She Helped Canoga Park Make a Name
Mary Logan Orcutt loved Canoga Park so much that she helped organize local events, establish a community center and even lobby the White House for a new community name.
The year was 1930, and folks in the West Valley were finding it more and more distasteful to call their community Owensmouth, a name given to the area by developers. Public agencies, schools and officials--all except the post office--endorsed the new name of Canoga Park. As a last resort, Orcutt wrote President Herbert Hoover. The effort paid off, and on March 1, 1931, the area officially became Canoga Park.
The Pennsylvania native also left her mark on Canoga Park by organizing the Wild Flower Fiesta in 1932 and the Catalpa Festival and Parade in 1947, events that are now just a memory. But perhaps her greatest gift to the community was Our Lady of Guadalupe Center on Hart Street. The center, aimed at providing activities for Spanish-speaking youth, was opened in 1950 on land donated by Orcutt and her husband, William Warren Orcutt, a Union Oil executive.
She helped secure the land for Orcutt Park, now called Lanark Park. The Orcutt home, currently the site of Orcutt Ranch Park, has been preserved by the city as a historic monument in an area of Canoga Park that was renamed West Hills in 1986.
Mary Logan Orcutt died in 1972 at the age of 99.