Panorama City is known as the San Fernando Valley’s first planned community. In 1948, it was developed as such by residential developer Fritz B. Burns and industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Burns, seeing the tremendous potential fortune that could be made as large numbers of World War II veterans came home and started families, teamed up with Kaiser in 1945 to form Kaiser Community Homes. The vast majority of the houses were bought with loans issued by the FHA or the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the G.I. Bill. Homes in the area were sold with racially discriminatory covenants. A “Conditions, Covenants, Restrictions” document filed with the county recorder declared that no Panorama City lot could be “used or occupied by any person whose blood is not entirely that of the white or Caucasian race. Such restrictive covenants, which sometimes also limited ownership to people “of the Christian faith”, were common in many communities at the time, and although rendered legally unenforceable by the Civil Rights Act of 1968 they may still be found on some older property deeds. De facto integration was accelerated by the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. The CRA-insured credit was provided to the entire community without regard to race or income, causing white flight as with many other areas of the San Fernando Valley. During the period of forced school busing, Panorama City was exempted due to its diversity.
In its history, Panorama City was once adjacent to General Motors’ largest assembly plant to date.