With its rolling hills and waterfalls, Calabasas attracted Hollywood artists in the late 1920’s and established the bohemian colony of Park Moderne. Calabasas continues to value beauty through its art in public places program. Custom architecture, attractive business offices, and stylish shopping centers, as well as outdoor art blend the city’s past, present and future into an exciting environment. The Calabasas Historical Society preserved a Zigzag Moderne fountain created by the 1920’s artists on a Native American footpath that can still be enjoyed in what are now called “the bird streets”.
No one is completely sure how Calabasas got its name, but it became popular during the late ‘60’s when Jimmy Durante gave a television sign off to his wife, “Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are,” as she was often here visiting friends in “the bird streets”. Many believe that the city’s unusual name stems from a Basque farmer’s pumpkin cart that overturned en route to Los Angeles, spilling seeds that became the region’s first official patch.
A desirable location throughout history, Calabasas was part of the El Camino Real, the original Mission Highway that served the California Missions. The first recorded occupation in the area was by Chumash Native Americans who settled along the banks in Calabasas Creek Park. Espiritu, daughter of Chumash Chief Odin, married Miguel Leonis the legendary “King of Calabasas” who ruled the territory in the mid-1800s. The Leonis Adobe, Los Angeles City Historic Cultural Monument No.1, is a living history museum in the heart of Old Town Calabasas where thousands of visitors and schoolchildren can relive the excitement of the old west. Calabasas’ original “Last of the Old West” Old Town offers a picturesque setting for dining and shopping and is the location of the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce.
Calabasas is admired around the nation, if not the world. It is a model city of prosperity for current residents as well as those who will call it home in the future. A self-sufficient young municipality, Calabasas practices prudent planning allocating for the growth necessary to maintain a desirable residential and business community. Already in place are popular city operated public transportation programs and bicycle commuter routes. There is also ongoing acquisition of open space. Tomorrow is already here for those who have made Calabasas their home.