West Hills, Los Angeles
|— Neighborhood of Los Angeles —|
|• Total||8.53 sq mi (22 km2)|
|Elevation||900 ft (274 m)|
|• Density||4,551/sq mi (1,757/km2)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|ZIP code||91304 & 91307|
|Area code(s)||818 & 747|
West Hills is an affluent district in the western San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. The percentage of residents aged 35 and older is among the highest in Los Angeles County.
In 1987, Los Angeles recognized the following description of the boundaries of West Hills Neighborhood Council: "Starting at the centerline intersections of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Nordhoff Street, westward down the centerline of Nordhoff extended in a straight line to the city limits of the City of Los Angeles; thence southward, following the border of the City of Los Angeles to the centerline of Victory Boulevard; thence eastward down the centerline of Victory Boulevard to Shoup Avenue centerline; thence northward down the centerline of Shoup Avenue to the intersection of the centerline of Roscoe Boulevard; thence eastward down the centerline of Roscoe Boulevard to the centerline of Topanga Canyon Boulevard; then northward down the centerline of Topanga Canyon Boulevard to the centerline of Nordhoff Street."
West Hills is bordered by Chatsworth and the Chatsworth Reservoir to the north, Canoga Park to the east, Woodland Hills to the south, Calabasas and Hidden Hills to the southwest, and the Simi Hills with the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve and Bell Canyon to the west.
Bell and Dayton creeks in West Hills are several of the headwaters of the Los Angeles River that originate in the Northwest San Fernando Valley. The Los Angeles River itself begins at the confluence of Arroyo Calabasas (Calabasas Creek) and Bell Creek in Canoga Park. These and other small creeks supply stormwater and suburban runoff water to the Los Angeles River, and several are considered year-round creeks. Although the creeks are now channeled and run within concrete walls, they do form a significant urban wildlife landscape and contribute to the population of indigenous wildlife left within the San Fernando Valley.
Both Bell Creek and Dayton Creek in particular have received attention due to their headwaters origins inside the SSFL—Santa Susana Field Laboratory in the Simi Hills. The SSFL is mandated for an environmental cleanup due to its uses as a testing center for rocket and missile engines, nuclear reactor research and fuel reprocessing, and high technology defense systems. It was also the site of a partial nuclear core meltdown in 1959. Prominent contaminants include radionuclides, VOCs-volatile organic compounds, Chromium, Lead, Benzene, and other components of rocket engine fuel and cleaning compounds.
Pre-Spanish contact history 
The present day West Hills area was the homeland of Native Americans in the Tongva-Fernandeño and Chumash-Venturaño tribes, that lived in the Simi Hills and close to Bell Creek and the local tributaries to the Los Angeles River. Native American civilizations had inhabited the San Fernando Valley for an estimated 8,000 years. The village, Hu'wam, of the Chumash-Venturaños, was located at the base of Escorpión Peak (Castle Peak) near present day Bell Canyon Park. It was a meeting and trading point for them with the Tongva-Fernandeño and Tataviam-Fernandeño people. A cave near here known as The Cave of Munits is the believed home of a mythical Chumash shaman, Munits, who was killed by an eagle after murdering the son of a Chumash chief. Escorpión Peak is one of nine alignment points in Chumash territory and is essential to maintaining the balance of the natural world.
Spanish and Mexican history 
From 1797 to 1846, the area (future West Hills) was part of Mission San Fernando Rey de España (Mission San Fernando). After Mexico won independence from Spain, it later became part of Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando in Alta California. In 1845, a separate land grant for Rancho El Escorpión was issued by Governor Pío Pico to three Chumash people: Odón Eusebia, Urbano, and Urbano's son Mañuel. It encompassed the land west of present day Fallbrook Avenue in West Hills, with its adobe ranch buildings (present 1840s-1960s) sited where Bell Canyon Park is now.
