El Monte, California: Wikis


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City of El Monte
—  City  —

Motto: End of the Santa Fe Trail
Location of El Monte in the County of Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°4′24″N 118°1′39″W / 34.07333°N 118.0275°W / 34.07333; -118.0275
Country United States United States
State California California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated November 18, 1912
 - Type Council-Manager
 - Mayor Ernest Gutierrez
 - City Treasurer Henry Velasco[1]
 - Total 25.1 km2 (9.7 sq mi)
 - Land 24.7 km2 (9.6 sq mi)
 - Water 0.4 km2 (0.1 sq mi)
Elevation 91 m (299 ft)
Population (2000)
 - Total 115,965
 Density 4,688.4/km2 (12,142.9/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 91731-91735
Area code(s) 626
FIPS code 06-22230
GNIS feature ID 1652702

El Monte (pronounced /ɛl ˈmɒnte/) is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is a suburb of Los Angeles. The city's slogans are "the end of the Santa Fe Trail" and "Welcome to Friendly El Monte." As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 115,965. As of 2002, El Monte is the 191st largest city in the United States. It was also the 44th largest city in California. El Monte Lies in the San Gabriel Valley region East of the city of Los Angeles.



Oldest home in El Monte, built 1849 (photo from 1922).

Settlement began in 1849, though missionaries and Spanish soldiers passed through the area as early as the 1770s. The Old Spanish Trail, originating in Santa Fe, New Mexico passed through El Monte. In the 1850s the village (renamed Lexington by American settlers) was the crossroad between Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Pedro. It had a reputation as a rough town where men often settled disputes with knives and guns in its gambling saloons. Defense against Indian raids and the crimes of bandit gangs like that of Juan Flores and Pancho Daniel led to the formation of a local militia company called the Monte Rangers on February 23, 1854.[2] After the Monte Rangers disbanded, local justice in the form of a lynching was often provided by the local vigilantes called the "El Monte Boys".

By 1861 El Monte had become a sizeable settlement and during the American Civil War was considered a hotbed of secessionist sympathies. A. J. King an Undersheriff of Los Angeles County (and former member of the earlier "Monte Rangers") with other influetial men in El Monte, formed a secessionist militia company, like the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles, called the Monte Mounted Rifles on March 23, 1861. However the attempt failed when following the battle of Fort Sumter, A. J. King marched through the streets with a portrait of the Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard and was arrested by a U.S. Marshal. State arms sent from Governor John G. Downey for the unit were held up by Union officers at the port of San Pedro. Union troops established New Camp Carleton near the town in 1862 to prevent any insurrection. It was closed in 1865.[3]

In 1866, the State Legislature, named the locality the El Monte Township and the village of Lexington was designated as its seat. In 1868, the village of Lexington returned to the name of El Monte. By 1912, El Monte was incorporated as a municipality.

During the 1930s, the city became an important site for the New Deal's federal Subsistence Homestead project, a Resettlement Administration program that helped supply single-family ranch houses to qualifying applicants. Celebrated photographer Dorothea Lange snapped several pictures of the housing units as part of her work for the Farm Security Administration.

The community of El Monte was the first in California founded by Americans of European descent. Once home to many settlers from the 1930s era Dust Bowl Migration, the city became increasingly Latino and is often viewed as a stronghold of Latinos.

El Monte was the birthplace of John Larkin, also known as (Scatman John), and of singer Mary Ford. El Monte was also briefly the home to author James Ellroy until his mother Geneva was murdered there. Also El Monte was home to Gregg Myers and to musician Joe McDonald, who performed in the 1960s with Country Joe & the Fish. Jockey, William Shoemaker was a resident and attended El Monte High until dropped out to work in the stables. Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong fame was a resident, as was Frank Zappa, who referenced El Monte Legion Stadium in his song "Dog Breath in the Year of the Plague" and his first song "Memories of El Monte". Former Baseball Great Fred Lynn also lived in El Monte. A popular local attraction from 1925-1942 was Gay's Lion Farm. The famous live lion farm no longer exists, but a memorial statue can be seen next to I-10 on the SE corner of Valley Blvd. and Peck Road. Actor-filmmaker Timothy Carey filmed much of his celebrated underground feature "The World's Greatest Sinner" (1962) in El Monte. It is also credited with being the birth place of TV Variety Shows. El Monte is also famous for the American Legion dance hall (the 'it' place at the time). Some Famous singers who performed there include: Ritchie Valens, Rosie & The Originals, Brenton Wood, and Earth Wind & Fire Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and The Johnny Otis Show.. The stadium is also notable for popularizing disk jockeys Art Laboe, and Huggy Boy.

