North Hollywood is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles. It is home to the NoHo Arts District and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and it has seven public and eight private schools.
There is a municipal park and a recreation center. The neighborhood is an important transportation center, and it is also the place where many notable people have lived or worked.
North Hollywood was established by the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company in 1887. It was first named "Toluca" before being renamed "Lankershim" in 1896 and finally "North Hollywood" in 1927. Although named "North Hollywood", it is not contiguous with its well-known namesake district of Hollywood, and is separated from Hollywood by several neighborhoods and the Santa Monica Mountains.
North Hollywood was once part of the vast landholdings of the Elizabethian Mission San Fernando Rey de España, which were confiscated by the government during the Mexican period of rule.
A group of investors assembled as the San Fernando Farm Homestead Association purchased the southern half of the Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. The leading investor was Isaac Lankershim, a Northern California stockman and grain farmer, who was impressed by the Valley's wild oats and proposed to raise sheep on the property. In 1873, Isaac Lankershim's son and future son-in-law, James Boon Lankershim and Isaac Newton Van Nuys, moved to the San Ferndando Valley and took over management of the property. Van Nuys thought the property could profitably grow wheat using the dryland farming technique developed on the Great Plains and leased land from the Association to test his theories. In time the Lankershim property, under its third name, the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company, would become the world's largest wheat-growing empire.
In October 1887, J.B. Lankershim and eight other developers organized the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company, purchasing north of the Cahuenga Pass from the Lankershim Farming and Milling Company. Lankershim established a townsite which the residents named Toluca along the old road from Cahuenga Pass to San Fernando. On April 1, 1888, they offered ready-made small farms for sale, already planted with deep-rooted deciduous fruit and nut trees—mostly peaches, pears, apricots, and walnuts—that could survive the rainless summers of the Valley by relying on the high water table along the Tujunga Wash rather than surface irrigation.
The land boom of the 1880s went bust by the 1890s, but despite another brutal drought cycle in the late 1890s, the fruit and nut farmers remained solvent. The Toluca Fruit Growers Association was formed in 1894. The next year the Southern Pacific opened a branch line slanting northwest across the Valley to Chatsworth. The Chatsworth Limited made one freight stop a day at Toluca, though the depot bore the new name of Lankershim. With the post office across the street being called Toluca, controversy over the town's name continued, and the local ranchers used to quip, "Ship the merchandise to Lankershim, but bill it to Toluca." In 1896, under pressure from Lankershim, the post office at Toluca was renamed "Lankershim" after his father, although the new name of the town would not be officially recognized until 1905.
By 1903, the area was known as "The Home of the Peach". In 1912, the area's major employer, the Bonner Fruit Company, was canning over a million tons of peaches, apricots, and other fruits. When the Los Angeles Aqueduct opened in 1913, Valley farmers offered to buy the surplus water, but the federal legislation that enabled the construction of the aqueduct prohibited Los Angeles from selling the water outside of the city limits.
At first resistance to the real-estate development and downtown business interests of Los Angeles remained strong enough to keep the small farmers unified in opposition to annexation. However, the fruit packing company interests were taken over by the Los Angeles interests. The two conspired to decrease prices and mitigate the farmers' profit margins, making their continued existence tenuous. When droughts hit the valley again, rather than face foreclosure, the most vulnerable farmers agreed to mortgage their holdings to the fruit packing company and banks in Los Angeles for the immediate future and vote on annexation.
West Lankershim (more or less today's Valley Village) agreed to be annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1919, and Lankershim proper in 1923. Much of the promised water delivery was withheld, and many of the ranchers one by one had their holding foreclosed or transferred to the packing companies. In turn, these were bought up by the real-estate developers and by the late 20's a massive effort was underway to market the area to prospective home owners throughout the country. As part of this effort, in 1927, in an effort to capitalize on the glamour and proximity of Hollywood, Lankershim was renamed "North Hollywood". The result was a massive development of housing which transformed the area into a suburban development of Los Angeles.
Starting in the late fifties, many of the original owners were aging, and their children were moving to other areas. School integration in the subsequent years, blockbusting, and subsequent ethnic turmoil encouraged many remaining families to move out, who in turn were replaced with black and Hispanic families moving from the downtown areas. By the 1990s, the demographic changes had almost completely transformed the region.
North Hollywood was also the site of an infamous shootout that took place in 1997.
North Hollywood is a diverse area with significant sized populations including Latino, Asian American, Armenian American, African American, Jewish, Jamaican American, Middle Eastern, Iranian American, German American, and Filipino American populations.
Since 2000, the community has been undergoing many changes and developing, thanks in large part to the formation of the 743-acre North Hollywood Development District and the subsequent NoHo Commons projects. These projects attempt to recapture North Hollywood's historic image and restore the area's economy. Consequently, North Hollywood's landscape has been transformed, with condominium towers (including a 15-story building on Lankershim Boulevard) appearing in the midst of older one-story bungalows and small apartment complexes. The community is changing from a suburb-like setting into a metropolitan center, in large part as a result of the construction of Metro Stations for the Red Line and the Orange Line, two lines that have made the neighborhood into a regional hub for the San Fernando Valley. Medium- and high-density developments are being built around the Metro Station, particularly in the NoHo Arts District, with the intent of creating a walkable urban village.