Agoura Hills is a city in the Santa Monica Mountains region of Los Angeles County, California. Its population was 20,330 at the 2010 census, which decreased to 20,299 in 2020. It is in the eastern Conejo Valley between the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. The city is in western Los Angeles County and is bordered to the north by Ventura County. It is 35 miles Northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and less than 10 miles (16 km) west of the Los Angeles city limits at Woodland Hills. Agoura Hills and unincorporated Agoura sit next to Calabasas, Oak Park, and Westlake Village.
The area was first settled by the Chumash Native Americans around 10,000 years ago. The Alta California (Upper California) coast was settled by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in the late 18th century.
In about 1800, Miguel Ortega was granted a Spanish grazing concession called Rancho Las Virgenes or El Rancho de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Las Virgenes. The grant was abandoned after Ortega’s death in 1810, and José Maria Dominguez was given Rancho Las Virgenes as a Mexican land grant in 1834. Maria Antonia Machado de Reyes purchased the rancho from Dominguez in 1845. (The “Reyes Adobe” ranch headquarters sits today in central Agoura Hills, where it is part of the Reyes Adobe Museum built around 2004 and owned by the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department.)
By 1900, the area was being used as a popular stage stop for travelers because of its natural spring.
In the 1920s, the community was briefly known as Picture City, as Paramount Pictures owned a ranch known as Paramount Ranch used for filming Westerns. To obtain a post office of their own, the residents were required to choose a one-word name, and in 1927 chose the shortest name proposed: a misspelling of the last name of Pierre Agoure, a local Basque man and French immigrant who had settled in the area in 1871 to live the lifestyle of the Mexican rancher. Styling himself Don Pierre Agoure, he was a successful sheep herder and had a reputation as a swashbuckler.
Agoura began to grow in the late 1960s after the Ventura Freeway section of U.S. Route 101 was built through the area, dividing the community into northern and southern sections. The first housing tracts in Agoura were Hillrise, Liberty Canyon and Lake Lindero. Rapid growth continued during the 1970s, when schools were built and much of downtown erected.
In 1982, the residents of the proposed city voted in favor of cityhood by a 68% majority. Agoura Hills became the 83rd City in Los Angeles County. Elected to the first City Council were Mayor Fran Pavley, Mayor Pro Tem Carol Sahm, Councilmembers Ernest Dynda, John Hood, and Vicky Leary. Incorporating a year after neighboring Westlake Village, the drive for cityhood in the region was largely based on public discontent with the county’s failure to limit residential development of the area, motives that influenced Calabasas to follow suit in 1991.
The 1980s was a period of growth, with large land areas being subdivided into housing tracts. In the 1990s, businesses set up shop in the downtown including shops and restaurants.
In 1995, the murder of Jimmy Farris (the infamous Brandon Hein case) awakened the city to a rising drug problem and petty theft by its young. As a result, the city began sponsoring live music competitions and concerts in local parks.
In November 2018, the Woolsey Fire occurred during Santa Ana winds burning through the community.