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The Oldest and Second Oldest Homes in the San Fernando Valley


[Update August 1 2011]: My internet browsing skills suck because I came across an article at la.curbed.com published in January 17, 2011 discussing the second house below for sale. As the commenter suggested, this house was moved to Reseda to make way for the Hollywood freeway. So it seems that this property is not an original SF Valley home. On a separate note, this property sold in July 13 for $380,000 which is $14,000 less than the original list price. Hopefully the new owners can share any stories or findings from this historical gem.

[Original Post]:

The L.A. Times ran an article over the weekend about the Valley's oldest (and still standing) house in the Sunland-Tujunga-Lake View Terrace area. Its a wood frame folk Victorian built in 1896 and occupied by Raymond Shelly whose grandpa built the home. Its amazing that this house is still standing after earthquakes, storms, etc. What's the maintenance like on a home this old?
Like all homes built back then, they were typically ranch homes with vast amounts of land in order to raise cattle, orange groves, olives, etc. Then came the bulldozers to make way for the concrete jungle, in this case the 210 freeway. His backyard is literally the 210 freeway. The article also goes on to discuss the Survey L.A. project which is in the process of discovering and preserving historic sites which found Shelly's home during surveying trips.


So I came across another home which appears to be the second oldest in the Valley assuming nothing else is still standing that was built before this house. Its located at 7545 Darby Ave Reseda, CA. And its for sale! According to the realtor and property records, this is a Tudor style home  built in 1898. It was foreclosed in Feb 2010, then sold to an investor who renovated and flipped the house and is currently for sale at $394,000. The house looks brand new that it probably feels like living in a McMansion from Santa Clarita instead of a house from Back to the Future 3.

Can anyone confirm if this is indeed the second oldest house in the Valley after Shelley's?

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

8 comments to ''The Oldest and Second Oldest Homes in the San Fernando Valley"

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  1. we are in escrow for this house, I love the history of it. This was built in Hollywood and was moved for the Hollywood freeway back in the 60s.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. So I guess technically this home is not a Valley home? How were you able to find this history? Good luck with your new purchase and if you find anything else, please feel free to share.

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  3. The Shadow Ranch House at Shadow Ranch Park in West Hills was built between 1869-1872 using redwood and adobe. Although it is now part of the park and not used as a single family home, it was originally a house/ranch. Also, the Leonis Adobe in Calabasas was built in the 1840's. There is also a building in Mission Hills called the Romulo Pico Adobe which was built in 1834. Although none of these are still used as homes, it's amazing that they are still standing. -Josh D.

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  4. I love your blog. I grew up in Studio City in the fifties, on Sarah Street, when there were as many bridal paths as side walks. Mr. Sperks' horse ranch was just behind our house, on Hortense Street. My best friend Randi Olson grew up in an 1890 farmhouse at the corner of Cortine Place and Magnolia Ave. It belonged to her grand mother, Mrs. Botler. In 1959, this property was razed and the stucco apartment building that went up still stands there. Another historic house was the Rutledge ranch on Shoup Street, near Sherman Way. I couldn't find a trace of it several years ago. The living room of the wonderfully jerry-built house was the original one room cabin, homsteaded by a great grandfather just after the Civil War.

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  5. I love your blog. I grew up in Studio City in the fifties, on Sarah Street, when there were as many bridle paths as side walks. Our Sarah Street house was taken by the 101 Freeway in 1956. It was relocated to the Hansen Dam area, but a recent search was fruitless. A retired telephone lineman, familiar with that area from 1938, told me he had never seen our house, when I showed him a picture. The fate of our Sarah Street house will forever remain a mystery. Mr. Sperks' horse ranch was just behind our Sarah house, on Hortense Street. My best friend Randi Olson grew up in an 1890 farmhouse at the corner of Cortine Place and Magnolia Ave. It belonged to her grand mother, Mrs. Botler. Randi's dad. Jack, had a realty called Botler Olsen with offices in what had been the barn. (Near the former Olsen property, just off Chandler Street, is an historic farmhouse and barn, intact and surrounded by suburbia, lived in by an ancient lady who was born there. As of four years ago, it was still there. A group of neighbors looked after her.) In 1959, the Olson property was razed and the stucco apartment building that went up still stands there. Another historic house was the Rutledge ranch on Shoup Street, near Sherman Way. I couldn't find a trace of it several years ago. The living room of the wonderfully jerry-built house. c. 1959, was the original one room cabin, homsteaded and built by a great grandfather just after the Civil War.

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  6. Like all homes built back then, they were typically ranch homes with vast amounts of land in order to raise cattle

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  7. I think Leonis Adobe or the San Fernando Mission may be older. You should also check out Heritage Square. I've been looking at houses in the valley and I don't like what I see. The prices are climbing. The area is not great, and there are multiple structural and cosmetic problems. Most need updated heating and air as well as kitchen appliances. I was going to move back so I could be closer to my family and work, but I've decided it would be to my advantage to make the drive and just stay in TO. I sure hope I can.

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  8. One of the best blog posts I've read! Thanks a ton for sharing this!
    Real estate agents in Lafayette

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