Part of the early rancho system that occupies Southern California history, the community of present-day Toluca Lake is situated on 1.22 square miles of beautiful lakefront land in the southeastern region of the San Fernando Valley.Home first to the Tongva Indians, the land on which Toluca Lake sits exchanged hands a number of times, first from its Native inhabitants to the Spaniards, then the Mexicans, until all of California, was eventually ceded to the United States. In 1880, one of the wealthiest men from Nevada, General Charles Forman, moved to the area after falling in love with Los Angeles native, Mary Agnes Gray. Forman established the Kern River Company, delivering energy from the Kern River to Los Angeles, and by 1923 the Forman Toluca Ranch was a prospering producer of peaches, apples, and walnuts.
Much of the development that formed present-day Toluca Lake began in the 1920’s, progressing quickly from there. By 1924 Max Behr designed a lakeside golf course. The town really hit the map in 1931 when it became the home of aviator, Amelia Earhart, after she married publishing magnate George P. Putnam. Earhart stated that she chose Toluca Lake as her home because Lockheed was building the best aircraft in the world at a nearby plant in Burbank. The 1930’s was the beginning of a Hollywood exodus to Toluca Lake, attracting celebrities such as Bob Hope, Bette Davis, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour, Billie Dove, Dick Powell, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and even President Ronald Reagan, who married his second wife Nancy Reagan in Toluca Lake, at the home of his best man, actor, William Holden.
Toluca Lake is still a popular draw for Hollywood elite with more recent residents including Justin Bieber, Steve Carell, Miley Cyrus, Viola Davis, Kirsten Dunst, Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer. The Los Angeles Times even referred to this seemingly unassuming spring-fed marsh as “one of the toniest addresses in Los Angeles”; referring of course to Toluca Lake’s continued celebrity demographic.
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