Sunday, March 1, 2015

What do you know about the city of La Mirada? (A series about some of the cities in Los Angeles County)

La Mirada, CA is located in the southeast part of Los Angeles County.  La Mirada is Spanish and means the view in English.  The city made CNN Money Magazine's "Best Place to Live" list, coming in 34th, due to the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center as two of its main attributes.  Biola University is located in La Mirada and is an evangelical Christian institution of higher education.  The city was incorporated on March 23, 1960, as Mirada Hills, and had received much attention in the 1950's due to the fact that it was going to be completely structured and planned out.

This city was the creation of Andrew McNally and his son-in-law, Edwin Neff.  Andrew McNally was a printer and mapmaker from Chicago, as well as founder and president of Rand McNally.  In 1888, McNally purchased approximately 2200 acres of Rancho Los Coyotes for $200,000.  700 of the 2200 acres were developed into a home for Andrew McNally and was called Windermere Ranch. The other 1500 acres were set aside for gentlemen's estates, as he was hoping to attract some of his friends from Chicago, to move west.   On Windermere Ranch, he built a home, a barn, a caretaker's home and had olive, orange and lemon groves planted throughout the area.  He had a plant and a railroad station built on Stage Road, which provided access for his olive oil and fruit to be shipped all over the United States.  The railroad still uses the railroad tracks along Stage Road.

Neff House

In 1896, McNally turned the property over to his daughter and son-in-law.  The two men formed the La Mirada Land Company, which published a booklet entitled "The Country Gentleman in California.  This booklet advertised parcels of land for sale including pictures, a map and descriptions of the scenic olive, alfalfa, lemon and grapefruit groves.  After a few years, Bill Neff and his wife, Mina moved into the home, which became known as Neff House and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Carriage House

George House

In 1948, La Mirada had a population of 213 and was surrounded by orange, lemon, walnut and olive groves; as well as oil wells, an olive oil factory and fruit packing houses.  In 1953, the land was sold to subdivisions for 52 million dollars, which was one of the largest real estate transactions in California.  On November 8, 1960, Mirada Hills was voted to be changed to La Mirada and was officially certified on December 15, 1960, as La Mirada.  The current population is just over 50,000; who live on a total area of 7.8 square miles.

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