Prior to the arrival of European settlers, the secluded valley below the San Rafael Hills that is roughly congruent to Eagle Rock’s present boundaries was inhabited by the Tongva tribe, who hunted the game that watered at its springs. These aboriginal inhabitants were displaced by Spanish settlers in the late 18th century, with the area incorporated into the Rancho San Rafael. Following court battles, the area known as Rancho San Rafael was divided into 31 parcels in 1870. Benjamin Dreyfus was awarded what is now called Eagle Rock. In the 1880s Eagle Rock existed as a farming community. The arrival of American settlers and the growth of Los Angeles resulted in steadily increasing semi-rural development in the region throughout the late 19th century, culminating in Eagle Rock’s establishment as an independent city in 1906 and its incorporation in 1911.
In 1909, Hill Avenue, now Hill Drive, was (and still is) one of Eagle Rock’s most beautiful streets. Other streets were Royal Drive (now Mt. Royal Drive), Acacia Street (now Laverna Avenue), Kenilworth Avenue (now Hermosa Avenue), Highland Avenue (now Highland View Avenue), and Fairmont Avenue (now Maywood Avenue). In the 1950s, newer streets such as Kincheloe Drive were extended into the hillsides for the building of larger homes with a view of the city. Today these streets are dotted with large and expensive homes on wide lots.
The arrival of Owens Valley water via the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the concurrent depletion of the young city’s wells ultimately led the city fathers, after considerable pressure and threats from the City of Los Angeles, to agree to annexation by Los Angeles in 1923. Eagle Rock is one of the few cities incorporated by Los Angeles to still have its original pre-annexation City Hall (2035 Colorado Blvd) and Library (2225 Colorado Blvd) still standing. The library, a Carnegie Library built in 1915, has since been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and converted into a community center, the Eagle Rock Community Cultural Center.