San Fernando Valley History and Images Can Be Discovered Online Through a One-of-a-Kind Collection

first building at CSUNOne the unique collections within the Oviatt Library is the San Fernando Valley History Digital Library. This image database contains many rarely seen historically significant documents, manuscripts, photographs and graphic materials from public and private collections. What makes this such a fascinating collection is the fact that it documents the socio-economic changes and cultural evolution of our valley – the San Fernando Valley – from the early 19th century through the end of the 20th century. Bill ClintonWithin its vast amount of materials and photographs, it contains this gem above which features the first building under construction on the CSUN campus in 1956 when it was formerly known as San Fernando Valley State College. Recognize the CSUN visitor who spoke at the first-year anniversary commemorating the 1994 Northridge earthquake? President Bill Clinton praised local, state and federal authorities for their recovery efforts. An image of a partially collapsed parking structure is seen in his background.

gas station at Devonshire and BalboaMany other regional, non-campus historical photographs and documents are also available within the digital library including an image of the service station and coffee shop at Devonshire and Balboa which was taken in the 1930s. The gas station at this corner looks very different today! Need a ride to Los Angeles?  Check out the first taxi service from the San Fernando Valley to Los Angeles and Hollywood in 1915. The passengers in the photo are taking Thompson’s Auto Stage from Calabasas for a day of shopping in Los Angeles. first taxi service in the ValleyBut you get the idea by now . . . the San Fernando Valley History Digital Library is a treasure-trove of materials for research purposes and has the ability to quell the imagination of curiosity seekers as well. Additional related Oviatt Library digital collections include our Online Archive of California and L.A. as Subject. Other online collections can also be found at the Oviatt Library Digital Archives.

- Coleen Martin

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