West Hills, Los Angeles
|Neighborhood of Los Angeles|
Escorpión Peak (aka: Castle Peak) (1,475 feet/450 m)—east face view from West Hills.
|• 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)|
|ZIP code||91304 & 91307|
|Area code(s)||818 & 747|
West Hills is an affluent residential and commercial neighborhood 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.
The neighborhood was formerly the home of many Native American tribes, and during the early Spanish and Mexican era was part of Mission de San Fernando. In the American era, West Hills was part of Owensmouth, which was renamed Canoga Park in 1930. West Hills was established in western Canoga Park and retained its present name in 1987.
Historic landmarks and many city parks are to be found within the community, as are commercial districts, a business district and religious establishments. Two private high schools are among the thirteen schools within West Hills.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Population
- 3 History
- 4 Parks and landmarks
- 5 Government representation and services
- 6 Hospitals
- 7 Education
- 8 Other community features
- 9 Notable residents
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
According to the Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times, West Hills is flanked on the north by the Chatsworth Reservoir, on the east by Canoga Park, on the south by Woodland Hills, on the southwest by Hidden Hills and on the west by Bell Canyon in Ventura County.
Neighborhood Council boundaries
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.
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 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.
||Santa Susana Field Laboratory & Simi Valley||Chatsworth||Northridge|
|Bell Canyon & Simi Hills||Canoga Park|
|Hidden Hills & Ahmanson Ranch Park||Woodland Hills||Warner Center|
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.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the 2000 U.S. census counted 30,814 residents in the 8.53-square-mile (22.1 km2) West Hills neighborhood,—or 4,551 people per square mile, among the lowest population densities for the city. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 41,426.
In 2000 the median age for residents was 39, considered old for city and county neighborhoods; the percentages of residents aged 35 and older were among the county's highest.
The neighborhood was considered "moderately diverse" ethnically within Los Angeles, with a high percentage of white residents. The breakdown was whites, 70.9%; Latinos, 11%; Asians, 11.3%; blacks, 2.5%; and others, 4.3%. Iran (13.8%) and the Philippines (8.4%) were the most common places of birth for the 22.7% of the residents who were born abroad—a low percentage for Los Angeles.
The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $103,008, considered high for the city and county. The percentage of households that earned $125,000 and up was high for Los Angeles County. Renters occupied 12.6% of the housing stock, and house and condominium-owners occupied 87.4%.
The percentages of married people were among the county's highest. In 2000 there were 785 families headed by single parents, a low percentage for both the city and the county.
Eleven percent of the population were military veterans, a high rate for the city and the county, and the percentages of veterans who served during World War II or the Korean War were among the county's highest.
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 other 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 Hu'wam, known as the Cave of Munits, is the believed home of a mythical Chumash shaman named Munits, who was killed by an eagle after murdering the son of a Chumash chief. Escorpión Peak is one of nine alignment points in the ancestral Chumash homelands, believed 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 Woodlake Avenue in West Hills, with its adobe ranch buildings (present 1840s—1960s) sited beside Bell Creek near present day Bell Canyon Park.
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 (1930). 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 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 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 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
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.
- 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 historic-cultural landmarks
Francis Lederer Estate
The Lederer Estate, of stage actor and early film star Francis Lederer (1899–2000), has two separate structures and their settings that are each a registered Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument—LAHCM. These are: the former residence and its outdoor patio rooms, gardens, and grounds; and the equestrian stables and its patios. Lederer was the honorary Mayor of Canoga Park (pre-West Hills) for many years. In retirement he taught theatre classes, and was a member of the L.A. City Parks Board of Directors. The landmark buildings are located west of and near the West Hills Post Office and West Hills Hospital.
- Francis Lederer Residence — LAHCM No. 204, 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 of museum quality. The house was begun in 1934 and constructed over a period of years, with artisan builder John R. Litke, by Lederer on his then 300-acre Canoga Park ranch. It sets atop a hill overlooking the Valley and surrounding mountains.
The exterior walls use stone quarried from the site. The residence wraps around a large central courtyard with a fountain and outdoor fireplace, and the various rooms opening onto it. The materials were chosen with care and painstakingly employed in such a manner as to make the resulting structure appear very old. The imported Spanish and Italian furnishings and artworks are of particular interest, dating from the 14th to 19th centuries. The estate's residence was to become a public museum housing the Canoga-Owensmouth Historical Society, a community arts center, and its gardens and open space a city park; however it is currently for sale by the heirs (2013).
- Francis Lederer Stables — LAHCM No. 135, designed and built in a rustic and authentic Mission Revival architectural style. It was also designed by Francis Lederer and John R. Litke in the 1936 and used locally quarried stones. It was originally on the natural bank of free-flowing Bell Creek, before its channelization in the late 1950s. Through Mrs. Lederer's efforts in the 1970s, the stables opened to the community as the Canoga Mission Gallery—now the Hidden Chateau event venue, on western Sherman Way.
The 29-acre (120,000 m2) 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.
Government representation and services
City of Los Angeles
Police and fire
- Los Angeles Police Department — West Hills is served by the LAPD Topanga Community Station, located in adjacent Canoga Park.
The LAPD named the station after a historical village of the local Tongva—Fernandeño Native American tribe, using a westernized version of its Tongva language name. It was originally to be named the Northwest Station, however local residents preferred a name reflecting the region's history. The new complex opened at 21501 Schoenborn Street (91304) in 2008.
- Los Angeles Fire Department — West Hills is served by LAFD Station 106 in West Hills, and LAFD Station 105 in Woodland Hills (Fallbrook and Victory).
