San Marino, California: Wikis


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City of San Marino
—  City  —

Motto: "Quis Dan volo, Dan accipio"
Location of San Marino in Los Angeles County, California
Coordinates: 34°7′22″N 118°6′47″W / 34.12278°N 118.11306°W / 34.12278; -118.11306Coordinates: 34°7′22″N 118°6′47″W / 34.12278°N 118.11306°W / 34.12278; -118.11306
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated 1913
 - Total 3.8 sq mi (9.8 km2)
 - Land 3.8 sq mi (9.8 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 564 ft (172 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 12,945
 Density 3,407/sq mi (1,321/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 91108, 91118
Area code(s) 626
FIPS code 06-68224
GNIS feature ID 1652789

San Marino is a small, affluent city in Los Angeles County, California. In 2009, Forbes ranked the city's ZIP of 91108 as the 79th most expensive area to live in the United States.[1] The city was named after the Republic of San Marino, which is also present in the city's seal, with the Three Towers of San Marino.



To a prior generation of southern Californians, San Marino was known for its old-money wealth and as a bastion of the region's WASP gentry. By mid-century, other European ethnic groups had become the majority; in recent decades, immigrants of Chinese (especially Taiwanese) ancestry have come to represent nearly half the population.

San Marino may be recognizable to many Americans for the prevalence of movies and television shows filmed in the city. Location scouts turn to San Marino when they wish to make a film in southern California set elsewhere. Certain neighborhoods resemble the Atlantic seaboard because of the atypical housing stock in the city, including Georgian and faux antebellum mansions. Yet the design of many homes is inspired by California Spanish architecture. Television shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and movies such as Father of the Bride  have been filmed in San Marino and Pasadena.


Located here is the renowned Huntington Library, former estate of Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927). He founded the Pacific Electric Railway (the red cars) and financed the Los Angeles Railway (the yellow cars) both of which once operated a widespread network of streetcars in urban Los Angeles County. Henry Huntington played a major role in local real estate development. His uncle-benefactor and business partner Collis P. Huntington was one of the Big Four railroad magnates who in 1861 had founded the Central Pacific Railroad, later acquiring the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1919 Henry Huntington opened to the public limited access to the art collections, and to the rare books and historical documents, housed in the library and in his large neo-Palladian mansion, as well as to the surrounding botanical gardens, all collectively known as the Huntington Library. Huntington Drive and Sierra Madre Boulevard (on whose midways once ran the streetcars) serve as the main thoroughfares of San Marino.

El Molino Viejo ("The Old Mill"), completed about 1816 as a grist mill for Mission San Gabriel, is in San Marino. The original two-story structure measured 53 by 26 feet. It is the oldest commercial building in Southern California.

Another landmark is the Michael White Adobe House, located on the high school campus.

The Edwin Hubble House, residence of astronomer Edwin Hubble, is a National Historic Landmark.

The University of Southern California owns a house in San Marino which is used as the residence of the President of the University. The residence and grounds are often used for University Presidential events.

In the middle of San Marino lies Lacy Park, a huge 30 acre expanse of lush grass and trees rare for urban areas. Originally Wilson Lake in 1875, the land was purchased by the city in 1925 and dedicated as a park. Families in San Marino have enjoyed the park for years, and it remains one of San Marino's best kept secrets. The park includes six championship tennis courts and pro shop, administered by the San Marino Tennis Foundation. At the west entrance of the park is the Rose Arbor, which is of special significance for the people of San Marino. It is sixty years old and has long been a source of beauty and tranquility to many residents. In recent years the care and upkeep of the Rose Arbor itself has been augmented by private donations from dedicated residents who have chosen to sponsor individual posts.

The city's local newspaper office is located in the heart of town near the city's most prominent street, Huntington Drive. "The San Marino Tribune" has been the official newspaper of the city since 1929. There are two sections of the weekly paper, an "A" section and a "B" section, the distinction being that it covers not only San Marino news but also San Gabriel Valley news.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 12,945 people, 4,266 households, and 3,673 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,430.5/mi² (1,325.8/km²). There were 4,437 housing units at an average density of 1,175.8/mi² (454.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 51.98% White, 0.15% African American, 0.05% Native American, 48.4% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.04% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.25% of the population. More than one-third of the city's population, 33.3% were born outside the United States.[3]

There were 4,266 households out of which 42% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.9% were non-families. 12% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 43 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $147,267, and the median income for a family was $155,708. Males had a median income of $98,928 versus $51,853 for females. The per capita income for the city was $59,150. About 3.7% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over. The vast majority, 69.7% of persons, had a Bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 27.2% at the national average.[3]


The city is divided into seven zones, based on minimum lot size. The smallest lot size is about 4,500 square feet, with many averaging over 30,000 square feet. Because of this and other factors, most of the homes in San Marino, built between 1920 and 1950, do not resemble the houses in surrounding Southern California neighborhoods (with the exception, perhaps, of neighboring portions of Pasadena). San Marino has also fostered a sense of historic preservation among its homeowners. With minor exceptions, the city's strict design review and zoning laws have thus far prevented the development of large homes found elsewhere in Los Angeles. No apartment buildings exist in the city.[citation needed]

San Marino is located at 34°7′22″N 118°6′47″W / 34.12278°N 118.11306°W / 34.12278; -118.11306 (34.122658, -118.112964).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.8 mi² (9.8 km²), all land.


