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Glendale: An Introduction

History & Background

As one of the many communities in Los Angeles originally established as Rancho San Rafael (alongside with Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Atwater Village), it is the largest Armenian community in the world second only to the country of Armenia. During the “Glendale Renaissance” in the 70s and 80s when many of the nearby freeways were being built, the city saw a huge influx of Armenians emigrating from the tumultuous Soviet Union. It is estimated that more than 60,000 Armenian immigrants moved into the Glendale area during the 1980s alone.

Glendale also has a significant role in the entertainment industry – primarily in animation. The western part of the city is home to Disney, Marvel, and Dreamworks animation studios. When Glendale was founded in 1887, it was much smaller than it is today. Over the years, the city has seen many annexations of other towns and neighborhoods which have been incorporated into the city of Glendale.

That’s why there are over 30 separate neighborhoods with their own feel, look, and culture. Here are just a few you might recognize:

  • Somerset

  • Woodbury

  • Citrus Grove

  • Rancho San Rafael

  • Greenbriar

  • Mariposa

  • Adams Hill

  • And many more

Speaking of names, Chevy Chase is not named after the guy who played Clark Griswold on the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies. Chevy Chase is the name of a Scottish ballad, and there are several instances of other areas in the country being named after the ballad as well (for instance, Chevy Chase, Maryland).

Fun Fact: The name Glendale is also Scottish. Back in the early 1880s before the town was founded, they were between two names: Verdugo (after the original owner of the land, Jose Marie Verdugo) and Glen Dale (two separate words). Those two words in Gaelic are spelled, Gleann Daill, which is also a city in Scotland on the Isle of Skye. In fact, the first word, Gleann, translates to “valley”.

Know who else is Scottish? Leslie Coombs Brand, one of the original real estate developers in Glendale, thus Brand Blvd. If you live in Glendale, you have probably been to his house: The Brand Library (originally called the El Miradero mansion). Fun Fact: Brand also built the first airport in Glendale, now called Grand Central Airport, which was the departure point for the first commercial flight from West to East. The pilot: Charles Lindbergh.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Two of L.A.’s most popular malls, the Galleria and Americana, are collocated in the City Center off Brand Blvd. For this reason, there is a very large concentration of restaurant, bars, and other nightlife attractions. If you’re looking for a couple drinks, there is the Left Coast Wine Bar, Bourbon Steak House which has great cocktails, and Jax Bar & Grill with live jazz music.

If you want to venture off Brand and check out something different, I suggest the chic bistro and patio Recess, and end the night at Neat, a cool whiskey bar with a huge menu. It should not come as a surprise that there are a lot of Armenian restaurants in Glendale. There are many to choose from: Raffi’s Place, Chicken Al-Wazir, Elena’s Greek-Armenian Cuisine, just to name a few. Just for fun, make a late night reservation on the weekend at Carousel on Brand and catch a “belly dancing” show!

Urban Housing

There are a lot of new stylish residences right in Glendale’s City Center which are all walking distance from nightlife and entertainment venues. If you're looking to rent, there is plenty to choose from: There’s the Luxury Apartments at the Americana, Eleve Lofts & Skydeck Apartments, and AMLI Lex on Orange behind Porto’s Bakery.

If you choose to buy, there are hundreds of affordable condos on the east side of Brand, and if you're looking for something more modern, there are the Doran Lofts off San Fernando Rd. If you're looking for hi-rise, the Park Towers are on Pioneer with—not one—but two helicopter landing pads! Just make sure you're facing South!

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