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Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California

Chatsworth is a district of the City of Los Angeles, California in the San Fernando Valley region.

Geography

The district is bordered by the Santa Susana Mountains and unincorporated Los Angeles County lands to the north, Porter Ranch to the northeast, Northridge to the east, West Hills to the south, and the Simi Hills, Ventura County, Simi Valley to the west. The nearby Chatsworth Peak in eastern Simi Hills overlooks the district.

Modern terrain

The topography of modern Chatsworth is varied, with many industrial areas, sleepy home communities, large apartment and condominium complexes, parks, ranches, horse stables, horse trails, and farms, a few shopping centers, restaurants, and a train station. Congressman Buck McKeon (25th District) notes on his web page, "Chatsworth still has a lot of horse zoned properties and it is not unusual to see horses tied to the hitching post out back of the Los Toros Mexican Restaurant or the Cowboy Palace Saloon."

Chatsworth's residential homes are mostly single-story classic American ranch houses. The district's boundaries are not visible, marked only by signs on the streets, as a profusion of stores, apartments, and automobile traffic dominate.

A distinctive feature in the Chatsworth Area is the now empty Chatsworth Reservoir The property belongs to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

History

Chatsworth was originally inhabited by the Fernandeno and Chumash tribes. The first European explorers came into the Chatsworth area on August 5, 1769, led by Gaspar de Portola. After the San Fernando Mission was established in 1797, Spain granted the land of the San Fernando Valley, including Chatsworth, to the new mission.

An Indian trail ran from Chatsworth to the San Fernando Mission, and was part of the El Camino del Santa Susana y Simi trail that connected the San Fernando Mission to the Santa Buenaventura Mission. The trail crossed into the valley over the Santa de Susana Pass near Chatsworth Park.

In 1821, after the Mexican people revolted against Spain and claimed independence, the San Fernando Mission became part of Mexico. In 1834, the Mexican government ordered the sale of all mission lands, and as a result, Chatsworth was divided - the Eastern part became Rancho San Fernando and the Western part became part of the Simi land grant. The border line extended down the center of what is now Andora Avenue.

The town was named after Chatsworth House, in Derbyshire, the country estate of England's Duke of Devonshire. ("Devonshire" is also the name of a major street in Chatsworth.)

Transportation

During the late 1800s, Chatsworth was a main thoroughfare for the figures of the American West. Joaquin Murrieta and his bandits hid out in the rocky crevices around Stony Point. In 1861, a stagecoach trail, now called the Old Stagecoach Trail, was established through Chatsworth. It followed the old El Camino del Santa Susana y Simi trail over the Santa Susana Pass. That stagecoach route was used until about 1877. As late as 1891, another stage line still used the pass to provide a link between the city of San Fernando and Simi Valley. It is now a popular hiking trail in the Santa Susana Hills.citches

The Chatsworth train station is on the Coast Line of the Union Pacific Railroad. The Coast Line is shared with the Ventura County Line of Metrolink and Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner; the 2008 Chatsworth train collision occurred on the line.

Business

Chatsworth is the home of the National Notary Association and the headquarters for three major credit unions: Premier America (Formerly Litton Federal Credit Union), Matadors Community Credit Union and Telesis Credit Union.

MAG FADAL (machine tools), Moog Corporation, 3M Corporation, B&M Automotive, California Car Cover (California Duster), The Girl Scouts, NMB Technologies, Milodon, Capstone Turbine and Lamps Plus have production/distribution facilities.

Entertainment industry

Chatsworth remained mostly rural until the 1980s, and as a result, it became the site for many western films and rural-themed television shows. The setting fit the popular conception of the American West; boulders larger than houses were strewn against a backdrop of mountains. Tumbleweeds were and still are a common sight. Oaks and sycamores, the native trees, along with imported Eucalyptus trees, and orange groves also lent to the rural feeling.

Between 1912 and 1960, Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and hundreds of other cowboys made movies at Iverson's Movie Ranch. The Zorro television series was filmed in Chatsworth, as was the opening scene of every Lone Ranger episode. Chatsworth continues to house numerous mainstream production offices, including that of the television show 24. Ghost of Zorro was filmed here in 1949. The Iraq scenes for the TV series Over There were filmed at Chatsworth. The Bad News Bears was filmed in Mason Park.

Chatsworth is also known as the unofficial "capital" of the American pornography trade. It houses a significant percentage of the world's adult production and distribution studios, including Anabolic Video, Wicked Pictures, Adult Video News magazine, and Red Light District Video.

Education

Chatsworth residents are zoned to the Los Angeles Unified School District. Chatsworth High School, Lawrence Middle School, Germain Street Elementary, Superior Street Elementary and Chatsworth Park Elementary School are all located in Chatsworth.

The area has several private schools including Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth Hills Academy, Chaminade College Preparatory Middle School, and St. John Eudes Elementary and Middle School.

There is also one charter school, Chime Charter Middle School previously known as Santa Susana School. The school is located just down the street from Chatsworth Park Elementary School.

Los Angeles Public Library operates the Chatsworth Branch.

Past and present residents

Author Ayn Rand lived in Chatsworth for a period of time with her husband.

Chatsworth proximity to Hollywood means that a number of actors and musicians call or have called the district home. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz established their first home on a five-acre site in Chatsworth, which they called "Desilu," the same name as their studio. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had a horse ranch in Chatsworth for several decades, as did Errol Flynn, and cowboy film star Montie Montana. Mr. Ed, the 1960s equine star, once lived near Topanga Canyon and Devonshire. Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth is the final resting place of a number of Hollywood stars, including Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar winner Gloria Grahame, and silent film actor and director Grace Cunard.

Recent examples include:

Paul Rodriguez, also known as P-Rod

Actors Val Kilmer, Kevin Spacey, Mare Winningham, Adam Rich, and Kirk Cameron graduated from Chatsworth High School. Spacey thanked the drama department of his alma mater when he won his first Oscar.

References

External links

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