A BIT ABOUT BURBANK, CALIFORNIA . . .
"Nature has been most lavish in her gifts. She formed a charming site, presenting most beautiful views, of which man took advantage, and laid out a town . . ."
-The Burbank Times, 1887
In the great big basin of the San Fernando Valley, just over the hill from Hollywood, lies the vibrant city of Burbank, CA. Founded by and named after a dentist from San Francisco, Burbank began as a small farming town in 1887. There was one main dirt road and a good handful of streets and avenues, carved on an incline with large vineyards running up the hillside. People had ranch houses and small houses and grew cantaloupes and alfalfa on their land. There was a milkman and an iceman and three general stores, an all-grade schoolhouse and a modest hotel; there was one bank and one blacksmith and one bicycle repair shop, which also sold lights and did auto repairs.
The main dirt road is still there, only now it is paved—and through variations upon variations it is still our "Beautiful Downtown Burbank." Across its four blocks are two ice-cream shops and two cafes, one candy store and one used bookstore; there are restaurants with Japanese, Greek, Korean, Indian, Brazilian, Italian, and Thai food. There are a few bars that stay open past midnight, and people stroll the sidewalks into the evenings. The whole town is watched over by the local mountain range, the Verdugos, which are home to coyote and deer and bobcats, sweet desert-brush and wildflowers; palm, walnut, and eucalyptus trees line the neighborhood streets.
Though it holds a population over 105,000, Burbank still maintains a certain small-town feeling—a quiet something that reflects both the early years of its settlement and the marvelous, gentle land upon which it is built.
Some Fun Facts
UCLA was almost built in Burbank! In the 1920s land developer Ben Marks planned the new campus in the hillside area, but there was a better deal over in Westwood. The Burbank street Uclan is named in this memory.
During WWII, Burbank's aircraft manufacturing company Lockheed played a significant role in the war effort. To protect Lockheed from overhead view (and potential subsequent attack), Disney helped to camouflage the company by making it look like a farm town.
Burbank is home to Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Warner Bros. Studios.
Actors Tim Burton, Blake Lively, and Ron Howard grew up in Burbank, as well as Debbie Reynolds—who played French horn in the Burbank Youth Symphony Orchestra.
City of Burbank
Courtesy of Burbank Historical Society via Burbankia.