The DePauk Family in Van Nuys.




Gilmore studio


Phil DePauk, who now lives in Virginia, has been a follower of this blog for a few years
and he graciously sent me some new (old) photos from his family archives. He is the young boy in these photos.

Phil DePauk and his extended family lived in Van Nuys in the 1940s and 50s and operated a well-known local photo studio located at Gilmore and Van Nuys Bl. It closed in the early 1960s.


One of the other addresses that pops up is: 14204 Haynes St. a block located just west of Hazeltine. Phil either lived or spent time here.

A recent Google Maps view shows that the neighborhood is still single-family residential, but now many of the once plain and friendly houses are sheathed in ironwork and other embellishments of modern paranoia.


There are many cars in these photos. Phil’s father worked at Wray Brothers Ford which was located near the intersection of Calvert and VNB, two blocks n. of Oxnard.

I wrote to Phil this morning to clarify some family facts and here are his words:

“My Dad worked as a mechanic at Wray Brothers Ford from 1948 to 1958.

After Ford, my Dad worked at Pacific Tire and Battery Co. on Sylvan St. across from the old library.

My Uncle Ed (now age 83, sharp as a tack and living in Canoga Park) started working at California Bank (Sylvan and VN Blvd) after his discharge from the Army.

He subsequently worked at numerous other banks before retiring as a Vice President. My Uncle Dan was the manager of the McMahans used furniture store before his transfer to Marysville. My Uncle Bill started his own photo studio in North Hollywood. My Uncle Ed lives in Canoga Park and always enjoys reliving memories and making new friends if you have an interest.”

From the Daily News. More evidence of our advanced culture in Los Angeles:

A vandal or vandals used either a BB gun or slingshot to break numerous windows in businesses and autos Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009, in Reseda. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer) (Michael Owen Baker)

Vandals shoot out windows in Reseda,  Van Nuys

Updated: 12/25/2009 12:43:52 AM PST

Vandals with a Grinch-like spirit shattered several commercial and car windows on a 4.5-mile spree through Reseda and Van Nuys, officials said Thursday.

Armed with pellet guns or sling shots, the vandals took aim at the windows between 9:30-10 p.m. Wednesday along Sherman Way, and Sepulveda and Ventura boulevards, authorities said.

No one was injured, but the vandalism rattled nerves and left several wondering just who could be so cruel around the holidays.

“It’s bad — especially these days with the economy so bad,” said Kim Yoon, owner of Variety Printing and Graphics Inc.

“Business is slow, and now we have to spend money on this.”

The alarm company that provides security to the Sherman Way printing business alerted Yoon about the vandalism at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Vandals had shot up a 68-by-88-inch window — one of three large window panels — at the shop in the 17600 block of Sherman Way.

With the massive broken window removed, a shivering Yoon and other employees were forced to wear winter coats at work Thursday until it could be covered with plywood.

Less than one block away, a large window outside Marinello School of Beauty in the 18400 block of Sherman Way was also damaged.

On Thursday, plywood served as a temporary replacement next to images of manicures, haircuts and makeup.

Vandals fired at three car windows and at Peet’s Coffee and Tea on Ventura Boulevard in Reseda.

Employees were toasting bagels inside Western Bagel in the 7800 block of Sepulveda Boulevard when the window vandals struck around 10 p.m.A pellet marred the 60-by-40-inch window, which remained intact. The pellet missed a late-night customer by only a few inches and frightened employees, said manager Adilza Ramos.

The 24-hour eatery will replace the window.

Ramos said the vandalism was disappointing.

“They are probably depressed,” said Ramos, speculating about the vandals’ intent. “They wanted to do something to show that they were here.”

Staff Writer Jerry Berrios contributed to this report.

Another Killing (Third in Two Months).

People are being shot and killed all around this city and here in Van Nuys, where three fatal shootings in the last month are putting death to the lie that crime in down in Los Angeles.

This is a serious illness, one that boggles my mind. How can we speak of spending billions to police Afghanistan and Iraq while people are being randomly killed by domestic terror here in California?

Where is outcry for the loss of human life? Where is the humanity of Los Angeles?

Man Killed in Van Nuys Shooting

Updated: Friday, 23 Oct 2009, 6:02 PM PDT
Published : Friday, 23 Oct 2009, 5:37 PM PDT
Posted by: Tony Spearman

Van Nuys ( – One male was fatally shot in Van Nuys on Friday. The shooting was reported at 3:50 p.m. in the 15400 block of Vanowen Street, near Sepulveda Boulevard, said Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police were looking for two suspects described only as males between 17 and 20 years old, she said.

The motive for the shooting was unknown.

Destroying an Architectural Gem in Van Nuys.

