flaws, but also a place where residents say they feel like part of a
small-town community. That's no small feat in a city of 100,000,
surrounded by one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.
David Burbank, a dentist from New Hampshire, arrived in Los Angeles in
1867 and bought land that he used to raise sheep. He sold his land to the
Providencia Land, Water and Development Company, which created the town
of Burbank when it started selling properties in 1887. The ranch house
that Burbank built later became a Warner Bros. backlot.
In the early 1900s, Burbank was a village amid farms, orchards and
wineries. It became the first incorporated city in the San Fernando
Valley in 1911, ushering in a board of trustees that would become the
"The first group were business people who had the interest of the city
progressing," Burbank Historical Society co-founder Mary Jane Strickland
said. "They targeted water, electricity ... things that meant a lot to
people. They were quite progressive."
By the early 1930s, most of the peach and apricot orchards were gone,
with farms disappearing later that decade.
"They fell into development -- it was very gradual," said Strickland,
While the city lost its agricultural and farming economy, the movie
and aviation fields quickly filled the void. At times, the two industries
"They worked together a lot, when they were making movies out there
[at the airport]," said Les Copeland, president of the
soon-to-be-reopened Burbank Aviation Museum.
From stunt-flying shots filmed at the airport to movie stars flying in
and out of Burbank, the two industries have worked in tandem.
The studios first crossed over the hill from Hollywood in 1926, when
First National Pictures set up shop in Burbank to make Westerns.
"So many of the location scenes were shot out here anyway because it
was so rural," Strickland said.
First National Pictures was purchased by Warner Bros. in 1929, leading
the way for NBC, Walt Disney Productions and scores of pre- and