North Hollywood is a district in the San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles, California, along the Tujunga Wash. It is bounded on the south by Moorpark Street and the Ventura Freeway, on the southwest by Burbank Blvd. and Coldwater Canyon Ave., on the northwest by Tonopah St., on the northeast by Laurel Canyon Blvd./ Webb Ave./ Lankershim Blvd., Sherman Way, and on the east by Clybourn Ave. The Hollywood Freeway (California Highway 170) runs north-south through the middle of it. 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. It is home to the NoHo Arts District.
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.
Following the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, a small group of Yankees raised the California Bear Flag on June 18, 1846, and declared independence from Mexico. United States troops quickly took control of the presidios at Monterey and San Francisco and proclaimed the conquest complete. In Southern California, the Mexicans, for a time, resisted American troops, but when defeat became inevitable, Andrés Pico arranged the peaceful surrender of Los Angeles to American forces under Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont. Pico and Frémont signed the Treaty of Cahuenga, which ended the U.S.-Mexican fighting in California. It was signed at Tomás Feliz's adobe house at Campo de Cahuenga on today's Lankershim Boulevard in January 1847.
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 (J. B.) Lankershim and Isaac Newton Van Nuys, moved to the 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.
The world wheat market remained strong through the 1870s and early 1880s, but then supply began to exceed demand, and prices began to fall. When the Santa Fe Railroad reached Los Angeles in 1885, fare wars between the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific brought ever more settlers to Southern California, and pressure rose to subdivide the great ranches.
In October 1887, J.B. Lankershim and eight other developers organized the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company, purchasing north of the Caheunga 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 city 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. For the Valley communities, the choice was consent to annexation or do without.
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.