Unlike any other metropolis, the growth of transportation in the San Fernando Valley is storied. So much more than a trip down memory lane, transportation’s history, geography, and industry combined to set the region apart, in every sense. Separated from the Los Angeles basin by a mountain range, the transit challenges became the driving force behind the Valley’s singular identity. Your museum is committed to taking you on a journey through the great boulevards that emerged, the car culture that boomed and all the livelihoods that were borne as the great Valley was on the move.
Long before the birth of the automobile, the Valley made history when the Butterfield Stage Line made its first historic stop in the Cahuenga Pass, completing the first continental mail service. In the history of communications as well as transportation, this event can be considered as significant in its time as the rise of the Internet today.
Wagon drivers bringing the Valley’s vast agricultural bounty to the downtown markets and ports in Los Angeles endured the challenges of the legendary banditos and robbers in the passes, the torrents of mud that came with the rain, wreaking havoc on the hillsides. It was an arduous journey in every respect. Soon, the tracks were laid for railroads to take over the hauls from the mules, with the early train lines paving the way for the great Southern Pacific Railway. People movers like the Pacific Electric Red Car made history, the trolley being a fascinating and often romantic chapter in the Valley’s comings and goings. Still, what we consider a short commute to places like Pasadena was several day’s journey. Many left for work in the other Valley, the San Gabriel, when the resort industry boomed, and keeping in touch with loved ones at home in San Fernando Valley meant penning a letter.
The legends of the banditos and stories of the trolleys were left behind as tunnels were chiseled and freeways built. With the Ford Motor Company making its automobiles on the Valley premises, the car culture was born right alongside the aviation industry.
The Valley was now up and running, still geographically separate but well- connected to the Los Angeles basin…and the world.
For more information about The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, please contact us at (818) 347-9665 PST or info@TheMuseumSFV.org.