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Exploring Edgar Rice Burroughs'

A collection of newspaper and magazine articles, aerial photos, post cards, excerpts,
new and archival photos and links to the many Tarzana features in ERBzine

History of Tarzana as outlined in the booklet:
"Edgar Rice Burroughs - First Citizen of Tarzana"
Published by the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce and the Tarzana Bank of America
In conjunction with the First Public Display of Priceless Mementos
illustrating the life and works of ERB - May 5-16, 1969

Click for full-page images

Few people know that Tarzana is one of the oldest communities in the Valley. In 1769 when Gaspar de Portola became the first white man to visit the Valley, the Tarzana area was the second community he passed through. Soon after that, the Franciscan Friars came to found the San Fernando Mission, and what is now Tarzana became part of the Mission lands and later part of the 116,000 acre Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. The only ones to visit the Tarzana area were a few Franciscan missionaries and travelers on the El Camino Real (The King's Highway), now Ventura Boulevard. Since the advent of the Ventura Freeway, there has been some talk of changing the name of Ventura Boulevard back to El Camino Real.

In the 1870's the southern half of the Valley was sold to the Los Angeles Farm Homestead Association. Main stockholders in the association were Isaac Lankershim and I.N. Van Nuys. During the 1880's, a new organization, the Los Angeles Farm and Milling Company, succeeded the Homestead Association, and the Tarzana area, together with the rest of the Valley, became a huge wheat field. In 1909, the Farm and Milling Co. sold out to the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. This paved the way for the Tarzana of today.

In 1911, one of the promoters of the Suburban Homes Co., General Harrison Gray Otis, purchased 550 acres of what is now the heart of Tarzana. General Otis was the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times. He took a very active part in the development of the Valley.

In 1915, water to the Valley was provided through the Owens River Aqueduct and the Valley was annexed to the City of Los Angeles. This secured the Valley's growth.

In 1919, Edgar Rice Burroughs purchased the Otis Ranch, built his home there and named it Tarzana Ranch.

In 1922, Charles L. Daniels purchased a 320 acre tract of land on Reseda Boulevard between the Southern Pacific railroad tracks and Ventura Boulevard and bordering Tarzana Ranch. Here he founded a town, Runnymede. Runnymede consisted of 1 acre plots for poultry ranches, berry and truck farms. Soon there were 15 farms there. Although it met with irrigation and climate problems, these were soon solved and the little town prospered. By 1928 there were 10 square miles in the town, which included Burroughs' Tarzana Ranch.

In 1923, Burroughs subdivided a portion of his land for homes. This was known as the Tarzana Tract. A promotional brochure of the era said of Tarzana Tract: "Chosen by Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan Stories and The Girl from Hollywood, Tarzana is the pride of the beautiful San Fernando Valley. Tarzana will enjoy everything that makes for ideal home life. High elevation, water, gas, electricity, paved streets, etc.... Tarzana offers you homey, spacious acres, with cool, liveable surroundings. Here amidst nature's own, on a subdivision in which the price includes all improvements, with convenient schools, churches and theatres, is the place to live. Do you know that you can buy one of these full acres for $1500, the price of a city lot in the poor district? Why hesitate? Come out into the open and see Tarzana."

The Runnymede Poultry and Berry Association, a forerunner of the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce, was formed in 1923. The Women's Auxiliary later became the Tarzana Women's Club.

In 1927, the residents petitioned for their own post office. It was at this time that it became necessary to find a new name for the community since there was already a Runnymede in California. A contest was held and the name Tarzana was accepted. On December 12, 1930, the Tarzana Post Office (fourth class) opened in a store on Ventura Blvd. The population of Tarzana at the time was about 300.

During the 1930's, Tarzana was known as the "Heart of Ventura Blvd." A drug store, a grocery and a few other small stores were grouped together on Ventura Boulevard at Reseda Boulevard, surrounded by many acres of small farms.

Tarzana grew slowly during the late '30s and early '40s, but after the war, a postwar boom brought prosperity to the little town. Soon many subdivisions began to appear in the hills and in the Valley itself. It soon became one of Los Angeles' "bedroom communities." Today, Tarzana's 24,000 residents enjoy living in "The Home of Tarzan." Instead of a few small shops, today a wide variety of goods and services are offered to the shopper. Instead of farms, modern Tarzana consists mainly of single family homes. A few apartment houses are located north of Ventura Boulevard. While the days of the chicken ranches and berry farms and sprawling ranches are gone, residents continue to enjoy the gracious living ina a tranquil atmosphere established by their predecessors. In addition to the facilities of the 1920s, modern Tarzana now has a park, a library, a freeway, banking facilities, ice skating and bowling centers, medical buildings, country clubs, and an extremely bright future.

Tarzana Ranch 1920s


Memories of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzana
Back to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzana Ranch 1921
An Illustrated Docu-Novel by Bill Hillman starting at ERBzine 1041
The Tarzana Ranch Story in ERBzine 0008
Ranch Tour: ERBzine 0064
Tarzana Ranch Mosaics:
ERBzine 0954 and ERBzine 0955
El Caballero Promotional Booklet 
Photos ~ Text by ERB ~ Art by Studley Burroughs
ERBzine 1091 ~ ERBzine 1092 ~ ERBzine 1093
 A rare booklet from the '20s 
 written and published by Edgar Rice Burroughs 
Tarzana Trek
A Photo Diary by Bill Hillman
Article and Letters describing Tarzana by Edgar and Mary Evaline Burroughs
Tarzana News Clipping Archive
ERBzine 1358
Farewell Tarzana
A Photo Tribute and Poem by Larry Lingenan
with The Last Photos of Tarzana Ranch by:
Steve Ramada and Peter O'Keefe of the Tarzana Cultural Center
The Paradise Community of San Fernando Valley
ERBzine 0901
The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERB Companion Sites Created by Bill Hillman
ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure Vaults
Burroughs Bibliophiles
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
Tarzine: Official Monthly Webzine of ERB, Inc.
John Carter of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Weekly Webzine
Danton Burroughs Weekly Webzine
Weekly Webzine

John Carter Film

ERB, Inc. Corporate Site

ERB Centennial

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