Name origin

According to the city website: "Between the 1770s and 1830s, missionaries and Spanish soldiers stopped here, and named the area, 'El Monte,' which referred not to the mountain as most assume, but to that era's definition—'meadow or marsh' or 'the wooded place.'"[4]


El Monte is located at 34°4′24″N 118°1′39″W / 34.07333°N 118.0275°W / 34.07333; -118.0275 (34.073276, -118.027491).[5] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25.1 km²), of which, 9.6 square miles (24.7 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (1.44%) is water.



El Monte has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa).

Climate data for El Monte
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 70
Average low °F (°C) 43
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.07
Source: [6] {{{accessdate}}}


As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 115,965 people, 27,034 households, and 23,005 families residing in the city. The population density was 12,139.5 people per square mile (4,688.4/km²). There were 27,758 housing units at an average density of 2,905.8/sq mi (1,122.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 35.67% White, 0.77% Black or African American, 1.38% Native American, 18.51% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 39.27% from other races, and 4.29% from two or more races. 72.39% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 27,034 households out of which 53.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.0% were married couples living together, 18.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.9% were non-families. 10.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.24 and the average family size was 4.43.

In the city the population was spread out with 34.1% under the age of 18, 12.1% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 102.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,439, and the median income for a family was $32,402. Males had a median income of $21,789 versus $19,818 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,316. About 22.5% of families and 26.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.

El Monte's population has grown very rapidly during the last half century:

  • 1960 - 31,900
  • 1970 - 70,975
  • 1980 - 79,494
  • 1990 - 106,209
  • 2000 - 115,965
  • 2004 - 122,123 (estimate)


El Monte is also famous for the long time rock n roll hit, "Memories of El Monte", written by Frank Zappa and originally recorded by The Penguins, one of the local Doo-wop groups from the 1950s that became famous nationwide. The Song is in remembrance of The El Monte Legion Stadium and can be heard on many albums including Art Laboe's Memories of El Monte.


The El Monte Union High School District consists of the following schools:

Elementary school districts include:

  • El Monte City School District
  • Mountain View School District


In the state legislature El Monte is located in the 24th Senate District, represented by Democrat Gloria Romero, and in the 49th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Mike Eng. Federally, El Monte is located in California's 32nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +17[8] and is represented by Democrat Judy Chu.


  • The El Monte City Council is compromised of six members:
  • El Monte City Mayor Andre Quintero
  • El Monte City Councilmember & Mayor Pro Tem Juventino Gomez
  • El Monte City Councilwoman Emily Ishigaki
  • El Monte City Councilwoman Patricia Wallach
  • El Monte City Councilwoman Norma Macias

Following are the City Commissions in the City of El Monte, that advise the El Monte City Council:

  • El Monte City Planning Commission
  • El Monte City Veteran and Homeless Affairs Commission
  • El Monte City Community Services Commission
  • El Monte City Youth Commission
  • El Monte City Patriotic Commission
  • El Monte City Cultural Commission
  • El Monte City Personnel Appeals Commission
  • El Monte City Public Cable Access Commission
  • El Monte City Permit Commission
  • El Monte City Arts in Public Places Advisory Commission
  • El Monte City Beautification Commission

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

Notable Residents

  • Lorenzo Oatman and his sister Olive Oatman, survivors of the Oatman Massacre of 1851 in Arizona
  • Hilda Solis, served in the California State Assembly, the California State Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and serves as United States Secretary of Labor
  • Scatman John was an American jazz musician and singer who created a fusion of scat singing and dance music


External links


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