The area was first settled by the Chumash Indians, and later by Spanish Franciscan missionaries. As the California coast was settled by Spaniards in the 1500s, El Camino Real, a road from Loreto, BCS, Mexico to Sonoma, California, and connecting the Spanish missions in California, was built through the heart of what would later be known as Agoura Hills.
Spanish expeditions and explorations in the 1700s resulted in many large Spanish land grants in the area. Under the direction of King Philip V of Spain, Rancho Las Virgenes, or El Rancho de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Las Virgenes as it was first called, was originally given to Miguel Ortega. Later, under the United States flag, the grant was filed under the ownership of Dona Maria Antonia Machado del Reyes. Her heirs, Jose Reyes and Maria Altgracia Reyes de Vejar, built a home of adobe, "The Reyes Adobe", close to a natural spring near Strawberry Hill, and it was last owned by Jacinta Reyes. This adobe home can still be found today in a museum along Reyes Adobe Rd. in central Agoura Hills.
By 1900, Agoura Hills was being used as a popular stage stop for travelers along the Camino Real because of its natural spring at the foothills of Ladyface Mountain, one of Agoura Hills' defining geographic features.
In the 1920s, the community was briefly known as Picture City, as Paramount Studios owned a ranch in the area used for filming Westerns. To obtain a post office of its own the residents were required to choose a one word name, and in 1927 chose a misspelling of the last name of Pierre Agoure, a local Basque man and French immigrant who had settled in the area in 1871 to live the lifestyle of the Mexican rancher and styled himself Don Pierre Agoure, accordingly. Agoure was a successful sheep herder and had a reputation as a swashbuckler. His name was chosen for the post office as it was the shortest name proposed.
An estate in Old AgouraRapid growth occurred in the Agoura Hills area starting in the late 1960s, in the wake of the construction of the Ventura Freeway through the city's heart, an action that isolated the northern half of the city from the south. The first housing tracts started in Agoura were Hillrise, Liberty Canyon and Lake Lindero. Growth continued at a rapid pace during the 1970s. Schools were built and much of downtown was erected.
In 1978, residents of the Agoura Hills area banded together to lobby Sacramento to widen the Kanan Bridge. Legislation was introduced and passed requiring the State Department of Transportation to award contracts for widening of the Kanan Road bridge overpass, over the Ventura Freeway, from two lanes to four lanes.
In 1982, the residents of the City of Agoura Hills voted in favor of cityhood by a 68% majority. Agoura Hills became the 83rd City in Los Angeles County. Elected to the first City Council were Mayor Fran Pavley, Mayor Pro Tem Carol Sahm, Councilmembers Ernest Dynda, John Hood and Vicky Leary. Incorporating a year after neighboring Westlake Village, the drive for cityhood in the region was largely based on public discontent with the county's failure to limit residential development of the area, motives that influenced Malibu and Calabasas to follow suit in 1991.
The 1980s was a period of tremendous growth, with large land areas being subdivided into housing tracts and a great wave of migration of people into the city. In the 1990s numerous businesses also set up shop in the city, and the downtown area was filled with shops and restaurants.
Map showing Agoura Hills DistrictsIn 1996, however, the murder of Jimmy Farris (the infamous Brandon Hein case) shook the city and awakened it to a rising drug problem and petty theft crime wave among its young. As a result, the city began sponsoring live music competitions and concerts in local parks (see Music).
The historic Reyes Adobe Museum (c. 1820), from the Rancho Las Virgenes, owned by the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department, was built in the mid-2000s around the site of the old adobe. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.2 km² (8.2 mi²). 21.2 km² (8.2 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it (0.37%) is water.
Agoura Hills is called the "Gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area". The city is unofficially divided into a number of varied districts centered around the modern Downtown area of the city. The most notable of these districts include Downtown, Forest Cove, South End, Malibu Junction, East Agoura, and Old Agoura.
NOTABLE - The Canyon Club
Agoura Hills, once a relatively homogeneous town, has in recent years become more diverse, both racially and socially. Having grown 10.8% in the 2000-2005 period, Agoura Hills today boasts a Hispanic population (6.9%, or 1407 people) and a highly visible Iranian population (1.7%, or 349 people). Evidencing this phenomenon is the growth of various ethnic restaurants in the city, especially in Lake Lindero and Downtown. A highly visible Jewish population is also present in the city, as businesses cater to this group can be found in Downtown and a regional synagogue is located in southern Lake Lindero .
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,537 people, 6,874 households, and 5,588 families residing in the city. The population density was 969.4/km² (2,511.8/mi²). There were 6,993 housing units at an average density of 330.1/km² (855.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.96% White, 1.32% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 6.50% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 2.09% from other races, and 2.78% from two or more races. 6.85% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,874 households out of which 47.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.7% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.7% were non-families. 13.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98 and the average family size was 3.30.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.5% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 99.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.
A ranch in Old AgouraThe median income for a household in the city was $87,008, and the median income for a family was $95,765. Males had a median income of $72,081 versus $42,656 for females. The per capita income for the city was $39,700. About 2.8% of families and 3.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.8% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over. More than half of the population over the age of 15 has a college degree, and 81% of residents qualify as white-collar workers.[
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