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Calabasas, California

Calabasas, California

Calabasas is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley and in the northwest Santa Monica Mountains between Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, West Hills, Hidden Hills, and Malibu, California. The Leonis Adobe, an adobe structure in Old Town Calabasas, dates from 1844 and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in greater Los Angeles.[9][10] The city was formally incorporated in 1991. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 23,058, up from 20,033 at the 2000 census.[11]

Calabasas, California
City of Calabasas
Airborne over Calabasas, California.jpg
The Commons at Calabasas.jpg
Leonis Adobe, Calabasas (2008).JPG
Mulholland Hwy (209636505).jpeg
The fountains at The Commons at Calabasas.jpg
Clockwise: Aerial View of Calabasas; Leonis Adobe; The Commons at Calabasas; Mulholland Drive; The Commons.
Official logo of Calabasas, California
Location of Calabasas in Los Angeles County, California
Location of Calabasas in Los Angeles County, California
Calabasas is located in California
Location in the United States
Calabasas is located in the United States
Calabasas (the United States)
Coordinates:34°8′18″N 118°39′39″W [64]
CountryUnited States
CountyLos Angeles
IncorporatedApril 5, 1991[1]
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • MayorDavid J. Shapiro [2]
 • Total13.72 sq mi (35.53 km2)
 • Land13.68 sq mi (35.44 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)  0.38%
Elevation928 ft (283 m)
 • Total23,058
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,769.15/sq mi (682.90/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
91301, 91302, 91372[7]
Area code747 and 818[8]
FIPS code06-09598 [65]
GNIS feature IDs239994 [66] , 2409955 [67]
Websitewww.cityofcalabasas.com [68]


It is generally accepted that the name of Calabasas is derived from the Spanish calabaza meaning "pumpkin", "squash", or "gourd"[12] (cf. calabash). Some historians hold the theory that Calabasas is derived from the Chumash word calahoosa which is said to mean "where the wild geese fly."[13] Owing to vast presence of wild squash plants in the area, the squash theory is more prevalent among local residents. At the top of the Calabasas grade, which is east of Las Virgenes Road on the original El Camino Real, legend has it that in 1824, a Basque rancher from Oxnard spilled a wagonload of pumpkins on the road en route to Los Angeles. The following spring, hundreds of pumpkin seeds sprouted alongside the road. The area was named Las Calabasas—the place where the pumpkins fell.[14]

In honor of its namesake, the City of Calabasas and the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce hold an annual Pumpkin Festival in October, including carnival games, exhibits, demonstrations, and live entertainment. The festival has evolved from a small-town fair to a significant annual event. Though the current Pumpkin Festival is held at Juan Bautista de Anza Park in Calabasas, the original festival was believed to have taken place where the traveling wagon carrying pumpkins overturned and started the area's first pumpkin patch.

The city's official logo, depicting a red-tailed hawk flying over the Santa Monica Mountains, symbolizes a commitment to preserving the community's natural beauty and semirural quality of life. This logo is featured on the Calabasas city flag which is flown in front of City Hall and hangs in the City Council Chambers.


The city is located in the southwest corner of the San Fernando Valley[15] and comprises a portion of the Santa Monica Mountains. It is 22 miles (35 km) away from downtown Los Angeles. It is bordered by the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles to the northeast, Topanga to the east, Malibu to the south, Agoura Hills to the west, and Hidden Hills to the north. The historic El Camino Real runs east–west through Calabasas as the Ventura Freeway (US 101).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.0 square miles (34 km2)—12.9 square miles (33 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.38%) is covered by water.

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Calabasas is Park Moderne, or the Bird Streets. A former artists' colony, remnants remain of the club house, pool, and cabins scattered across streets with bird names, such as Meadow Lark, Blackbird, Bluebird, and Hummingbird located right behind Calabasas High School.[16]




From Parkway Calabasas: Hidden Hills West, Calabasas Hills, Calabasas Park Estates, and The Oaks.

From Park Granada or Mulholland Drive: Mulholland Heights, Mulwood, Las Villas, Bellagio, The Ridge, Creekside, Clairidge, Calabasas Country Estates, Calabasas Highlands, Mountain Park, Abercrombie Ranch Estates,[17] Cold Creek, and Park Moderne.[18]

From Las Virgenes: Mountain View Estates, Monte Nido, Deer Springs, Stone Creek, El Encanto, Mont Calabasas, Malibu Canyon Park, The Colony at Calabasas, and Avalon Calabasas (formerly Archstone Calabasas).

Mont Calabasas, a community on Las Virgenes Road, was annexed into the city of Calabasas in 2011. Prior to annexation, the neighborhood was located in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County.

From Lost Hills Road: Calabasas View, Saratoga Hills, Saratoga Ranch, Deer Springs, and Steeplechase.


Historical population
Est. 201823,954[6]3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]


The 2010 United States Census[20] reported Calabasas to have a population of 23,058. The population density was 1,780.4 people per square mile (687.4/km²). The racial makeup of Calabasas was 19,341 (83.9%) White (79.5% non-Hispanic),[21] 375 (1.6%) African American, 48 (0.2%) Native American, 1,993 (8.6%) Asian, 8 (less than 0.1%) Pacific Islander, 368 (1.6%) from other races, and 925 (4.0%) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1,481 persons (6.4%).

