One of the most popular television shows of the 1960’s was Bonanza, which told the story of a fictional character named Ben Cartwright. But was that character really fictional? Well, perhaps not entirely. There was a real person whose life greatly mirrored that of the television character, and that person is Toluca Lake’s founding father General Charles Forman. Continue reading “General Charles Forman Toluca Lake’s Founding Father”
Some of Southern California’s “lost towns” never actually vanished; they simply assumed new identities. That’s what happened to one small San Fernando Valley farming village that sprang up in the late 1880s — a village we know today as North Hollywood.
The town’s name was born unstable; in its early years, residents feuded over what to call their home.
Some preferred Lankershim — a name that honored James B. Lankershim and his father Isaac. In 1888, Lankershim subdivided the easternmost 12,000 acres of his father’s old wheat ranch, carving the vast tract into farms of 10 to 80 acres each. On the map advertising the new venture, the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company identified a prospective townsite where the old road to the San Fernando Mission crossed a newly graded road, Central Avenue. The map identified the townsite as Lankershim.
Many of the residents who settled there disregarded the map’s suggestion. Instead, they called their town Toluca. The name’s origins are… Read more at KCET.org
Beginning in 1922, as construction of Lakeside Golf Club of Hollywood moved forward, a group of land investors began to buy the farms to the north of the Club. They had an idea to build what would become the first “bedroom” community for Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. Initially the project was to be called Toluca Lake Park. By 1923 the project was stalled. Investors from nearby Hollywood joined the project and formed The Toluca Lake Company. With new capital and fresh ideas the project moved forward. The community name was shortened to Toluca Lake, and a community plan was created that included an architectural vision and four distinct areas within Toluca Lake. Throughout the Toluca Lake community signs were installed that featured the Toluca Lake Company logo; a swan over rippled water. Some of those original community signs remained as late as the 1970’s. Continue reading “A Tale of Four Toluca Lakes”
In 1923 The Toluca Lake Company introduced the familiar Swan Shield logo, which features a distinct white swan, poised in silhouette atop two rippling water lines and set against a forest green scalloped shield. Below the swan was the simple wording “Toluca Lake.” That logo was the first association between a swan and the Toluca Lake community. The design of the swan and shield was intended to bespeak the affluent, lush and calm nature that is our community. The Toluca Lake Company placed numerous signs throughout the community featuring the Swan logo, however by the 1970’s all of those original signs had been stolen.
In the 1950’s the Toluca Lake Company agreed to allow the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce to use the by-then famous image as their own symbol, and today – 65 years later – that historic Swan and Shield continues to be the identifying logo for the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce. Over the years some have tried to create alternative swan images for their own organizations, but there is still just one true and original Toluca Lake Swan logo carefully guarded by The Chamber and cherished by those who love this community.
Let’s start at the very beginning… In prehistoric times California had a more tropical environment. Sabertooth Tigers, Dire Wolves, Mammoths and many other animals now extinct thrived here for thousands of years before humans came to the area. Continue reading “A History of Toluca Lake”
The location of the Trader is now partially a public green space, partially Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theater and partially a retail space. You can find some souvenirs from the China Trader on e-bay.
The China Trader was owned by Jack Webb, creator of Dragnet, Adam 12 and Emergency. Jack’s ex-wife was Julie London – who married Bobby Troup after she and Jack divorced. It was, however, a “friendly” divorce – and all three remained close friends, which is why Bobby (and Julie) were often found performing at the China Trader. The China Trader was opened when both Trader Vic’s (Beverly Hills) and Don the Beachcomber (Hollywood) were all the rage, and The Trader filled that themed South Pacific lounge/restaurant niche in the San Fernando Vallley. Continue reading “Remembering Toluca Lake”
Thank You to Jack Ritter for preserving these photo albums and memories.
Thank You to Peter Generales for sharing the albums with us.
Thank You to Steve Hampar for having some of the pages of this photo album scanned so everyone can see them.
These photos seem to have been taken in the 1980s and show the year each business was established. Notice the Bogy Company dating back to 1910. Please share with us any memories these people and stores bring to mind, and let us know if you would like to see more from these albums. Continue reading “Jack Ritter Photo Albums”
The Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce wishes to extend its deepest condolences to Edie Chortkoff and the rest of the Chortkoff family for the passing of Milt Chortkoff. On December 28, 2017, at the age of 88 years young, the beloved Toluca Lake husband, father, and businessman passed away after a long and illustrious life.
How much do you know about the history of Toluca Lake? Read stories and view our photos of long established businesses and some that are gone. Share your memories and why you feel Toluca Lake is special.