North Hollywood in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Lankershim Train Depot
Laying Tracks, and a Foundation for the Future
Land is the secret to Southern California's prosperity, but it isn't worth much without a way to move the goods and services it generates. This modest wooden building on a small parcel of land is a portal to the history of how the San Fernando Valley grew and prospered.
The Lankenhim depot laid the foundation for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority here. The depot is a link from past to future, a community center and museum to the underpinnings of the Valley. Rocks that built the Los Angeles Harbor passed through here; fruit grown in the Valley was piled here in crates to be shipped around the country. And in 1914, Cecil B. DeMille and his film crew stopped here on their way north to shoot the seminal film The Squaw Man.
A Big Need to Haul Big Harvests
Until the depot opened in 1895, the Chatsworth Limited made only one freight stop a day in Lankershim/Toluca; human arrivals still had to get there by stagecoach. A horse and buggy trip to downtown Los Angeles and back took three days, over what is now the Hollywood Freeway. Back then, it was
The biggest employer around was the Bonner Fruit Company, clocking in a million pounds of fruit a year, and shipping them around the country from the depot. Diamond Walnuts had its own operation, too, conveniently close to the depot.
The Red Cars Come to the Valley
A train known as the "Toluca Flyer" was delivering passengers to the station at the turn of the century. In 1911, interurban Red Cars were making travel between the Valley and downtown a lot cheaper and faster — 40 cents round trip and 45 minutes each way.
So central was the depot to local life that in 1919, a gazebo was built alongside, and on Sunday afternoons a band played patriotic John Philip Sousa favorites. Now passenger trains joined freight trains in stopping here, and Phil's Diner opened in 1928, feeding passengers in a replica of a railroad car — another one of those amusing Los Angeles buildings built to look like derbies or hot dogs. Even people who never dined there knew the pink and black diner from its appearance in movies and TV. L.A. Weekly praised it as the city's "friendliest heartburn."
Los Angeles' car culture replaced the Red Car, which made its last stop at the depot in 1952. Local wits called it “A Streetcar Named Expire."
Erected by City of Los Angeles.
Location. 34° 10.079′ N, 118° 22.659′ W. Marker is in North Hollywood, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is on Chandler Boulevard west of Lankershim Boulevard, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Located across the street from the station, near the historic 1936 Post Office building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11304 Chandler Boulevard, North Hollywood CA 91601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. El Portal Theatre (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Amelia Earhart (approx. ¼ mile away); Pierce Brothers Valhalla Dignity Memorial (approx. 1.6 miles away); Portal of the Folded Wings (approx. 2.1 miles away); Big Boy (approx. 2.1 miles away); Campo de Cahuenga (approx. 2.1 miles away); Universal City Overlook (approx. 2.8 miles away); Studio Theatre at St. Denis Building (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in North Hollywood.
Also see . . . Angels Walk L.A. Self-guided walking tours of historic neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The Lankershim Train Depot marker is part of the NoHo walk. (Submitted on August 3, 2018.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 9, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 3, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 60 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 3, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.