Sylmar, located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, is well known for its many olive orchards. The area is flat but has a beautiful view of the San Gabriel Mountains on the Northeast and it is only 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean.
Around 1500 years before the Spaniards settled in the area, Sylmar was home to the Tataviam Indians whose name meant “people facing the sun.” In 1797, the Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana was founded in Mission Hills, close to Sylmar, and it was Padre Iballa that planted olive seedlings around the mission, recognizing the similarity in climate that Sylmar had to Spain. The idea spread to nearby Sylmar and it was home at one time to the largest olive groves in the world.
A packing plant was formed by the Los Angeles Olive Growers Association in 1890. Up to 800 gallons of olive oil was produced on a daily basis. Sylmar olives were known for their delectable taste and quality.
Sylmar is also known for the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. Near the current campus was a sanitarium for tuberculosis founded in 1920 that was destroyed by a fire in 1962. The center is now affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, rated 10th best school of medicine in America by the U.S. News and World Report. The center offers residency programs and also has an on-campus School of Nursing. The center leads the nation in clinical research for improving quality of health care.
Sylmar has 14 public and 8 private schools. The Chamber of Commerce estimated a population of around 90,000 as of 2009. The average home price in the area was $365,000 as of December 14, 2014. This is a 4.3% increase over 2013. The average cost per square foot is $259.