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It is adjacent to the communities of Lake View Terrace to the north, Sunland and Tujunga to the east, Sun Valley to the south, and Pacoima to the west. The area is primarily equestrian zoned, one of the last remaining such neighborhoods within the City of Los Angeles.
Shadow Hills falls within Census Tract 103300.
The community began as Hansen Heights when it opened for a planned settlement at $150 an acre in 1907. Its first publicity was an article in The Los Angeles Record which announced a "public land meeting" in the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Building "with Stereoptican Pictures." Further promotional "illustrated lectures" about these "little farms" were held nightly.
In 1927, "Butterfly Gardens" was a six-acre plot "in the hills a little way off the main traveled road" owned by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Carter which were seeded to wildflowers in the expectation of attracting and "raising" butterflies. In the same year Frank Kenniston owned a grocery in Hansen Heights and also "one of the largest bee apiaries in this part of the country." Kenniston noted that Hansen Street was still unpaved and that owners of large tracts were unwilling to subdivide, "thus retarding development."
In 1946 the Shadow Hills Rodeo grounds were situated "on Wheatland Avenue in the Hansen Heights District of Roscoe," in a "beautiful setting with the green trees standing like guards." The arena was at 9951 Wheatland Avenue, a parcel that in 2021 was occupied by a six-bedroom, four-bath house.
During the area's development, some homes were built on hilltops, reachable only "by narrow roads chewed out of the hillsides." In 1948, Los Angeles City Building and Safety Chief G.E. Morris raised ire when he ordered the property owners on Johanna Street south of Sunland Boulevard to "vacate and demolish" any structure because the roads were so narrow they could not be reached by fire engines. Boyd assured a deputation of angry owners and their families who visited him at Los Angeles City Hall that he would seek a compromise which would not work "undue hardship." The area became known as "Dad's Canyon," which the city claimed was illegal because adequate police, fire, and sanitation could not be provided.
Agitation to rename the area began in 1947 with a mass meeting in the Stonehurst School auditorium called by real estate broker John F. Willey "to discuss the possibility of securing a new post office and delivery district" for Shadow Hills. A second rally featured a song called "Shadow Hills" by Starr von Fluss.
Dorothy Neely, secretary-manager of the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce said that "Shadow Hills people don't like the name of Roscoe," they with others objecting to it as "unimaginative, not euphonious, and not descriptive of the location or the present-day development of the area."
The name change was approved by a vote taken among the four hundred members of the Hansen Heights Improvement Association, who also decided to change the name of their organization to Shadow Hills Civic Association. The officers were Stanley M. Love, president; Norwood Simmons, vice president; Mrs. Lee Payne, treasurer, and Ronald King, secretary.
In the 1960s a section of the Foothill Freeway was mapped from Sunland southwest through Lakeview Terrace to Van Nuys Boulevard. The Shadow Hills Property Owners Association fought against the freeway mainly because its members, mostly horse enthusiasts, feared their rural environment would be spoiled, particularly if a freeway bridge were built over the Tujunga Wash.
By 1931, Hansen Heights School had become a part of the Los Angeles City school system. In June of that year it was announced that Hansen Heights stood "highest of any high or elementary school in the city of Los Angeles in thrift" because every child "has an account in the school savings bank." Evangeline Hymer was the principal.  The school, at 9900 Wheatland Avenue, was declared surplus in 1945 and the property put up for sale.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) today serves Shadow Hills. Not one LAUSD school is inside of Shadow Hills. Students must travel outside of Shadow Hills to Sun Valley for Stonehurst Elementary School, Maclay Middle School in Pacoima, and Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga.
Attendance boundary, 1966
A 1966 plan to require Shadow Hills students to switch from the overcrowded and virtually all-white Mount Gleason Junior High School in Sunland to the more diversified Maclay Junior High in Pacoima was opposed by the Shadow Hills Homeowners Association. The Los Angeles school board approved the boundary switch in a 4–3 vote on July 14, 1966.