Facade Engine Co 39.jpg
Sylvan St. Van Nuys

At a MODCOM meeting last night, I learned that an Art Deco architectural gem in Van Nuys may be destroyed.

Engine Company No. 39 was built in 1939 and has all the dignity, solidity and beauty of governmental buildings from that era. It sits just across the street from the Valley Municipal Building and is a handsome civic structure.

An article in the Contra Costa Times quotes Councilman Tony Cardenas:

“Councilman Tony Cardenas said he appreciated the beauty of the building, which was built in the Art Moderne style, but added the time had come to replace it.

“Today, probably as much as ever, people can appreciate how important it is for us to have the best — the best equipped, best-manned fire department in the country,” Cardenas said.

“This is an opportunity for us to invest in the community of Van Nuys and to replace the 70-year old station,” he added. “Not that everything that is at least 70 years old needs to be replaced, but I think it’s important that we do our responsible duty when it comes to facilities.”

This quote, by Councilman Cardenas, shows a very short sighted and appalling ignorance of both history and community. While nobody would argue for the need to have the best fire protection available, why does this necessitate destroying a historically significant building?

During Mr. Cardenas’ tenure, the old Whitsett Home, built by the man who founded Van Nuys in 1911, was bulldozed and now there is an empty lot on the site. Now Mr. Cardenas wants to literally remove one of the finest examples of 1930′s streamline design in Van Nuys.

The secession of a neighborhood of Van Nuys which now calls itself “Sherman Oaks” was a recent embarrassment to Mr. Cardenas. But how and why would people want to live in Van Nuys, which remains, at least on its main thoroughfares, filthy and unspeakably ugly and wears its badge of shame without shame? Is Mr. Cardenas on a mission to bring down Van Nuys or build it up? One has to wonder….

Van Nuys was once the jewel of the San Fernando Valley. It’s civic pride was embodied in buildings like the Fire Station No. 39. Along with the old library, the old post office and the municipal building, these were walkable and civilized arrangements for conducting one’s daily business.

Are there not acres of empty parking lots, underutilized industrial lots, and vast acres of crappy broken down ugliness lining such streets as Sepulveda, Van Owen and Kester? You mean, Mr. Cardenas, that the only possible location for a new fire station is on the site of one that dates back to the administration of FDR?

Van Nuys is crying out for someone with a vision, and a sensitivity to beauty, and instead we are under the administration of a boor who would allow the destruction of one of the finest examples of streamline moderne architecture in Los Angeles.

Graffiti Deterring Cameras Installed Under Van Nuys Airport Tunnel.

LA Now reports that there are now tagger catching cameras under the Sherman Way tunnel which runs under Van Nuys Airport.
I reported on the vandalism in this blog a few years ago and wondered how the post 9/11 airport security could tolerate this blatant law-breaking on their property.
Now the authorities are finally doing something about it.
Here is the article:
3:30 PM | July 23, 2009

A dozen surveillance cameras have been installed inside a San Fernando Valley tunnel hard-hit by graffiti vandalism.

The 711-foot tunnel on Sherman Way next to the Van Nuys Airport has been riddled with graffiti for years, and residents were fed up, said Stacy Bellew, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas, who represents the area.

“Our main message was, ‘Taggers beware. You are entering a no-tag zone,’ ” Bellew said. “If you decide to get out of your car and tag, we are going to catch you at every angle.”

The cameras and posted warning signs will serve as a deterrent to taggers and help police catch violators, Bellew said. Two more cameras will be installed within six weeks with the capability of capturing license plate numbers, she said.

The city spent $36,000 on graffiti removal in the tunnel last year, not including a general cleaning every six months, according to the city Department of Public Works. Business leaders, residents and Cardenas’ office raised $30,661 in public and private funds to install the surveillance system, Bellew said.

“This system will be a deterrent for taggers and will provide extra surveillance for pedestrians who walk through the tunnel every day,” said Steve Leffert, a member of the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council, which contributed $6,000 to the project.

Bellew said she was impressed with how the community took the project “into their own hands,” and expressed hope that residents of other neighborhoods would work to have similar surveillance equipment installed in their areas.

“It’s not just about catching taggers,” she said. “It’s about public safety as well.”

—Gerrick D. Kennedy


Los Angeles Times

August 10, 1991, Saturday, Valley Edition



On the streets of Van Nuys and what once was Van Nuys, reactions to the announcement of yet another San Fernando Valley name change fell into three distinct categories Friday:

A) “I don’t care.”

B) “More money for me.”

C) “They changed the name??”

One day after Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky declared that a 40-block section of southern Van Nuys will be officially absorbed by Sherman Oaks, some Van Nuys community leaders charged the secessionists with elitism. But many residents were either unaware of the change or did not care that their neighbors opted for the ostensibly more prestigious address.

