As recently as the early 1970s
, Chatsworth, California
, located in the San Fernando Valley
, was rural. Movie stars Roy Rogers
and Dale Evans had a horse ranch there. Many western films and TV shows were filmed
at the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth, which became the home of Charles Manson
and his "family". The view fit the popular conception of the American West
; boulders larger than most American houses strewn against a backdrop of mountains which completely ringed the valley. Oaks and sycamores, the native trees, along with imported Eucalyptus trees, and orange groves lent to the rural feeling.
Today, this suburb of Los Angeles, as well as in the rest of Southern California contains houses which are almost all single-story, the classic American ranch house. The boundaries are not visible, marked only by signs on the streets, as a profusion of stores, apartments, and automobile traffic dominate.
But, on the Santa Susana pass, through the along California Freeway 118, heading west from Simi Valley, you can still glimpse the town, in the orderly grid of streets, in the valley below. That valley is now home for millions of people, and only a few orange groves.