Shadow Hills is represented by:
- Los Angeles City Council District 7, Council Member Monica Rodriguez.
- Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors District 5, Supervisor Kathryn Barger
- California State Senate District 25, Anthony Portantino
- California State Assembly District 44, Laura Friedman
- United States House of Representative District 30, Adam Schiff
- Los Angeles Fire Department Station 24 (Sunland/Shadow Hills) is in the area.
- Los Angeles Fire Department Station 77 (Sun Valley/Shadow Hills/La Tuna Canyon) is in the area.
- Shadow Hills is served by the Los Angeles Police Department Foothill Community Police Station.
- "ZIP Code Lookup tool". United States Postal Service. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "City of Los Angeles Population by Community & Race". Los Angeles Almanac. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Population of Communities of the City of Los Angeles". Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- "Shadow Hills" entry on the Los Angeles Times "Mapping L.A." website
- "Little Farms Near the City and the Foothills," Los Angeles Record, September 21, 1907, image 5
- "Suburban Acre Homes," Los Angeles Record, September 25, 1907, image 2
- "Raising of Butterflies for Market New Work in Hansen Heights," Burbank Daily Review, January 21, 1927, image 2
- "Hansen Heights Outlook," Burbank Daily Review, February 17, 1927, image 5
- Chris Christopher, "Foothill Findings," Valley Times, March 7, 1946, image 9
- "Burbank Boy, 12, Winner at Valley Horse Show," Valley Times, November 3, 1947, image 2
- "Homeowners March on City Hall; Fight Order to Vacate," Daily News, December 10, 1948, image 43
- Dan Swinton, "Dad's Canyon Peace Uneasy," Citizen-News, December 17, 1948, image 4
- Mary Reinholz, "Shadow Hills," Valley Times, North Hollywood, December 14, 1966, image 3
- "Shadow Hills Meeting Set," Valley Times, January 22,1947, image 6
- "Shadow Hills Song to Make Debut Tonight," Valley Times, February 19, 1947, image 5
- "'Shadow Hills' Makes Ban at Club," Valley Times, February 22, 1947, image 6
- "Shadow Hills Quits Roscoe Postal Zone," Citizen-News (Valley Edition), April 14, 1948, image 1
- "Renamed Shadow Hills Town Now Wants P.O.," Valley Times, May 17, 1947, image 7
- "New Mail Service for Shadow Hills," Valley Times, April 13, 1948, image 2
- Don Snyder, "Freeway Link to Nowhere May Go Somewhere by Next Spring," Los Angeles Times, San Fernando Valley Section, July 25, 1976, image 414
- Don Snyder, "Freeway Link," Los Angeles Times, San Fernando Valley Section, July 25, 1976, image 416
- "Local and Personal," The Burbank Review, June 7, 1912, image 8
- "Hansen Heights," Burbank Daily Review, June 11, 1931, image 9
- "Valley Offices for Draft Registration Are Announced," San Fernando Valley Times, February 6, 1942, image 11
- Legal advertisement, Valley Times, March 26, 1945, image 24
- Turpin, Dick (15 July 1966). "School Ruling Hit by Angry Parents". Los Angeles Times. p. 3. ProQuest 155478411.
- "Welcome to LA Council District 7".
- "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
- "LAFD - Fire Station 24". Archived from the original on 2006-11-02. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- "LAFD - Fire Station 77". Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
- "Foothill Community Police Station - Los Angeles Police Department". www.lapdonline.org.
- "Ken Osmond The Trouble Maker Eddie Haskell on 'Beaver', Dies at 76".The New York Times. Retrieved on January 16, 2023.
- "Ex-'Glee' star Mark Salling indicted on child-porn charges". Houston Chronicle. Saturday, May 28, 2016. Retrieved on May 28, 2016.
- " Sunland Tujunga Directory". Retrieved on March 12, 2022.