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Billed as the “Media Capital of the World” and only a few miles northeast of Hollywood, numerous media and entertainment companies are headquartered or have significant production facilities in Burbank, including The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Nickelodeon, NBC, Cartoon Network, and Insomniac Games. The city is also home to Bob Hope Airport. It was the location of Lockheed’s Skunk Works, which produced some of the most secret and technologically advanced airplanes, including the U-2 spy planes that uncovered the Soviet Union missile components in Cuba in October 1962.
Burbank consists of two distinct areas: a downtown/foothill section, in the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains, and the flatland section. Burbank is the easternmost city in the San Fernando Valley. Burbank’s neighbor, Glendale, is the westernmost city in the San Gabriel Valley. The city was referred to as “Beautiful Downtown Burbank” on Laugh-In and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The city was named after David Burbank, a New Hampshire-born dentist and entrepreneur who established a sheep ranch there in 1867.
On May 26, 1942, the California State Railroad Commission proposed an extension of the Burbank Line to the Lockheed plant. The proposal called for a double track line from Arden Junction along Glenoaks to San Fernando Blvd and Empire Way, just northeast of Lockheed’s main facility. But this extension never materialized and the commission moved on to other projects in the San Fernando Valley. The Red Car line in Burbank was abandoned and the tracks removed in 1956.
The city marshal’s office was changed to the Burbank Police Department in 1923. The first police chief was George Cole, who later became a U.S. Treasury prohibition officer.
In 1928, Burbank was one of the first 13 cities to join the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, one of the largest suppliers of water in the world. This contrasted with other San Fernando Valley communities that obtained water through political annexation to Los Angeles. By 1937, the first power from Hoover Dam was distributed over Burbank’s own electricity lines. The city purchases about 55% of its water from the MWD.
Elevations in the city range from 500 feet (150 m) in the lower valley areas to about 800 feet (240 m) near the Verdugo Mountains. Most of Burbank features a water table more than 100 feet (30 m) deep, more than the measures found in the 1940s when the water table was within 50 feet (15 m) of the ground surface in some areas of Burbank.
The Census reported that 102,767 people (99.4% of the population) lived in households, 291 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 282 (0.3%) were institutionalized.
There were 41,940 households, out of which 12,386 (29.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 18,388 (43.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,984 (11.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,050 (4.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,177 (5.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 396 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 12,823 households (30.6%) were made up of individuals and 4,179 (10.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45. There were 25,422 families (60.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.13.
The population was spread out with 20,488 people (19.8%) under the age of 18, 8,993 people (8.7%) aged 18 to 24, 32,513 people (31.5%) aged 25 to 44, 27,552 people (26.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 13,794 people (13.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.9 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.
There were 44,309 housing units at an average density of 2,549.6 per square mile (984.4/km2), of which 18,465 (44.0%) were owner-occupied, and 23,475 (56.0%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.3%. 50,687 people (49.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 52,080 people (50.4%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Burbank had a median household income of $66,240, with 9.4% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
In 1908, citizens passed a bond measure to raise money to build a high school. At the time, Burbank-area high school students were attending schools in Glendale. When it opened on September 14, 1908, the original Burbank High School had 42 students and two instructors.
Burbank is home to several California Distinguished Schools including the confusingly named Luther Burbank Middle School (see history above). Both its public and private K-12 schools routinely score above state and national average test scores. According to U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, the district contains three schools that received gold, silver or bronze medals in the publication’s latest rankings.
The largest university in Burbank is Woodbury University. Woodbury has a number of undergraduate and graduate programs, including business, architecture, and a variety of design programs. A number of smaller colleges are also located in Burbank, including several make up and beauty trade schools serving the entertainment industry. The nearest community college to Burbank is Los Angeles Valley College, which is west of the city.
During the early 1920s, Burbank was a contender to become the location for the southern branch of the University of California. Planners were considering locating the university in the Ben Mar Hills area near Amherst Drive and San Fernando Blvd. The seaside community of Rancho Palos Verdes was also considered for the campus. Both sites were eventually bypassed when the Janss Investment Company donated property now known as Westwood to build the University of California, Los Angeles.
PUC Schools has its administrative offices in Burbank.
The Concordia Schools Concordia Burbank, a K-6 private school, is in the city.
In April 2012, Lycee International de Los Angeles, a bilingual French American college preparatory school, submitted an application with the city of Burbank to operate a private school for grades 6–12 on the site of the former General Motors Training Center on Riverside Drive. The school opened in August 2013.