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Montebello, California

Coordinates: 34°0′56″N 118°6′39″W / 34.01556°N 118.11083°W / 34.01556; -118.11083
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Montebello, California
Official seal of Montebello, California
Location of Montebello in Los Angeles County, California
Location of Montebello in Los Angeles County, California
Montebello is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Location of Montebello in Los Angeles Metro Area
Montebello is located in California
Location of Montebello in California
Montebello is located in the United States
Location of Montebello in the United States
Coordinates: 34°0′56″N 118°6′39″W / 34.01556°N 118.11083°W / 34.01556; -118.11083[1]
CountryUnited States
CountyLos Angeles
IncorporatedOctober 16, 1920[2]
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • MayorScarlet Peralta
 • City ManagerRaul Alvarez
 • Total8.37 sq mi (21.68 km2)
 • Land8.33 sq mi (21.58 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)  0.48%
Elevation203 ft (62 m)
 • Total62,623
 • Estimate 
(July 2022)[5]
 • Density7,435.67/sq mi (2,870.93/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP Code
Area code213 and 323
FIPS code06-48816
GNIS feature IDs1656573, 2411144
Websitewww.cityofmontebello.com Edit this at Wikidata

Montebello (Italian for "Beautiful Mountain") is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located just east of East Los Angeles and southwest of San Gabriel Valley. It is an independent city 8 mi (13 km) east of downtown Los Angeles. It is considered part of the Gateway Cities and San Gabriel Valley Cities, and is a member of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

In the early 20th century, Montebello was a well-known source for oil reserves.[6] At the 2020 census, the population estimate was 63,833.[7] The population estimate for July 1, 2022, was 60,569.[8]



Historic occupants of the land along the Rio Hondo River were the indigenous Tongva (also known as Gabrielino), a portion of the Uto-Aztecan family of Native Americans. The Tongva occupied much of the Los Angeles basin and the southern Channel Islands - Santa Catalina, San Nicolas, San Clemente and Santa Barbara.

When the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo arrived off the shores of Santa Catalina in 1542, he was met by the Tongva people. Because the language of the Tongva was different from the neighboring tribes, the Spanish called them "Gabrielino". As more non-natives arrived and established settlements, diseases that were endemic among them caused high mortality among the Tongva and other indigenous peoples. These were new infectious diseases to them. By 1870, the area had few remaining indigenous inhabitants.[9]

Father Angel Somera and Father Pedro Cambon, both Franciscan missionaries, founded the original Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, called Mission Vieja, on September 8, 1771. Today the site is near the intersection of San Gabriel Boulevard and the Rio Hondo River. The establishment of this mission marked the beginning of settlement by Spaniards in the Los Angeles region; it was the fourth of twenty-one[10] missions that they ultimately established along California's El Camino Real. The mission did well initially as a farm and cattle ranch.

Six years after its founding, however, a destructive flood led the mission fathers to relocate the mission farther north, to its current location in what is the present day city of San Gabriel. The original mission site is California Historical Landmark #161.[11]

During the early years of the mission's operations, the region was managed by Spanish colonists who had a "Rancho" land grant system.[12] The current city of Montebello consists of land from Rancho San Antonio, Rancho La Merced, and Rancho Paso de Bartolo. The Juan Matias Sanchez Adobe, built in 1844, still stands at the center of old Rancho la Merced in East Montebello. Rancho la Merced is the city's oldest standing structure.[6]

The 1847 Battle of Río San Gabriel was a decisive victory of American forces against the Californios during the U.S. conquest of California.
Battle of Río San Gabriel cannons and memorial in Montebello.

On January 8, 1847, the Battle of Río San Gabriel took place in what are today parts of the cities of Whittier, Pico Rivera and Montebello. The battle was a decisive, critical victory for the U.S. Army in the Mexican–American War. The United States took control of Los Angeles and Alta California. Today, the site is noted as California State Historical Landmark #385. Two cannons and a plaque commemorating the battle were installed overlooking the river at Bluff Road and Washington Boulevard.[13]

Following the American Civil War, some 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) of the East Los Angeles area was owned by Alessandro Repetto, an Italian immigrant from Genoa, Italy. Following Repetto's death in 1885, his brother sold his rancho to a consortium of five Los Angeles businessmen, including banker Isaias W. Hellman and wholesale grocer/historian Harris Newmark, for $60,000, or approximately $12 per acre.[10] The land was later divided among the partners, one large parcel of approximately 2,000 acres (810 ha) going to a partnership of Newmark and his nephew, banker Kaspare Cohn.