American history 
California was admitted to the United States in 1850, with Spanish and Mexican land grants requiring a federal land patent to retain ownership. The United States Public Land Commission patented the Rancho to original grantees Odón Eusebia, Urbano, and Mañuel in 1876. In 1912 the Chumash heirs sold Rancho El Escorpión to George Platt. He established a dairy operation on renamed Platt Ranch variously called Ferndale, ‘escorpion,’ or Cloverdale Dairy. The Rancho El Escorpión-Platt Ranch was not incorporated into Los Angeles and its water system until 1958 and was left undeveloped until 1961.
West Hills was originally part of Owensmouth (founded 1912) and renamed Canoga Park (1931). West Hills was formed in 1987 after homeowners on the western side of Canoga Park launched a petition drive a year earlier to form a new community. In an unusual move, the area's L.A. City Councilwoman, Joy Picus, polled Canoga Park residents, asking them if they would like to join the new community, to determine West Hills' boundaries.
Parks and landmarks 
Three historic ranches and a silent film star's estate in West Hills have been awarded Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument status recognition and protection, and two are city parks. In addition on the western edge of West Hills huge open space preserves provide an undeveloped greenbelt and nearby recreation opportunities. The high number of neighborhood parks here offer sports fields and courts, play areas for children, and community rooms.
Orcutt Ranch 
- Orcutt Ranch Estate, ("Rancho Sombra del Roble") to the Orcutts, is the 1920 adobe residence, gardens, and citrus orchards of William Warren Orcutt, an early Union Oil Company executive. The park has an entry through craftsman style stone gates to a parking area with natural habitat landscaping on Roscoe Boulevard near Valley Circle Boulevard. The park, now named the Orcutt Ranch Horticulture Center, offers: self-guided strolling, exploring and scheduled house tours; public community gardens; annual public citrus harvests; and garden wedding and special event facilities. Orcutt Ranch is a registered-protected Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
Shadow Ranch 
- Shadow Ranch Park, formerly the Workman Ranch, on Vanowen Boulevard just east of Fallbrook Avenue. Alfred Workman was a muleskinner who emigrated from Australia, winding up running a massive wheat farm owned by a syndicate led by Isaac Lankershim and Isaac Van Nuys. He bought the ranch in 1869, and from then to 1872, Workman built a home for his wife, Henrietta Feliz, and himself by adding onto an existing adobe. The Australian had eucalyptus trees imported and planted on the ranch, and some folks claim all the eucalyptus trees in California stem from Workman Ranch. Workman Ranch was acquired by a married, screenwriting couple, Colin Clements and Florence Ryerson (the latter co-wrote the screenplay for The Wizard of Oz while living here). She renamed the estate Shadow Ranch for the amount of shade provided by the numerous eucalyptus trees planted by Workman decades ago. William Wyler’s movie The Children’s Hour, based on the play by Lillian Hellman, was filmed here in 1961. Shadow Ranch Park is an L.A. City Park with lighted basketball courts, a children's play area, football and soccer fields, meeting and community rooms, a baseball diamond, and picnic tables. Organized youth sports are also offered at this registered-protected Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument
Peppergate Ranch 
The 29-acre Peppergate Ranch was located between Orcutt Ranch and Chatsworth Reservoir. The ranch's residence was designed by master architect Paul R. Williams (1894–1980) in the Ranch Style. It was built in 1939 for Talton R. Craig, founder of the Craig Movie Supply Company. The T.R. Craig Residence is a California Historical Landmark (#992) and Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (in 2011), located on Pinelake Drive. Peppergate Ranch was subdivided, as Woodlake Estates and Pinelake Estates, in the 1960s.
Open-space parks 
All of these large Parks are open for walks, hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian riding; sunrise to sunset.
- El Escorpión Park: The area landmark El Escorpión Peak centered in the park offers hikes with impressive views of the Valley. The trailhead and parking are at the western end of Vanowen Boulevard, west of Valley Circle Boulevard (Castle Peak Park).
- Bell Canyon Park is directly adjacent on the northwest of El Escorpión Park, with trails along natural Bell Creek and up the north side of the Peak. The trailheads and parking are off Bell Canyon Boulevard just before the 'Bell Canyon community' gatehouse, west of Valley Circle Boulevard. Pedestrian access follows up the creek past the gated road to later loop around the Peak to El Escorpión Park.
- Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve parking and trailheads are at the western end of Victory Boulevard, west of Valley Circle Boulevard. Trails cross the huge natural park and connect west to adjoining Cheseboro-Palo Comado Canyon Park section of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, north to El Escorpión and Bell Canyon Parks, and south to Hidden Hills, creating a generous greenbelt for West Hills. There are also scheduled evening moonlight hikes, and daytime events.
- Roscoe/Valley Circle Park is a rustic linear open space park with panoramic views and an equestrian trail, west of Valley Circle Blvd. with access at Roscoe Boulevard, at West Stagg Street, and at Quiet Hills Court.
Neighborhood parks 
- Knapp Ranch Park has two sections: Kittridge Avenue east section offers these outdoor unlighted sports facilities: baseball diamond, basketball courts, a children's play area, picnic tables, and tennis courts; Wooded Vista and Twisted Oak Drive west section offers walks, a picnic area, and panoramic views.
- The West Hills Sports Center/Adam Bischoff Soccer Fields has a pocket park, recreation center, and soccer fields. It is on the west side of Valley Circle Blvd. near Vanowen.
- Mae Boyar Recreation Center has basketball courts and a playground, on Highlander Rd.
- Taxco Trails Park is a pocket park, with a children's play area and picnic tables on Platt Ave. and Saticoy.
- Lazy J Park is a pocket park, with a children's play area on Valley Circle Blvd.
- Chase Park has a children's play area and picnic tables.
- Hidden Lake Park, a neighborhood park at Lees Lake, Sedan Ave. off Roscoe Boulevard, directions at gate.
- Castle Peak Park is a small neighborhood open space park for picnics on Valley Circle Blvd., (not to be confused with El Escorpión [Peak] Park).
- Four Oaks Park is a neighborhood pocket park, with a children's play area and picnic tables, on Cohasset and Melba Ave.
Other historical-cultural landmarks 
- Francis Lederer Estate has the other two West Hills Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments. These are the former residence, outdoor rooms, grounds, and equestrian stables of film and stage actor Francis Lederer (1899–2000). Lederer was the honorary Mayor of Canoga Park (pre-West Hills) for many years, and in retirement a member of the City Parks Board of Directors. The landmark buildings are located near the West Hills Post Office to the west.
- Francis Lederer Residence is a very distinguished residential example of the Mediterranean Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Mission Revival styles of architecture integrated together, with the interior and exterior design and artisan detailing being of museum quality. The house was constructed over a period of years by the Lederers, starting in 1934, with the help of artisan builder John R. Litke. The materials were chosen with the greatest of care and painstakingly employed in such a manner as to make them appear old. The Spanish and Italian furnishings are of particular interest, dating from the 14th century. The property is to become a public museum and arts center.
- Francis Lederer Stables are in a rustic and authentic Mission Revival architectural style, using locally quarried stones. It was also designed by Francis Lederer and John R. Litke in the 1930s. It was originally on the natural bank of free-flowing Bell Creek, before the channelization. Through Mrs. Lederer's efforts in the 1970s, the stables opened to the community as the Canoga Mission Gallery—now the Hidden Chateau, on western Sherman Way.
As of the 2010 census, and according to the Los Angeles Almanac, there were 38,814 people and 10,626 households residing in West Hills. The ethnic-racial medley of the neighborhood was 78.89% White, 11.97% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.11% African American, 0.36% Native American, 2.80% from other races, and 3.82% from two or more races. 9.26% of the population were Hispanic of any race.
Government and infrastructure 
Local government 
Police and fire 
West Hills is served by the Topanga Community Station of the Los Angeles Police Department, opened on Jan. 3, 2008. The police department named the station after a village in the Tongva language of the historically local Tongva-Fernandeño Native American tribe. The department originally planned to name it the Northwest Station, but residents preferred a name linking to the area's history.
