The area was home to Native Americans, some of whom left caves containing rock art. Chatsworth was explored and colonized by the Spanish beginning in the 18th century. The land was part of a Spanish land grant, Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando, in the 19th century, and after the United States took over the land following the Mexican–American War, it was the largest such grant in California. Settlement and development followed.
Chatsworth has seven public and eight private schools. There are large open-space and smaller recreational parks as well as a public library and a transportation center. Distinctive features are the former Chatsworth Reservoir and the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.
Overall, Chatsworth has one of the lowest densities of any neighborhood in the city, and a relatively high income level.
Chatsworth is the home of the Iverson Movie Ranch, a 500-acre area which was the most filmed movie ranch in history, as more than 2000 productions used it as a filming location.