THE HISTORY OF MAGNOLIA PARK
Excerpts taken from the
City of Burbank
Citywide Historic Context Report
Prepared September 2009, By:
Page 75: As Benmar Hills shaped the northwestern portion of the city, the Magnolia Park residential development transformed the southwestern part of Burbank. The development was essentially an independent community and appears to have received no financial support from the city. The developer of Magnolia Park was Earl L. White. White arrived in Burbank in 1915 and established a dairy farm at the intersection of Verdugo and Pioneer Avenues (renamed Hollywood Way by 1926) on 400 acres of land located near the southwestern part of city which had just been annexed into the city81. The development was roughly bounded by Buena Vista Street to the east, Clybourn Avenue to the west, Chandler Boulevard to the north and Clark Avenue to the south.82 By 1917, White was formulating plans to create a residential and commercial development on his land. His decision to create an independent community in the southwest corner of the city was likely due to the area’s isolation from downtown Burbank for it was located approximately two miles southwest of downtown Burbank. White opened a southern entrance to his development by creating Barham Road, which connected with the Cahuenga Pass running south of Burbank, prior to opening up his subdivision.
Starting on March 4, 1923, Earl White offered for sale 300 lots near Magnolia and Pioneer Avenues. The largest lot offered by White was 320 acres; it appears that most of the land that was sold was later developed by the landowners or investors. At around this time an area south of the Magnolia Park development, roughly bounded by Clark Avenue to the north and Alameda Avenue to the south, was being subdivided for the construction of residences; it is likely that the east-west boundaries were similar to that of Magnolia Park.
Page 76: By December of 1923, White began construction of a two-story bank building at the corner of Magnolia and Pioneer Avenues; the building was to house a Los Angeles based bank84 The bank building, Magnolia Service Station, Magnolia Garage (auto repair), a dry goods store, barber and beauty shops formed the basis of Magnolia Park’s commercial corridor. By 1926, the Magnolia Park Methodist Church was formed and their church building was constructed at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Catalina Street; the building still stands. White established the first radio station (KELW) in Burbank on February 12, 1927.
Page 77: On November 19, 1927, concrete paving of 2.75 miles of Magnolia Avenue, from Magnolia Park through the east side of Burbank, was completed by the Gibbons & Reed Company.87 In that same year Earl White became president of the newly formed Magnolia National Bank and the Magnolia Park Mortgage Company, both of which were housed in the bank building located at Magnolia Avenue and Hollywood Way. By 1929, large areas of Magnolia Park had been developed and a newspaper, the Tribune, was created specifically for the development.88 The homes constructed in Magnolia Park consisted of a mixture of Spanish Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival, both of which were at their height of popularity; some homes were also constructed in the Craftsman style.
Page 80: Burbank was one of the few cities where a separate development, which was disconnected from its downtown core, was created. When Earl White started the Magnolia Park development in 1923, the area primarily contained farms and ranches. The area had been essentially left untouched by developers during the boom period of the late 1880s. The Magnolia Park residences were constructed at a time when the city’s population was increasing as a result of the industrial boom that began in late 1910s and early 1920s. The pattern of construction in Magnolia Park was somewhat scattered as the homes appear to have been built mostly by individual landowners and investors and not by the developer Earl White himself; this was also true for the areas to the south of Magnolia Park.90 The residences were modest in size and style and were situated on rectangular lots that averaged 50’ x 135’ in size.91 A number of the homes situated on lots that were near the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s transmission line right-of-way were set back toward the very rear of their respective lots.
Page 104: The late 1930s was a period of economic recovery for Burbank and the rest of southern California. The expansion of the Lockheed manufacturing plant and airport, and the growth of the local motion picture studios and various other industries in the city led to an accelerated growth in population. The Magnolia Park development was reactivated at that time with the construction of several single-family homes by Earl L. White on undeveloped lots located south of Magnolia Boulevard and west of Buena Vista Street.
Page 106: Rationing restrictions gradually lifted by 1944 and Earl White was able to construct 598 residences on 155 acres of land at Magnolia Park; the construction of the homes filled in many of the vacant lots of the original Magnolia Park development.