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We're here in 2023, CicLAvia's 13th year, and as our favorite open streets event enters its raging, hormone-infused, possibly-emo teen years, we're in for a treat as not one, not two, not three, not four, five, six or even seven CicLAvias are in store in the next 10 months, but (count 'em) EIGHT of them are scheduled (well, technically...six full-sized CicLAvias and a pair of CicLAminis)!!!
The 43rd-CicLAvia kicks-off the 2023 season with a return to The 818 - a five-mile straight shot down Sherman Way from Reseda to Winnetka to Canoga Park, which was last done on one particularly rainy Sunday on December 8, 2019. We're also in a seasonal rain spell at this moment, but according to all weather forecasts, CicLAvia Sunday will be the sole day for the next week sans rain! Cloud cover willing, maybe we'll be treated to the sight of snow on the San Gabriel Mountains, or even the Santa Susana Mountains...or maybe even the Santa Monica Mountains! For the past 12-plus years, always remember this: No matter what the weather is, THE SUN STILL ALWAYS SHINES ON CICLAVIA!
So here's a slightly updated list of 14 points of interest along Sunday's Sherman Way CicLAvia. As usual - See you or not see you on the streets!
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Sherman Way, Reseda
Named after railroad executive Moses Hazeltine Sherman (you should be familiar with that name from the "Meet The Hollywoods" CicLAvia), who was responsible for bringing his Los Angeles & Pacific Railway (later merged into the Pacific Electric Railway) into the San Fernando Valley. The street was originally a zig-zagging $500,000 grand boulevard built in 1911 along the Red Car right-of-way, stretching from North Hollywood, running west along what is now Chandler Blvd, then north along what is now Van Nuys Blvd, and west along the current Sherman Way. As the SFV farmland gave way to (sub)urbanization and the street grid, Sherman Way was re-aligned and extended eastward as a straight thoroughfare in the 1920s.
2. Site of Sherman Square Roller Rink
18430 Sherman Way, Reseda
In the 1970s and 1980s, this was The Center of the Universe for many Valley youth: A roller rink during the skating heyday of the '70s (and on Monday nights, the Skataway club, a weekly private hangout for celebrities such as Cher and Jack Nicholson), and also hosted a roller hockey league and a bowling alley. In the '80s it became a popular venue for hip-hop events (an aspiring young rapper named Dr. Dre performed there back in 1985). Towards the '90s, the venue hosted computer shows during the weekends, but was also plagued by gang activity. It was razed in 2001 and replaced by the current Walgreen's pharmacy.
3. Site of Chuck Landis' Country Club
18419 Sherman Way, Reseda
18447 Sherman Way, Reseda
The beginnings of the Sherman Way/Reseda intersection becoming the entertainment capital of Reseda started as far back as the 1940s when this S. Charles Lee (You'll recognize his name as architect of many other historic theatres in these Epic CicLAvia Tour guides)-designed Streamline Moderne cinema showed double features to the nearby newly-developed residential community. The theatre closed in 1988, but it gained some notoriety in the 1997 film "Boogie Nights" and is planned to be resurrected as a Laemmle multi-screen cinema after a $5.65 million restoration project.
Near Sherman Way & Reseda Blvd, Reseda
Though Westminster, Garden Grove and Los Angeles' Chinatown are more synonymous with the Vietnamese community in Southern California, the largest concentration Viet Americans in the 818 is located right here in Reseda. This mile-long stretch of Sherman Way and adjacent area is home to a good number of Vietnamese eateries, including Pho 999 (7255 Reseda Blvd), Pho So (7231 Reseda Blvd), Sandwich Express (18575 Sherman Way), Vinh Loy Tofu and Bun Bo Hue (18625 Sherman Way), Khuu Bistro (18845 Sherman Way) and Pho Viet Cali (18111 Saticoy St). There are also many more businesses, cultural institutions, organizations and houses of worship with a two-mile radius of Sherman and Reseda.
One of the Los Angeles River's many tributaries, this seasonal wash carries stormwater from Aliso Canyon (yep, that Aliso Canyon) up past Porter Ranch, running due south and joining the Los Angeles River near Yolanda Avenue. Thanks to the recent rainy weather, this wash is gonna be flowin'!
