History and Historic Sites of the Valley * Then and Now Photos * Lost Crescenta * Rockhaven * Membership
The San Fernando Valley area that became the modern city of Encino has gone through a surprisingly international sequence of ownership, beginning with Native American tribes, then the Spanish and Californios, followed by the French, Basques, and Americans. In the post-World War II boom, Encino became an affluent enclave of those who portrayed all of the above on the screen: Hollywood movie and television stars. Encino originated around an artesian spring that served for several thousand years as the gathering place of three tribes: the Fernandeno, Tongva, and Chumash. This spring, which was documented in Fr. Juan Crespi's diary during the Portola Expedition in 1769, today still provides water within the grounds of Los Encinos State Historic Park. El encino is Spanish for "the oak," and the area was so named for the vast panorama of oak groves covering it.
Speaker Michael Crosby has always been interested in local history ever since a momentous elementary school trip to the San Fernando Mission. Then, in 1983, on a trip to the Gamble House in Pasadena, he realized that he wanted to be "beyond the ropes."
He became a volunteer at Los Encinos State Historic Park in 1986. The park is located in Encino, California, on Ventura Boulevard near Balboa. The city of Encino and the Sepulveda Dam Basin were once a 4,463 acre Mexican Land Grant. The park was the site of a Butterfield Stagecoach stop along El Camino Real, as well as the 1769 camp site of the Portola Expedition.
In 1986 Michael returned to college and received his BA in History from CSUN. As a History major, Michael created the Los Encinos Oral History Collection of 6 historic families, organized the historical collection documents, photographs, and artifacts. Following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the State of California hired him to resurrect and restore the collection.
In 1998 Michael received his Masters from the UCLA Graduate School of Library and Information Science with an emphasis in digital archives and Children's Literature.
He moved to La Crescenta in 1998 and served as the Children's Librarian from 1998-2003 at the La Canada Public Library. He did many storytimes there and at the old La Crescenta Library. Still living in La Crescenta with his college-age children, Michael has been a member of the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley for over five years.