Los Alamitos, California

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City of Los Alamitos
City
Los Alamitos City Hall
Los Alamitos City Hall
Official seal of City of Los Alamitos
Seal
Location of Los Alamitos within Orange County, California.
Location of Los Alamitos within Orange County, California.
Coordinates: 33°48′8″N 118°3′52″W / 33.80222°N 118.06444°W / 33.80222; -118.06444Coordinates: 33°48′8″N 118°3′52″W / 33.80222°N 118.06444°W / 33.80222; -118.06444
Country  United States
State  California
County Orange
Incorporated March 1, 1960[1]
Government
 • City Council Mayor Gerri L. Graham-Mejia
Richard D. Murphy
Troy D. Edgar
Dean Grose
Warren Kusumoto[2]
Area[3]
 • Total 4.116 sq mi (10.659 km2)
 • Land 4.050 sq mi (10.489 km2)
 • Water 0.066 sq mi (0.170 km2)  1.60%
Elevation[4] 23 ft (7 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 11,449
 • Density 2,800/sq mi (1,100/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 90720-90721
Area code(s) 562
FIPS code 06-43224
GNIS feature ID 1652748
Website www.cityoflosalamitos.org

Los Alamitos ("The Little Cottonwoods" in Spanish) is a small city in Orange County, California. The city was incorporated in March 1960. The population was 11,449 at the 2010 census, down from 11,536 at the 2000 census. It is often[citation needed] mistakenly thought[who?] to include the adjacent but unincorporated community of Rossmoor (population just under 11,000), which uses Los Alamitos as its mailing address. Although Rossmoor is not part of Los Alamitos, it is speculated[who?] that it may be annexed to the city, or Rossmoor, Seal Beach, and Los Alamitos will combine to form one city.[5] The Los Alamitos Race Course is also widely believed[who?] to be in the city; although it does have a Los Alamitos postal address and zip code, it actually lies in the neighboring city of Cypress.

The USA Water Polo National Aquatic Center[6] is located on the US Military Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.[7] The training base includes the Los Alamitos Army Airfield.

History[edit]

The clusters of cottonwood trees Spanish explorers saw more than 200 years ago inspired Los Alamitos' name, but it is the sugar beet that figured most prominently in the area's later history. The history of the area during the Californio period and after U.S. annexation is detailed in the article on Rancho Los Alamitos.

The individual history of Los Alamitos separate from the rancho begins with the purchase by John Bixby of the Rancho Los Alamitos. John put together a consortium of himself, his cousins Lewellyn and Jotham (owners of Rancho Los Cerritos) and banker I.W. Hellman to finance the purchase of the Los Alamitos. Upon John's sudden death in 1888, the ranch was divided between the three owning families. The northern third—the land roughly north of present Orangewood Ave. -- went to the Lewellyn-Jotham faction (which later became the Bixby Land Company). By the mid-1890s, after the crash following the land boom of the 1880s—this group was relatively cash-poor and land rich. Having experimented in Northern California with sugar beets, the Bixbys agreed to provide the land, and contracted with Montana silver baron William A. Clark to provide the capital, and got E.A. Dyer to provide the expertise to build a new sugar beet factory on the Bixby's land. The community that grew up around this new sugar beet factory complex—with its streets of company houses for workers and surrounding farms—came to be called Los Alamitos. (As part of his arrangement to build and operate the sugar beet factory, William Clark and his brother H. Ross, who actually ran the Los Alamitos operation, also arranged to purchase significant area east of the factory as well as 8,000 acres (32 km2) of land north of the sugar plant—most of the latter in the Rancho Los Cerritos boundaries—that would eventually become the city of Lakewood. Also, Clark and Hellman were intricately involved with the machinations and corporate dealings of railroad tycoon E. H. Harriman and Henry Edwards Huntington and the destiny of the Southern Pacific in Southern California. In addition, some time after establishing Los Alamitos, the Clarks completed their railroad from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, establishing the desert stop of Las Vegas in the process.

In the early 1900s, sugar beets were delivered to a factory by horse and wagon. Economics, combined with an insect infestation in 1921 caused sugar-beet crop to drop significantly and the eventual demise of the sugar beet industry in Los Alamitos. But the town that had sprung up continued to grow.

