Chamber of Commerce.
This is a portion of the history from the City of Agoura Hills
Historians tell us the beautiful area of Agoura was first inhabited by the Chumash Indians, friendly Indians who were able to survive here because of the natural springs and streams in the Santa Monica Mountains. They were skilled in farming, hunting and fishing, establishing homes in both coastal and inland locations. The acorn was a major food source, according to Charlie Cook, a fifth generation hereditary chief of the Chumash. Acorns were collected and ground into a mush. It is said in the old days before the Spanish came, the Chumash conducted seasonal burns every 3 to 5 years. This produced better plant life and better food sources, and never hurt the many oak trees.
Later, the Franciscan friars came to the area and set out to educate the Chumash in European ways, hoping to convert them to their way of life and teachings. The California missions were established and connected by the El Camino Real, the main roadway running from Los Angeles to San Francisco which was formerly a Chumash trail. This road ran through the heart of what is now the City of Agoura Hills.
Spanish expeditions and explorations in the 1700's resulted in many large Spanish land grants of the area. Under the direction of King Philip of Spain, Rancho Las Virgenes, or El Rancho de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Las Virgenes as it was first called, was originally given to Miguel Ortega. It was one of the smallest of all the California grants, having only 17,760 acres. Later, under the United States flag, the grant was filed under the ownership of Dona Maria Antonia Machado del Reyes. Her heirs, Jose Reyes and Maria Altgracia Reyes de Vejar, built a home of adobe, "The Reyes Adobe", close to a natural spring near Strawberry Peak, and it was last owned by Jacinta Reyes. In 1994 the adobe sustained major damage during the Northridge earthquake and is presently being restored to its original condition, along with the adobe barn.
Don Pedro (Pierre) Agoure came to California when he was 17 in 1871. He was a shepherd and known as a swashbuckler. The son of a French farmer, he adopted the style of the Spanish, tacked a "Don" to his name and used the name Pierre. By the turn of the century, Agoura was used as a stage stop. Agoura had one of the wells used to provide water for travelers located where Agoura and Cornell Roads meet.
In 1924, Ira and Leon Colodny purchased the George Lewis Ranch in what is now known as Old Agoura. This land was known as Independence Acres, where one could own one acre for $ 800. Shortly thereafter, this area became known as "Picture City" and was used for many backdrops for motion pictures. In 1928, the Picture City Chamber of Commerce petitioned for a post office for the town. The Chamber was told to come up with a list of 10 names so the Postal Department could select a name. The Postal Department selected the name of Agoure and chose to change the last letter "e" to an "a" for ease of pronunciation.
Rapid growth occurred in the Agoura area starting in the late 60's. The first housing tracts started in Agoura were, Hillrise, Liberty Canyon and Lake Lindero. Growth continued at a rapid pace during the 1970's. Schools were built and shopping centers begun. Quickly the area became extremely desirable as the outstanding Las Virgenes Unified School District served the area. The schools located in the Las Virgenes Unified School District within the city boundaries are Willow Elementary School, Sumac Elementary School, and Yerba Buena Elementary School, as well as Lindero Canyon Middle School and Agoura High School.
In 1982, the residents of the City of Agoura Hills voted in favor of cityhood by a 68% majority. Agoura Hills became the 83rd City in Los Angeles County. Elected to the first City Council were Mayor Fran Pavley, Mayor Pro Tem Carol Sahm, Councilmembers Ernest Dynda, John Hood and Vicky Leary.
Today the city is actively involved in the economic development of the area. The City continues its efforts to beautify the freeway corridor so that when travelers drive through the City of Agoura Hills, they will wish to stop to visit. For those traveling through, the
scenic beauty of the area is to be preserved and enjoyed.
Return to Index
All types of homes may be found in the Agoura Hills area, including: townhomes, single-family homes, condominiums, apartments, estate homes and equestrian-style ranches. Those living in Agoura Hills tend to be well-educated and affluent. The area has one of the lowest crime rates in California.
Return to Index