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West Valley ~ Warner Center Chamber of Commerce

Our Community

West Valley ~ Warner Center Chamber of Commerce

History of Woodland Hills

Little is known about the Chumash Indians, who were this community's earliest settlers. When the first white men rode in with the Portola Expedition in 1769 to explore the beautiful hills and valleys, they encountered the Indians and called the area the Valley of the Oaks.

It was in this area, now named Woodland Hills, that the treaty was signed to end the Mexican War. This cleared the way for California to be admitted to the union in 1850 as the 31st state.

When Victor Girard Kleinberger first laid eyes on the rolling grasslands with pools of water, he called it the "dream city." A visionary and entrepreneur, he foresaw a large population and a thriving economy in the town he named Girard, as he later came to call himself.

Girard was an ambitious man who had a penchant for deceit. In 1922, Girard and Boulevard Land Company purchased 2,886 acres, which was subdivided into 6,000 lots. Girard sold thousands of small lots to families in a farming area where 80 acre parcels had more typically been sold.

To expedite land sales in his new town in 1923, Girard erected gates, a mosque tower, and a business district with rows of stones with false fronts to convey the impression of a flourishing economy.

Later, in an attempt to hold off bankruptcy and his creditors, Girard attached liens to all the property he sold without informing the buyers!

In spite of his unscrupulous methods, Girard believed in the town and the land, and his plan worked. His advertisements in the newspaper did, in fact, attract new residents and businesses, and a great deal of new construction was initiated.

He beautified the area by importing and planting more than 120,000 eucalyptus, sycamore, fir, pine and pepper trees. Years later, as the trees grew, it was appropriate to change the town's name to Woodland Hills.

With the country in the throes of the Depression, Girard's "super community" crumbled. Despite the forlorn economic state of Woodland Hills, in which only 75 families remained, the town survived. Large family landholders moved in, including Harry Warner of Warner Brothers Pictures.

In 1941, residents of the community banded together to improve the community's image and rename it Woodland Hills. This was the origin of the Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce.Originally acquiring land to breed thoroughbred horses, Warner eventually owned 1,100 acres. When Warner liquidated much of his real estate holdings in the 1980s, a number of large corporations bought and developed portions of the master planned business development that was to become known as Warner Center.

With Warner Center still at the core of the business district, Woodland Hills enjoys a strong financial establishment, an upscale residential base, the finest health care, outstanding retail and restaurant facilities, excellent educational institutions, and recreational opportunities without equal - all in beautiful Southern California.

History of Tarzana

Our city is named after the unforgettable character "Tarzan Of The Apes," and is a tribute to his even more unforgettable creator - Edgar Rice Burroughs. After re-locating to Southern California in his early twenties, he began what he thought was a hobby, writing novels. His "Tarzan of the Apes" novels became so successful that in 1919, he was able to purchase a large ranch north of Los Angeles from General Harrison Gray Otis, was founder and publisher of the "Los Angeles Times." He named it Tarzana. The citizens of the community that sprung up around the ranch voted to adopt the name "Tarzana" when their town was incorporated in 1928.


For print-quality photos of Danton, please see:

Tarzana, California, May 12, 2008 Danton Burroughs, a family man, businessman, and collector of art, artifacts and literary works, and protector and promoter of the legacy of his Grandfather, Edgar Rice Burroughs (the author of Tarzan of the Apes and other famous American literary works), died at home in Tarzana, California on May 1, 2008. Danton passed away in his sleep due to heart failure. Danton had previously been diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease.

Click on this link for more details on Dantons life.

Danton is survived by his wife Linda and daughters Jane and Dejah and brother John Ralston and sister Dian, who have vowed to continue to honor Dantons legacy and that of his family by preserving and promoting the fantastical literary characters and creations of Edgar Rice Burroughs that so many Americans have enjoyed for almost a century.

All who knew him, loved him. He was a dear husband, father, brother, and friend to all and our hearts are deeply saddened by his passing.

For further insights into the life of Danton please see the following weblink:

Tarzana Community & Cultural Center
19130 Ventura Blvd.
Tarzana, California 91356
(818) 705-1286
(Corner of Vanalden Ave. and Ventura Blvd.,
Parking available on surrounding streets)

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the Danton Burroughs' Memorial Fund at Parkinson's Resource Organization
74-090 El Paseo, Suite 102
Palm Desert, CA 92260
or through their website


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