The city of Montebello was developed in May 1899 from the Newmark and Cohn share of 1,200 acres (490 ha). After the partners received the advice of hydraulic engineer William Mulholland for the design and building of the town's water system, they subdivided the land. In 1900 the completed water system was incorporated as the Montebello Land and Water Company.[14]

An area of 200 acres (81 ha) adjacent to the tracks of what was formerly the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad was developed into a townsite called Newmark. It was bounded by Los Angeles Avenue on the south, 1st Street on the east, Cleveland Avenue on the north, and 5th Street on the west. The remainder of the land was subdivided into 5 acres (2.0 ha) lots suitable for small-scale agriculture. On William Mulholland's suggestion, leaders of the city adopted Montebello as the name in 1920, replacing Newmark.[15]

Originally an agricultural community, the city was known for its prolific production of flowers, berries, fruits, and vegetables. The first public flower show in 1912 was sponsored by the Montebello Women's Club and held in the Montebello High School auditorium on Whittier Boulevard.[10] The Montebello – El Carmel (South Montebello) Improvement Association, the predecessor of the Montebello Chamber of Commerce, operated from September 1907 to April 1912, with the purpose "to improve and beautify the community." Some of its early achievements included: paving Whittier Boulevard, having trees planted along the streets, establishing the city's first high school, and having the entire area incorporated as "The City of Montebello".[16]

On October 16, 1920, the city was incorporated. In honor of Montebello's agricultural roots, the city's official seal contains a red poinsettia in the center.[10] In the first half of the 20th century, much of south Montebello was populated by Japanese-American farmers. During World War II, most were interned hundreds of miles away at camps in harsh areas under direction by President Franklin D. Roosevelt by Executive Order 9066. Many of the displaced residents were unable to return to their homes; survivors and their descendants did not receive an official apology or compensation until the late 20th century. The family of M's Flowers can trace their history and participation in the growth of the flower industry, largely through their efforts.

The Standard Oil Company discovered oil in the Montebello hills in 1917 on the Baldwin and Temple properties; this discovery changed the face of the city.[17] Oil fields replaced agriculture. Eventually, the oil pumped from this find produced one-eighth of the crude oil in California.[18] Over the course of sixty years, the Montebello hills were filled with producing oil wells.[10][19]

On March 22, 2023, a high-end EF1 tornado struck the city, damaging 17 structures and injuring one person. According to the National Weather Service, it was the strongest tornado to hit the LA Metro area since March 1983.[20][21][22][23]



Montebello is located 8 mi (13 km) east of downtown Los Angeles. The city is considered to be part of the Gateway Cities while the northern part of the city is in the San Gabriel Valley. The surrounding cities are Monterey Park, South San Gabriel, and Rosemead to the north, Commerce to the south, Pico Rivera to the east, and Los Angeles and East Los Angeles to the west. The city is a member of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.4 m2 (90 sq ft), of which 8.2 m2 (88 sq ft) are land and 0.1 m2 (1.1 sq ft) or 1.32% is water.


Climate data for Montebello, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 91
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 69.7
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 47.9
Record low °F (°C) 30
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.53
Source: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca5790[24]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[25]

The 2010 United States Census[26] reported that Montebello had a population of 62,500. The population density was 7,464.7 inhabitants per square mile (2,882.1/km2). The racial makeup of Montebello was 33,633 (53.8%) White, 567 (0.9%) African American, 634 (1.0%) Native American, 6,850 (11.0%) Asian, 58 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 18,431 (29.5%) from other races, and 2,327 (3.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 49,578 persons (79.3%). Non-Hispanic Whites were 8.5% of the population.[27]

Ethnic Latinos, mostly Mexican-American, make up the predominant group of residents in the city. Montebello borders East Los Angeles, and is well known for its Mexican-American history and culture.[28] Montebello also has a significant Armenian-American community.[29] In the 2010 census, 38.3% of Montebello residents identified as foreign born, with 75.6% speaking a language other than English in the home.

