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Breeding Chickens in the San Fernando Valley

Finely executed advertising artwork for the Dunsmore Poultry Ranch of Van Nuys, California, likely drawn in the 1920s.

On the left side of the coat of arms is a bird's-eye view looking westward from Van Nuys, showing the Mission San Gabriel and the snow capped peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains.

To the right is a view to the south, showing the Pacific Ocean.

In the foreground, the farmlands shown include the chicken houses of the Dunsmore Poultry Ranch, with other farms in the distance.

Advertising from local newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times in 1929 and 1933 locates the Dunsmore Poultry Ranch at 6610 Haskell Avenue, just north of what is now the Sepulveda Basin.  The Dunsmore  Poultry Ranch was apparently in the business of breeding Leghorns for local chicken ranchers.

Dunsmore Ranch

The Dunsmore Ranch was originally founded in December of 1926 as the Golden West Poultry Ranch.  The owner of the ranch, Willis Rowland Dunsmore (1887-1971), announced the name change to Dunsmore Ranch in the September 20, 1927 issue of the Van Nuys News, citing conflicting uses of the name 'Golden West' which was also a San Francisco area poultry ranch. 

The Dunsmore Ranch was located on 20 acres at 6610 Haskell Avenue, Van Nuys, and originally focused on poultry and walnut production.  The name Dunsmore Poultry Ranch begins appearing in local newspapers around 1929, when the ranch manager Herbert R. Cole, having completed a tour of Oregon, Washington, and Canadian poultry farms, committed the Dunsmore Ranch to a $75,000 expansion, including an artificial hatchery, that vastly expanded their output. 

The Dunsmore Ranch was sold in July of 1934 to Frederick Webster, an emigrant from Ohio who relocated to Los Angeles several years earlier.   Webster renamed the ranch after himself.

Dunsmore would go on to serve as a Los Angeles City Councilman (District 4) and the Chairman of the Walnut Department of the Los Angeles County Farm Bureau.

Van Nuys

Isaac Newton Van Nuys settled in the Los Angeles area in the 1870s and owned much of the southern portion of the San Fernando Valley, totaling about 47,000 acres of land. By the turn of the century, Van Nuys had become a successful businessman, farmer, and rancher whose holdings included half interest in the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Company. In 1909, Van Nuys sold the land to the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company, which began selling property in a planned housing development across Van Nuys and the San Fernando Valley in 1910. The community of Van Nuys was officially founded on February 22, 1911.

The rural areas were annexed into the city of Los Angeles in 1915.  On April 2, 1915, H. J. Whitley purchased the Suburban Home Company so that he would have complete control for finishing the development.  Van Nuys was annexed by Los Angeles on May 22, 1915, after completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, providing it with the water required for further growth. Van Nuys was the first new stop on the San Fernando Line of the Pacific Electric Railway red cars system, which boosted its early land sales and commercial success.

In the 1920s, the dominant local industry was poultry farming, which required land plots to be very deep to allow for the construction of chicken houses at the rear of the property. 

Condition Description
Faint water stains. Old tape repair on verso, bottom center, extending about 5 inches into the map. Minor verso repair of closed tear, 1.5 inches, from right side.