Azusa, California

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Azusa, California
City of Azusa
Azusa City Hall
Azusa City Hall
Official seal of Azusa, California
Official logo of Azusa, California
Nickname(s): "The Canyon City"
Location of Azusa in Los Angeles County, California
Location of Azusa in Los Angeles County, California
Coordinates: 34°7′50″N 117°54′25″W / 34.13056°N 117.90694°W / 34.13056; -117.90694Coordinates: 34°7′50″N 117°54′25″W / 34.13056°N 117.90694°W / 34.13056; -117.90694
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated (city) December 29, 1898
 • Mayor Joseph Rocha
 • Total 9.669 sq mi (25.042 km2)
 • Land 9.656 sq mi (25.010 km2)
 • Water 0.013 sq mi (0.032 km2)  0.13%
Elevation 610 ft (186 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 46,361
 • Density 4,800/sq mi (1,900/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 91702
Area code(s) 626
FIPS code 06-03386
GNIS feature ID 1652667

Azusa is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The A on the San Gabriel Mountains is the city of Azusa's pride and can be seen within a 30 mile radius. The population was 46,361 at the 2010 census, up from 44,712 at the 2000 census. Azusa is one of the pass through cities for the historical Route 66 on Foothill Boulevard and Alosta Avenue. Though sometimes assumed to be a compaction of the phrase "everything from A to Z in the USA, the place name "Azusa" traces back to at least the 18th century. Azusa originally referred to the San Gabriel Valley and river, and likely derives from the Tongva place name Asuksagna.[2]


The first Western settlement in Azusa consisted of a three mile land grant from the Mexican Government to Luis Arenas in 1841. In 1844 Arenas sold the land to Henry Dalton, an Englishman, for $7,000. Dalton, whose adjacent lands included the Rancho San Francisquito and the Rancho Santa Anita, built a winery, distillery, vinegar house, meat smokehouse and flour mill, in addition to planting a vineyard.

With the cession of California to the United States following the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the land grants would be honored. As required by the Land Act of 1851, a claim for Rancho San Francisquito was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852, confirmed by the Commission in 1853, but rejected by the US District Court in 1855, on the grounds that Henry Dalton was not, at the time of the grant, a citizen of Mexico.[3] The decree was reversed by the US Supreme Court,[4] and the grant was patented to Henry Dalton in 1867.[5]

Dalton eventually signed the land over to Los Angeles banker Jonathan S. Slauson in 1880. Slauson laid out the plan for the city in 1887 and the city was officially incorporated in 1898.[6]

Azusa is the location for the outdoor shopping mall Citrus Crossing, and it is also home to Azusa Pacific University and Azusa High School.


The city is located at the entrance to the San Gabriel Canyon (hence the city's nickname, The Canyon City) and on the east side of the San Gabriel River.

City layout[edit]

Azusa's main arterial roads are:

  • Azusa Avenue (State Route 39), which starts in the Angeles National Forest and travels down south past the Foothill Freeway Interstate 210 (I-210) and I-10 all the way through Orange County.
  • Foothill Boulevard (U.S. Route 66), which starts in Azusa–Irwindale and turns into Alosta Avenue and travels in front of Azusa Pacific University.
  • San Gabriel Avenue which starts at Sierra Madre Avenue and travels south and connects into Azusa Avenue. San Gabriel Avenue is used for the annual Azusa Golden Days Parade.

Azusa is located at 34°7′50″N 117°54′25″W / 34.13056°N 117.90694°W / 34.13056; -117.90694.[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25 km2), over 99% of it land.


This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Azusa has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[8]



The 2010 United States Census[9] reported that Azusa had a population of 46,361. The population density was 4,794.9 people per square mile (1,851.3/km²). The racial makeup of Azusa was 26,715 (57.6%) White (19.3% Non-Hispanic White),[10] 1,499 (3.2%) African American, 562 (1.2%) Native American, 4,054 (8.7%) Asian, 87 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 11,270 (24.3%) from other races, and 2,174 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31,328 persons (67.6%).

The Census reported that 43,559 people (94.0% of the population) lived in households, 2,691 (5.8%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 111 (0.2%) were institutionalized.

There were 12,716 households, out of which 5,955 (46.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 6,310 (49.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,275 (17.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,014 (8.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 891 (7.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 104 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,238 households (17.6%) were made up of individuals and 761 (6.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.43. There were 9,599 families (75.5% of all households); the average family size was 3.85.

