News and history

West Hills

West Hills

News

West Hills is bordered by Chatsworth to the north, Woodland Hills to the south, Canoga Park to the east, and Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve and Bell Canyon to the west. West Hills had a population of 38,814 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census, and 41,426 in 2008, based on L.A. Department of City Planning estimates. It covers an area of 8.53 square miles, and with 4,551 people per square mile, is among the lowest densities for the City of Los Angeles but about average for the county.

History

The community of West Hills was originally founded as the town of Owensmouth on March 30, 1912 in the western San Fernando Valley region of the City of Los Angeles. In 1931, its name was changed to Canoga Park with the help of early civic leader Mary Logan Orcutt.  It was in 1987 where the community was renamed to West Hills.

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 as far back as 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

Spanish Missionaries, Mexican Rancheros and Chumash Native Americans all inhabited the area from the 1770s – 1960s. In 1912, George Platt bought the land from the Chumash Native Americans and established a dairy farm (called Platt Ranch and Cloverdale Dairy).

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.

Two historic ranches has been awarded the Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments, Orcutt Ranch Estate and Shadow Ranch Park. In addition, West Hills is home to a number of large open space parks including: El Escorpion Park, Bell Canyon Park, Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, Roscoe/Valley Circle Park.

A large number of aerospace industry companies were established in this area, with the arrival of Rocketdyne and Litton Hughes Aircraft in the 1950s, and there are still many industrial companies located here. 

The area is served by West Hills Neighborhood Council. The West Hills Fall Fest, started in 2003, is an annual community event that draws thousands of visitors and has a great number of food and crafts booths, and live entertainment.

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.

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.

For more detailed information on demographics, crime, schools and other information about West Hills, visit http://projects.latimes.com/mapping-la/neighborhoods/neighborhood/west-hills/.