Pacoima is one of the oldest neighborhoods in San Fernando Valley, located just a 5-minute drive from Burbank and around 15 minutes from Hollywood. Situated between Mission Hills and Arieta, the neighborhood goes back a long time. The first denizens of the area were Native Americans, and the name Pacoima comes from the language of one of the original settlers. The permanent community began to form in the late 1800s, when the area was mostly agricultural with a large production of citrus, nuts, beans, wheat and vegetables.
The housing boom in Pacoima was a result of the nearby aircraft manufacturing giant in Burbank, which led the community to grow as a bedroom community for workers at the plant. Through the 1950s, the area changed rapidly from a slow-paced farming community to a residential housing area catering to various industrial plants and businesses. Because of the racial discrimination occurring in other areas, most of the population at the time was Afro-American.
Today, Pacoima is a diverse place with many Hispanic residents, as a result of the influx of Mexican immigrants in the 1960s. When the more affluent of the African-Americans left the neighborhood, the district became primarily Latino in nature.
Unfortunately, the closing of factories in Pacoima resulted in loss of jobs, which sent the area into an economic depression. By 1994, Pacoima was the poorest neighborhood in San Fernando Valley, but residents have worked hard to keep Pacoima clean and neat despite the depression. Efforts include keeping vacancies in shopping centers and decreasing the number of homeless people on the streets, as well as minimizing the presence of liquor stores as a measure to prevent crime. Thanks to diligent community efforts, Pacoima has succeeded in many of their aims, and the area has significantly decreased the presence of crime.
Pacoima offers several large parks for the community to enjoy, including the Hansen Dam Park and the David M. Gonzales Recreation Center. And with just a few minutes to surrounding Los Angeles areas, Pacoima offers an affordable alternative to convenient suburb living in the valley!