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City of Buena Park
—  City  —
Location of Buena Park within Orange County, California.
Coordinates: 33°51′22″N 118°0′15″W / 33.85611°N 118.00417°W / 33.85611; -118.00417
Country United States
State California
County Orange
 - City Council Mayor Don McCay
Art Brown
Jim Dow
Patsy Marshall
Fred Smith
 - City Manager Rick Warsinski
 - Total 10.6 sq mi (27.6 km2)
 - Land 10.6 sq mi (27.4 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 75 ft (23 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 78,282
 - Density 7,406.1/sq mi (2,859.5/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 90620-90624
Area code(s) 714
FIPS code 06-08786
GNIS feature ID 1652676

Buena Park is a city located in northwestern Orange County, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 78,282. The city is located adjacent to the city of Anaheim and is located 12 miles (20 km) northwest of downtown Santa Ana. The Current OMB metropolitan designation for Buena Park and the Orange County Area is "Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA." Buena Park is home to several tourist attractions, most notably Knott's Berry Farm and the headquarters of grocery store chain Frazier Foods (see Points of interest).



Original Spanish explorers settled on the enormous ranchos by land grants made by the King of Spain. Manuel Nieto of the Portola Expeditions received such a grant in 1783, which was divided by his heirs into five separate ranchos in 1834. One of them, 46,806-acre (189.42 km2) Rancho Los Coyotes, included the current site of the City of Buena Park where the rancho’s adobe headquarters was located on what is now Los Coyotes Country Club’s golf course.

The area was transferred from Spanish authority to Mexican rule in 1822 and subsequently California was granted statehood in 1850. Americanization further expanded in the area after completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and its connection to Los Angeles in 1875. By then, Abel Stearns had acquired Rancho Los Coyotes in consideration for loans made to Pio and Andrés Pico. In 1885, James A. Whitaker purchased 690 acres (2.8 km2) of this land from Stearns and in 1887 he founded the City of Buena Park in conjunction with the railway development of what we now know as Orange County. The city was incorporated in 1953. An agricultural center when founded (particularly dairy, wine and citrus products) the city is now primarily a residential suburb.

In recent decades, the city became a popular real estate choice for African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans as the region has become more open.


Origin of the city name

The exact derivation of the name Buena Park is uncertain. One theory is that the founder of the city, James A. Whitaker, a wholesale grocer from Chicago, used the name of a Chicago suburb by the same name: Buena Park, Illinois. The community in Illinois and the new township in California were both named in 1887, which is the reason for the confusion about which was named first.

Another theory relates to the artesian well and its park-like grounds once located at the current intersection of Artesia and Beach Blvd. (formerly Grand Ave.). Local settlers referred to the area as "Plaza Buena" which means "good park" in Spanish. The mixing of the Spanish and English languages to name Buena Park reflects the major historical influences in the area. There is historic precedent with Yorba Rancho peons using the name "Plaza Buena" decades, if not a century before Whitaker came to southern California.

Therefore, it is possible that the community in Illinois was named after the township in California. James A. Whitaker's brother Andrew lived in Buena Park, IL before moving to Buena Park, CA to join his brother. He may be the link between R. A. Waller (founder of the Buena Park, IL community) and James A. Whitaker's newly formed township.[1]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.6 km² (10.6 mi²). 27.4 km² (10.6 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (0.56%) is water. One of the things Buena Parkians are proud of is that Buena Park is considered the center of the southland.

It is bordered by Fullerton on the east, Anaheim on the southeast, Cypress on the southwest, Cerritos and La Palma on the west, and La Mirada on the north.


Buena Park, like the rest of the Los Angeles basin is well-known for its year-round pleasant weather:
-On average, the warmest month is August.
-The highest recorded temperature was 108°F in 2004.
-On average, the coolest month is January.
-The lowest recorded temperature was 30°F in 2002.
-The maximum average precipitation occurs in February.

Buena Park has a Mediterranean climate or Dry-Summer Subtropical (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland), enjoying plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of 263 sunshine days and only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.[2]

Buena Park, California
Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: / NWS

The period of April through November is warm to hot and dry with average high temperatures of 71 - 79°F and lows of 50 - 62°F. Due to the moderating effect of the ocean, temperatures are cooler than more inland areas of Los Angeles, where temperatures frequently exceed 90°F (32°C) and occasionally reach 100°F (38°C) in inland areas (due to the moderating effect of the ocean).

The period of November through March is somewhat rainy, as shown in the table to left.[3]

The Los Angeles area is also subject to the phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 18°F (10°C) between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over one degree per mile (1.6 km) from the coast inland. California has also a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom or May Grey", which sometimes brings overcast or foggy skies in the morning on the coast, but usually gives way to sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.

The Los Angeles region averages 15 inches (385 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally light rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Coastal areas receive slightly less rainfall, while the mountains receive slightly more. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter.

The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches (5 cm) in 1932.[4][5]


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 78,282 people, 23,332 households, and 18,735 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,859.5/km² (7,403.1/mi²). There were 23,826 housing units at an average density of 870.3/km² (2,253.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.99% White, 3.83% Black or African American, 0.96% Native American, 21.06% Asian, 0.51% Pacific Islander, 15.19% from other races, and 5.46% from two or more races. 33.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 23,332 households out of which 43.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.7% were non-families. 14.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.32 and the average family size was 3.64.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.4% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $50,336, and the median income for a family was $52,327. Males had a median income of $37,471 versus $30,287 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,031. About 8.0% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.8% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

Buena Park's E-Zone district, located along Beach Boulevard, is home to several well-known tourist destinations: the venerable Knott's Berry Farm theme park and its sister water park Knott's Soak City, Pirate's Dinner Adventure Show, and a Medieval Times dinner show. The Movieland Wax Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the world, was once located in the E-Zone until it closed in 2005. The Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum, across the street from the Wax Museum, has also been vacated. There also used to be a Japanese Village and Deer Park on Knott Avenue. The E-Zone also neighbors Anaheim, with Disneyland just east by way of Katella Avenue, Ball Road, and Interstate 5.