The census reported that 62,100 people (99.4% of the population) lived in households, 39 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 361 (0.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 19,012 households, of which 8,168 (43.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 9,088 (47.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,031 (21.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,651 (8.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,302 (6.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 134 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,350 households (17.6%) were made up of individuals, and 1,640 (8.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.27. There were 14,770 families (77.7% of all households); the average family size was 3.67.

The population was spread out, with 16,142 people (25.8%) under the age of 18, 6,414 people (10.3%) aged 18 to 24, 17,567 people (28.1%) aged 25 to 44, 13,857 people (22.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 8,520 people (13.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

There were 19,768 housing units at an average density of 2,361.0 units per square mile (911.6 units/km2), of which 8,766 (46.1%) were owner-occupied, and 10,246 (53.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.9%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.1%. 29,095 people (46.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 33,005 people (52.8%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Montebello had a median household income of $47,488, with 15.4% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[30]



As of the 2000 Census, there were 62,150 people, 18,844 households, and 14,867 families residing in the city.[31] The population density was 7,536.9 inhabitants per square mile (2,910.0/km2). There were 19,416 housing units at an average density of 2,354.6 units per square mile (909.1 units/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 46.82% White, 0.90% African-American, 1.23% Native American, 11.64% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 33.85% from other races, and 5.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 74.57% of the population, some of which are also included in the census of the white population.[32]

Mexican and Armenian were the most common ancestries in Montebello. Mexico and El Salvador were the most common foreign places of birth.[33]

There were 18,844 households, out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 20.1% had a female head of household and 21.1% were unrelated individuals. 17.1% of all households consisted of a single individual and 8.0% had persons who were 65 years of age or older living alone. The average household size was 3.28 and the average family size was 3.67.

The 2000 census data counted persons as 28.6% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.32 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,805, and the median income for a family was $41,257. Males had a median income of $30,423 versus $26,590 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,125. 16.3% of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher and 69% of residents have a high school degree. About 14.2% of families and 13.2% of the population were living below the poverty line, including 24.3% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.



Top employers


According to the city's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:[34]

# Employer # of Employees
1 Kaiser Permanente 4,496
2 Montebello Unified School District 3,577
3 Monarch Litho 2,865
4 The Shops at Montebello 1,897
5 Beverly Hospital 860
6 Bimbo Bakeries USA 750
7 Minson 633
8 City of Montebello 601
9 Royal Paper Box 170

Parks and recreation


Parks include:

  • Grant Rea Park, which features Montebello Barnyard Zoo, pony rides, train rides and a miniature water park.[35]
  • Bicknell Park, which features the Montebello Genocide Memorial.[36]
  • Montebello City Park, the oldest park, which featured fishponds in the 1950s, and now includes a skateboard park.[37]
  • Sanchez Adobe Park, which includes Juan Matias Sanchez Adobe, built in 1845, the oldest extant structure in Montebello.[38]
  • Ashiya Park, named for Montebello's sister city in Japan.
  • Henry Acuna Park, named for the only Montebello Police Department officer to die on duty. Memorials are located there.[39]
  • The 11 acres (4.5 ha) Reggie Rodriguez Park, which includes the Reggie Rodriguez Community Center, both named for a Vietnam War hero.[40][41]
  • Chet Holifield Park, which features the Chet Holifield Branch Library, both named for Congressman Chet Holifield.[42]

Golf course


Montebello Municipal Golf Course, a 120-acre (49 ha), 18-hole course founded in 1928 as a private club, was purchased by the city in 1941, and features hotels and a conference center.[43][44]


Post office in Montebello

In the California State Legislature, Montebello is in the 30th Senate District, represented by Democrat Bob Archuleta, and in the 54th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Miguel Santiago.[45] In the United States House of Representatives, Montebello is in California's 38th congressional district, represented by Democrat Linda Sánchez.[46]

Montebello utilizes a city council/city administrator form of government. The city council provides political leadership and policy direction. Montebello's current elected City Treasurer is Rafael Gutierrez.[47] and the current elected City Clerk is Irma-Bernal Barajas.[48] The city administrator works under the direction of the City Council, and functions as the manager of city employees and the department heads. Montebello has six department heads and some oversee more than one division. Previous Mayor Vanessa Delgado resigned in 2018 to serve on the California State Senate.[49] The City Council is composed of five members elected at large by the citizens of Montebello to serve for four-year overlapping terms. Members include Scarlet Peralta (Mayor), Salvador Melendez (Mayor Pro Tem), Angie M. Jimenez, Georgina Tamayo, and David N. Torres.[50]

