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Isaac Lankershim (1818–1882) was a German-born American landowner and pioneer in California. He was the owner of 60,000 acres in Los Angeles County, California.

Isaac Lankershim
Portrait of landowner Issac Lankershim, California (CHS-6651).jpg
BornApril 08, 1818
Nuremberg, Bavaria
DiedApril 10, 1882
Real estate developer
Spouse(s)Annis Lydia Moore
ChildrenJames Boon Lankershim
Susanna Lankershim
RelativesIsaac Newton Van Nuys (son-in-law)

Early lifeEdit

Lankershim was born in Nuremberg, Kingdom of Bavaria on April 8, 1818.[1][2] He emigrated to the United States in 1836, at eighteen years old.[2]


Lankershim settled in St. Louis, Missouri and worked in the grain and livestock shipping business.[2]

In 1854, Lankershim moved west to the Napa Valley in California.[2] A year later, in 1855, he sowed and harvested 1,000 acres of wheat in Solano County, California.[2] Shortly after, he expanded to over 14,000 acres near Fresno, California.[2] In 1868, he purchased a bigger ranch in San Diego, California and grew wheat.[2] In 1860, the rest of his family moved from St. Louis to California, and he established an office in San Francisco, California.[2]

In the late 1860s, Lankershim moved to Los Angeles, California, where he became associated with a businessman named Harris Newmark. In 1869, Isaac purchased 60,000 acres of the San Fernando Valley from Pio Pico [3] for US$115,000 together with other businessmen from San Francisco, known as the San Fernando Valley Farm Homestead Association.[2][4][5] These acres included what is now Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys and North Hollywood.[2] By 1873, they raised 40,000 sheep on the ranch.[2] When wool prices fell, they grew wheat instead.[2] To take the wheat from the valley to Santa Monica, California, he built a wagon path now known as Interstate 405.[2] In 1876, he turned it into a toll road.[2]

With his son-in-law, Isaac Newton Van Nuys, Lankershim started the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Co, and they took over full ownership of the San Fernando Valley Ranch Company.[2][4] They also established the Lankershim Ranch Land & Water Co., a 12,000-acre real estate development in what is now known as North Hollywood, Los Angeles.[2]

Personal life, death and legacyEdit

Lankershim married Annis Lydia Moore (1818–1901), an English immigrant in 1842.[2] He relinquished his Jewish faith and converted to the Baptist faith.[2] They had a son, James Boon Lankershim (1850–1931), and a daughter, Susanna Lankershim, who married Isaac Newton Van Nuys (1836–1912).[1][4][5] He died on April 10, 1882.[1][2]

Lankershim Boulevard in Los Angeles is named for the Lankershim family.


  1. ^ a b c FindAGrave
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Jewish Museum of the American West
  3. ^ "Lankershim's renewed vitality in areas like the NoHo Arts District reflects mass transit's ascent" (22 Dec 2012) Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ a b c Cecilia Rasmussen, "A possible romance led to lawsuit, death" (Dec. 2, 2007) The Los Angeles Times
  5. ^ a b Joann Deutch, "The Tale Of Notable Dead Lankershim" (April 25, 2009) Canyon News