Chatsworth was home to Native Americans, some of whom left caves containing rock art. Chatsworth was explored and colonized by the Spanish beginning in the 18th century. The land was part of a Mexican land grant in the 19th century, and after the United States took over the land following the Mexican–American War, it was the largest such grant in California. Settlement and development followed.
Chatsworth was inhabited by the Tongva-Fernandeño, Chumash-Venturaño, and Tataviam-Fernandeño Native American tribes. Native American civilizations had inhabited the Valley for an estimated 8,000 years. Stoney Point is the site of the Tongva Native American settlement of Asha’awanga or Momonga, which was also a trading place with the neighboring Tataviam and Chumash people. The nearby Burro Flats Painted Cave remains a legacy of the Chumash culture’s rock art and solstice ceremony spirituality.
Chatsworth is the home of the National Notary Association and the headquarters for Premier America (formerly Litton Federal Credit Union) and Matadors Community Credit Union.
The Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), once busy with Rocketdyne testing rocket engines and Atomics International doing nuclear research, is quiet and high in the Simi Hills west of Chatsworth. It has been closed, will undergo an extensive environmental cleanup, and will become an open-space park. The park will permanently add to Chatsworth’s scenic backdrop, greenway, and hiking opportunities.
Some current businesses based in Chatsworth are Capstone Turbine, Natel Engineering, and Hydraulics International. Lamps Plus has production and distribution facilities here.
Titus Software’s United States subsidiary once had its headquarters in Chatsworth.
Seltzer Motor Industries, of Chatsworth, in 1979 produced the Willow, a two-seat sports car kit. It is the first transverse, inline four-cylinder, mid-engined kit car ever offered to the public.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 35,073 residents in the 15.24-square-mile Chatsworth neighborhood, or 2,301 people per square mile, among the lowest population densities for both the city and the county. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 37,102. In 2000 the median age for residents was 40, considered old for city and county neighborhoods; the percentages of residents aged 35 and older were among the county’s highest.
The neighborhood was considered to be ethnically “moderately diverse” for both the city of Los Angeles and its county, with a relatively high percentage of whites and of Asian people, and a sizable Hispanic/Latino community. The breakdown was Whites, 65.7%; Asians, 14.4%; Latinos, 13.5%; Blacks, 2.2%; and others, 4.2%. Korea (10.4%) and the Philippines (9.3%) were the most common places of birth for the 25.2% of the residents who were born abroad—a low figure for Los Angeles.
The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $84,456, considered high for the city. The percentages of families that earned more than $40,000 was considered high for the county. Renters occupied 28.9% of the housing stock, and house- or apartment-owners held 71.1%. The average household size of 2.6 people was considered average for Los Angeles.
In 2000 there were 2,933 military veterans, or 10.8% of the population, a high percentage compared to the rest of the city. The percentage of married people was among the county’s highest. The rate of 10% of families headed by single parents was low for the city.
The Chatsworth Branch Library, operated by the Los Angeles Public Library, is located at 21052 Devonshire Street. It was rebuilt in a modern style in 2002.
The Chatsworth Post Office, of the United States Postal Service, is located at 21606 Devonshire Street.[
The U.S. Census Bureau operates the Los Angeles Regional Census Center in Chatsworth.
Schools within the Chatsworth boundaries are:
- Chatsworth Senior High School, 10027 Lurline Avenue
- William Tell Aggeler Opportunity High School, 21050 Plummer Street
- Stoney Point Continuation School, 10010 De Soto Avenue
- Ernest Lawrence Middle School, 10100 Variel Avenue
- Germain Street Elementary School, 20730 Germain Street
- Chatsworth Park Elementary School, 22005 Devonshire Street
- Superior Street Elementary School, 9756 Oso Avenue
- Sierra Canyon School, pre-kindergarten through 12, 20801 Rinaldi Street
- Chatsworth Hills Academy, elementary, 21523 Rinaldi Street
- St. Paul’s Christian Academy, 21621 Heather Lee Lane
- Al-Falaq / Me’raj Academy, elementary, 11070 Old Santa Susana Pass Road
- Egremont Schools, Inc., elementary, 19850 Devonshire Street
- Chaminade College Preparatory School, middle, 19800 Devonshire Street
- St. John Eudes, elementary, 9925 Mason Avenue
- Monarch Christian School, 22280 Devonshire Street
The City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department, California Department of Parks and Recreation, County of Los Angeles, California State Park Volunteers, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy operate the various natural open space preserve parks and neighborhood recreation parks.
- Chatsworth Park North: includes more than 20 acres (81,000 m2) of the scenic Simi Hills and is operated by the Los Angeles Parks Department. has three baseball diamonds, football field, and outdoor basketball courts, all lighted; volleyball courts, a children’s play area, hiking trails, a jogging path, and picnic tables with barbecue pits. The park now has fencing that blocks visitors from climbing the large boulder outcrops, but Stoney Point Park and Chatsworth Park South are nearby for bouldering and rockclimbing.
