Arcadia, California: Wikis


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City of Arcadia
—  City  —

Motto: Community of Homes
Location of Arcadia within Los Angeles County, California.
Coordinates: 34°7′58″N 118°2′11″W / 34.13278°N 118.03639°W / 34.13278; -118.03639Coordinates: 34°7′58″N 118°2′11″W / 34.13278°N 118.03639°W / 34.13278; -118.03639
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated August 5, 1903
 - Mayor John Wuo
 - Total 11.1 sq mi (28.8 km2)
 - Land 11.0 sq mi (28.4 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 482 ft (147 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 53,054
 Density 4,831.9/sq mi (1,865.6/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 91006-91007
Area code(s) 626
FIPS code 06-02462
GNIS feature ID 1652664

Arcadia is an upper-middle class U.S. city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, that is located about 13 miles (21 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley, at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. It is the site of the Santa Anita Park racetrack and home to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. As of the 2000 United States Census, the city had a total population of 53,054. The estimate for 2005 is a population of 56,565.



Arcadia is located 13 miles (21 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The city is bordered by six communities: Pasadena, Sierra Madre, El Monte, Irwindale, Monrovia, and Temple City.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.8 km² (11.1 mi²). 28.4 km² (11.0 mi²) of it is land and 0.3 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (1.08%) is water.


Arcadia has experienced a tremendous demographic shift in recent years. A city that was almost uniformly Caucasian 30 years ago is now 45% Asian American. The transformation is linked to a rapid increase in wealth in Asian countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Korea and Japan. This has led to the immigration of many Asians to countries like the United States. Since the early 1990s, a growing number of Taiwanese-oriented businesses - housed in a handful of strip malls and old storefronts - have been appearing along and around Baldwin Avenue, due south of Huntington Drive, with a 99 Ranch Market, Arcadia Supermarket, and the popular Taiwan-based Din Tai Fung dumpling restaurant (the only U.S. branch in existence). Asian-American population growth has also been attributed to the exodus of established wealthy Taiwanese immigrants away from poorer Monterey Park, California to affluent Arcadia and neighboring San Gabriel (northern portion), San Marino, South Pasadena, and Temple City. Now the Taiwanese immigrant population in Arcadia is being increasingly joined by immigrants from Mainland China.

The majority of students in Arcadia Schools are of Asian ancestry (in the 2005-2006 school year, Arcadia High's student body was between 63-65% Asian), as the city's white population has a higher median age (non-Hispanic whites make up 24-26% of the AHS student body).[1][2]

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 53,054 people, 19,149 households, and 14,151 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,865.6/km² (4,830.0/mi²). There were 19,970 housing units at an average density of 702.2/km² (1,818.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.58% White, 1.13% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 45.41% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 4.16% from other races, and 3.39% from two or more races. 10.61% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 19,149 households out of which 35.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.1% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 26.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $76,823, and the median income for a family is $89,311[4]. Males have a median income of $50,594 versus $36,138 for females. The per capita income for the city is $28,400. 7.9% of the population and 6.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 7.8% are under the age of 18 and 6.1% are 65 or older.[5]


Arcadia's beginnings go back over 3,000 years to the Tongva ("Gabrielino") Indian tribe, whose inhabitants lived all over Southern California. These people were also known as the Gabrielinos, a name taken from the Spanish San Gabriel Mission (in present-day San Gabriel, California), and under whose control these people worked during the mission period in California. Arcadia's settlement of these Native Americans was known as Aleupkigna (or “Aluupkenga) (McCawley, William. The First Angelinos: The Gabrielino Indians of Los Angeles. Malki Museum/Ballena Press, 1996) on what became the Rancho Santa Anita, one of many land grants created during Mexican rule of California (1821-1848). The Gabrielinos eventually died out due to Old World diseases.

Rancho period

Originally part of "Rancho Santa Anita", and owned by San Gabriel Mission, Mayor-Domo, Claudio Lopez. It was named after a family relation named "Anita Cota", on his wife's side. In 1839, a large area of land that included the present-day borders of Arcadia was sold to a Scottish immigrant, Hugo Reid. Reid documented the Native Americans in a series of letters written in 1852 (Reid, Hugo. The Indians of Los Angeles County: Hugo Reid's Letters of 1853. Southwest Museum, 1968) and served as a delegate to the 1849 California Constitutional Convention.