Public library 
City representation 
Representing West Hills are two members of the Los Angeles City Council. The portion south of Roscoe Boulevard is represented by Dennis Zine (3rd Council District) and the portion north of Roscoe Boulevard is represented by Mitchell Englander (12th Council District).
West Hills Neighborhood Council 
The West Hills Neighborhood Council has a website, events and activities. It is governed by a 25-member board of directors that is elected by West Hills stakeholders (residents and local business owners). The council also is a resource as the city's official forum for individuals and the community to learn about, discuss and take positions on local and citywide issues.
County, state, and federal government 
Post office 
Representing West Hills in the California State Senate is Fran Pavley (D-23rd Senate District). Representing West Hills in the California Assembly are Bob Blumenfield (D-40th Assembly District) (south of Roscoe Boulevard) and Jeff Gorell (R-37th Assembly District) (north of Roscoe Boulevard).
Representing West Hills in the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (Third District).
The West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, located at Medical Center Dr. near Sherman Way, serves the local community as well as patients from several cities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The West Hills Hospital is particularly renowned for its Surgical Center. Opened in 1996, the Surgical Center performs procedures in specialties such as general and hand surgery (done by The Hand Center of Southern California), gynecology, gastroenterology and orthopedics. The West Hills Hospital and Medical Center facilities also include a large maternity ward and an oncology unit. In September 2009, Grossman Burn Centers, then based at Sherman Oaks Hospital, announced it would move to West Hills Hospital early in 2010.
Public schools 
Los Angeles Unified School District 
Public elementary schools serving West Hills include:
- Capistrano Avenue Elementary School
- Enadia Way Elementary School
- Hamlin Street Elementary School
- Haynes Street Elementary School
- Justice Street Elementary School
- Pomelo Drive Elementary School
- Welby Way Elementary School
The former Highlander Road Elementary School was closed in the 1980s, though the site and buildings remain.
Las Virgenes Unified School District 
A small portion of West Hills is zoned to Las Virgenes Unified School District.
Residents are zoned to:
Charter school 
Ingenium Charter School - Kindergarten through Sixth Grade
Private schools 
- Chaminade College Preparatory School, Roman Catholic high school operated by the Marianists. The campus opened in 1961.
- Faith Baptist School, Baptist university-preparatory school - nearby in Canoga Park.
- Kadima Day School, Jewish day school.
- New Community Jewish High School, Jewish high school.
- Saint Bernardine of Siena, Catholic elementary and middle school operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles -nearby in Woodland Hills.
- West Valley Christian School (elementary and middle) - It previously had a high school, but it closed in June 2011
The Corporate Pointe business park, on the largest research and light industry property in West Hills, is in planning for redevelopment. It is located at Fallbrook Avenue and Roscoe Boulevard, near Hidden Lake and the Chatsworth Reservoir. The property was originally developed in 1959 as the Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge aerospace corporation's new headquarters. It was later used by Atomics International, Hughes Aircraft, and Raytheon for aerospace development advancements and nuclear research.
See also 
- Rancho El Escorpión
- Owensmouth (Pacific Electric)
- Burro Flats Painted Cave
- Rock art of the Chumash people
- History of the San Fernando Valley to 1915
- LAtimes.com/Mapping-L.A. neighborhoods/West Hills . accessed 8.18.2011
-  Median household income is "high for the city of Los Angeles and high for the county." "Mapping L.A.," Los Angeles Times.
- SSFL public forum
- USA Today article USA Today
- Mercury News article
- SSPSHP Ethnohistory
- "Ahmanson Ranch Becomes Private Preserve", Wishtoyo Foundation website Wishtoyo.org. accessed 10/23/2007
- Harrington, John P. 1986. Southern California/Basin. Ethnographic Field Notes, Pt. 3. National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (Microfilm edition, Kraus International Publications, Millwood, N.Y. Rl. 106, Fr. 152
- Wishtoyo on Ahmanson Ranch
- Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
- CSUN Oviatt Library Digital Collections_Rancho El Escorpion photos
- Library of Congress-HABS: Escorpion -1937 photos directory
- 46th United States Congress, 1880, House Executive Document 46, pp. 1116-1117
- Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
- United States. District Court ( California : Southern District) Land Case 129 SD
- April 2007 Bulletin-Canoga/Owensmouth Historical Society
- Fuentes, G: "Picus Unveils New Map of West Hills, Calls It Final," Los Angeles Times (Valley Edition), October 15, 1987
- "Orcutt Ranch Horticulture Center Rancho Sombra del Roble History." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 22, 2010.
