Toluca Lake is the name of a neighborhood which is technically part of the city of Los Angeles, California. It is located in the eastern San Fernando Valley just over 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The name derives from a natural lake which is replenished by wells. This lake is under the maintenance of neighborhood property owners. The lake was, in the past, fed by springs in the area, however the paving of the LA River in the 30s as well as extraction of water from wells in the area resulted in the water table here being lowered.
Like much of Southern California, recent history goes back to the Tongva Indians, and after that really starts with Spanish colonization. Mexican independence also caused a shift on ownership and land rights. The area now known as Toluca Lake was part of the system of ranchos owned by originally Mexican citizens. The original area of Toluca Lake was divided up in the early 20th century, and part of it became Forman Toluca Ranch named after a wealthy landowner. In the 20s, the land was purchased and developed the became”Toluca Lake Park”.
As a tonier enclave of L.A., Toluca Lake is and has been home to many celebrities, on a par with the more famous Beverly Hills. Famous residents have included Bob Hope and highly-decorated war hero Audie Murphy. Bette Davis has a home constructed in the neighborhood. Bob Hope’s “road picture” co-star and famous crooner Bing Crosby lived here along with fellow singer Frank Sinatra. Other younger celebs have bought residences here as well.
The neighborhood of Toluca Lake takes up 1.2 square miles of the eastern San Fernando Valley. It’s bordered by the “cities” (really other L.A. neighborhoods) of Universal City (home to Universal Studios), Burbank, Hollywood to the south and Studio City to the west. Indeed, Toluca Lake is sometimes synonymous with Burbank and is unofficially a part of that community. The borders between the two are often blurred.
Compared to its neighbor, Burbank, Toluca Lake is dwarfed in comparison in terms of population (having a little over 8.000 residents as of 2008). Population density is among the lowest of any neighborhood in Los Angeles. This area has about 6300 persons per square mile. As for demographics Como the Majority of residents are white, about 70%. Black and Asian populations make up only 5% the Total. Other ethnicities include Latino, German and Irish, taking up 14%, 9% and 8% respectively. The overwhelming majority of residents were born in the United States. The Biggest foreign born communities are Mexican and Filipino.
Income in Toluca Lake is relatively high. Some of this comes from the fact that many wealthy celebrities choose to live here, but the median household income in 2008 was a little over $73,000. Also just under half the residents Head completed a four year college degree. The size of households in Toluca Lake is low compared to the rest of Los Angeles coming in at on Average of 1.9 people per home. In terms of housing about two thirds are Occupied people who rent and a little over a third by homeowners.
The median age of people who live in Toluca Lake is 37. This apparently is old when compared with Los Angeles is a whole and Los Angeles County. Another low statistic is that fewer than 10% homes we’re headed by an unmarried for single parent.
Following the initial expedition of Spanish missionaries, the 1790s saw the majority of the Spanish conquest of California, including the San Fernando Valley. What is now Toluca Lake was under the auspices of the Mission San Fernando. Mexican independence from Spain came in 1823 with it the religious oversight the missions was replaced with secular rule. The missions were divided up and parceled out as part of the Mexican land grant. These parcels became the Ranchos of the area. One of those was rancho Providencia which is the property of Vincente de la Osa. This came in 1843. Of course, war with Mexico ended with that country ceding much of the southwestern United States to America. Rancho owner Pio Pico in 1862 sold off his Rancho to Isaac Lankershim. Residents of the San Fernando Valley know well the street that still bears his name. Lankershim’s son as well as his son-in-law, Isaac Van Nuys, took over the reins of the land including what is now Toluca Lake.
In the 1890s residents petition to US Postal Service for a post office to be called Toluca post office. The name was chosen by a local land owner named Charles Foreman who took the word from the Paiute Indians. In their language it means a valley which is fertile or beautiful. In 1893 the southern Pacific Railroad over the train station with the name Lankershim. Forman also called his own property Toluca.
Foreman amassed that huge the amount of wealth from cattle ranching in lumber among other things. He was also the founder of Kern River company, which was a Power company supplying Energy to the Los Angeles area. He too purchased the Great deal of farmland in the area which is now Toluca Lake. His farm was known as the Forman Toluca Lake Ranch and was a prosperous Farm growing in supplying fruits and nuts.
Investors eventually thought this land with an eye on developing it. This occurred in 1923 and the Toluca Lake Company formally changed the name of the area to simply Toluca Lake. By the late 1920s the booming motion picture industry in nearby Hollywood attracted wealthy actors including Richard Arlen. Other notable names the People that lived in Toluca Lake include Amelia Earheart whose husband was the publisher George Putnam. The tumor married in 1931. The houses they lived in on Valley Spring Lane still exists. Earheart chose this area delete because of its proximity to Burbank, Home of the Lockheed Aircraft manufacturing plant. As we already mentioned, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour (all of road picture fame) residents as Word WC Fields dick Powell Frank Sinatra in future Pres. Ronald Reagan.
The Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council represents Toluca Lake. Famous Channel 4 weatherman Fritz Coleman bears the title of honorary mayor.