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Page 78 text:
Search for Identit
Hi tor of the Valle
By Steve Fischer
Illustrated by John Rosenfield
A band of zealots, convinced they
are helping us regain our lost identi-
ty, are roaming the San Fernando
Valley in search of its past.
This immense project was under-
taken last year by Lawrence Jorgen-
sen, associate professor of history,
and Noel Korn Know teaching at
CSUNJ, when they decided it would
be beneficial to Valley College and
the surrounding community to have
a center for their historical records.
"At the present time there is no
central resource for historical rec-
ords concerning the San Fernando
Valley," explains Jorgensen.
"History has many functions, and
one of those functions is to provide us
with an identity," says Jorgensen.
"Most of us lack this identity, and,
therefore, we have little continuity
as a community."
Since the project was undertaken
in the Spring of '73, Jorgensen feels
there has been remarkable progress
toward regaining this identity. "We
have taken more than 700 photo-
graphs and another 400 feet of
super-8mm film. These photographs
are of historical sites that are unique
to the San Fernando Valley." Among
these historical sites are the Van
Nuys Hotel, one of the Valley's first
hotels: the San Fernando Tunnel, a
6,975-foot tunnel that gave the Val-
ley rail service: and the Oak of the
Golden Dream, where California's
first gold rush was to take place.
"These photographs will give us a
flesh-and-blood account of the Val-
ley's history, rather than a purely
statistical one," said Jorgensen.
Along with these documented
filmed accounts are taped interviews
with some of the "pioneers" of the
San Fernando Valley. Included are
men like Harry Bevis, who has
resided in the San Fernando Valley
since the first World War. Both
Bevis' uncle and brother were active
in Van Nuys real estate and grocer-
ies famong other businesses? from
1914 onward. Harry Bevis joined
them, and has continued in real
estate these past 55 years. Along
with Bevis, there is Whitley Van
Nuys Huffaker, who has the honor of
being the first person born in Van
Nuys. The Huffaker family has a
long record of activity in the Valley's
business and social life, and to this
day does business in the San Fernan-
"Students get excited when I talk
about the Valley's history. I feel they
like to know where the hell they
live," said Jorgensen.
Rob Remar, one of Jorgensen's
hand-picked assistants, shares this
view. "People 50 years ago had an
identity, but as the community has
grown, this identity has split. We
must become more involved in our
own community," said Remar.
Rick Bellinson. another one of
J orgensen's enthusiastic assistants,
feels there is a general lack of
interest in the San Fernando Valley.
"When the Valley was small, it was
easy to keep up with what was going
on. People were concerned about
their community. But now that we
have grown so large people have
stopped caring. I feel the Van Nuys
Project will make us aware of our
community again, and also give us a
sense of identity," said Bellinson.
Bellinson shares Jorgensen's en-
thusiasm over the project's poten-
tial. "The response from the com-
munity has been fantastic, especially
from the older residents."
Eneompassed in the future plans
for the project are field trips, exten-
sive research, and additional inter-
views with people of relevant his-
Jorgensen's impending plans for
the project include providing L.A.
Valley College land the San Fernan-
do Valleyl with a regularly-taught
one semester class. This class will be
based on the project's findings and
will deal with all facets of the San
ln the years to come, Jorgensen
wants to create a center for the
study of the San Fernando Valley at
Valley College. Jorgensen feels that
"in addition to the student and
college involvement in the communi-
ty's past, we will of necessity, at-
tract and involve the community
itself in this undertaking."
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Professor Jorgensen inspects an oil holding tank. Oil stored in this tank was
used for heating homes in the San Fernando Valley.
Crown Photo by Iohn Rosenfield
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Page 79 text:
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The Huffakers, a prominent family in the area of the college, have a long
record of activity in the area's business and social life. To this day they own
-uk. " '
and operate an auto parts business in the San Fernando Valley.
Photo by Valley News and Green Sheet
1 V M f
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Pacific Electric "Red Cars" served the Valley with low-cost, non-polluting
transportation for many years.
Photo by Valley News and Green Sheet
Light streaks across the floor of an abandoned church in Simi Valley. This
church is now being used as part of a movie set.
Crown Photo by Iohn Rosenfield
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