The City of Buena Park has its own local history park located on Beach Blvd just south of Interstate 5. On these grounds, the city has preserved several historic buildings. These include the Whitaker-Jaynes House (which serves as the city's local history museum) the Bacon House - possibly the oldest surviving structure from the area, the Stage Stop Hotel (which houses the current Chamber of Commerce offices) and the Tice House. The Buena Park Historical Society manages and maintains the historical content of the museum. The Dreger Clock, a 75 year old multi-faced street clock, best known for the time it spent at Knott's Berry Farm, was installed in front of the Whitaker/Jaynes house overlooking Beach Blvd in September 2009 after a two year restoration project.

Government and politics

Local government

Buena Park was incorporated as a General Law City on January 27, 1953. As a General Law City, it is governed by a body of rules in the State Constitution and may adopt its own laws in areas not preempted by State Law. Buena Park operates as a council-manager type of government. Under this type of government, the City Council is the policy-making body and the City Manager is responsible for carrying out Council policy and everyday management of city functions. An elected City Council of five non-partisan members is elected at large and the chair acts as mayor.[7]

County, state, and federal representation

In the state legislature Buena Park is located in the 33rd, 34th, and 35th Senate Districts, represented by Republican Dick Ackerman, Democrat Lou Correa, and Republican Tom Harman respectively, and in the 56th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Tony Mendoza. Federally, Buena Park is located in California's 40th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +8[8] and is represented by Republican Ed Royce.

The United States Postal Service Buena Park Post Office is located at 7377 La Palma Avenue.[9]


Buena Park is home to one of the 13 special district libraries in the State of California. The Buena Park Library District is a single-purpose library district governed by an elected Board of Trustees, and has as its principal source of income a small property tax proration. The library's early history is much like other communities: it operated on and off as a volunteer operation beginning in 1905 at several temporary locations with donated books. It was formally established as a library district through the efforts of the Buena Park Woman's Club in 1919, and, through a few more building changes, is now located at 7150 La Palma Avenue, between Knott Avenue and Western Avenue. The current facility's construction was completed in early 1969 financed by a bond measure passed by the citizens of Buena Park on June 6, 1967. The community's library holds over 125,000 library materials from books to music CDs, magazines to movies, and provides a number of free public programs for all ages every week. It has free Internet service, and free library cards to all California residents. The library also has photocopier and fax services for small fees. The library is also a US Passport Acceptance Agency for the U.S. Department of State and its service hours are posted at both the Passport Acceptance Agency's and the library's web sites. Its support group, the Volunteer Guild of the Buena Park Library, runs a bookstore and sells gently used materials. The bookstore is located on the Library's second floor.

The city is served by seven different school districts. Buena Park School Districtcovers nearly the entire northern half of the city, which feeds into the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, while the Centralia, Cypress, Magnolia and Savanna districts serve the remainder of the city, feeding into the Anaheim Union High School District. Buena Park High School is the only high school within city limits. Kennedy, Savanna, Sunny Hills and Western High Schools also all serve the city's students, but are in either Fullerton, La Palma or Anaheim.

Gordon H Beatty, Arthur F. Corey, Charles G. Emery, Carl E. Gilbert, Mabel L. Pendleton and James A. Whitaker Elementary Schools along with Buena Park Junior High are the seven schools that make up the Buena Park School District.


Emergency services

Fire protection in Buena Park is provided by the Orange County Fire Authority. Law enforcement is provided by the Buena Park Police Department. Ambulance service is provided by Care Ambulance Service.


Buena Park's main commercial artery is Beach Boulevard, State Route 39, also home to the city's civic center, the E-Zone entertainment district, and Buena Park Downtown shopping center. The Riverside Freeway (SR 91) and Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) criss-cross the city, connecting it with cities to the east and west, north and south respectively. The Orange County Transportation Authority provides public bus services, but most residents rely on cars.

Fullerton Municipal Airport is the closest airport, but the nearest airport with commercial service is Long Beach Airport, about 13 miles (21 km) to the southwest. Both Union Pacific (originally Southern Pacific) and BNSF railroad tracks cross the city. Construction on a Metrolink Orange County Line station in Buena Park started in January 2006, and the station opened in September 2007. [1]


  1. ^ Buena Park News, June 25, 1972, page A-2 "From Coyotes to Commerce: Origin of the Name 'Buena Park'" by H. A. (Hub) Chamberlain. This was article 39 of 133 that appeared in the twice-weekly series "From Coyotes to Commerce: ... "
  2. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Los Angeles, California, United States of America". Retrieved 2009-01-08.  
  3. ^
  4. ^ Rasmussen, Cecilia (2005-03-10). "We're Not in Kansas, but We Do Get Twisters - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2009-01-08.  
  5. ^ Burt, Christopher. Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book. New York: Norton, 2004: 100.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  7. ^ City of Buena Park: City Structure Retrieved 2009-04-07
  8. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2008-02-10.  
  9. ^ "Post Office Location - BUENA PARK." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 6, 2008.

External links

Coordinates: 33°51′22″N 118°0′15″W / 33.85611°N 118.00417°W / 33.85611; -118.00417


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