The population was spread out with 12,407 people (26.8%) under the age of 18, 7,724 people (16.7%) aged 18 to 24, 13,185 people (28.4%) aged 25 to 44, 9,469 people (20.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 3,576 people (7.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.3 years. For every 100 females there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

There were 13,386 housing units at an average density of 1,384.4 per square mile (534.5/km²), of which 6,802 (53.5%) were owner-occupied, and 5,914 (46.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.6%. 22,805 people (49.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 20,754 people (44.8%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Azusa had a median household income of $53,063, with 19.2% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[10]


As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 44,712 people, 12,549 households, and 9,298 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,023.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,939.7/km²). There were 13,013 housing units at an average density of 1,462.1 per square mile (564.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.35% White, 3.78% Black or African American, 1.31% Native American, 6.14% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 30.52% from other races, and 5.73% from two or more races. 63.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,549 households out of which 43.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 18.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.41 and the average family size was 3.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.8% under the age of 18, 15.5% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 15.3% 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 97.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,191, and the median income for a family was $40,918. Males had a median income of $30,845 versus $26,565 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,412. About 15.1% of families and 18.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.9% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

In the California State Legislature, Azusa is located in the 24th Senate District, represented by Democrat Gloria Romero, and in the 57th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Edward P. Hernandez. Federally, Azusa is located in California's 32nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +17[12] and is represented by Democrat Grace Napolitano. The city mayor is Joseph Romero Rocha.

On March 9, 2011, Azusa voters approved an agreement between Azusa Rock, Inc. and the City to address environmental issues associated with hillside mining in the area.[13] The benefits of the proposed agreement has been questioned by several groups.[14]

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Monrovia Health Center in Monrovia, serving Azusa.[15]


According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[16] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Azusa Unified School District 1,600
2 Northrop Grumman 1,100
3 Azusa Pacific University 900
4 City of Azusa 522
5 Costco 311
6 Berger Bros. 300
7 Pacific Precision Metals 250
8 TruWood Products 160
9 Wynn's 150
10 Rain Bird 132
11 California Amforge 106
12 Vulcan 100
13 Naked Juice 75
14 Morris National 70
15 Physicians Formula 70
16 Heppner Hardwoods 63
17 Stoelting 37

Azusa was once home to the Lucky Lager brewery and its successor, General Brewing. Built in 1949, the facility was purchased and converted to production by Miller Brewery in May 1966. A decade later, Miller relocated its operations to the nearby city of Irwindale and the Azusa facility ceased production in 1980 and was eventually torn down.

Azusa was also home to a plant for rocket developer, Aerojet. In 1980, it was announced that there was TCE contamination in the groundwater at Aerojet's facility in Azusa. The area was declared a Superfund Site in 1985. In 1997, additional chemical contamination, mostly NDMA and ammonium perchlorate, was found in the site's groundwater. Aerojet was named as a Potentially Responsible Party for the groundwater contamination. Aerojet sold this facility in 2001 to Northrop Grumman Corporation.


Azusa is home to Azusa Pacific University, a private Christian university and Dhammakaya Open University, a private Buddhist university.

Azusa is home to St. Frances of Rome Elementary School, serving grades k-8, which is part of St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church, under the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Azusa is served by the Azusa Unified School District. Its schools include:

  • Azusa High School
  • Gladstone High School
  • Sierra (Continuation) High School A model continuation school
  • Azusa Adult School
  • Eleven traditional elementary schools - Dalton, Ellington, Gladstone Street, Hodge, Lee, Magnolia, Mountain View, Murray, Paramount, Powell, and Valleydale
  • Three intermediate schools - Center, Foothill, and Slauson
  • One Kindergarten-only elementary school - Longfellow
  • One elementary-intermediate combo school (grades K-8) to be constructed by approximately 2010
  • Azusa Pacific University

Ellington is going to be a K-8 school in 2015-2016


Azusa lies mostly along the Foothill Freeway (I-210) between the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) and the Orange Freeway (State Route 57). Azusa's Azusa Avenue (State Route 39) travels all the way from the Angeles National Forest starting from San Gabriel Canyon Road/Sierra Madre Avenue all the way down south through Orange County.

Azusa is to be the eastern terminus of the first phase of a planned extension, the "Foothill Extension," of the Metro Gold Line light rail service, which currently operates between Los Angeles Union Station and eastern Pasadena. Like the current Gold Line, it would operate along former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway right-of-way purchased by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1993. MTA plans to extend the line to the end of its reserved right-of-way in Montclair, just across the San Bernardino County line.

