A BRIEF HISTORY OF BURBANK
Burbank is a city built by People, Pride, and Progress. These three ingredients turned a tiny, rural town into the thriving community it is today.
In the beginning, the land occupied by the present City of Burbank was part of two large Spanish land grants. The first was the vast Rancho San Rafael, granted to Don Jose Maria Verdugo by the Spanish government in 1798. Nearby, Rancho La Providencia was created following Mexico’s successful bid for independence from Spain in 1821. The real history of the City, though, began when a New Hampshire dentist headed west with the thousands of other Americans seeking new opportunities.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Dr. David Burbank was active in Los Angeles real estate when he purchased portions of both ranchos in 1867. He combined them into a large ranch where he raised sheep, built a ranch house (on what was later Warner Bros. backlot) and occasionally sold off small plots of land. Realizing that bringing in the railroad would increase the value of his ranch, Dr. Burbank sold the Southern Pacific Railroad a stretch of right-of-way for one dollar. The first train passed through Burbank on April 5, 1874. During the rate war between the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads, low fares brought people streaming into California and Dr. Burbank once more seized the opportunity. In 1886, he sold his property to a group of land speculators for $250,000 and the Providencia Land, Water and Development Company was formed.
The speculators subdivided the property into a business district, small farms and residential lots. They opened the tract for sale on May 1, 1887, and the town of Burbank was born. The population of the town was 500 when the voters approved incorporation in 1911.
Why is there a Cantaloupe in the Sign?
The first city seal adopted by Burbank featured a cantaloupe, which was a crop that helped save the town’s life when the land boom collapsed.