Although Tujunga is commonly perceived as the northeasternmost portion of the San Fernando Valley, it actually is in the Crescenta Valley. It is bounded by the cities of Burbank to the southwest, Glendale to the south and La Crescenta to the east, the Los Angeles district of Sunland to the west, and the San Gabriel Mountains to the north. Mount Gleason Avenue separates it from Sunland. It is served by the Foothill Freeway, which connects it to central Los Angeles (via the Glendale Freeway) and the San Gabriel Valley.
Tujunga was originally home to the Tongva tribe. In 1840 it was part of the Rancho Tujunga Mexican land grant. In 1907, Marshall V. Hartranft founded a socialist utopian colony in Tujunga based on the principles of the Utopianist cooperative farm movement, led by the social philosopher and community organizer William Ellsworth Smythe. The movement had previously had success in establishing colonies in San Ysidro and Idaho. Due to the Utopianists' slogan "A Little Land and a Lot of Living," they became known as the "Little Landers." They promoted 1 and half acre lots which they called "little lands". A community center built from local river rock, Bolton Hall (named after author Bolton Hall), was dedicated in August 1913 and still stands as an historical monument and museum operated by the Little Landers Historical Society. The cooperative had ended by 1920. Tujunga was incorporated in 1925, and Bolton Hall served as the City Hall until Tujunga was annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1932.
After annexation to The City of Los Angeles, Tujunga's suburban development began in earnest in the 1950s with the construction of large numbers of modestly sized, affordable single-family detached homes. Its 1,500-foot (460 m) elevation and geographic isolation from the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin frees it from some of the air pollution that is a problem in many other parts of Greater Los Angeles. Because of this, it attracted many asthmatics early on. Coronet magazine once called Tujunga "the most healthy place in the world". Some of the scenes of the film E.T. were shot in the Seven Hills area of Tujunga, making particularly effective the movie's focus on a suburban residential lifestyle in contrast to mountain scenery.
Tujunga is known for its abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities. A number of equestrian trails wind along the foothills of the San Gabriels and the Verdugo Mountains, and hiking in neighboring Big Tujunga and Little Tujunga canyons is quite popular.
Many employees from nearby JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and the entertainment industry reside in Tujunga.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these Tujunga neighborhood statistics: population: 26,527; median household income: $58,001.
Tujunga is within the Los Angeles Unified School District
Elementary schools that serve sections of Tujunga include:
Residents are also zoned to:
Los Angeles Public Library operates the Sunland-Tujunga Branch.
Tujunga is home to Bolton Hall Museum, which was declared Historic Cultural Monument #2 in 1962 by the City of Los Angeles. Designed by George Harris, it was constructed in 1913 from rocks quarried from the Tujunga Wash. In 1913, the area was called Glorietta Heights and Marshall Hartranft hired editor William E. Smythe as a publicist to promote settlement in the area. Hartranft donated land and funds for the construction of a meeting place for the Little Landers. The hall was named after Smythe's friend and author, Bolton Hall. Hall had written articles on land development, which had inspired Smythe. Neglected for many years after that, Bolton Hall was scheduled to be demolished in 1957. Wishing to preserve it as a historical monument, local residents formed the Little Landers Historical Society and worked to have Bolton Hall declared a historical monument. They succeeded and raised funds to restore it. It serves now as a museum with historical photographs, writings and artifacts about and from the Tujunga area. Bolton Hall Museum is located at 10110 Commerce Avenue. It is open on Tuesdays and Sundays between 1 and 4 p.m. Admission is free. Special tours are also available.
Tujunga was home to John Steven McGroarty, California Poet Laureate (1933-44), playwright, and U.S. Congressman (Democrat, 11th District). He resided in his personally built home, known as Rancho Chupa Rosa. Built in 1923, the building is a Historic Cultural Monument (#63) of the City of Los Angeles and is now known as the McGroarty Arts Center.
In 2000, a poet laureate program was started for the area of Sunland-Tujunga. The poets laureate so far have been:
An enormous wildfire, dubbed the Station Fire, threatened homes in the Crescenta Valley (consisting of Sunland, Tujunga, La Crescenta, and La Canada) starting on Wednesday, August 26, 2009. There had not been a major wildfire in the area since approximately 1978. Thousands of residents were under a mandatory evacuation notice, while others stubbornly stayed home to battle the embers that were raining down on their homes, most with little more than garden hoses. As a result of the fire, smoke and ash affected air quality for most of Los Angeles County. On Monday, August 31, 2009 (five days later) more residents were being evacuated from Tujunga. Most residents were allowed to return to their homes on or around Wednesday, September 2, 2009.
Unfortunately, two firefighters lost their lives whilst battling this blaze. It has also been determined that this fire was caused by arson, and a $150,000 reward is being offered for finding the suspect.
As of September 24, 2009, the Station Fire still burns in the Angeles National Forest and is 94% contained.