- "Orcutt Ranch Horticulture Center Rancho Community Garden." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 22, 2010.
- "Orcutt Ranch Horticulture Center Rancho Sombra del Roble Special event and Wedding Rental." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 22, 2010.
- Shadow Ranch Park
- Paul Revere Williams: T.R. Craig (Harris) Residence - Photo gallery and history.
- L.A. Office of Historic Resources; "Newsletter"; April 2011.
- "Castle Peak Park." City of Los Angeles. accessed on March 20, 2010 El Escorpión Park.
- "Bell Canyon Park." City of Los Angeles. accessed on March 20, 2010 Bell Canyon Park.
- Lamountains.com, accessed 4/01/2010 Upper Las Virgenes Cyn. Park Events
- "Roscoe/Valley Circle Park." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 20, 2010.
- "Knapp Park." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 20, 2010.
- "West Hills Sports Center/Adam Bischoff Soccer Fields." City of Los Angeles. West Hills Sports Center. retrieved on March 20, 2010.
- Mae Boyar Recreation Center, accessed 4/04/2010.
- "Taxco Trails Park." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 20, 2010.
- "Lazy J. Park." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 20, 2010.
- "Chase Park." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 20, 2010.
- Castle Peak Park. accessed 4/04/2010
- "Four Oaks Park." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 20, 2010.
- SFVHS Lederer
- Canoga Mission Gallery - Hidden Chateau website. accessdate: 5/5/2010
- "West Hills" entry on the Los Angeles Times Mapping L. A. website
- LApdonline.org. Los Angeles Police Department. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
- Vives, Ruben. LAPD opens new station in Canoga Park. Los Angeles Times. January 4, 2009. Retrieved on April 26, 2009.
- Station 106. Los Angeles Fire Department. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- Station 105 LAFD.org. Los Angeles Fire Department. Retrieved December on 6, 2008.
- Platt Branch Library. Los Angeles Public Library. Retrieved on December 26, 2009.
- LAcity.org Dennis Zine. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
- LA.ca.us Greig Smith. Retrieved on May 2, 2009.
- Post Office Location - West Hills. United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
- House.gov. (Henry A. Waxman). Retrieved on May 2, 2009.
- Govoffice.com (Fran Pavley). Retrieved on May 2, 2009.
- Assembly.ca.gov. (Bob Blumenfield). Retrieved on May 2, 2009.
- Assembly.ca.gov. (Jeff Gorell). Retrieved on December 27, 2009.
- LAcounty.gov. (Zev Yaroslavsky). Retrieved on May 2, 2009.
- Westhillshospital.com West Hills Hospital website. Accessed on December 06, 2007.
- Westhillssurgicalcenter.com. West Hills Surgical Center website. Accessed on December 6, 2007.
- Eng, D: "Healthy life in West Hills," Los Angeles Times. April 9, 2006
- Lin, C.J. "Valley private school options dwindling." August 17, 2011. Retrieved on August 31, 2011. "Address: 22450 Sherman Way West Hills, CA 91307"
- Historic photos gallery
- ACMELA.org, Historic photos & story
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: West Hills, Los Angeles|
- West Hills Neighborhood Council
- Official Orcutt Ranch Park site
- Orcutt Ranch photos
- Official Shadow Ranch Park site
- Shadow Ranch photos
- Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Park site
- Lederer Residence photos
- Canoga Mission Gallery—Lederer Stables photos
- Digital Collections-CSUN: Rancho El Escorpion photos
||Chatsworth & Simi Hills||Chatsworth||Northridge|
|Simi Hills||Canoga Park|
|Simi Hills||Hidden Hills||Woodland Hills|