Encino is a hillside community located in the Central San Fernando Valley. Its location on the green and breezy slopes of the Santa Monica mountains is bordered by the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Center to the north, Tarzana to the west and Sherman Oaks to the east. The cross-section of residential neighborhoods shows a range of moderately priced ranch style homes in the flats with multimillion-dollar mansions dotting the hillsides. Responding to the stylish tastes evolving in the area, a number of influential architects are beginning to gain a presence in the more affluent sections of the southern elevations. While a significant number of people work in the financial, legal, health and real estate professions, many entertainment industry workers reside here as well. There is an energetic mix of urban and rural lifestyle options. Encino (evergreen in Spanish) aptly describes the lush old-growth oaks and landscaping of this lovely, family-oriented town. Like its neighboring valley communities, it’s located within easy commuting distance of West LA, Hollywood, and all of the San Fernando Valley. There are a wide variety of recreation opportunities in town or very close by. They include the Encino Velodrome, an open air oval track for bicycle enthusiasts; the Sepulveda Dam Recreation area, complete with four historical cricket pitches; a six-acre off-leash dog park; and the public Encino and Balboa Golf Courses. There are gorgeous drives along the ridge of the Santa Monica Mountains to the sea, and the area is great for hiking and horseback riding. Public schools are quality, thanks to the status and involvement of local families, and there are a number of fine private and parochial schools as well. UCLA is just over the hill, and Cal State Northridge is minutes away. Encino has a rich history as a setting for filmmakers. The imaginary town of Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life was constructed here. Hollywood stars and music celebrities past and present seeking the peace and solitude of the green hills, away from Hollywood glitz, have made their homes here. They include Michael Jackson and many other Jacksons, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Tom Petty, to name a few.
Encino is also a place of unique origins. In 1769 Gasper de Portola landed in the Monterey region of California. During his expedition he was greeted by several hundred Grabielino Indians near Encino Springs under the mighty oak trees that would give Encino its name, which is Spanish for “oak tree.” Within a generation, Encino Springs was know throughout California. He returned to Spain after claiming the territory for the King and Queen of Spain.
In 1810, as a result of the Mexican Revolution, Rancho Los Encinos was granted to the favored Grabielino Indians. At that time the rancho covered about seven square miles. However, with the coming of U.S. laws and taxes in the 1840s, the heirs of the orginal land grant lost ownership of the land and it eventually ended up in the hands of Vincent De La Ossa. De La Ossa built a sizeable adobe (which still stands), grazed 500 cattle, and employeed 20 ranch hands until he died in the 1860s.
Eugene and Phillipe Garnier bought the property and built the Encino Roadhouse which became a twice-a-day stop for both the Butterfield and the Overland Mail Stage between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They also diversified the ranch and raised sheep, wheat, and barley. In the early 20th Century the community of Encino began to be developed.
Encino is located almost in the center of the San Fernando Valley’s southern boundary. The community has a population of about 41,000 with a little over 18,000 households. The median home price is $637,750. The median age is 45 and about 16 percent of the population is 65 and older. About half the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher and there are approximately 9,300 students enrolled in Encino’s schools. There are approximately 3800 businesses employing about 27,138 people at an annual payroll of $1,435,548,000. Of the population 16 or older, close to 22,000 or 53% are in the labor force. The local economy provides jobs primarily in health care, social services and the professional (accounting, real estate, financial planning and legal) sectors.
The boundaries of Encino are:
- North – Victory Blvd.
- South – Mulholland Dr.
- West – Lindley Ave.
- East – San Diego Freeway (405)
Recreation and Parks
Located at the corner of Oxnard St. and Louise Ave. There are bike paths in the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area and around Lake Balboa.
Access is on Balboa Blvd. between Victory Blvd. and Burbank Blvd.
Lake Balboa Sporting Complex
17015 Burbank Blvd.
Encino Community Center
4935 Balboa Blvd.
Besides Lake Balboa, fishing is available on Reseda Park Lake, which is located at the corner of Victory Blvd. and Reseda Blvd.
Gardens & Horticulture Centers
The Japanese Gardens
6100 Woodley Ave. Van Nuys
The Garden features a magnificent array of flowers and plants, rock gardens, meandering streams, and pagodas. There is a gift shop and the gardens can be rented for private parties. Free docent-guided tours (by reservation) are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant
6100 Woodley Ave. Van Nuys
Tours are by reservation
Balboa Golf Course
16821 Burbank Blvd.
Woodley Golf Course
6331 Woodley Ave.
Encino Park/Genesta Park
16953 Ventura Blvd. (one block west of Balboa Blvd.) The park is the site of the refounding of the Encino Chamber of Commerce in 1936. It has tennis couts and a children’s play area.
Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilenson Park
This is an 80 acre water recreation facility within the Sepulveda Flood Control basin. The centerpiece of the park, Lake Balboa, is a 27 acre lake. Recreation activities include fishing, boating, remote-control boating and jogging/walking.
Los Encinos State Historic Park
Just east of Balboa Blvd. is a pedestrian entrance. The main entrance is on Moorpark St., a block north of Ventura Blvd. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.- Wednesday through Sunday. The park can be rented for private parties (818)784-4849
Pedlow Skateboard Park
17334 Victory Blvd.
Sepulveda Basin Dog Park
Victory Blvd. between White Oak Ave. and Encino Ave.
Woodley Ave. between Victory Blvd. and Burbank Blvd.