Standing in the driveway of his house on Vesper Avenue, which remains in Van Nuys, it was clear Allan (Red) Jenman fit comfortably into category A.

“I’m not included, so I’m crushed,” he said, laughing with good-humored sarcasm. “Other than that, I personally don’t care.”

Jenman, who has lived in the Valley for all of his 70 years and in Van Nuys for 18, said he does not recall the days when the newly seceded portion of Van Nuys was called Sherman Oaks, as the secessionist residents maintain.

Still he said of the name change: “It isn’t going to make any difference.”

For Rebecca Urias, who has lived in her house on Tobias Avenue in Van Nuys for only two weeks, the homey feel of her new neighborhood — regardless of the name — is a welcome change from the urban life of Santa Monica.

“Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, it doesn’t matter,” she said, holding her son, Christopher. “It’s a nice neighborhood. It’s quiet here. We hear the crickets at night.”

Debi Akin moved from Sherman Oaks to Van Nuys four months ago. She was unaware of the name change, and found it meaningless but not in the least offensive.

“If they’re going to use all this taxpayers’ money to make the change, I think it’s stupid,” she said, holding her daughter, Zoey. But she added, “It doesn’t bother me at all.”

It does bother Don Schultz, president of the Van Nuys Homeowners Assn.

“For the most part, people feel abandoned,” Schultz said. “Here are people who think the easiest way to solve those problems is to get a community name change,” he said of the former Van Nuys residents.

People should work together to rid the area of the problems that have given Van Nuys its declining reputation, rather than distancing themselves from it, Schultz said.

Developer David Honda, past president of the Mid-San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, which once was the Van Nuys Chamber of Commerce, said the move was “carving the nice sections out of Van Nuys.”

But proponents of the name change argue that the area was actually Sherman Oaks until 1963, when the Post Office instituted ZIP codes. Residents were confused because the deeds on some houses said Van Nuys while others for houses on the same street said Sherman Oaks.

Yaroslavsky said the decision to make the change for the 2,000 residents between Magnolia and Burbank boulevards was based on a detailed analysis of the situation. “There is a history to this area,” he said. “A history of association with Sherman Oaks and not Van Nuys.”

The change will clear up the confusion surrounding the area and help residents get mail quicker, he said.

Schultz disagreed. “I don’t think the real issue was so much clearing up confusion as it was getting rid of the Van Nuys address and getting a Sherman Oaks address which is going to increase property values,” he said.

Residents of affluent Chandler Boulevard, now part of Sherman Oaks, bore him out. Money, not mail, was on their minds.

“I’m very pleased,” said Barbara Caretto, standing in her house on Chandler. “With a mere stroke of a legislative pen someone has increased my property value by about $20,000. Could I complain?”

Florence Later, who has lived in the area for 35 years, said she also expected property values to increase and welcomed the change.

“Sherman Oaks has a better, more savory reputation,” Later said.

Standing in front of a vacant Van Nuys house on Cedros Avenue with an “Open House” sign in the yard, Realtor associate Robert Heinstedt likened the change to others that have occurred in the Valley recently.

“West Hills, North Hills, Valley Village and now Sherman Oaks,” he said. “A name change to try to latch on to more affluent, expensive areas.”

Some in the newly named area may see an appreciation in home values, Heinstedt said, but he questioned the sanity of it all.

“I have a Mazda,” he said. “If I apply to have the name changed to a BMW does that make my car worth more money? That’s what they’re doing.”

Japanese Police Station.

Unusual police station in Shibuya, originally uploaded by bonstance.

One of the observations I’ve made in living in Los Angeles for the last fifteen years, is the lack of a police presence. Yes, crime is supposedly coming down, and Chief Bratton is touting statistics that murders are falling to 1950s levels. But I will not walk around alone in my neighborhood at night. Rapes, vandalism, road rage, tagging…this city is still a very menacing metropolis.

Part of the problem is that Los Angeles is so spread out. Policing by car became the “futuristic” strategy in this city 75 years ago. But how can 10,000 cops patrol over 400 square miles of LA effectively? They cannot. In order to make people feel safe, and to discourage criminal behavior, it is necessary to make the police a part of the community in a socialized setting.

That is why I look to the Japanese model of clearly visible police stations, which are so rare in Los Angeles. In our city, the LAPD is hidden away in fortresses, or in the case of Van Nuys, way back in a 1960s “pedestrian mall”. Why can’t the LAPD build these type of small Japanese police stations and drop them into various dense neighborhoods such as MacArthur Park, Hollywood, Van Nuys, and North Hollywood?

These buildings could be designed by local LA architects and provide employment to the many who are out of work. Let’s start with 25 cool LAPD stations like the one in Shibuya, Japan.