Friday, February 23, 2007

Love our tree-lined streets in Encino Village? Want to keep them beautiful? Read on...

The beautiful 40-foot-plus trees that line Aldea and turn beautiful shades of gold and red in the fall/winter are called Liquid Ambers (aka Sweet Gum.) Now I have no idea exactly how old those trees are, but I'm guessing they are in the 40-50 year-old range. Liquid Ambers have a lifespan of about 60 years. This means that in another 10-20 years we might not have that beautiful fall foliage unless we do something now. And Aldea isn't the only street in Encino Village with mature trees that are all the same age....Wish and Graves also have beautiful mature tree canopies. Not only are trees beautiful to look at, and therefore increase the value of our neighborhood, but they serve many other purposes including keeping our streets cooler, cleaning the air, blocking wind and/or rain, providing homes for squirrels and birds, etc.

What can we do? Plant more trees of course...but the trick is it can't be done all at once. In order to ensure a beautiful tree canopy trees need to be planted at regular intervals so that there are always young, mature and old trees around so that as the old ones die they are replaced, etc. As one can see from Aldea, pretty much all we have are mature trees there, and what we need is some variety in age. So if you live on Aldea, Wish or Graves and your curb doesn't have a tree, consider planting one. Even if you don't live on those streets, it's never a bad time to plant a tree. There is a free service offered by the City of Los Angeles and they even offer Liquid Ambers. It's super easy to do and it took us less than 3-weeks to receive our tree. By the way, the service I am talking about is different then the free service offered by DWP. Street Trees plants trees on curb medians, DWP gives you trees to plant on your property (residential or commercial.)

1: Call them (
800.996.CITY) and tell them what tree you want based on their available trees
2: They come out and mark on your curb where they can plant the tree (there are strict rules about where they will plant the tree - must be 5-feet from driveway, 10-feet from property line) so unless you live on a corner lot, there is probably only one place they'll plant a tree
3: Unless you tell them otherwise, they'll plant the tree shortly thereafter

If you decide to plant a tree yourself, make sure it is at least a 15-gallon tree because trees smaller than that have a hard time surviving on the curbs.
And remember, that if you are planting trees on or around your property, try to vary their ages or plant trees over a number of years to ensure a variety of ages and you will always have a beautiful mature tree to look at.

Maintaining an urban forest takes work. This issue of too many mature trees that are all the same age in Los Angeles is a big one. There have been many articles about how Los Angeles' skyline will be changing in the next 15-20 years as many palm trees come to the end of their natural lives. Do your part to keep LA's urban forest intact.

Posted by EVHA member and Encino Village resident Alegre of

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What's the point of the EVHA?

The Encino Village Heritage Association is dedicated to preserving the history and architecture of Encino Village. In that endeavor we are collecting copies of any materials of photographs that we can, especially from original owners. One of our goals is to work to have an article written about the architect of our tract so that this piece of Los Angeles architectural history isn't lost. If you have any materials you'd like to donate to us please get in touch with us by leaving us a comment on this blog.

Thanks so much!


Friday, August 04, 2006

An American suburb with a colorful past, Encino Village (EV) is a community of about 400-houses located in the Encino area of Los Angeles, California.

Once the home to RKO studios "Encino Ranch," site of such American movie icons as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Encino Village is bordered by Louise on the West, Balboa Park on the East, Burbank Boulevard on the South and Oxnard on the North.

"In 1954, the RKO movie ranch that was located in the community of Encino was closed and purchased by the Encino Park housing development. The 89-acre backlot was bulldozed with plans to adjoin it to the growing community's needs."

Shortly thereafter, architect Martin Stern Jr.'s Encino Village was created. Although a long-time Los Angeles-based architect, Stern is most famous for the work he did in Las Vegas. When Mr. Stern passed away in 2001, obituaries for him ran in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Daily Telegraph (London) to name a few. Little is known of his Los Angeles-based work although he was the architect who designed the iconic mid-century Ship's restaurants that used to mark our skyline.

When Encino Village was ready to welcome new residents in the mid-1950's it was just after WWII and sales fliers beckoned to all the veterans to come purchase their piece of paradise for only $18,000. Although clearly a tract housing neighborhood, Martin Stern did two things that make its design stand out:

1. He designed 4 different styles of homes (traditional, ranch, transitional and modern) with 5 different floor plans so the neighborhood had 20 different styles of house right from the get go.

2. He laid out the area in two concentric circles with only three entrances creating an instantly more neighborhoody feeling that encourages its residents to walk around.

In the late 1990's and early 2000's, Encino Village began to see an influx of new young families as original owners passed away or decided to change their housing situations. You can still find some original owners though who love that a new generation of Encino Villagers, or Village People, has moved into their beloved community. Some adult homeowners actually grew up in the neighborhood and there are other homeowners who are siblings, creating a uniquely neighborhoody aura in this megaopolis known as Los Angeles.

Encino Village is also a fortunately situated neighborhood in terms of natural resources and public transportation. EV is tucked into the SouthWest corner of the Sepulveda Dam flood basin which is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. The park area is designed to serve as a flooding overflow during LA's ocassional, but torrential, rainy periods. The other 99% of the time the park is full of Angelenos using one of the many athletic facilities or simply hanging out at the mand-made lake fed by a local water reclamation plant (designed by former LA city engineer Donald C. Tillman who wanted to prove that reclaimed water could beautify an area). Public transportation opportunities abound with the newly opened Orange Line visible zipping silently by as it crosses through the park area just north of the neighborhood.

While unremarkable in the way that many American suburbs are, Encino Village manages to be unique almost solely by the enthusiasm its residents have for their neighborhood. EV is not "cool" its not "hip." If you are here it's because you really want to be here...and if you want to be here, then you will love it. Because it's truly a place to call home, and if you ever leave you will always remember it as a halcyon period in your life.


RKO Encino Ranch:

Images of Encino Village:

Martin Stern:

Martin Stern:

Ship's Restaurant:

Writer Robert Lloyd waxes poetic about EV:

Article in LA Times July 17, 2005 Real Estate Section, tree-lined street image is Encino Village:,1,1741917.story

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