"Anoakia": Mansion of Anita Baldwin, daughter of "Lucky" Baldwin, 1915.

The land holding changed owners several times before being acquired by the real estate speculator and notorious womanizer Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin in 1875. Baldwin purchased 8,000 acres (32 km²) of Santa Anita for $200,000. Upon seeing the area, Baldwin gasped “By Gads! This is paradise!”. Upon buying the land, Lucky chose to make the area his home and immediately started erecting buildings and cultivating the land for farming, orchards and ranches. In 1885, the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad, in which Baldwin was a stockholder, was opened through the ranch, making subdivision of part of the land into a town site practical. In 1889, on a site just north of the corner of First Avenue and St. Joseph Street, adjacent to the Santa Fe tracks, Baldwin opened the 35 room Hotel Oakwood to be the centerpiece of his new town.


By the turn of the century, Arcadia had a population nearing 500, and a booming economy that was somewhat based on entertainment, sporting, hospitality and gambling opportunities, including an early version of the Santa Anita race track. Baldwin went on to oversee Arcadia's incorporation in 1903 and became the city's first mayor. His daughter, Anita Baldwin, built a stately mansion named Anoakia in 1914 on 19 acres (77,000 m2) of land. Anita converted the home into "The Anoakia School for Girls". The school later became coeducational but moved out of Arcadia in 1990 after the Anoakia building was declared a fire trap and earthquake danger. The old estate became overgrown with weeds, and after an extended local debate and efforts to preserve the historic home, the Anoakia mansion, the oldest remaining private property in the city, was finally bulldozed to clear space for 31 luxury homes in 2000. The old estate featured numerous one-of-a-kind architectural features and a structure whose facade was a replica of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Only the perimeter wall and a guardhouse located at the south-east corner of the property remain to surround the "Anoakia Estates" housing development which occupies the land today. Murals and artifacts from the home are preserved in museums throughout California.

Hangers from the U.S. Army's Ross Field Balloon School, 1922.

During World War I, Arcadia was home to the U.S. Army's Ross Field Balloon School in what is now Los Angeles County Park. Here observers were trained to watch enemy activity from hot air balloons. After World War I, Arcadia's population grew and local businesses included many chicken ranches and other agricultural activities. During the 1920s and 1930s, Arcadia began its transition to the fine residential city that it is today as small farms and chicken ranches gave way to homes and numerous civic improvements, including a City Library and a City Hall. Scenes of many of Arcadia's interesting historic sites can be viewed in a series of historic watercolors painted by local artists Edna Lenz and Justine Wishek.[6]

Thoroughbred horse racing, which had flourished briefly under Lucky Baldwin until it was outlawed by the state of California in 1909, returned to Arcadia with the opening of the beautiful Santa Anita Park in December 1934 when racing was legalized again.

Japanese Americans arrive at the Internment Camp at the Santa Anita Park racetrack.

During World War II, Arcadia's Santa Anita Park racetrack became the site of the Santa Anita Assembly Center for the Japanese, where Japanese Americans were interned under President Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 (See: Japanese internment in the United States). At one point, the assembly center at the racetrack was the largest Japanese American assembly center in the United States. 400 temporary barracks were constructed in the racetrack parking lot to house the prisoners. Internees lived three families to a barrack (or horse-stable in some cases), took group showers, lacked private bathrooms, and lived under 24-hour armed surveillance. Conditions were extremely difficult with each resident being given an “Army manufacture bed, one blanket and one straw tick” (McAdam, Pat and Snider, Sandy. Arcadia: Where Ranch and City Meet, p. 147) The Assembly Center, which opened in April 1942, ran until the end of October 1943, when the internees were relocated inland to more permanent internment camps in Owens Valley, Utah, and Wyoming. In March 1943, Camp Santa Anita was established for 20,000 Army Ordnance troops. At the time, Arcadia's civic leaders were very vocal in their support of the internment policies of the Federal Government. (See: Japanese internment in the United States)

Postwar period

Arcadia largely grew up as the well to do suburb of neighboring Pasadena, with many early residents being the sons and daughters of long established Southern California families. Indeed, a large tract of estate homes was developed by Harry Chandler, the scion of the Los Angeles Times, who lived in adjacent Sierra Madre, CA. The city also became the residence of choice for many corporate chief executives, including those in aerospace, the horse racing industry, and finance.

