History of Toluca Lake
The history of Greater Toluca Lake dates back to the 1920’s when the first houses here were built. At the time, the city of Los Angeles had “Aldermen” instead of “Councilmen”. The local Valley Aldermen picked our community, then known as “Lankershim Gardens,” in which to live. In this bygone era, groves of citrus trees abounded, the Tujunga Wash was an open and sandy bank and the Red Car would take you all the way through the Cahuenga Pass to Long Beach for ten cents. Movie studios were springing up like mushrooms and Universal, Warner Bros., and Walt Disney all made their homes nearby.

Located on the southeastern edge of the San Fernando Valley, the name Toluca, which means “fertile valley,” was the name of an actual Indian village located on the Los Angeles River over 4,000 years ago. The modern community of Greater Toluca Lake takes its name from this ancient village. The village was actually a part of a larger village named Kawenga. Campo de Cahuenga, a historical site now located in Universal City, was where the treaty was signed between Mexico and California ending that war, giving America most of California.

The original boundaries of Toluca Lake were Cahuenga Boulevard, Clybourn Avenue, Camarillo Street and the Los Angeles River. Since then, other adjacent streets and areas have been included and are now associated with the Greater Toluca Lake area, including Toluca lake, Toluca Woods, West Toluca Lake and Toluca Terrace.

Toluca Lake is best known as the home of several movie stars including screen legends Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, W. C. Fields, Moe Howard, Larry Fine (two of the Three Stooges) and The Little Rascals to name a few. It is also home to the first IHOP Restaurant and the original Bob's Big Boy restaurant, which still serves as a carhop hangout for classic cars to this day and has been declared a State Pointe of Historical Interest.

The name Toluca as a regional designation was first used in Southern California in the late 1800s. In 1882, after Isaac Lankershim died, his son James and his son-in-law Isaac Newton Van Nuys sub-divided the Lankershim Wheat Empire (i.e., approximately the lower half of what we know today as the San Fernando Valley) into 12,000 acres on the east side of the family land. In 1888 they laid out a town in that area called Toluca, whose main streets were San Fernando Avenue (later Lankershim Boulevard) and Central Avenue (later Burbank Boulevard). Toluca was known as an area rich in alluvial loam that made it perfect for growing fruit trees. Today’s Whitsett Avenue bound this area on the west and the Burbank city line on the east. This area subsequently became known as Lankershim in the early 1910s as more of the Lankershim Ranch was subdivided. In 1927, Lankershim was renamed North Hollywood.

The Toluca Terrace designation has been in use since at least 1989, when local homeowners in the area north of Magnolia and east of Cahuenga started assembling to improve the quality of their neighborhood. They adopted the name of Toluca Terrace for their area and organized themselves under two names – the Toluca Terrace Community Action Committee and the Toluca Terrace Woods Homeowners Association. They successfully negotiated with a local bakery and healthcare organization over neighborhood encroachment over several years. The homes in this area have long been listed and advertised by local realtors as being located in Toluca Terrace, and real estate ads from the past 15 years attest to that. When Mayor James Hahn certified the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council on September 12, 2004, he indicated that Toluca Terrace was one of the “distinct and unique neighborhoods” in the council area, proudly known as the “Tolucans.”

(Source: Roderick, Kevin, The San Fernando Valley, America’s Suburb, Los Angeles Times Books, Los Angeles, 2001, pages 41 (map), 43, 45, 47, 60 (map), 78)