New Book Spotlights History of Calabasas

A new book chronicling the history of Calabasas is being released Nov. 30. From the Chumash Indians to its Hollywood pedigree, Calabasas takes center stage in Images of America: Calabasas, a pictorial time machine that revisits the people and places that shaped the area.

Written by local historian Cim Castellon (Images of America: Agoura Hills contributing editor), the book’s jacket reveals:

The early years of Calabasas offer a colorful history full of buried treasure, cattle and sheep ranches, stagecoaching, ghost sightings, and some of Southern California’s roughest and toughest residents …

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 12.47.03 PMCastellon  said she took on the project for sentimental reasons. “My mom, Cathy Brown, a long time resident of Calabasas passed away in 2014,” she said. “My parents were very involved in the community since the early 60s and it dawned on me that honoring my mom through the dedication of a book about Calabasas was a unique way to preserve family memories of a well lived life in the neighborhood.”

According to Castellon, the book explores the building blocks of Old Town Calabasas, Calabasas Park, the Las Virgenes Valley, Park Moderne, Hidden Hills, Greater Mulwood and the areas within the community that were notable for filming. She spent countless hours at the Calabasas Library scouring through an archival collection brimming with books, articles, photographs and historical oral accounts. She also reached out to the community for material. “We received several unique items and photos,” she said.

While researching the book, Castellon said she discovered information of which she’d previously been unaware. “The ruff and tumble wild west past did indeed take place here,” she said. “Buried bodies in back yards, territorial shootings to protect homestead land and legend that movies are made from was a part of Calabasas’ past.”

Calabasas City Councilmember James Bozajian, president of the the Calabasas-Las Virgenes Historical Society, wrote the book’s forward. “His heart is in the city; it’s past and it’s future,” Castellon said of Bozajian. “He is an avid collector of Calabasas ephemera.”

A “fun” aspect of the book is the side-by-side photographic comparisons of the city, then and now. “The Calabasas Media Department sent the city photographer out with me to recreate the ‘now’ photos, literally matching up old Calabasas pictures to that location today,” Castellon said.

Castellon will be at several upcoming book signings. Barnes and Noble, at the Commons in Calabasas, has one scheduled for Sunday, December 6 from 1-3 p.m. There is also a booksigning and presentation scheduled at the Calabasas Library on Thursday, December 17 from 6:30-7:45 p.m. Bozajian will be present at both signings. 

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