The Census reported that 23,049 people lived in households, 9 lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and none were institutionalized. Of 8,543 households, 3,320 (38.9%) had children under the age of 18 living at home, 5,124 (60.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 942 (11.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 315 (3.7%) had a male householder with no wife present, 310 (3.6%) were unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 31 (0.4%) were same-sex married couples or partnerships. About 1,624 households (19.0%) were made up of individuals and 525 (6.1%) consisted of someone living alone who was age 65 or older. The average household size was 2.70. There were 6,381 families (74.7% of all households); the average family size was 3.11.

The population consisted of 5,841 people (25.3%) under age 18, 1,875 people (8.1%) age 18 to 24, 5,025 people (21.8%) age 25 to 44, 7,414 people (32.2%) age 45 to 64, and 2,903 people (12.6%) age 65 or older. The median age was 41.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males age 18 and over.

The 8,878 housing units averaged 685.5 per square mile (264.7/km²), of which 6,287 (73.6%) were owner-occupied, and 2,256 (26.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.2%. Around 17,769 people (77.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 5,280 people (22.9%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Calabasas had a median household income of $124,583, with 6.6% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[22]


As of 2005, 23,123 people, 8,350 households, and 5,544 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,528.8 inhabitants per square mile (590.4/km²). The 8,350 housing units averaged 566.7 per square mile (218.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.92% White (including a large Iranian community and people of Jewish faith and ancestry), 2.18% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 7.71% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.31% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. About 4.74% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

Of 8,350 households, 44.4% had children under the age of 18 living at home, 64.3% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.3% were not families. About 17.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.1% had someone living alone who was age 65 or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.14.

The population consisted of 28.6% under age 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% age 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.2 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $104,935, and for a family was $122,482.[23] Males had a median income of $87,049 versus $46,403 for females. The per capita income for the city was $48,189. About 2.1% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 1.7% of those age 65 or over.


The Commons at Calabasas shopping center

The Commons at Calabasas shopping center

Headquarters of The Cheesecake Factory

Headquarters of The Cheesecake Factory

The corporate headquarters of Harbor Freight Tools, The Cheesecake Factory and DTS Inc. are located in Calabasas.

Top employers

According to the city's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[24] the top employers in the city are:


of employees

1Las Virgenes Unified School District1,186
2Bank of America900
3The Cheesecake Factory688
4Viewpoint School285
7City of Calabasas250
8Sedgwick Claims Management220
9Grant & Weber203

Technology center

During the dot-com bubble, a number of technology companies were located on a stretch of Agoura Rd parallel to the US 101 Freeway, leading that area of Calabasas to develop a reputation as the "101 Technology Corridor". These businesses included several computer-networking companies Xylan (later Alcatel-Lucent), Netcom Systems (later Spirent Communications), Ixia Communications, j2 Global Communications, Tekelec, and software company Digital Insight.[25] Although some of these companies have since relocated, been acquired, or ceased operations, the area continues to be home to a significant technology presence.

Arts and culture

Annual events

The city sponsors many annual events including:

  • The Pumpkin Festival[26]

  • Eggstravaganza[27]

  • The Fine Arts Festival[28]

  • The Fourth of July Spectacular[29]

  • The Calabasas Film Festival[30]


Claretville of Calabasas / King Gillette Ranch

King Gillette Ranch, main residence courtyard, designed by Wallace Neff in the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture style in the 1920s

King Gillette Ranch, main residence courtyard, designed by Wallace Neff in the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture style in the 1920s

Leonis Adobe in Old Town Calabasas

Leonis Adobe in Old Town Calabasas

The Claretians (The Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rome, or The Claretian Order) of the Roman Catholic Church had come to Southern California by way of Mexico in the early 1900s, working in Los Angeles inner-city missions. From 1952 to 1977, they operated the Theological Seminary of Claretville and the Immaculate Heart Claretian Novitiate on the former Gillette Estate, which they renamed Claretville.[31] Thomas Aquinas College rented the Claretville campus from the Claretians from 1971 to 1978. When the Claretians sold their Claretville property in 1978 to Clare Prophet and her Church Universal and Triumphant, Thomas Aquinas College[32] began construction on a permanent campus in Santa Paula, California.[33] The Gillette Estate/Claretville property is known as the King Gillette Ranch and is part of Malibu Creek State Park.[10] The land and historic structures by architect Wallace Neff are at the intersection of Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Road in unincorporated Calabasas.[34][35]

Hindu temple

The Malibu Hindu Temple, located on Las Virgenes Road in unincorporated Calabasas, is visited by many Hindus and others from both in and outside California. The Hindu Temple Society of Southern California was incorporated in the State of California as a nonprofit religious organization on August 18, 1977.[36][10]

