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The Crescenta Valley dates back to 1798 when Don Jose Maria Verdugo established his 36,000 acre Rancho San Rafael. It was not until the years between 1870 and 1920 that developers discovered the Rancho's fertile acreage and began to lay the foundations for the communities that now make up the Crescenta Valley.

Colonel Theodore Pickens was one of the first settlers in Crescenta Valley, and a street, a mountain peak and a canyon are named for him. Pickens Canyon runs next to Mountain Avenue School in La Crescenta and crosses Foothill Boulevard at Briggs Avenue. In 1843, a Mexican soldier named Ignacio Coronel obtained the land east of Pickens Canyon and named it "Rancho La Ca–ada." In 1871, Col. Pickens settled in the foothills north of La Ca–ada in the area now called "Briggs Terrace" at the top of Briggs Avenue.

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