The postwar boom saw Arcadia grow rapidly into a suburban residential community, with many of the chicken ranches being subdivided into home lots. Between 1940 and 1950, the population grew by more than two and a half times. The housing boom continued through the 1950s and 1960s and along with that growth came the necessary infrastructure of schools, commercial buildings, and expanded city services.

During the postwar boom, a modern commercial district developed along Baldwin Avenue south of Huntington Drive in west Arcadia. In 1951 this strip, called the West Arcadia Hub, was anchored by a new, locally owned department store called Hinshaw's. This was the first large department store to be built in Arcadia, and the largest in the western San Gabriel Valley outside the city of Pasadena. This development marked the beginning of Arcadia's gradual transformation into one of the leading shopping districts of the San Gabriel Valley.

In 1947, 111 acres (0.45 km2) that comprised the heart of the Baldwin Ranch were deeded to the State of California and the County of Los Angeles, and developed into Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

Until a Supreme Court ruling in 1965, every property sale contract within the borders of Arcadia had to include a provision that the new owner could only sell the property to a white Protestant, though many non-Protestant families did, in fact, own homes and live in Arcadia long before that ruling.

In October 1975, the Santa Anita Fashion Park was opened to the public on the corner of Baldwin Avenue and Huntington Drive. The center court featured a gigantic blue head by Roy Lichtenstein, later removed. Now known as Westfield Santa Anita, the mall was expanded in 2004.

James Dobson, a previous Arcadia resident, founded the nonprofit Christian ministry Focus on the Family in the city in 1977. Its original office still stands on the south side of Foothill Blvd. Focus grew to larger quarters in the city, and in intervening years expanded to Monrovia for warehouse space before moving out of Arcadia completely in is now based in Colorado Springs, Colorado;

In the late 1990s, Native American activists threatened to sue Arcadia High School over its use of the "Apache" mascot. The high school's use of Native American symbols, including an "Apache Joe" mascot, the Pow Wow school newspaper, the "Apache News" television program, the "Smoke Signals" news bulletin boards, the school's auxiliary team's marching "Apache Princesses" and opposing football team fans' "Scalp the Apaches" signs were viewed by these Native American activists and many Arcadia community members as being offensive. The school consulted with Native American groups and made some concessions but didn't change the mascot. Some residents of Arcadia, who are former students at the school and have Native American ancestry, do not take offense to the school's use of these symbols, including the White Mountain Apaches of Arizona. Arcadia High School has established good relations with these Apaches with their yearly charity drive to aid them.


In 2006, the median income for a household in the city was $69,241. Males had a median income of $70,594 versus $46,138 for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,400. About 2.7% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.8% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.[citation needed]

Arcadia's economy is driven by wholesale trade, retail trade, manufacturing, health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment, and recreation. Revenue from the Santa Anita Racetrack has long supported capital improvements for the City of Arcadia, resulting in the City having very little bonded indebtedness.

The Westfield Santa Anita mall (formerly the Santa Anita Fashion Park) is a major shopping center in the city. In 2005, the Westfield Santa Anita completed its first phase of expansion featuring a new food court, Sport Chalet, Borders Books and Music, Dave & Busters, numerous smaller retailers, various full-service eateries in an area known as Restaurant Square, and a 16-screen AMC Theatres. In 2008, expansion of the mall continued as the Promenade outdoor structure was completed, with new high-end retailers such as Coach and Talbots.

Currently, there is a proposal by Caruso Affiliated and Magna Entertainment to build a second large shopping mall adjacent to Westfield Santa Anita on the grounds of the Santa Anita Park racetrack. The controversial project, known as "The Shops at Santa Anita", has prompted heated debate among some residents in the community and enormous spending by corporate interests in favor and against the project. If the second mall is built, the combined size of the two malls will make Arcadia the largest retail shopping district in Los Angeles county.