On the lands south of the factory (and current Orangewood Avenue), Fred Bixby, son of John Bixby and future member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame, used the sugar beet lands as a finishing ranch to fatten cattle before sending them off to slaughter (he also managed Hellman's lands in present Seal Beach). Bixby, one of the more progressive ranchers of his time, allowed European immigrant, Mexican, and Japanese farmers to rent the land and grow crops. At the beginning of World War II, the Japanese farmers were rounded up and relocated to internment camps at Manzanar and elsewhere.

Just prior to and during early World War II, the area around Los Alamitos became a major center for the aircraft industry. The Clark heirs arranged for Donald Douglas to build a major plant adjacent to the airport in Lakewood and Long Beach. Soon after the Navy decided it wanted the level ground just south of Los Alamitos for its training field, which it moved from Terminal Island. The new base provided many jobs and spurred modest growth. In 1973, the base was designated an Armed Forces Reserve Center. Today, it is a reserve support center for units of the Army, Navy, National Guard and Marines.

Many former military personnel chose to stay on in Los Alamitos after the war, living in such neighborhoods as Carrier Row, where streets are named for World War II aircraft carriers. Other than "the base" the area remained unchanged until 1956 when builder Ross Cortese purchased land to build the walled community of Rossmoor just southwest from the townsite of Los Alamitos. Rossmoor, still the largest single development in Orange County, was the first walled community in the United States and quickly became home to over 10,000 upper middle class professionals. Rossmoor's homes were designed initially by Earle G. Kaltenbach (who also designed Disneyland's original Tomorrowland) and then by Chris Choate, who achieved much fame as the frequent partner of Cliff May. Together the two men were among the most responsible for designing and popularizing the "ranch" style homes which dominated the suburban explosion of the 1950s.

Although Rossmoor never officially became part of Los Alamitos proper, it has become inextricably linked to the town. When Los Alamitos incorporated in 1960 its population was only about 3,400, while still-growing Rossmoor was nearing 10,000. Now they are fairly equal with Los Alamitos being slightly larger than 11,000, and Rossmoor just below that. Rossmoor, still an unincorporated part of Orange County, doesn't pay taxes to Los Alamitos, but the city virtually treats Rossmoor residents as if they were residents. In exchange, the city's many youth programs benefit from the overwhelming number of Rossmoor residents who volunteer for those programs.

The ambitious sugar-beet processor of today would be hard pressed to set up shop in Los Alamitos. Zoning laws keep out heavy manufacturing or industry because nearly all the city land is developed. The Armed Forces Reserve Center takes up 48 percent of the city's 4.3 square miles (11.1 km2). The rest of the city is a snug fitting mix of homes, apartments, businesses and open space.

The small city has been the hometown for a number of noted athletes including Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby, and many major league baseball players, including Andy Messersmith, who challenged baseball's reserve clause and helped established free agency in professional sports . At one point in the late 1980s, six natives of Rossmoor and Los Alamitos were playing baseball in the major leagues -- Robb Nen, J. T. Snow, Greg Harris, Dennis Lamp, Greg Pirkl, and Mike Kelly. The area is also home to record holding long distance swimmer Lynne Cox. It was also home to California Supreme Court Chief Justice Malcolm M. Lucas while he served on the Court, and to award-winning mystery writer Jan Burke.

Climate[edit]

Gardeners use several climate zone indicators to determine the proper plantings for an area. In the U.S. most plants and seeds are indicated for a particular climate by the USDA Hardiness Zone. A more exact measure is the Sunset zone. In Los Alamitos, the USDA Hardiness Zone is 9. http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/hzm-sw1.html The Sunset climate zone is 22. http://plantfinder.sunset.com/sunset/plant-home.jsp

Los Alamitos, California
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
3
 
68
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3
 
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2.4
 
69
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0.6
 
73
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0.2
 
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0.1
 
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0
 
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0.1
 
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0.2
 
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0.4
 
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1.1
 
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1.8
 
69
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: Weather.com / NWS

Demographics[edit]

2010[edit]

The 2010 United States Census[8] reported that Los Alamitos had a population of 11,449. The population density was 2,781.8 people per square mile (1,074.1/km²). The racial makeup of Los Alamitos was 8,131 (71.0%) White (58.7% Non-Hispanic White),[9] 324 (2.8%) African American, 51 (0.4%) Native American, 1,471 (12.8%) Asian, 50 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 726 (6.3%) from other races, and 696 (6.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2,418 persons (21.1%).

