Palos Verdes is a group of coastal cities in the Palos Verdes Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, within southwestern Los Angeles County in the U.S. state of California. The Palos Verdes Peninsula cities include Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates.
The peninsula was the homeland of the Tongva-Gabrieliño Native Americans people for thousands of years. In other areas of the Los Angeles Basin archeological sites date back 8,000 years. Their first contact with Europeans in 1542 with João Cabrilho (Juan Cabrillo), the Portuguese explorer who also was the first to write of them. Chowigna and Suangna were two Tongva settlements of many in the peninsula area, which was also a departure point for their rancherias on the Channel Islands.
Spanish and Mexican era
In 1846 Jose Dolores Sepulveda and José Loreto received a Mexican land grant from Alta Governor Pío Pico for a parcel from the huge original 1784 Spanish land grant Rancho San Pedro of Manuel Dominguez. It was named Rancho de los Palos Verdes, or "ranch of the green sticks", which was used primarily as a cattle ranch.
By 1882 ownership of the land had passed from the Sepulveda through various mortgage holders to Jotham Bixby of Rancho Los Cerritos, who leased the land to Japanese farmers. After the start of the 20th century most of Bixby's land was sold to a consortium of New York investors who created The Palos Verdes Project and began marketing land on the peninsula for small horse ranches and residential communities. One of the New York investors who purchased the land from the Bixby family in 1913 that contributed extensively to the area was Frank A. Vanderlip. The new community was organized and landscaped by the Olmsted Brothers and in their planning, they dedicated a quarter of the land area to permanent open undeveloped space, which gave the city its unique rural characteristic and culture of scenic beauty.
Areas of commerce include historic Mediterranean Revival style Malaga Cove Plaza, the Promenade on the Peninsula, and Lunada Bay Plaza. Smaller shopping centers include the Peninsula Center, Dominos, and The Village.
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority provides bus service within and to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The Palos Verdes Peninsula is within 30 minutes of both Los Angeles International Airport and Long Beach Airport, which together provide access to most of the U.S. aboard all major carriers.
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District has one of the highest rated API scores in California and has one of the highest average SAT scores and one of the highest percentage of students successfully completing the Advanced Placement exams in the county. There are three high schools, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (formerly called Rolling Hills High School), Palos Verdes High School (the latter located just a half block from the Pacific Ocean), and Rancho Del Mar High School (located in Rolling Hills). Marymount College, a co-ed Roman Catholic four-year college is located in Rancho Palos Verdes.Silver Spur Elementary. A private K-12 school, Chadwick School, is also located there. Rolling Hills Preparatory School, a private 6-12 school is also located on the peninsula. Rolling Hills Country Day School, adjacent to the Botanic Garden, offers a private K-8 education. In summary, there are 11 elementary schools, 3 intermediate schools, and 3 high schools located on the peninsula.
The Peninsula is served by the Palos Verdes Library District which operates the:
- Peninsula Center Library
- Miraleste Library
- Malaga Cove Library- on the National Historical Register
Parks and recreation
- South Coast Botanic Garden - 35 hectare (87 acre) landscaped botanical garden, event venue, and arboretum with over 150,000 landscape plants and trees from approximately 140 families, 700 genera, and 2,000 different species. It is a classic example of land recycling by reclaiming a site that was previously a sanitary landfill and open pit diatomite mine from 1929 until 1956.
- Point Vicente Park is a popular spot for watching the migration of gray whales to and from their breeding lagoon in Baja California.
- Fort MacArthur Military Museum is located near Point Fermin in San Pedro.
- Del Cerro Park Trails is a popular hiking trail at end of Crenshaw Road
The area is frequented by runners, hikers, horseback riders, bird watchers, surfers, scuba divers, fishermen, and bicyclists. The area is home to several golf courses and country clubs. In addition, nude sunbathers formerly frequented Sacreds Cove (or "Smugglers Cove") until the city of Rancho Palos Verdes enacted a 1994 ordinance that ended such use of that beach.
The infamous Palos Verdes surf spots have been in the spotlight many times over issues of "localism". The most notorious surf spot for localism in Palos Verdes is Lunada Bay, which can hold any winter swell and has been known to rival Sunset Beach, Hawaii on a big day. Localism in Palos Verdes reached a turning point in 2001 when a civil rights lawsuit was filed after a particularly violent confrontation with Hermosa Beach surfers. Surveillance cameras were placed in the surfing area but were later removed.
The Trump National Golf Club is a Donald Trump venture with a golf course on the Ocean Trails cliffs. The 18th hole of the prior golf course fell victim to a landslide caused by a leak in the sanitary pipes underneath it. Trump has been heavily criticized for poorly managing the property, including dismissing employees en masse, failing to keep it in business, and upsetting locals with unnecessary and/or unapproved construction. In the summer of 2006, the Trump Organization illegally erected a 70 foot flagpole but was allowed to retain it after a City Council vote.