On January 24, 2024, Montebello became "at least" the fourth city in Southern California whose local governments passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Israel's war on Gaza; the city council passed the resolution unanimously.[51]





The city is served by the Montebello Unified School District. M.U.S.D. serves the city of Montebello, portions of the cities of Bell Gardens, Commerce, Downey, Rosemead, Pico Rivera, and Monterey Park, as well as the unincorporated community of South San Gabriel, and a part of the unincorporated community of East Los Angeles. The District is one of the largest and most diverse in Los Angeles County with an enrollment of more than 35,000 K–12 students and 30,000 adults enrolled in adult education.[52]

There are eighteen elementary schools, six intermediate schools, five high schools, and four adult schools.[53] The five high schools are: Montebello High School, founded in 1909;[54] Bell Gardens High School; Schurr High School; Vail High School, an alternative high school for grades 10–12;

Applied Technology Center, a $30 million facility opened in the fall of 2011, is a vocational high school with state-of-the-art technical training capable of accommodating up to 750 students. Students wishing to attend ATC are required to apply for admission.[55] Board of education President Edwin Chau stated that ATC offers students a "rigorous academic curriculum and career technical education within a full-day schedule." Montebello Unified, has made it their goal to ensure students graduate ready and college prepared."[55] The project was paid for with a $98 million Measure M bond, which voters passed in November 2004.[55]



Saint Benedict School, a private parochial grammar school, K-8, is operated on Saint Benedict Church property. It opened in September 1941 and was formally dedicated on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941.[56]

Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Parish School. The school first opened in 1954 through the leadership of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul.

A private parochial high school, Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School, is also located in Montebello. Originally two separate gender-segregated High Schools, they merged in the 1991, the Sacred Heart of Mary campus moving to the Cantwell campus.

St. John's Lutheran Church has a Kindergarten-8th school on a site adjoining the church.





The city is easily accessible to the Long Beach- (I-710), San Gabriel River- (I-605), Pomona- (SR 60) and Santa Ana- (I-5) freeways.



Public transportation is provided by the city-owned Montebello Bus Lines; the service is the sixth largest public transit agency in Los Angeles County with an annual ridership of over 8.2 million.[57] Starting in 1931 with a fleet of four buses, the agency now has a fleet of 66 buses, including five hybrid gasoline-electric buses and serves 14 communities.[58]

Other public transportation


Montebello LINK is a transportation shuttle offering curb-to-curb service to and from the Montebello/Commerce station.[59] Montebello also operates Montebello Dial-a-Taxi, a program offering transportation for senior residents and qualified disabled persons of any age. 15,000 residents utilize this service.[60]

Law enforcement


Montebello has a police department consisting of 74 sworn officers, which includes the Chief of Police, two captains, five lieutenants, and ten sergeants.[61] The department also employs 24 civilian personnel organized into three divisions: Field Services, Investigative Services, and Support Services. The Chief of Police is Paul Espinosa and is the eleventh police chief of the Montebello Police Department since 1920. Augmenting the department are a Reserve Officer Corps, a Police Explorer Program, a Police Chaplain Corps, and a civilian "Citizens on Patrol" program.[62] The department provides a variety of services to citizens including Neighborhood Watch, the Citizen's Academy and a child seat loan program. The Crime prevention Bureau provides free security inspections to local businesses and residents.[61]

Fire department


The Montebello Fire Department includes three fire stations, three paramedic engine companies, and one truck company.[63]



The city maintains an estimated 20,000 city trees, and has received a "Tree City U.S.A." award since 1991.[43]

Notable people


Sister cities


Montebello has been affiliated with Ashiya, Hyōgo, Japan since the inception of the Sister City Program in 1961. Student Ambassadors are chosen to travel to Ashiya every year.[73]

Montebello has been affiliated with Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, since 2005, when a controversial move to facilitate the sister city relationship was made by the Armenian National Committee of the San Gabriel Valley and was approved by City Council.[74]

See also



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