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Welcome to Agoura

How Agoura Was Named

During the earlier days, areas were known by the stagecoach stops-Vejar Junction was the one in the Las Virgenes Rancho.  In 1924 the Colodny brothers subdivided North of the highway and called the area Independence Acres.  Later, when Paramount Studios bought their ranch here and started making movies, the area was called "Picture City." 

Finally in 1928, the newly formed Picture City Chamber of Commerce petitioned for a permanent post office.  The Postal Department requested a list of 10 name suggestions.  Last on the list was Agoure, the name of an early settler, and this was the one chosen replacing the final "e" with an "a."  The following is the story of the Agoure family:

Pierre Agoure, son of a prosperous farmer and stockman in Basses-Pyreneese, France (near the Pyrennes birth area of the infamous Miguel Leonis, an early land baron of Calabasas), came to California in 1871 at the age of 17.  Starting as a dairyman for $25 per month, he later herded sheep on The Conejo.  In 1875 he began his own sheep raising, beginning with 400 head and gradually adding until he would have 25,000 at a time.  Later he added cattle and increased his holdings until in 1906 he owned 16,880 acres in and around the Las Virgenes Rancho.  He married Kate Smith, a native Californian, and together they raised six children.  Some of his descendants still live in the area.

Ladyface Mountain

"Ladyface" Mountain, once a defensive lookout point for the friendly Chumash Indian tribe, has long been the travelers´ landmark in the Las Virgenes area.

Long before there were roads traversing the Agoura Valley, the mountain stood as a guide to the traveling rancher, priest, and itinerant cowboy.

Ladyface rises 2,034 feet into the blue sky and is an excellent viewpoint for those wishing to see the panoramic valley below.

Ladyface was given its name because of its unusual profile which resembles the outline of a lady lying on her back and searching the heavens for the return of her lover.  The Ladyface mountain property is currently owned by a group headed up by Art N. Whizin and may soon be donated to a non-profit organization.

Chumash Indians

The Chumash Indian, ancient resident of Agoura Valley, was rediscovered here with the excavation and study of their final resting place.

A site along Medea Creek in the Agoura Valley has been described by a UCLA archaeological term as the largest unvandalized Indian cemetery in America.  While many of the 418 Chumash skeletons found so far date back an estimated 800 years, Spanish beads found in some of the graves indicate burial as recently as the California Mission period.

Reyes Adobe

Under the direction of King Philip of Spain, Ranch Las Virgenes, or El Rancho de Nuestra senora La Reina de Las Virgenes, as it was first called was originally given to Migues Ortega.  It was the smallest of all California grants, having only 17,760 acres.  It extended from Liberty Canyon on the East of Westlake Village on the West, North to the Simi grant and South to the homestead territory bordering the Malibu Tapia grant.

Later, under the U.S. 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, 1820, built a home of adobe close to a natural spring near Strawberry Peak.  The bandit, Joaquin Murietta, often hid out there, as the spring never ran dry.  In time, portions of the original grant were given to descendants or sold, until the last survivor to own the adobe was Jacinta Reyes.  It stands today along with the adobe barn on a grass-covered hill, surrounded by several hundred new homes just under construction.

Pat Helton
Pat Helton
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