- Chatsworth Park South: includes more than 100 acres (0.40 km2) of the rocky landmark Simi Hills. Chatsworth Park South is adjacent to the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park, a 174-acre (0.70 km2) National Register of Historic Places property consisting of historic features and deposits, prehistoric village site remnants, and portions of the Old Santa Susana Stage Road, which was the main route for mail and travelers between Los Angeles and San Francisco from 1861 until the opening of rail connections between the two cities in 1876. The stage route was also declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #92 (designated January 5, 1972) and Ventura County Historical Landmark #104 (designated October 21, 1986). The park has miles of horseback, jogging, and hiking trails, picnic tables and barbecue pits, and bouldering outcrops.
- Chatsworth Recreation Center facilities are located within the lower area of Chatsworth Park South, with lighted indoor basketball courts, lighted outdoor basketball courts, a children’s play area, an indoor gymnasium, a stage, and lighted tennis courts.
- The Minnie Hill Palmer House, one of the West Valley’s historic original homestead houses, is in Chatsworth Park South for visits and the Chatsworth Historical Society archives.
- The park has been closed since February 2008 due to contamination discovered from when the park used to be a shooting range for Roy Rogers.
- Michael D. Antonovich Park at the Joughin Ranch: includes over 1600 acres of hiking, equestrian trails, creeks, waterfalls and the site of one of the historic Bannon Quarries.
- Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park (SSPSHP): a large natural area adjacent to and above the town’s western side. The Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park protects and offers a historical site of the late 19th century, when Chatsworth was on a main thoroughfare for the figures of the American West. Joaquin Murrieta and his bandits hid out in the rocky crevices around Stoney Point. The Old Stagecoach Trail above Chatsworth to the west, is now a popular hiking trail in the Simi Hills. It goes through Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park and Chatsworth Park South and by Chatsworth Oaks Park. The State Park is open to the public with several parking and trailhead areas and many hiking and view opportunities
- Chatsworth Oaks Park: an approximately 3-acre (1.2 ha) natural open space park. It has barbecue pits, a children’s play area, and picnic tables near the parking area. Visitors may ride bicycles and hike in the park, which has no established trails but links to nearby Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park. The park overlooks the Chatsworth Nature Preserve, with birdwatching opportunities.
- Stoney Point Park: at Stoney Point is a natural rock outcropping, geographic promontory landmark and legendary bouldering and rock climbing location on 76-acre (31 ha). The boulders at Stoney Point Park merge and form alcoves, caves, and dens. The park also has bridle paths, hiking trails, and connections to adjacent parks to the north. Stoney Point is the site of the Tongva settlement named Asha’awanga or Momonga.
- Chatsworth Trails Park: in the Santa Susana Mountains foothills just north of the 118 Freeway with parking at 11200 Mayan Drive. Chatsworth Trails Park has miles of horseback, hiking, and mountain biking trails and is also a hub connecting to the huge Michael D. Antonovich Regional Park at Joughin Ranch, the Indian Springs Open Space Park, and Rocky Peak Park at Rocky Peak.The Rim of the Valley Trail passes through here, with trailhead access.
- Sage Ranch Park: overlooks Chatsworth from its 2,000-foot (610 m) high ridges in the Simi Hills near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. It is a new open space park at the end of Woolsey Canyon Road. Sage Ranch Park has campsites, walking and hiking trails, and panoramic views of the San Fernando and Simi Valleys. It is located in Simi Valley.
- Mason Park: offers barbecue pits, lighted and unlighted baseball diamond, children’s play area, and picnic tables.
- Mason Recreation Center:has an indoor gymnasium that may also be used as a 400-capacity auditorium.
- Mason Child Care Center is licensed to have from up to 30 children of ages three and up to 60 school age children in educational and recreational activities at the center.
A distinctive feature in Chatsworth is the Chatsworth Dam and reservoir. Built in 1918 as part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system, the property belongs to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Due to increasing concerns of the water quality because of algae plumes and storm water inflow, it was taken out of service in August 1969. After the 1971 San Fernando earthquake additional concerns for seismic safety led to its abandonment by the LADWP as a storage facility. Chatsworth Oaks Park and the Chatsworth Nature Preserve are located here giving views of migrating birds and other animals, and their sounds such as the coyotes calling in the evening. The views of the rocky and dramatic Simi Hills surround the open space.
Chatsworth Reservoir is classified by the Los Angeles Times as a city neighborhood, but “because there are relatively few homes in this area,” the Times does not provide separate statistics for it, but adds them to Chatsworth. The Devonshire and Topanga stations of the Los Angeles Police Department provide services in the area.