Today marks another auspicious local transportation anniversary – a century ago, the first streetcars rolled into the small outlying town of Van Nuys.
On December 16, 1911, Pacific Electric Railway Company launched its service to the San Fernando Valley.
Van Nuys had been founded just ten months earlier when lot sales began on February 22.
In a sweeping declaration embodying boosterism at its finest, the Los Angeles Times wrote that Van Nuys was
“cut out of the heart of land that for long generations had been part of a single great property, stretching in every direction beyond the compass of the eye’s sweep, the natal day of Van Nuys, the next town to be created out of the Van Nuys and Lankershim tract, was spectacular wonderful. Nothing like it was ever seen in California.”
The streetcar line in the so-called “Town That Started Right” ran 19 miles from Los Angeles along Chandler Boulevard from Lankershim (now North Hollywood), turning up Van Nuys Boulevard to Sherman Way.
It eventually expanded to the future towns of Marion (now Reseda) and Owensmouth (now Canoga Park).
In 1913, over 368,000 passengers rode the line, and by 1926 that number topped one million.
By 1929, the San Fernando Valley Lines saw departures leaving Hill Street Station downtown at 4:15am until 11:30pm.
Additional detailed information about the San Fernando Valley Line can be found on the Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California website.