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First homesteaded by pioneers in the 1870s,...

First homesteaded by pioneers in the 1870s, today’s Chatsworth is a far cry from the days of stagecoaches and cattle grazing.

Chatsworth is the home of several nationally renowned companies. Great Western Financial Corp. currently employs about 3,000. Hughes Aircraft, Vivitar and Sanyo Fisher Corp. all hold offices here.

The community saw its main growth in the 1960s. Chatsworth High School was founded during that decade, along with the community’s first library.

The area continues to grow. A 25-plex theater and restaurants complex are expected to be finished this summer and a courthouse complex is expected in the future just a quarter of a mile down the road, though when has yet to be determined.

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LOCAL ISSUES

Transportation--The Chatsworth train station, built on the site of an old Southern Pacific freight station, is a replica of the original Chatsworth depot. It features a large, privately owned child-care center aimed at Metrolink commuters. In the future, the Chatsworth Chamber of Commerce will move to the depot and act as curator to a historical memorabilia display.

Courthouse--The county Board of Supervisors approved a courthouse complex on what is now county-owned property at the corner of Winnetka Avenue and Plummer Street five days before the Northridge earthquake hit in 1994. A lack of funding has stalled the project and officials have to redesign the complex to fit new building codes, put in place after the 6.7 quake hit. The project is on hold indefinitely.

Movies--By the summer of 1998, movie-goers in the northwest San Fernando Valley will have 35 screens to choose from in the West Valley. The Winnetka 6 Drive-In was razed in December to make room for a 25-plex theatre, food court and restaurants at the corner of Winnetka Avenue and Prairie Street. Less than a mile away, 10 movie screens are expected to open. Whether the northwest Valley can accommodate that many theaters remains to be seen.

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HISTORY

Named after the estate of England’s duke of Devonshire, the community was first known as Chatsworth Park. The “Park” was dropped in 1915 when Chatsworth became part of the city of Los Angeles to obtain water from the Owens River for irrigation.

Once a month, people are invited to visit the homestead of Chatsworth pioneer Minnie Hill Palmer at Chatsworth Park South. Photographs and crafts of the pioneers who settled Chatsworth in the 1880s are displayed at the Chatsworth museum, which is also situated there.

Through the years, Chatsworth became a home to film and television stars. Fred Astaire, Lionel Barrymore, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz all owned property in Chatsworth.

AREA HIGHLIGHTS

Stoney Point: Chatsworth has a unique place in the history of American mountaineering. Rock climbers from all over travel to the Santa Susana Mountains to test their balance and agility against the jagged peaks. The site was purchased by the city of Los Angeles in 1981.

Rock climbing at Stoney Point dates back at least to the 1930s. Many legendary climbers started on the rocks above Chatsworth, including Glen Dawson, Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard and Chuck Wilts.

The rocky terrain has also served as a backdrop in such movie classics as “High Noon” and “The African Queen” and television programs such as “The Roy Rogers Show.”

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Iverson Ranch: Used by such names as Cecil B. De Mille as a set graced by such actors as Burt Lancaster, Ronald Reagan and Bob Hope, Iverson Ranch has been used as a backdrop for many television shows and movies. The ranch was a foreign country in “Around the World in 80 Days” and “Ben-Hur.” Westerns such as “Stagecoach” and “Cattle Queen of Montana” were filmed at the ranch, as well as television shows such as “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “The Fall Guy.”

Today, part of the picturesque ranch is rented out for weddings and fund-raisers. As it is transformed into different sets for films, Iverson Ranch has also served as the backdrop for a Cinderella wedding (on horseback) and a children’s pirate party.

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Community Profile

Population: 79,666

Median age: 34.7

Number of households: 28,588

Persons per household: 2.8

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Owner-occupied housing units: 96.15

Population below poverty level: 5.9%

Population over 18 with bachelor’s degree or higher: 19%

Income

Average household income is slightly below the citywide average.

Chatsworth: $67,496

Citywide average: $45,701

Northeast Valley: 444,444

Southeast Valley: $48,182

Northwest Valley: $56,427

Southwest Valley: $61,722

Ethnicity

African American: 2%

White: 72%

Asian: 13%

Latino: 13%

Source: 1990 U.S. Census, Equifax, Claritas


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