Sylmar is a district in the San Fernando Valley region of the City of Los Angeles, California. Sylmar is located east of Interstate 5 and north of the city of San Fernando. Sylmar was once the site of the world’s second largest olive groves – hence its name, which means “Sea of Trees”.

Some 1500 years before the Spaniards settled, the Sylmar area was inhabited by the Tongva Indians. In 1797, the Spaniards founded Mission San Fernando Rey de España in what is now the nearby community of Mission Hills. Father Iballa, Padre at the Mission from 1820 to 1834, was indirectly responsible for Sylmar’s olives. He recognized the similarity of the climate and soil to those found in Europe where olives had been cultivated for centuries. He sent to Spain for seedlings, and planted them around the mission. San Fernando became a city in 1874, leading to the naming of the unincorporated land surrounding San Fernando to Morningside. The area was renamed Sylmar after incorporation into the City of Los Angeles during the building of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which passes through the north-west corner. Local stories state that the designer of the old aqueduct, William Mulholland, stood on the foothills near the site of the planned aqueduct and noted that the wind caused the green and silver leaves of the olive farms to look like waves crashing against the mountains.

By 1890, a group of Illinois businessmen bought 2,000 acres (8 km2) east of the railroad tracks on San Fernando Road just south of Roxford Street and planted olives on over 1,100 acres (4.5 km2). Calling themselves the Los Angeles Olive Growers Association, they built a packing plant and sold olives under the Tyler Olives label, later changing to the Sylmar Packing label. Sylmar’s olives became famous throughout the state for sweetness and purity. Chinese pickers were hired to harvest the crops and produced up to 800 US gallons (3,000 L) of olive oil a day. The pickling plant was located on the corner of Roxford and San Fernando Road.

Along with its near-perfect climate for olives, Sylmar seemed ideal for the treatment of respiratory problems. The present Olive View-UCLA Medical Center has its origins in a tuberculosis sanitarium which opened near the current site in 1920 and was destroyed by fire in 1962. A new major medical center facility opened in January 1971 and was destroyed in the Sylmar earthquake the following month. The new Olive View Medical Center opened in 1987.

Source: Wikipedia

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