West Hills Neighborhood Council
The West Hills Neighborhood Council (WHNC) has a website, public meetings, and sponsors 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.
- West Hills is represented in the United States Senate by California's Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
- West Hills is within the 30th Congressional district — represented by U.S. Representative Brad Sherman.
U.S. Postal Service
The United States Postal Service: The West Hills Post Office is located at 23055 Sherman Way at Sherman Place, 91307. The community's postal zip codes are 91307 (southern area) and 91304 (northern area).
West Hills is within the:
- 27th State Senate district — represented by State Senator Fran Pavley
- 45th State Assembly district — represented by Assemblymember Matt Dababneh, completing the term vacated by Bob Blumenfield to represent Los Angeles City Council District 3 (Canoga Park/Woodland Hills). 
Los Angeles County
West Hills is divided within two Districts of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
- Los Angeles County Third District — represented by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (south of Saticoy).
- Los Angeles County Fifth District — represented by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (north of Saticoy) 
Los Angeles Unified School District
- Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Board of Education District 3, represented by Tamar Galatzan.
The West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, located at Medical Center Drive and Sherman Way, serves the local community as well as patients from several cities in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The West Hills Hospital Surgical Center opened in 1996, and 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. The Grossman Burn Centers, formerly based at Sherman Oaks Hospital, moved to West Hills Hospital in 2010.
Thirty-eight percent of West Hills residents aged 25 and older had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a high percentage for both the city and the county. The percentages of those residents with a master's degree or higher was also high for the county.
- Capistrano Avenue Elementary School, 8118 Capistrano Avenue
- Enadia Way Elementary School (Enadia Technology Enriched Charter School), 22944 Enadia Way
- Hamlin Street Elementary School (Hamlin Charter Academy), 22627 Hamlin Street
- Haynes Elementary School, 6624 Lockhurst Drive
- Justice Street Elementary School, 23350 Justice Street
- Nevada Avenue Elementary School, 22120 Chase Street
- Pomelo Drive Elementary School, 7633 March Avenue
- Welby Way Elementary School, 23456 Welby Way
- New Community Jewish School, high school, 22622 Vanowen Street
- Chaminade College Preparatory, high school, 7500 Chaminade Avenue
- Parkhill School, 7401 Shoup Avenue
- Crane Academy of Excellence, K-12, 23119 Vose Street
- Kadima Day School, 7011 Shoup Avenue
- Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran, elementary, 23838 Kittridge Street
Adjacent public schools
Public middle schools and high schools serving West Hills within their district boundary lines include:
- Hale Middle School—George Ellery Hale Charter Academy (Woodland Hills) 
- Christopher Columbus Middle School (Canoga Park) 
- Canoga Park Senior High School (Canoga Park)
- Chatsworth Senior High School—Chatsworth Charter High School (Chatsworth)
- El Camino Real Senior High School—El Camino Real Charter High School (Woodland Hills)
Other community features
Larger shopping centers in West Hills include the Westfield Mall in Topanga Canyon, the Fallbrook Center and Platt Village Shopping Center, with several other smaller groups of stores, cafes and restaurants, and other services located on major streets and intersections.
Among religious buildings, Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church, Saint Bernardine Parish and the Shomrei Torah Synagogue is located near Stone Gate Drive and Valley Circle Boulevard. Chabad of West Hills is located near the intersection of Hartland Street and Valley Circle Boulevard.
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.
Public transport within West Hills and the San Fernando Valley is provided by Metro Local bus routes, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). They connect to transfer points and hubs in adjacent Woodland Hills, Canoga Park, and Chatsworth for other public transport systems and destinations.
Metro Local routes serving West Hills include: 162/163 via Sherman Way, 164 via Victory Boulevard, 165 via Vanowen Street, 169 via Saticoy Street, and 152/353 via Fallbrook Avenue and Roscoe Boulevard.
- Orange Line
Metro Local buses connect with the Orange Line at nearby stations to the east in Canoga Park, including the Canoga Station, Sherman Way Station, and Roscoe Station. The southeastbound Orange Line connects to the North Hollywood Metro Station for the Red Line subway to Downtown Los Angeles and beyond. The northbound Orange Line connects to the Chatsworth Station Transportation Center, a hub for: the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains; the Metrolink Ventura County Line trains; and the buses of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) Downtown Commuter Express, Simi Valley Transit, and Santa Clarita Transit.
- Illana Katz — author, lecturer, and founder of Real Life Storybooks.
- Francis Lederer — actor, early film star, civic leader.
- Miguel Leonis — 19th century owner of Rancho El Escorpión.
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse — actor.
- Kevin Pillar — professional baseball outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Bob Miller (sports announcer) — play-by-play broadcaster for the Los Angeles Kings.
- Mark Saul (actor) — actor.
- 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.
-  Colored map, Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
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- USA Today article USA Today
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- Wishtoyo on Ahmanson Ranch
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- 46th United States Congress, 1880, House Executive Document 46, pp. 1116–1117
- Report of the Surveyor General 1844 – 1886
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- Shadow Ranch Park
- "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 April 4, 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.
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- "Four Oaks Park." City of Los Angeles. Retrieved on March 20, 2010.
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- Post Office Location – West Hills. United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to West Hills, Los Angeles.|
- West Hills Neighborhood Council
- Official Orcutt Ranch Park website
- Orcutt Ranch photos
- Official Shadow Ranch Park website
- Shadow Ranch photos
- Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Park website
- Lederer Residence photos
- Canoga Mission Gallery—Lederer Stables photos
- Digital Collections-CSUN: Rancho El Escorpion photos
- LAtimes.com: "Living in West Hills"