Chapter History

 
 
The Chatsworth Chapter of the NSDAR was organized December 10, 1998 in Chatsworth, California. There were 14 organizing members; Mrs. Warren B. Meyers, organizing Regent.

Click on the image of the Chatsworth Chapter Charter at right to view in full.

 

Chatsworth, California

CHATSWORTH HISTORY

     Chatsworth is one of the oldest communities in the northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley.  Nestled against the Simi Hills and the Santa Susana Mountains, at the foot of the Santa Susana Pass, it is the gateway to the Simi Valley. Its long and colorful history begins with prehistoric man who came to the area to perform ceremonial rituals, which dotted the coastal landscape. Later, Native Americans had a village here. The name of the village is lost, but evidence of Fernandeno, Gabrielino and Chumash Indians abide in the rock-strewn landscape.

     The mail between the missions went over the Santa Susana Pass traveling the El Camino de Santa Susana y Simi--or the way of Santa Susana and Simi. Later the stagecoach crossed the Pass connecting the Valley to points north. A relay station was located in the mountains above Chatsworth where tired horses were exchanged for fresh ones and members of the Encino-based de la Osa family operated the relay station.

     Settlers Ann and Neils Johnson came to the area in the 1870s and carved a home from the wilderness. Mrs. Johnson became the first English-speaking woman to live in the San Fernando Valley and her daughter, Emma Johnson Graves, is said to be the first blue-eyed baby born in the Valley. Following the Johnson's, many families homesteaded on the land available outside the mission land grant, forming the beginnings of a community.

     A sub-division map for a town called Chatsworth Park was filed in 1888. It was laid out in 10-acre plots for family farming and was named for the Duke of Devonshire's palatial estate in England. Reflecting its English heritage, the Chatsworth Chamber of Commerce uses the Duke of Devonshire's coat-of-arms as its insignia with the permission of the 10th Duke.

     Providing a market for the agricultural products of Chatsworth, the Southern Pacific Railroad was completed to Chatsworth around 1893. A station was built soon after and in 1904 tunnels were completed through the mountains allowing the trains to connect with northern areas. The town stayed agricultural for many years, gradually dropping the word "Park" from the name. When the Owens River water became available for irrigation, Chatsworth residents voted to become a part of greater Los Angeles, changing to a community rather than a separate town. 

     The movies discovered Chatsworth about 1912. Because of the scenic rocks and rugged landscape Chatsworth  became a popular location  for westerns. Not only were many scenes filmed in the community but also on the Iverson Movie Ranch Location. Later, television cameras and crews also used Chatsworth and the surrounding rocks and hills as a backdrop for many western series. The area continues to attract movie and television location crews and they can often be seen working in the community.

    The San Fernando Valley experienced a population explosion after World War II when servicemen returned from the war wanting homes. Chatsworth grew and prospered gaining many new residents, schools, industries, churches, and a library.

     High tech industry became plentiful in the industrial park, which opened in the 1960s and presently condominiums have replaced the citrus and walnut groves, which once dominated the landscape. Horse ranches are fewer and much smaller but still available in the area. Several national historical monuments are included within the boundaries of the community that make note of its past history. 

     Many changes are expected with the gigantic Porter Ranch development and the new 670-acre Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park surrounding the community. But change has become a way of life for urban Chatsworth residents who are preserving as much as possible, the scenic area and small town atmosphere that brought people to this beautiful, historically rich part of the Valley.