Toluca Lake, Los Angeles
|Neighborhood of Los Angeles County|
Toluca Lake sign
Toluca Lake boundaries as drawn by the Los Angeles Times
|City||Los Angeles and Burbank|
|Time zone||Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
Toluca Lake is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles located in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Downtown. The name is also given to a private natural lake which is fed by the Los Angeles River and maintained by neighboring property owners. Like most outer-Los Angeles neighborhoods, Toluca Lake functions as a separate entity, with its own post office, ZIP code, and downtown area. A small part of Toluca Lake spills over into nearby Burbank.
The history of Toluca Lake can be traced back to the days of the Tongva Indians, followed by Spanish and Mexican occupation and development. It was part of the early rancho system and then it was later divided, with the neighborhood being known as Forman Toluca Ranch. In 1923, investors bought and developed the land as "Toluca Lake Park".
In recent years the neighborhood has been the home of noted entertainment and other personalities and was the site of the wedding reception for Ronald and Nancy Reagan. More recently yet there has been opposition to a proposed development in North Hollywood by NBCUniversal and Thomas Properties Group.
The Los Angeles portion of Toluca Lake is situated on 1.22 square miles of the southeastern San Fernando Valley. The Mapping L.A. section of the Los Angeles Times website describes it as bounded on the south by Universal City, on the west by Studio City, on the north by North Hollywood and on the east by the city of Burbank.
The Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce states that the district is not only a neighborhood in Los Angeles but that it "spills over into Burbank" and that "Political entities and others, such as the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council each draw their own boundaries to suit specific needs."
The geologic Toluca Lake is a 6-acre (2.4 ha) body of water located near the district’s southeastern boundaries. The historic natural lake was fed by springs of upwelling groundwater from the substantial Los Angeles River and San Fernando Valley subterranean aquifers. Late 19th and 20th century L. A. DWP well extraction and 1930s concrete river channelization lowered the water table, and currently community wells at the lake’s edges maintain the water level. The bottom of the lake is surfaced with four inches (102 mm) of asphalt concrete to prevent seepage. Owned by the surrounding homeowners, the lake has been maintained by the Toluca Lake Property Owners Association, a non-profit corporation established in 1934. The lake, surrounded by private residences and the Lakeside Golf Club, is inaccessible to the public.
The Los Angeles portion of Toluca Lake had a population of 7,782 in the 2000 census and an estimated population of 8,563 in 2008. At 6,393 people per square mile, its density was among the lowest in the city of Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times, its percentage of white people, 71.9%, was "high for the county". Other ethnicities were Latino 14%, black 5.3% and Asian 5%. German (9.2%) and Irish (8.7%) were the most common ancestries. Only 17.7% of its residents were foreign-born, a low figure compared to the city as a whole; of those, Mexico at 14.7% and the Philippines at 6.9% were the most common foreign places of birth.
The median household income level of its residents was $73,111 in 2008, and 48.4% of its residents 25 and older had a four-year degree, both of which were "high for the city". The average household size was 1.9 people, low for both the city and the county. 62.2% of its housing units were occupied by renters and 37.8% by owners.
Residents' median age was 37, which was "old for the city of Los Angeles and old for the county". Only 9.7% of residents were headed by single parents, a low figure for both the city and the county.
The Tongva people are known to have lived in the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles basin for 8,000 years. The Tongvan settlement Cahuenga used the springs and marsh in the Toluca Lake locale for water, fishing, hunting, harvesting, and building supplies (tule plants).
After the Spanish conquest in the 1790s of Las Californias, the San Fernando Valley, including the "Toluca Lake locale", became the extended property of the Mission San Fernando Rey de España. After the 1823 Independence of Mexico, the secularization of missions in Alta California included the issuing of a Mexican land grant for Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. The extreme eastern end of the lake was within the 1843 Rancho Providencia grant to Vincente de la Osa. In 1862, Pío Pico sold his share of the Ex-San Fernando Mission land, the entire southern half of the Valley below Roscoe Boulevard, to Isaac Lankershim (operating as the "San Fernando Farm Homestead Association") in 1869. In 1873, Isaac Lankershim's son, James Boon Lankershim, and future son-in-law, Isaac Newton Van Nuys, took over management of the property, including the lake at Toluca. During the 1880s, the San Fernando Farm Homestead Association was succeeded by the "Los Angeles Farm & Milling Company".
In 1893, a petition was filed with the U.S. Postal Service for the area's first post office, to be named "Toluca Post Office" General Charles Forman, a wealthy local landowner and one of the proponents of the petition, later stated that he had chosen the name "Toluca" from a Paiute word meaning "fertile" or "beautiful" valley. Though part of a larger area traditionally called "Lankershim" after a Colonel of the same name — and with a Southern Pacific Railroad train station named "Lankershim" that also opened in 1893 across from the post office — Forman called his own ranch and the surrounding land "Toluca".
