The history of Van Nuys dates back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was founded by Isaac Newton Van Nuys, a successful businessman and pioneer of California. He owned 47,000 acres of land in the southern San Fernando Valley. In addition to his business activities, he was also involved in other activities. Among them, he was the founder of Hollywood Cemetery.
Throughout the years, the city of Van Nuys grew and developed. In the early 1900s, Van Nuys had a large population and many services. For instance, the city had a public library and two churches. By the 1920s, a bank and a hotel were in place. During the World War II, housing developments began in Van Nuys. During this period, single family houses popped up across the Valley.
In addition to the library and the bank, Van Nuys also had a grocery store and two lumber companies. These businesses were primarily used by the local residents. At the same time, Van Nuys was preparing to be annexed into Los Angeles. Eventually, it was incorporated into the city.
The community’s growth spurred by the General Motors factory made the area a hotbed of economic activity. GM offered good jobs and pensions to employees. As a result, the city became one of the leading auto manufacturing centers in the United States. From 1947 to 1992, the General Motors Van Nuys Plant churned out 6.3 million cars, making it the second largest auto-producing city in the country after Detroit.
Despite the fact that General Motors closed its factory in 1992, it left behind a legacy of high-quality manufacturing jobs. Many of these jobs were unionized. There were 2,600 laid off workers. Even so, the impact of the plant’s closure on the local minority communities was most pronounced.
Currently, there are a number of Latino and Hispanic-owned businesses in the neighborhood. Della Ripa, for example, has been sewing suits for local residents for 50 years. Another business, Grupo TACA, operates the TACA Center.
According to the United States Census, there were 103,770 people living in the Van Nuys neighborhood in 2010. Of these, 57 percent were Hispanic or Latino. A total of 24 percent of the community’s population lived in poverty. This was the highest percentage in the entire county.
While the economic crisis of the 1990s has negatively affected the community, a significant percentage of the area’s population is working to revitalize the neighborhood. Some local businesses have devoted themselves to providing free alteration services to human trafficking victims. Other business owners offer a wide range of health and wellness programs.
Van Nuys is a highly densely populated neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. The population grew significantly from about 23,000 in the 1980s to 103,770 in 2010. Nevertheless, it is still a predominantly Hispanic community.
Despite the loss of the GM Van Nuys plant, the community’s demographics have shifted over the past few decades. There are now fewer single family homes and more apartment complexes and condominiums. However, the area has struggled with homelessness.