Parks and recreation

Brandon's Village is a public playground located at Gates Canyon Park in Calabasas. It serves over 5,000 special-needs children from Calabasas and surrounding communities. Designed by Shane's Inspiration, a nonprofit organization that designs and builds universally accessible playgrounds, Brandon's Village is about 1 acre (4,000 m2) in size. Its playground equipment is over 70% independently playable by children with disabilities, and also provides meaningful and stimulating play opportunities for children without disabilities.[37]


City policies are decided by a five-member city council. Council members serve four-year terms and are elected at-large. Each year, the council chooses one of its members to act as mayor and preside over city council meetings.[2]

In the California State Legislature, Calabasas is in the 27th Senate District, represented by Democrat Henry Stern, and in the 45th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jesse Gabriel.[38]

In the United States House of Representatives, Calabasas is in California's 33rd congressional district, represented by Democrat Ted Lieu.[39]

Environmental stewardship

In 2005, Calabasas voters overwhelmingly passed Measure D. The ordinance protects and preserves existing areas of open space in Calabasas by requiring two-thirds voter approval before any land in the city designated as open space may be redesignated for another use.[40]

In 2007, the Calabasas City Council adopted Ordinance 2007-233, banning retail food establishments, nonprofit food providers, and city facilities from using food-packaging materials made of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam).[41] The ordinance requires food-service establishments in Calabasas to use environmentally acceptable packaging starting March 31, 2008, and to report ongoing compliance with this ordinance on the first business day of each calendar year.

In 2011, the City Council passed Ordinance 2011-282 which banned grocery stores, convenience stores (minimarts), liquor stores, drug stores, and pharmacies from furnishing single-use plastic carryout bags. The ordinance also requires that if those businesses furnish paper carryout bags, they must charge customers 10 cents per bag.

Second-hand smoke ordinance

In February 2006, Calabasas enacted the Comprehensive Second-Hand Smoke Control Ordinance that prohibits smoking in all public places in the City of Calabasas where other persons may be exposed to second-hand smoke.[42] These places include indoor and outdoor businesses, hotels, parks, apartment common areas, restaurants, and bars where people can be reasonably expected to congregate or meet. Under the law, smoking outdoors in public areas within the city is restricted to select "designated smoking areas". The law went into effect on March 16, 2006, garnering much local and national media attention. The full text of the ordinance may be found at Calabasas' official website.[43] The ordinance was expanded in early 2008, requiring 80% of rental apartment buildings to be permanently designated as non-smoking units by January 1, 2012.


Calabasas residents are zoned to schools in the Las Virgenes Unified School District. The district also serves the nearby communities of Agoura Hills, Bell Canyon, and Hidden Hills, and certain smaller areas. Calabasas High School is a part of the district.

In January 2004, Alice C. Stelle Middle School, located at the corner of Mulholland Highway and Paul Revere Road, was opened to serve the eastern half of the city. The western half is served by Arthur E. Wright Middle School, located on Las Virgenes Road, which prior to 2004, was the city's only middle school.

Calabasas is also home to Chaparral, Round Meadow, Lupin Hill, and Bay Laurel public elementary schools, which are part of the Las Virgenes Unified School District, as well as the private Viewpoint School.[44]


Civic center

In July 2008, the city completed construction of a Gold LEED-certified Civic Center and Library complex. Located at 100 Civic Center Way, the two-building complex is the first municipal-owned and -constructed 'green' civic center structure in California. The complex cost an estimated $45,000,000 to complete. This figure includes the outright purchase of the land on which the complex sits.

The Civic Center complex contains: the Calabasas Library, meeting rooms, and an amphitheater, and the Calabasas Channel (CTV).

Public services

Calabasas funds its own public transportation in the form of a shuttle and trolley service.[45] It augments the service provided by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority): line 161[46] and funds its own municipal library (as opposed to participating in the Los Angeles County library system), runs the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center, and has a protected and maintained historical district called "Old Town Calabasas".[47]

Calabasas has United States Postal Service post office locations in Suite 10 at 4774 Park Granada, and at the Malibu Shell Post Office at 4807 Las Virgenes Road.[48][49]

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department operates the Malibu/Lost Hills Station at 27050 Agoura Road in Calabasas.[50][51]

Calabasas Park Golf Club sits where Warner Bros. Ranch was located. Films shot there include Showboat (1951), High Noon (1952), Calamity Jane (1953), Stalag 17 (1953), and Carousel (1956).[52]

Notable people

  • Michael Ansara, actor and voice actor[53]

  • Shiri Appleby, actress[54]

  • Brandon Boyd, musician, singer in Incubus[55]

  • Marcia Clark, prosecutor, author, television correspondent[56]

  • Lee Goldberg, author, screenwriter, publisher, producer[57]

  • D. L. Hughley, actor, political commentator, radio host, author and stand-up comedian.[58]

  • Keiran Lee, pornographic actor, director and producer[59]

  • Joni Eareckson Tada, author[60][61]

See also

  • Leonis Adobe and Rancho El Escorpión

  • Malibu Hindu Temple

  • Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park

  • History of the San Fernando Valley to 1915

  • Flora of the Santa Monica Mountains

  • Santa Monica Mountains

  • Woodland Hills, Los Angeles

  • West Hills, Los Angeles

  • Canoga Park, Los Angeles


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