Glendale – Branded with Culture

Located at the intersection of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, Glendale is a robust and culturally rich city that preserves enough small-town feel to be named L.A.’s Neighborhood of the Year in 2013 by the readers and editors of Curbed.com. 

Historically the home of the Tongva/Gabrieleño people, the area around Glendale became a Spanish concession, Rancho San Rafael, in 1798. The grandson of the landholder constructed the Verdugo Adobe in 1860, the first building in Glendale. The vast rancho was later divided and sold and, in 1884, the original townsite was mapped and given the name Glendale. 

Among the early settlers, Leslie Coombs Brand brought visionary expansion to the young community. He built a lavish estate, El Miradero, partnered with Henry Huntington to establish Glendale service for the Pacific Electric Railway streetcar, and, in 1919, built a private airstrip to indulge his personal passion for flying. The city was incorporated in 1906, the same year that Forest Lawn Cemetery opened. 

Today, Brand’s legacy to the city continues: his mansion is the Brand Library and Brand Boulevard, a main Glendale thoroughfare, carries his name. The Brand Library & Art Center, with a collection of more than 110,000 books, scores, DVDs, CDs, LPs and magazines, is a cultural hub for the entire region. In addition to its art and music libraries, it has art galleries and a recital hall and offers classes, tours, lectures, films and other events year round. 

The third largest city in Los Angeles County, Glendale has a population of 200,167 (2014). It is known as the starting point for several important ventures. Grand Central Airport was the departure field for Charles Lindbergh’s first commercial west-to-east transcontinental flight. Bob’s Big Boy hamburger restaurants and Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlors also had their beginnings here. Today Glendale is widely know as a major production center for the entertainment industry and, in particular, animation studios, including Disney and DreamWorks.

Hero image courtesy Alin Ebrahimi. 

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