In October 2009, the MTA Board unanimously voted to include the Foothill Extension in its long-range plan, and approved funding for the construction and operation of the Foothill Extension's first phase to Azusa. The terminus of this extension will be at the second of two stops in Azusa. The first stop will be the Alamada Station, just west of Alameda Avenue and east of Azusa Avenue, a main thoroughfare. The second stop will be at the planned northern extension of Citrus Avenue at Azusa's eastern border. This phase of the extension is scheduled to break ground in June 2010, and is expected to be completed and opened in September 2015.

There is no passenger rail service to Azusa, although Metrolink's San Bernardino Line stops in nearby Covina and Baldwin Park several times each day. The Jack Benny Program which aired from the 1930s to the 1950s had a running joke where a train announcer (Mel Blanc) would announce the next train for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga, all three then small towns without rail service.

Public safety[edit]

The City of Azusa has its own Police Department, and maintained its own fire department until 1982. The city fire department merged with Los Angeles County Fire Department after a city election where the citizens approved an advisory measure to merge the fire department with the County in order to obtain paramedic and EMT services for the city. The LA County Consolidated Fire Department services Azusa from Fire Station 32 (605 N Alameda) and Fire Station 97 (Sierra Madre Blvd along the foothills), with backup assistance from Fire Station 152, 153, and 154 (Covina), Fire Station 29 (Baldwin Park), Station 44 (Duarte), and Station 48 (Irwindale). Fire Station 32, which was Azusa's own fire station, houses 1 front line paramedic squad with an average of 12.29 calls per 24 hour shift, and 1 front line engine with an average of 7.05 calls per 24 hour shift. Fire Station 32 also houses a reserve engine (E-532), an urban search and rescue trailer, and MA-32.

Fire Station 97 houses 1 front line engine, and 1 front line patrol. Fire Station 32 is also home to Explorer Post 16, a youth program for 15-21 year olds that are interested in a career in the fire service. The Post meets on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. The program is a joint with the Boy Scouts of America. Once becoming certified, the Explorer is then allowed to "Ride-Along," with different fire stations throughout the county.

The Azusa Police Department was home to the very first Chevrolet Camaro police car ever built.[citation needed] Originally produced at the now-closed GM Assembly Plant in Van Nuys (with a custom turbocharging system donated by race-car legend Gale Banks), it inspired the California Highway Patrol and the Michigan State Police to order a few Camaro police specials for their fleets.[citation needed] The Camaro was finally retired from active service in 2000. At that time it was the only Camaro police car of the original mid-1980s design to remain in service in any California police force.[citation needed]

Sister cities[edit]

Azusa has one sister city:[17]

Professional sports teams[edit]

Club Sport Founded League Venue
SoCal Legends Basketball 2005 Continental Basketball Association Azusa Pacific University

In popular culture[edit]

A popular running gag on the long-running radio comedy The Jack Benny Program involved a character voiced by Mel Blanc announcing the arrival or departure of a train to or from "Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc-a-monga."

The city's name also appeared in the title of the Jan and Dean song, "Anaheim, Azusa, & Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review And Timing Association" in 1964.

In 1971 Life magazine ran a cover story on teen pregnancy featuring a unique program for pregnant high school teens. The story focused on teenage mothers attending Citrus High School in Azusa. At a time when many pregnant teens were shunned by their schools and families, Citrus High School sought to help the teen mothers continue their studies while pregnant.[18]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ Rasmussen, Cecilia (June 3, 2007). "What's in a name? Clues to a city's past". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2007-12-22. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  3. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 22 SD
  4. ^ Henry Dalton v. The United States, US Supreme Court, 63 US 436, 22 Howard 436 (1859)
  5. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
  6. ^ "Azusa History." Azusa, CA - Official Website. Retrieved on July 25, 2012.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ Climate Summary for Azusa, California
  9. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  10. ^ a b  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Archived from the original on 19 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  13. ^ "Voters elect tried and true in San Gabriel Valley". Pasadena Star-News (Pasadena, CA). March 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  14. ^ "Save Our Canyon: What is the Extent of Expansion of the Azusa Rock Quarry Plan?". Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  15. ^ "Monrovia Health Center." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 27, 2010.
  16. ^ City of Azusa CAFR
  17. ^ Azusa - Sister Cities
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8. 

External links[edit]