The Census reported that 11,206 people (97.9% of the population) lived in households, 40 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 203 (1.8%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,212 households, out of which 1,610 (38.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 2,025 (48.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 731 (17.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 282 (6.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 209 (5.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 19 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 885 households (21.0%) were made up of individuals and 355 (8.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66. There were 3,038 families (72.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.10.

The population was spread out with 2,741 people (23.9%) under the age of 18, 1,077 people (9.4%) aged 18 to 24, 2,938 people (25.7%) aged 25 to 44, 3,099 people (27.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,594 people (13.9%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.7 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.

There were 4,355 housing units at an average density of 1,058.2 per square mile (408.6/km²), of which 1,967 (46.7%) were owner-occupied, and 2,245 (53.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.1%. 5,274 people (46.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 5,932 people (51.8%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Los Alamitos had a median household income of $80,449, with 7.2% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[9]

2000[edit]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 11,536 people, 4,246 households, and 3,035 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,875.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,110.7/km²). There were 4,329 housing units at an average density of 1,079.1 per square mile (416.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.97% White, 2.6%% African American, 3.7%Native American, 9.49% Asian, 11.5% Pacific Islander, 5.37% from other races, and 4.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.3% of the population.

There were 4,246 households out of which 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $55,286, and the median income for a family was $60,767. Males had a median income of $49,946 versus $36,002 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,014. About 4.1% of families and 5.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over. Property prices in the city have increased dramatically over the past 20 years.

Government[edit]

In the California State Legislature, Los Alamitos is in the 34th Senate District, represented by Republican Janet Nguyen, and in the 72nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Travis Allen.[11]

In the United States House of Representatives, Los Alamitos is in California's 47th congressional district, represented by Democrat Alan Lowenthal.[12]

Los Alamitos Television (LATV-3)[edit]

Los Alamitos Television began as a small local Public-access television cable TV channel in 1983 under authorization of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the mission to provide non commercial local programming to, and by, the greater Los Alamitos community.

The City of Los Alamitos is the Local Franchising Authority and currently owns all LATV assets and facilities. LATV-3 has evolved into a station that produces a full range of local programming, including local government, high school sports, local interest and public affairs and educational programming as well as community generated public-access television shows.

As LATV Studio 1 nears completion they are looking to the community to partner with them in creating new and exciting programming in the studio and outside of it that will reflect the cities own local interests, needs and concerns. LATV encourages community members and organizations, educational and business groups with a desire to reach a broader audience to engage with creative ideas for a program or series of programs. LATV will provide the studio, the crew and the technical expertise, the producers provide the creative energy, the program planning, coordination of guests and sponsorship if any.

Most recently LosAl TV Studio 1 has been building a website accessible at www.losaltv.org and www.latv-3.org. Most notably, the site has embedded programming so you can watch current and relevant shows from the website.[13]

Business[edit]

  • The first Claim Jumper restaurant opened in Los Alamitos in 1977. That location closed and is now a Hoffs Hutt, and the closest Claim Jumper is in nearby Long Beach
  • Neverland Studios, a recording studio originally located in Los Alamitos that was often used by Christian Rock bands.

Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[14] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Los Alamitos Medical Center 1,100
2 Arrowhead Products 515
3 Trend Offset Printing 478
4 SuperMedia 350
5 Pharmacy Advantage 158
6 Bloomfield Bakers 150
7 Systems Services of America 150
8 Alamitos West Health Care Center 139
9 Timken 124
10 MDA Information Systems 106

Notable residents and natives[edit]

Schools[edit]

It is a part of the Los Alamitos Unified School District.

  • Los Alamitos High School
  • Laurel High School
  • McAuliffe Middle School
  • Oak Middle School
  • St. Hedwig School, K-8 Private School
  • Hopkinson Elementary
  • Lee Elementary
  • Los Alamitos Elementary
  • Rossmoor Elementary
  • Weaver Elementary

References[edit]

External links[edit]