The West Valley neighborhood of Reseda turned 100 this summer and The Daily News has a thorough history of the suburban enclave in today's paper. Born on July 20, 1912, Reseda was created by Los Angeles Times publisher Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, who saw dollar signs after LA stole its water source from the Owens Valley (see Chinatown). Otis's side company, Los Angeles Suburban Homes, initially called the area Marian, after Otis's daughter (the publisher/developer also established Van Nuys and Canoga Park around the same time). Sherman Way was soon built, with Pacific Electric Red Cars traversing it, bringing commuters to downtown jobs. Soon, Marian was renamed Reseda, "after a commonly found garden plant," and served as an important source for produce. The cozy 'burb developed oodles of shopping and landmarks like the Reseda Theater and the Country Club, where Tina Turner and U2 played, while iconic scenes from Karate Kid and T2 were shot there. But while the area is now home to 72,000 people, many see it as blighted and tired, with local shops taking a hit thanks to the Northridge mall. An effort to reactivate the Reseda Theater into mixed-use apartments went down in flames after the governor shut down state redevelopment agencies.
"More than $63 million in makeovers planned by the CRA were scrubbed in central Reseda," according to Nancy Sweeney, of Revitalize Reseda. While many still love Reseda's small-town charm, how to get it in better shape is a debate, with one local saying a big-box store would help.
· Reseda Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary [Daily News]
· Reseda Archives [Curbed LA]