There are numerous nature reserves in Palos Verdes, which attribute to the area's unique natural property. Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve, Agua Amarga Reserve, and Portuguese Bend Reserve. The reserves contain costal sage scrubs habitats, a community of fragrant and drought resistant shrubs and flowering plants. In August 2009, wildfire burned approximately 165-acres of the Portuguese Bend Reserve. As a result, in recent years, restoration has been done to reinstall native plants and animals to the area.
- The Wayfarers Chapel, a transparent glass chapel in a Redwood forest, was designed in 1951 by the renowned architect and landscape architect Lloyd Wright. It is under the stewardship of the Swedenborgian Church, a well-known landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, and overlooking the ocean at the western entrance of Portuguese Bend.
- Portuguese Bend is one of the most geologically unstable areas in the world. Constant shifting of the soil (approximately 1/3 of an inch a day) and rock slides mean that Palos Verdes Drive South, the main road through the bend, is under constant repair.
- Point Vicente Lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Point Fermin lighthouse in San Pedro.
- Lunada Bay on the north western edge of the peninsula is a famed surf spot, noted for its large swells, at times comparable to Hawaii's Sunset Beach.
- Korean Bell of Friendship is located near Point Fermin in San Pedro.
- Marineland of the Pacific is the location of the former aquatic theme park on the coast.
The area where Marineland once stood subsequently served as an outdoor set for commercials, film productions, and, in 1996, the MTV Beach House. Fox filmed some scenes of its teen drama, The OC, at locations in and around Palos Verdes.
- La Venta Inn is located along Via Del Monte and is a famed wedding and reception setting, but most notably, it had one the most beautiful panaroma view of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean beach line.
- The wreck of the Dominator, a freighter that ran aground in 1961, was for years a rather bizarre attraction for those willing to hike down the cliffs to the shoreline. Very little is left of the ship today.
- In 2006, the 45 foot cabin cruiser Lady Hawk sank 2 miles from the Palos Verdes coast due to an engine fire.
In popular culture
Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean films were partly photographed on and off the coast of Palos Verdes Peninsula. A tent city for production was constructed in the Redondo Beach Marina. The Black Pearl and several production vessels were seen on the waters daily as were helicopters filming for overhead shots.
In 1962, the "Big W" scenes from the ensemble comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World starring Sid Caesar, Spencer Tracy, Ethel Merman, Phil Silvers and others were filmed on the grounds of a private estate locally known as "Portuguese Point" near Abalone Cove shoreline park.
MTV's sitcom Awkward. is set in Palos Verdes.
- Horse Community
- Palos Verdes Blue — an endangered species of an endemic Butterfly, and resident of the Palos Verdes Peninsula
- Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
- Transverse Ranges — with the Palos Verdes Hills and Channel Islands a single geologic range.
- Peninsula — including a list of peninsulas.
- "Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Profile". Palos Verdes Peninsula School District. Retrieved 2006-10-03.
- "Rancho Palos Verdes Equestrian Maps". City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Retrieved 2006-10-03.
- "The Most Expensive Zip Codes". Forbes. Retrieved 2006-10-03.[dead link]
- laokay: History of Rancho Los Encinos. accessed 8/20/2010
- USA Today article access date: 5/22/2010.
- Diseño del Rancho de los Palos Verdes
- Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
- "Palos Verdes Local Educational Agency Report". California Department of Education. Retrieved 2006-10-03.
- "School Wise Press School Snapshot: Palos Verdes Peninsula High School". School Wise Press. Archived from the original on 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2006-10-03.
- "SAT, ACT and AP Test Results in California". California Department of Education. Retrieved 2006-10-03.
- http://www.southcoastbotanicgarden.org/history . South Coast Botanic Garden - History . accessed 8/22/2010
- http://www.southcoastbotanicgarden.org/ official South Coast Botanical Garden website . accessed 8/22/2010
- South Coast Botanical Garden - review article
- http://www.southcoastbotanicgarden.org/map . South Coast Botanic Garden: "What's in Bloom & Map" . accessed 8/22/2010
- http://www.swellmagnet.com/surfing_surf_stories/surfing_html/pv_localism_surf_stories.html swellmagnet.com
- http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/DeakinLRev/2004/29.html austlii.edu.au
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/21/AR2006092101207.html?nav=rss_artsandliving/entertainmentnews washingtonpost.com
- The O.C. Filming Locations
- http://www.nbc4.tv/news/9777951/detail.html nbc4.tv
- Beale, Lauren (2011-07-01). "Anderson da Silva buys Palos Verdes Estate home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m5072/is_39_26/ai_n6243095. Missing or empty
- Patryla, Jim (2005). A Photographic Journey Back To Marineland of the Pacific. Lulu Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4116-7130-0.
- Palos Verdes travel guide from Wikivoyage
- official Palos Verdes Library District website
- Palos Verdes Daily Photo blog website
- official South Coast Botanical Garden website
- Palos Verdes Peninsula Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Center website
- Marymount College website