As of the 2009 API school reports, the San Marino Unified School District is the top performing school district in California, followed by La Cañada Flintridge, and Palo Alto. Its high school consistently ranks as one of the highest API scores among public high schools in California. Each of its public schools are honored as a California Distinguished School and a United States National Blue Ribbon School.[citation needed]

There are four public schools in San Marino: Valentine Elementary School, Carver Elementary School, Huntington Middle School and San Marino High School. Stoneman Elementary School (named for the Governor who lived in San Marino) is no longer used for instruction by San Marino School District. Southwestern Academy, a private college preparatory school, is also located in San Marino. There is also a private Roman Catholic grammar school, SS. Felicitas and Perpetua. The city took the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to the Supreme Court to block the opening of this school.[citation needed]

The two elementary schools offer instruction for grades K-5, the middle school for grades 6-8 and the high school for grades 9-12.

In 2005 and 2006, the San Marino Unified School District ranked first among all 328 California unified school districts based on the California Academic Performance Index. San Marino High School is considered one of the best-performing public schools on Standardized Achievement Tests (as of 2004) in Southern California. It was also named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2006. Most of San Marino's schools' funds come from private donors and organizations.[citation needed].

In November 2007, San Marino High School was ranked 82nd on a list of the best high school in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.[5]

Government and infrastructure

In the state legislature San Marino is located in the 22nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Gilbert Cedillo, and in the 49th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Mike Eng. Federally, San Marino is located in California's 26th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +3[6] and is represented by Republican David Dreier.[citation needed]

San Marino is a conservative community in the midst of a mostly liberal state. Elected positions are often held by private citizens who show no ambition for higher political office. Political participation generally lies in the form of donations for political parties and candidates. It is also mentioned in Mike Davis's City of Quartz and James Loewen's Sundown Towns for its past racially exclusionary practices.[citation needed]

To preserve quality of life, the city council has passed numerous stringent ordinances, including laws against the use of power equipment on Sunday and against dead lawns. It is illegal to leave trashcans on the street or in public view. Most contractors, including gardeners, are required to have city permits to work in private residential neighborhoods. Multi-family housing is not permitted and none exists within the city limits.[citation needed]

Residents who wish to construct or refurbish their properties must undergo a strict and lengthy process that can include community hearings and consent among all neighbors. The plans must be approved by the city in order for construction to begin. At times, homeowners will be denied construction rights by the city if their plan does not satisfy building or design requirements.{{fact]}

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Monrovia Health Center in Monrovia, serving San Marino.[7]

Notable residents


  • The city of San Marino plays a prominent role in Edward Bunker's 1996 novel Dog Eat Dog.
  • The movie Father of the Bride with Steve Martin, although filmed in neighboring Pasadena and Alhambra, takes place in San Marino. Scenes for the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith were filmed in San Marino, as were scenes from many other movies (like Memoirs of a Geisha (film), "The Holiday", Monster-in-Law, Anger Management, The Wedding Planner, Starsky & Hutch (film), Intolerable Cruelty, Beverly Hills Ninja, One Hour Photo, American Wedding, Mystery Men, S1m0ne, Enough, Men in Black II, Charlie's Angels (film), The Sweetest Thing) and TV shows, like Alias, The Office, The West Wing and Felicity. More recently, the film Disturbia was filmed in San Marino and residents of the area were allowed a sneak preview.
  • Intrigued by the recently renovated campus, stellar academic program and wealthy community base, MTV scouted San Marino High School in early 2004 looking to cast students and shoot pilots for three different proposed television show concepts. The school administration agreed to hold a casting call on campus with students during school hours. Producers eventually shot two of the three proposed pilots, only one of which aired. The short-lived "Borrow My Crew" series followed a high school senior around for a few weeks up until Prom Night—in which singer and actress Jennifer Lopez lent her personal hair dresser, make-up crew, and stylist to make her Prom Night extra special. Celebrity Fonzworth Bentley was her date to the event and later performed on the dance floor with the student body. The third show concept was for a documentary series that would follow a group of wealthy and privileged high school kids as they went about their everyday lives—intended as a reality spin-off homage to the show Beverly Hills, 90210 and in the format of MTV's long-time running The Real World. Producers eventually decided to create the show in Orange County, set amongst a liberal beach town to capitalize on the immense success of Fox Network's new teen-drama sitcom The O.C.. The concept eventually came to be the first season of the now popular reality television program Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.
  • In the Movie "Mask", Rocky Dennis (played by Erik Stoltz) has a girlfriend from San Marino.


  • James T. Maher, The Twilight of Splendor : Chronicles of the Age of American Palaces 1975. Chapter on Huntington's San Marino

External links

Simple English

San Marino is a small, wealthy residential community in California near Los Angeles, California.

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