Tarzana is a community in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. It is surrounded by Reseda on the north, Woodland Hills on the west, Encino on the east, and the Santa Monica Mountains on the south. Major thoroughfares include Victory Blvd., Winnetka Ave., Reseda Blvd., Tampa Ave., and the commercial backbone of the south San Fernando Valley, Ventura Blvd.
Most of Tarzana’s inhabitants live in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains south of Ventura Blvd. North of Ventura, there is a uniquely designed area meant to emulate a more rural lifestyle called Melody Acres. Tarzana includes two country clubs (with golf courses) nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains- El Caballero Country Club and Braemar Country Club. At the remote southern end of Reseda Blvd., there are a number of luxurious gated communities, including Silver Hawk and Mulholland Park.
The actual community was not founded and named Tarzana until 1930 when the Tarzana Post Office was commissioned, although in an article published in the October 15, 1922 edition of the Los Angeles Examiner titled; “New Town of Tarzana Is Established,” the community was known by that name thereafter. Contrary to other prior versions of the community history, Runnymede No. 3 was the Poultry and Berry Farm that L. C. Danial’s subdivided that was sited on the North side of and adjoining “Ventura Boulevard” and “Reseda Avenue” on the East.
The Runnymede Tract was not associated with what was the center of Tarzana then and still is being the intersection of Ventura and Reseda Boulevard’s. The commercial businesses along Ventura Boulevard or the residential area that was already established, although sparsely, Southerly of Ventura Boulevard were known to be located in Tarzana as also evidenced in the advertisements of Runnymede No. 3 in the Los Angeles Examiner in the same month and year as stated above, which describes the area as “Tarzana.” Edgar Rice Burroughs originally discussed the plan to get the Post Office established, but it was Danial’s of Runnymede who filed a petition with the Postal Services on November 27, 1923 to have a Post Office established and named “Runnymede” in spite of Edgar Rice Burroughs disagreement and opposition. Nevertheless, the Post Office application was denied on the principal basis that a Runnymede No. 1 already existed in Northern California near Palo Alto. It was later during the 1920's that the Women’s Club took up the petition and in doing so, formally asked Burroughs to use the name of the Tarzana Ranch.
Burroughs purchased the ranch, then consisting of 550 acres in 1919 from the Estate of Harrison Gray Otis, who died in 1917 and was the former publisher of the Los Angeles Times. General Otis called the ranch “Rancho del Cabrillo” and the home he constructed on the Southerly hill fronting along present day Tarzana Drive, he called “Casa Milflores.” The roughly 100 acre Burroughs or Tarzana Tract ran from present day Ventura Boulevard to Tarzana Drive and was bounded by Mecca Avenue and Avenida Oriente. The Tract was possibly recorded as early as 1921. Burroughs was busy in 1922 trying to promote the sale of lots of the tract. The community was not officially named Tarzana until the Post Office was established. The Women’s Club may have referred to the community by that name after taking a vote for a community name and then asking Burroughs permission to use it, which he gleefully granted.
Tarzana Ranch, later becoming the community of Tarzana, was the result of ‘Tarzan of the Apes’, which was written as a novel and then became the motion picture which was filmed in 1917 and released in 1918. The Tarzan series didn’t come about until much later. Burroughs had changed the name upon purchase from the Estate of General Otis to the “Tarzana Ranch.
It is believed to be that in 1911 General Otis selected and purchased the 550 acre parcel out of the 47,500 acres that the Suburban Homes Company exercised their Option of Purchase on in 1909 and Recorded Tract 1000 in 1910.
Some popular areas of Tarzana include Braemar, Melody Acres, Silver Hawk, Mulholland Park and Monte Verde.
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