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Reseda, Los Angeles

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Reseda is a San Fernando Valley district in the city of Los Angeles, California.


The area now known as Reseda was originally inhabited by Native Americans of the Tongva tribe that lived close to the Los Angeles River.

Reseda originated as a farm town named "Marian" (or "Rancho Marian") that appeared in 1912. Its namesake, Marian Otis Chandler, was the daughter of Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis, a director of the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. H J Whitley was the manager of the Los Angeles Suburban Home Company. The Western Division of the Pacific Electric Railway 'Red Cars Line' expedited development after the Los Angeles Aqueduct brought water to City of L.A. annexed Marion. About 1920, Reseda—named after a fragrant North African yellow-dye plant, Reseda odorata, whose English name is mignonette and which grows in hot, dry climates—replaced Marian as a designation for a stop on the Pacific Electric interurban railway running along Sherman Way. The name "Reseda" was given first to a siding on a branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the south San Fernando Valley.

The population of early suburban Reseda was 1,805 in 1930 and 4,147 in 1940. By 1950, it had topped 16,000, but the construction of the Ventura Freeway to downtown L.A. lay ten years in the future, and most Reseda residents still bought fresh eggs, milk, honey and vegetables at stands along Ventura Boulevard.

  Development into a Post-War suburb
Reseda was one of the first suburbs in the San Fernando Valley. Its large ranches were sub-divided and the area was developed by realtors just as the veterans of World War II were returning home. The earliest families came to live among orange groves which were successively plowed under in favor of housing. At the time, most of the jobs were in the Los Angeles Basin, to the south, over the Santa Monica mountains.

By 1950, the Valley's population reached 400,000. The average new Valley home, in 1949, cost $9,000. By 1955, that same house could be resold for nearly $15,000. But even at that price, a household income of $6,000 a year qualified, possible for many considering Valley incomes continued to be above the national average. There were restrictive covenants until the 1968 federal Fair Housing Act however, excluding 'non-whites' from ownership.
By 1960, the average market value of a Valley home reached $18,850. During the 1970s, however, these costs and income patterns over the rest of the country began to reverse. Land and housing costs shot upward, while most incomes only crept. By the beginning of the 1980s, the average price of a home in the Valley reached $110,000. According to a 2004 study by the U.S. Bureau of the Census it has reached triple that of the beginning of the 1980s.

Although home values continued to increase, the Caucasian population stopped growing in the early 1980s. As the white population decreased due to aging and a lower birth rate, Latino immigrants continued moving into the area. At the same time, a variety of factors led to a decreasing level of income, from discrimination to gang problems and the changing economy of the Los Angeles area that is losing blue collar unionized jobs. As a result, the neighborhood changed from a middle-class neighborhood back to its working-class roots.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Reseda, Los Angeles", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.