica Mountains (also a part of Los Angeles) to the south. Major roads in Tarzana include Reseda Boulevard, Tampa Avenue, Wilbur Avenue, Burbank Boulevard, and Ventura Boulevard, the commercial backbone of the southern San Fernando Valley,
Most of Tarzana's inhabitants live in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains south of Ventura Boulevard. North of the Ventura Freeway, there is a uniquely designed area meant to emulate a more rural setting called Melody Acres. Tarzana contains two country clubs (with golf courses) in the Santa Monica Mountains: El Caballero Country Club and Braemar Country Club. At the remote southern end of Reseda Blvd., there are a number of gated communities, including Mulholland Park, Silverhawk Ridge, Monte Verde, and Braemar Estates.
North of the Boulevard, where a smaller portion of the population lives, there are fewer houses and more apartment buildings. Tarzana extends north to Victory Boulevard, encompassing a wide swath of medium-density housing.
The area now known as Tarzana was originally part of the San Fernando Mission, which was established in 1797 by Spanish settlers and missionaries, who eventually displaced the indigenous population. Later on the area was seized by Mexico and then, following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States, at which point the area came to be part of a sequential order of large cattle ranches owned by local elites. Beginning in the 1870s, the area was purchased by investors who transformed it into a large-scale wheat farm operation.
In 1909 the surrounding area was purchased by the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. General Harrison Gray Otis, the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, had invested in the company, while also purchasing 550 acres (2.2 km2) in the center of modern-day Tarzana. Another investor established a small town called Runnymede in the general vicinity, and he allocated the surrounding land for small poultry ranches and berry farms.
In 1915 or 1919, Edgar Rice Burroughs, best known as the author of the Tarzan stories, purchased Otis’s land and built a large home on it, which he called the Tarzana Ranch. Burroughs subdivided and sold the land for residential development, and the neighboring small farms were also converted to residential areas. In 1927 or 1928, local residents renamed the town Tarzana in honor of Burroughs and his famous storybook character.
There are approximately 28,484 residents. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the racial composition was predominantly White (78.9%), followed by Asian (5.6%), and Black or African American (3.8%). Native American or Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander each constituted less than one percent (0.3% and 0.1% respectively) of the population. 13.1% identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. About 35.2% of the population in 2000 was foreign-born, including 21.9% that were born in Iran and 10.6% in Mexico.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these Tarzana neighborhood statistics: population: 35,502; median household income: $73,195.
Tarzana features a burgeoning Iranian-American population, and the community is well known for its Persian restaurants, booksellers, and language training institutes. A thriving and long-established Jewish community attends four synagogues and provides the customer base for the second branch of the Hebrew language bookselling chain Steimatzky constructed outside of Israel. A number of popular and well-regarded delicatessens can be found in Tarzana, such as the Tarzana Armenian Grocery and Mort's Deli. Historic recording studio Can-Am Studios resides in Tarzana.
Notable residents include actor Jamie Foxx, actor Chris Tucker, actor Wilmer Valderrama, actor Michael J. Fox, actress Lisa Kudrow, actress Blake Lively, tennis player Meilen Tu, musician Slash, filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, actress Maya Rudolph, jazz musician Abraham Laboriel, rapper Kevin Federline, actor Ron Masak, KROQ's Kevin, pornstar Crystal Ray, comedian Carlos Mencia, actress Eva Longoria, comedian Jeff Dunham, and Persian singer Dariush Eghbali. Mountain bicycle pioneer Jacquie Phelan attended two Tarzana schools: Wilbur and Portola. He attended W.H. Taft high, which is in Woodland Hills, to the West. Hall of Fame Radio Personality Charlie Tuna serves as honorary mayor of Tarzana.
The United States Postal Service Tarzana Post Office is located at 5609 Yolanda Avenue.
Tarzana residents are zoned to schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District . The area is within Board District 4. As of 2008 Marlene Canter represents the district. Canter announced that she will not seek re-election after her term expires in June 2009.
Zoned elementary schools include:
Zoned middle schools include:
Zoned high schools serving Tarzana include:
Woodcrest Elementary School is a private preschool-5th grade school in Tarzana.