One of the wealthiest men in Nevada, Forman had made his fortune starting from nothing, first in mining, then cattle ranching, and then lumber. Falling in love with and marrying Los Angeles native Mary Agnes Gray, he soon moved to the area in the late 1880s and started the Kern River Company, a power company which delivered electricity from generators at the Kern River to Los Angeles. He also bought a large parcel of rich farm land, which included much of modern day Toluca Lake and at least the western portion of the "ancient and historical" marshy pond now called Toluca Lake. By 1923, the Forman Toluca Lake Ranch was a flourishing producer of peaches, apples, and walnuts. That year, investors bought and developed the land as "Toluca Lake Park". This initial venture failed, but a new group soon took over, renaming the development company "The Toluca Lake Company". With a "vision of creating a first 'bedroom community' for Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley", the company formally changed the name of the community to simply Toluca Lake and adopted as their logo the "swan on rippled water" image still associated with the community today.
The name Lankershim also was considered for the town. Colonel J. B. Lankershim established the town site of Toluca at the eastern edge of the family's vast holdings in 1888. The town name was changed from Toluca to Lankershim in 1896. By 1927, the lure of Hollywood inspired local merchants to launch a campaign to change the community's name to North Hollywood. The original town site of Toluca is now part of Toluca Lake.
Aviator Amelia Earhart lived in Toluca Lake on Valley Spring Lane after marrying flamboyant publishing magnate George P. Putnam in 1931. The Spanish colonial-style home, which still exists today, features a front-yard tree under which she signed her round-the-world flight plan. She made her home in Toluca Lake because the best aircraft in the world were being designed and built nearby at the Lockheed plant in Burbank. Entertainer Bob Hope moved to Toluca Lake in the late 1930s and lived there until his death in 2003 at the age of 100. In the 1938 Little Rascals film Three Men in a Tub, the kids hold a regatta on the lake, which is shown to be still largely surrounded by open country at that time. In 1945, Frank Sinatra and his family moved into a house in Toluca Lake and spent weekends at their Lone Palm Hotel in Palm Springs. The house was located down the street from where Earhart had lived. Former actor and 40th President of the United States Ronald Reagan had his wedding reception with second wife Nancy Reagan at the Toluca Lake home of actor (and best man) William Holden on March 4, 1952.
Toluca Lake is represented by City Councilman David Ryu in the Los Angeles City Council and Adrin Nazarian in the California State Assembly. NBC-4 weatherman Fritz Coleman is the honorary mayor of Toluca Lake.
Toluca Lake homeowner groups have recently begun mobilizing against a proposed development in North Hollywood by NBCUniversal and Thomas Properties Group. The Metro Studio Project involves upwards of 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of space and would house employees leaving NBC's Burbank facility. The project also proposes Times Square-style supergraphics and digital illuminated billboards. It would be built partly on land for which NBCUniversal has a lease agreement from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Given the current recession, there have been signs the project may be delayed indefinitely. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has yet to act on the proposal, and Environmental Impact Reports are not finalized.
The 2000 census found that 48.4% of Toluca Lake residents within Los Angeles had earned a four-year degree, a high figure for both the city and the county. The percentage of those residents with a master's degree or higher was large for the county.
Schools within Toluca Lake are:
- Toluca Lake Elementary School, LAUSD, 4840 Cahuenga Boulevard
- Toluca Crossroads School, private elementary, 4814 Cahuenga Boulevard
- "Toluca Lake" entry on the Los Angeles Times "Mapping L.A." website
-  "San Fernando Valley," Mapping L.A.
-  "Where Is Toluca Lake Exactly?" Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce
- History of Toluca Lake from TolucaLakeChamber.com, retrieved on September 15, 2010.
- "Prehistoric milling site found in California". USA Today. March 3, 2006. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- SSPSHP ethnohistory from California State Parks
- Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
- Brief History of Vicente de la Ossa and Family
- Bogy, Richard (July 13, 2007). "A Bit of Toluca Lake History from Richard Bogy". Museum of the San Fernando Valley. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
- "Toluca Lake City Profile". TolucaLake-ca.com. Retrieved January 1, 2005.
- Rasmussen, Cecilia (December 2, 2007). "A possible romance led to lawsuit, death". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 7, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- "Toluca Lake History". Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council. Archived from the original on October 6, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- "Comedian Bob Hope dies". BBC News. July 28, 2003.
- "Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: Historical Photographs". Reagan.UTexas.edu. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
-  "Schools: Toluca Lake," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times