In 2006, CNN and Money Magazine compiled a list of United States cities with the most expensive home prices. Arcadia ranked 19th in the country with an average home price of $703,000.[7]


The city has a council-manager government with a five member city council (Peter Amundson, Roger Chandler, Bob Harbicht, Gary Kovacic, and John Wuo), including the mayor (Wuo).[citation needed]

In the state legislature Arcadia is located in the 29th Senate District, represented by Republican Bob Huff, and in the 44th and 59th Assembly Districts, represented by Democrat Anthony J. Portantino and Republican Anthony Adams respectively. Federally, Arcadia is located in California's 26th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +4[8] and is represented by Republican David Dreier.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Monrovia Health Center in Monrovia, serving Arcadia.[9]


For primary and secondary education the city is served by the Arcadia Unified School District. Reading scores for the AUSD are 76.6% higher than the state average and math scores are 67.9% higher than the state average. It is estimated that 88% of Arcadia students are at public schools (12% in private institutions).

The city has one major and prestigious high school Arcadia High School, three middle schools First Avenue Middle School, Richard Henry Dana Middle School, and Foothills Middle School), and six elementary schools (Baldwin Stocker, Camino Grove, Highland Oaks, Holly Avenue Elementary School, Hugo Reid Elementary School and Longley Way Elementary).

In 2009, BusinessWeek ranked Arcadia as the best place to raise children in the state of California for the second year in row by, citing the city's school system as one of the factors. [10]


Located in the Arcadia Civic Center, Methodist Hospital[11] previously "Methodist Hospital of Southern California", sits on 22 acres (89,000 m2) of land. The hospital opened as Arcadia Methodist Hospital in 1957, having moved from downtown Los Angeles. It has 460 beds in the facility. Methodist was the state's first community hospital to have a psychiatric unit. Its nursery school was one of the first corporate daycare facilities in the U.S. It was an Official Hospital of the 1984 Olympic Games.

Several upgrades have been made to the original facility. For instance, in 1998, the Berger Tower was completed and it holds 169 additional beds. Methodist is undergoing a major renovation and expansion in 2006.

Popular culture

The famous U.S. Route 66, immortalized in song and literature, passes through Arcadia, on Huntington Drive in Downtown Arcadia, before turning off onto Colorado Place and then Colorado Street. After intersecting the 210 freeway, Route 66 runs parallel to and south of the freeway, cutting across the middle section of Arcadia.

The city is mentioned by Jack Kerouac in his novel On the Road: Sal, the protagonist, is run out of town by a group of hostile teens when he stops for food at a local drive-in restaurant with a young Mexican woman. The vignette demonstrates the intolerance and racism prevalent in many places during 1950s America.

In a motel located in Arcadia across the street north-east from Santa Anita Racetrack, author Hunter S. Thompson wrote much of his novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the 1970s. In Michael Cunningham's novel The Hours, Laura Brown mentions that she heard of a man who died in nearby Arcadia.

In the Movie Cloverfield the scene in which the survivors walk inside Bloomingdale's was actually filmed inside a Robinsons-May store under reconstruction inside the Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia

The McDonald brothers, who later began the McDonalds hamburger restaurant chain, opened their first restaurant, The Airdrome, in Arcadia in 1937. The restaurant was located on historic route 66, now Huntington Drive, but later moved to San Bernardino, California in 1940.

In the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, Pastis`s mother lives in Arcadia.

Filming location

Many films (including Tarzan and the Bing Crosby On the Road movies), television shows (most notably Fantasy Island) and commercials have been filmed on the grounds[12] of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

The Santa Anita Park Racetrack. is another popular filming locations. The 2003 true story film Seabiscuit was filmed and takes place at the Santa Anita race track. A commercial for Claritin allergy medicine, a Lexus commercial, and three episodes of Grey's Anatomy have used it as a location ("Walk on Water," "Drowning on Dry Land," and "Some Kind of Miracle").

Scenes in the movie Deal of a Lifetime were filmed on location at Arcadia High School.

The 1996 family comedy, Matilda was filmed in Arcadia.


The Los Angeles County Arboretum is located in Arcadia across from the Santa Anita mall and racetrack. It is a popular attraction especially for the flock of peacocks that inhabit the neighborhood near the arboretum. The Arcadia Festival of Bands is a popular local yearly event.

Notable residents

Some notable Arcadians:

Dusty Gibbs, the 2008 Rose Queen

Sister cities

Arcadia has one sister city (Newcastle, Australia Australia), as designated by Sister Cities International. Consequently, on Colorado Boulevard is Newcastle Park. There is also an Arcadia Park in Newcastle.

See also


Further reading

External links

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