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Posted by David Salmanson on October 27, 2019
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Calabasas History

Courtesy of City of Calabasas

Settlements of Chumash Indians named the area Calabasas. The Chumash Indians led a peaceful life amidst the rolling hills, making their homes in canyons where streams and springs ensured a plentiful supply of wildlife. In the 1700’s the Spanish expeditions changed the Indians’ way of life, afer the Juan de Anza party campled just west of Calabasas. In the 1800’s El Scorpion, a ranch that once occupied a large area in the valley, was granted to three Indians in Calabasas. At some point Miguel Leonis, the “King of Calabasas” acquired the ranch by his marriage to Espiritu, an Indian woman who inherited the property.  After his death, the ranches were divided into farms and families of settlers acquired the parcels of land. According to Calabasas history, the land was further developed in the 1900’s.

Crater Camp in Monte Nido was opened in 1914 as a year-round picnic ground. There are few reminders of the camp today on the site of Malibu Meadows.

The Stunt family developed a homestead on the north slope of Saddle Peak, also in the Monte Nido area. This scenery was ideal for Hollywood and filming motion pictures and scenes from such films as Tarzan, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Stalag 17 were shot in this area, today known as Malibu Creek State Park. Circa 1863, an adobe which was built near the park by a settler named Sepulveda for his wife and 12 children, is now in the process of restoration.

The Sagebrush Cantina was originally a group of small stores built by Lester Agoure, Sr. in the early 1920’s, and are an important part of Calabasas history. The parking lot once was the local jail. Outside was the famous hanging tree. The tree is dead, but still standing today. It is the identifying logo of the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce.

Lack of water in the Calabasas area was always a major concern, however, with the founding of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in 1958, a water supply was assured, and the area began to develop and thrive.

The first subdivision in Calabasas, called Park Moderne (in Mulwood near Calabasas High School), was a retreat for artists, craftsmen, and writers. The first Calabasas high school was built in 1880 on the south side of Calabasas Road. A second school, built on the same site in 1924-1925, was a one-teacher school for the area until 1948, when it joined with Liberty, Cornell, and Las Virgenes to form the Las Virgenes Unified School District.

Mora information on Calabasas history is available at the Calabasas Library.

Calabasas History
Calabasas History

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