Treasures of the Valley

Crescenta Valley Timeline – 1769 to 1915

Here’s an overview of the development of the Crescenta Valley.

1769 – California is claimed by Spain.

1771 – San Gabriel Mission founded.

1772 – First record of Don Jose Maria Verdugo in California.

1781 – City of Los Angeles founded.

1784 – Jose Maria Verdugo petitioned Governor Fages for 36,000 acres (Today’s Glendale and Crescenta Valley).

1785 – A local Native woman, Toypurina, leads an unsuccessful revolt at San Gabriel Mission.

1797 – San Fernando Mission founded.

1797 – The last of the Native Americans were probably recruited into the mission system about this time.

1822 – California becomes a Mexican territory.

1835-1837 – The missions are broken up by the Mexican government.

1847 – Mexico surrenders California to U.S. forces. Surrender is negotiated under an oak tree in the Verdugo Canyon.

1850 – California admitted to statehood.

1861 – The Catalina Verdugo Adobe is completed in the Verdugo Canyon.

1871 – Theodore Pickens, the first American settler in the Crescenta Valley, homesteads what is now Briggs Terrace. Pickens Canyon is named for him.

1873 – Will Gould, a Los Angeles lawyer, purchases land north of La Cañada Rancho. Gould Avenue is named for him.

1874 – James Dunsmoor settles in what is today Dunsmore Canyon/Deukmejian Park.

1874 – Tom Hall purchased land north of La Cañada Rancho.

1875 – Probably about 10 settlers or homesteaders in the extremely north of the valley.

1876 – Dr. Lanterman and Col. Williams purchase La Cañada Rancho.

1879 – Major wildfire in the valley.

1880 – Dr. Benjamin Briggs purchased western half of La Cañada Rancho from Lanterman/Williams.

1884 – First grape cuttings planted in valley. They were cuttings brought back from Persia by a missionary.

1885 – La Cañada School is founded.

1885 – La Crescenta Presbyterian Church is established.

1887 – La Crescenta School is founded.

1888 – La Crescenta Post Office is founded.

1889 – First hotel in La Crescenta.

1889 – Major flood in the valley.

1891 – Gould Castle is built.

1892 – San Gabriel Timberland Reserve established. That’s what is today the Angeles National Forest.

1893 – Bridge built across Arroyo Seco at Devil’s Gate. This connected the Crescenta Valley with Pasadena.

1895 – The first private water company was established.

1900 – William S. Sparr purchases orchard land, what is today Sparr Heights.

1901 – La Crescenta Post Office established.

1906 – City of Glendale incorporated.

1908 – Census taken; total of 150 in La Crescenta and La Cañada.

1908 – Wildfire sweeps the valley.

1911 – The “Pink Castle” is built in La Cañada.

1912 – Electricity comes to valley.

1912 – Senator Frank Flint establishes Flintridge.

1913 – Montrose townsite established.

1913 – The Glendale and Montrose Railway lays tracks up Verdugo Cayon, connecting Glendale and the Crescenta Valley.

1913 – Edwin Earl purchases Alta Canyada for subdivision.

1913 – Senator Frank Flint begins the subdivision of Flintridge.

1914 – Heavy rains and floods.

1915 – Stone barn built by LeMesnager family – today’s Deukmejian Wilderness Park.

Mike Lawler is the former president of the Historical
Society of the Crescenta Valley
and loves local history.
Reach him at