"Girard Tract"

Woodland Hills History

The Chumash Indians were Woodland Hills’ earliest known settlers. When the first white men rode
in with the Portola Expedition in 1769 to explore the beautiful hills and valleys, they encountered
the Indians and called the area the Valley of the Oaks.    

It was in this area that the treaty was signed to end the Mexican War and the way was cleared for
California to be admitted to the union as the 31st state.

In 1922, Girard and Boulevard Land Company purchased 2,886 acres, which was subdivided into
6,000 lots. Girard sold thousands of small lots to families in a farming area where 80 acre parcels
had more typically been sold. In an effort to lure families to the far west end of the valley, Girard
planted groves of eucalyptus, cypress, acacias, peppers and Monterey pines. He started a country
club, a stable, a city newspaper and erected a ‘business district’ - rows of stores with false fronts -
to convey the impression of a flourishing economy.

Later, in an attempt to hold off bankruptcy and his creditors, Girard attached liens to all the
property he sold without informing the buyers. With the country in the throes of the Depression,
Girard's super community crumbled. Despite the forlorn economic state of Woodland Hills, in which
only 75 families remained, the town survived. Large family landholders moved in, including Harry
Warner of Warner Brothers Pictures.

In 1941, residents of the community banded together to improve the community's image and
rename it Woodland Hills. This was the origin of the Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce.  

Originally acquiring land to breed thoroughbred horses, Warner eventually owned 1,100 acres.  
When Warner liquidated much of his real estate holdings in the 1980s, a number of large
corporations bought and developed portions of the master planned business development that was
to become known as Warner Center.

With Warner Center still at the core of the business district, Woodland Hills enjoys a strong
financial establishment, an upscale residential base, the finest health care, outstanding retail and
restaurant facilities, excellent educational institutions, and recreational opportunities without equal -
all in beautiful Southern California.

(Source: Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce.)