Some people think that Simi Valley didn’t have much in it before the City incorporated in the late 60s, and while it’s true that the vast majority of people who live here now came here in the 80s or were born here after that time; Simi does, in fact, have a history that stretches back quite some time.
One of the nearly forgotten gems in Simi Valley history is the Santa Susana Airport.
According to Airfields-Freeman:
“Santa Susana Airport, Simi Valley, CA 34.27, -118.71 (Northwest of Los Angeles, CA).
The earliest photo which has been located at Santa Susana Airport was a 1940 aerial view by looking southeast (courtesy of Jeffrey Niven). It depicted the field as having a single unpaved east/west runway, with a small building & a few light planes parked along the northwest side of the field.
According to Joe Hitch, ‘The Santa Susana Airport first became a reality in 1938 when Byron (Pop) Dwelle moved to Santa Susan Knolls.
The land for the airport was a part of Marrland Properties, old-timers will remember the Marrland Country Club, and was bought by Pop Dwelle for the express purpose of building an airport. Pop owned several airplanes & he wanted a place close to his home to keep his airplanes & to fly from. Pop was responsible for a number of young boys, like Bob Crowell and myself, starting a career in aviation.’
According to Joe Hitch, ‘During WWll Pop Dwelle [Santa Susana Airport] joined the United States Army Air Corp Ferry Command and in 1943 or 1944 was killed flying a Lockheed P-38 while ferrying to North Carolina. Shortly after his death his widow, Gladys sold the property.’”
According to the book “Simi Valley: A Journey Through Time:”
“’A small private landing strip near the southerly end of Tapo Street was converted into Santa Susana Airport in the mid-1940s by Chester 'Chet' Foster.’
The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of Santa Susana Airport which has been located was on the 1945 Mojave AAF Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Dan MacPherson), which depicted Santa Susana as an auxiliary airfield.”
The Simi Valley Airport wasn’t very big, and it closed down in the 80s. Simi Valley, because of its close proximity to Los Angeles and the ocean, has experienced development that goes back over one hundred years. For example, in 1903, the Southern Pacific Railroad built the Santa Susana Depot in Simi, which served passengers for 60 years.