Sylmar is a small community in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley region. It's perhaps best-known as a major olive and olive oil producer during the 20th century, winning awards across the country for the high quality and flavor of its olive oil. Today, a small group of the original olive trees still remains, and the remainder have been replanted at the nearby Busch Gardens.
The History of Sylmar
Tribes belonging to the Shoshone people were the first inhabitants of Sylmar and the surrounding area. Later, the Spaniards arrived in the area, driving out many of the Native Americans and building missions. The Spanish history of Sylmar starts in the late 1700s, though the city itself did not incorporate until 1874.
Robert Widney, a successful entrepreneur, is often considered the city's founder. He advertised the area's lush vegetation, beautiful weather and potential for successful farming, hoping to draw new residents and businesses. A number of business professionals heard about Sylmar and bought up tracts of land to capitalize on it.
The first industry in Sylmar's recent history consisted of olive plantations. Early entrepreneurs irrigated their crops with buckets of water hauled by horse-drawn carriages. The olives quickly attracted interest in other parts of California because of their distinct flavor. Later, settlers devised more industrious methods of irrigation, which further enhanced the local economy.
The greatest population surges in the city have occurred in the past 60 years, and Sylmar is now home to a much wider range of businesses and has become a unique and prosperous place to raise a family.
Living in Sylmar
Sylmar is known just as much for its thriving industry and friendly community as for its beautiful scenery. You can take a long hike in the wilderness, go shopping at one of the many local shopping centers or enjoy a meal at a variety of restaurants in the neighborhood. Sylmar provides easy access to a number of amenities, including grocery stores, coffee shops, fitness centers and big-box retailers. It also offers a handful of public parks and abundant opportunities for public transit.
Sylmar features a higher price point for necessities like utilities, transportation, health care and groceries than do other parts of the United States. However, it's largely on par with the rest of California.
The Los Angeles Unified School District manages the public schools in Sylmar, including a dual-language academy, a college prep campus and a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-focused program. There are also several private school options, and you can choose from faith-based, Montessori and secular campuses.
Resources for Moving to Sylmar
Here are a few resources that might make your move to Sylmar a bit easier:
Utilities: The community's central utilities provider is the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Garbage and Recycling: You can expect your trash and recyclables to be collected weekly in most residential areas in Sylmar.
Transportation: Like the rest of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Sylmar offers public transportation. You have your choice of a handful of bus routes, several of which provide connections to other major areas of LA.
Sylmar is fairly affordable when compared to the rest of Los Angeles, with a median home price that's far below the average for the larger metropolitan area. However, it's still more expensive to live here than in other U.S. cities.