California State University, Northridge, used to be San Fernando Valley State College. The campus used to include a property known as Devonshire Downs, which included a stadium and numerous arenas and agricultural buildings. Devonshire Downs was sold off in a bout of austerity by the California state government, and became a business complex.
In 1969, Devonshire Downs was host to a West Coast Woodstock. Creedence Clearwater Revival was there! So was Joe Cocker! The Byrds! Steppenwolf! Jimi Hendrix! The Animals! It was our own Woodstock in LA!
When I first moved to Northridge as a high school student direct from Brooklyn, in 1960, there was a reptile show being held at Devonshire Downs. As I had worked at the Bronx Zoo in New York, I was quite familiar with reptiles and got a job with the show promoters. The Downs was conveniently within walking distance of our house.
San Fernando Valley State College, and its successor CSUN, had a football program. The home field was the stadium at Devonshire Downs.
When austerity caused the football program to be eliminated, there was no more need for the stadium, or for Devonshire Downs. The government ordered the propery sold to private interests and that was the end of an era in the San Fernando Valley.
While I have fond memories of Devonshire Downs, I also remember Ronald Reagan arriving for a rally in 1980.
Along with a number of Longshoremen, I was blocking the entrance to Devonshire Downs as Reagan’s motorcade arrived.
We all thought Reagan’s candidacy was a joke. But the joke was on America. He got elected!
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