9811 Hillhaven Ave.
Tujunga CA 91042-3013
Built in 1908 by Mrs. Flora Morgan, Oak Glen Ranch was one of the first
farmhouses in the Tujunga area. Flora and her daughter, Bertha
Morgan, both typified the astute business women of Tujunga.
In 1890, Flora and Bill Morgan, a storekeeper and game warden, came to
California for better economic opportunities with their three children,
Bertha, James, and Hattie. The family was tired of urban living,
so they bought beautiful acreage in Tujunga. Flora hired local
men to build the two-story ranch house made of fieldstone and
wood. In 1908, the family moved in and planted a large vegetable
garden with fruit and walnut trees, while the remainder of the acreage
was used for grapevines. Well water stored in large wooden tanks
on top of the rear of the property supplied the vast farm. A
lathe house, aviary, and walnut shed further graced the land.
Near the rear of the house, off the kitchen, a large patio was
constructed with a built-in barbeque, fish pond, and incinerator.
This patio was the site of many parties. As Bertha Morgan's
still-living daughter Maude Therese Morgan Farrar explained, "We didn't
go out much in those days. Everybody came to us." During
the school years, the lady schoolteachers often stayed with the family.
After 23 years of living at this farmhouse, on November 24, 1931, the
widowed Flora Morgan passed away at her home. Though she had
suffered from asthma early in her life, during her stay in Tujunga she
was relatively healthy and asthma-free. After her death, a
movement was made to erect the Flora Morgan Home for the Aged because
she was a very generous woman, especially to elderly women who were
alone. Both a street in Tujunga and a hiking trail - the "Flora
Morgan Trail" - in the Verdugo Mountains were named in Flora's honor,
both of which are still seen on maps of Tujunga.
Born in 1882, Bertha Morgan was raised in Los Angeles with her
siblings. In 1905, she graduated from a business school in
downtown Los Angeles, and married Henry Batz, with her son William born
in 1906, and daughter Maude Therese, born in 1910. When her kids
were young, Bertha and Henry divorced. Because Henry threatened
to take her son from her, Bertha had Flora adopt the two
children. Bertha and her kids moved back into Oak Glen Ranch with
Flora and began a real estate career; she was also active in the local
chapter of the Eastern Star.
During the 1919 real estate boom, Bertha was a key player. Over
1,000 lots were sold in Tujunga in a very short time. Each one
was $300 - $450, or $10 down and $10 per month. The population of
Tujunga grew rapidly; in 1925, Tujunga became incorporated into a city
of its own. Bertha Morgan was there to witness the most important
days of Tujunga's history. While John Russell was elected the
first mayor of Tujunga, Bertha Morgan was elected the first city clerk,
and paid a salary of $25 per month. From 9 am until 1 pm, Bertha
worked as city clerk in Bolton Hall, Tujunga, then would run to her
real estate office on Foothill Blvd. for the remainder of the day.
As city clerk, Bertha Morgan had an office in Bolton Hall, next to the
two jail cells purchased from the City of Glendale for $1. Bertha
maintained all records dealing with the city's financial matters:
maintenance of reports of the county health department at a clinic in
Bolton Hall; all general correspondence, typing minutes of the city's
weekly night council meetings, purchasing supplies, maintaining
ordinance files, keeping building permits, dog licenses, police, fire,
and election records, and map files. She never expressed concern
that she was the only female elected official. All other officers
and officials had great respect for her professionalism, and proficient
In 1932, after the City of Tujunga was annexed to the City of Los
Angeles, Bertha Morgan continued to work as the secretary to the
Deputy Police Chief of LA. Then she married long-time friend,
William Herrington. She later retired and moved to Oregon.
Bertha's daughter, Maude Therese, now lives with her daughter in
Ashland, Oregon. Because the Montrose/Glendale flood of 1934 had
ruined her previously-planned wedding, Maude Therese Morgan Ferrar was
married in front of the fireplace in the living room of Oak Glen Ranch.
Bertha Morgan leaves a legacy of a loving mother, a successful
businesswoman, and the only female elected official in the history of
the City of Tujunga. As the only woman elected to city office in
Tujunga, Bertha was known for "holding her own with the boys."
Both Flora and Bertha Morgan were a vital part of our town's history,
and typified the astute business women that founded Tujunga.
From 1936 through at least 1940, the owner of Oak Glen Ranch was W. G.
Coats. In the early 1940's, Oak Glen Ranch was listed in a phone
directory as being owned by Katie Rose. In 1944, the ranch was
owned by Carl Spahr, who converted it into a "special care school"
according to a building permit by the LA Department of Building and
Safety. According to some records, this facility was called the
West Coast Boys School and was a military academy. From the
1950's until present, the property was owned by Mrs. Fredrika
Montgomery, whose father was Vice Council and Ambassador to Sweden.
The farmhouse and outbuildings were all constructed with wood and
native fieldstone. Now, it is a classic example of an early
Californian farmstead, consisting of a farmhouse with native stone
fireplace and porch, ice house, outdoor barbeque/oven, stables, chicken
coop and aviary, garages, barn, water tanks, and field for cash
crop. It contains probably the only barn still standing in
Tujunga, and one of the few remaining ice houses in LA County.
Oak Glen Ranch would be ideal for schoolchildren to tour.
(Information provided by Bolton