7. Los Angeles Jewish Home
19308 Sherman Way, Reseda
Like many Jewish institutions in Los Angeles, this senior living and health care facility originated in Boyle Heights in 1916, expanding to the SFV in the late 1940s. It's one of three campuses of the Los Angeles Jewish Home - the other nearby on Victory Blvd and another in Playa Vista. This campus, known as the Grancell Village Campus, is home to 1,000 seniors. Wonder if the residents know that the 1952 Spanish Colonial Revival structure on Sherman and Tampa was originally the Lorenzen Mortuary?
8. Platt Office Building
19725 Sherman Way, Winnetka
Conceived by carpenter Dennis Platt and designed by T.W. Layman, this office building built in the early 1980s (but meant to look like it was made in the 1880s) contains remnants from the Queen Anne-style Little Sisters of the Poor Rest Home originally located in Boyle Heights and various parts from Victorian homes in Bunker Hill, combined with re-created architectural sections.
Area bordered by Winnetka Ave, Leadwell St, Oso Ave and Lanark St, Winnetka
In 1904, an idealistic farm dude named Charles Weeks moved from the Midwest to California, and in 1916 established a utopian poultry farming community named Runnymead in Santa Clara County where families lived on one-acre farms and sustainably raised chickens and eggs, and through that, would establish ideal social structures. He then moved south to the farming community of Owensmouth in the San Fernando Valley and 100 years ago established a similar colony here known as the Weeks Poultry Colony. The Great Depression put the idealistic colony to an end, and Weeks moved to Florida where he lived the rest of his life until his death in the 1960s. The colony is long-gone, but Weeks left his mark on the community which still exists today: The area is now known as Winnetka, named by the remaining colony members after Weeks' Illinois hometown, Runnymede Street and park were named after Weeks' original Nor Cal colony, and nearby Independence Avenue originated from his poultry colony marketing pitch, "One Acre and Independence."
Sherman Way between Cozycroft and Lurline avenues, Winnetka
Another currently-flowing Los Angeles River tributary runs under Sherman Way, originating in Browns Canyon in the Santa Susana Mountains. It joins The River just west of Mason Avenue.
This half mile-long stretch of Sherman Way contains at least half a dozen stores selling antiques and collectibles, including Red's Antiques (7221 Canoga Ave), Alabama Antiques and Collectibles (7209 Alabama Ave), Retro Relics Etcetera (21501 Sherman Way), Antique Store Canoga Park (21507 Sherman Way) and Sherway Jewelry & Loan (21514 Sherman Way).
Owensmouth Avenue, south of Bassett Street, Canoga Park
Take a short ride down Owensmouth Avenue to see where the currently-raging Los Angeles River officially begins, at the confluence of Bell Creek (pictured right), which flows down from the Simi Hills, and Arroyo Calabasas (pictured left), which flows down from the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains. Together they become the Los Angeles River, flowing 51 miles eastward then southward into Long Beach Harbor.
Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park
On the northwest corner of this intersection stood the Pacific Electric's Owensmouth (Canoga Park) depot. Built in the days when land companies were promising access to Owens Valley water via the upcoming Los Angeles Aqueduct (despite the fact that its terminus was some 20 miles to the northeast), the area eventually adopted the name of a nearby Southern Pacific Railroad depot, itself named after Canoga, NY. The U.S. Postal Service insisted on adding the word "Park" to lessen confusion with its original East Coast namesake. The Pacific Electric was a Craftsman-style structure that outlived its tenure as a Red Car depot when service ended in 1938. Unfortunately, it burned down in a fire in 1994.
14. Carlson Circle/Proposed PE Extension
Sherman Way at Carlson Circle
At the southeast corner of Sherman Way and Shoup Avenue is a street called Carlson Circle - a cartographic curiosity that stood out to The Militant. Back in the day, before the SFV conformed to an absolute grid, Sherman Way curved down using this quarter-circular thoroughfare and merged with Shoup Avenue (which, like Sherman Way, was also named after a Pacific Electric Railway executive -- Paul Shoup). The circle also had some connection to the Red Cars: Although there was never track laid on it, it was part of a onetime 1910 proposal to extend the Owensmouth streetcar line to what is now Valley Circle. So who was Carlson? Hugo Carlson was an immigrant from Sweden who settled in Owensmouth in 1912 and was one of the town's pioneers. He owned a 55-acre farm in the area that grew beans and tomatoes, was an active member of the local chamber of commerce and was also instrumental in supporting efforts to build flood control channels in the area. He died in 1958. His old farm, just inside of his eponymous Circle, is now home to the posh Canoga Lakes condo community.