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    Arcadia is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States located approximately 13 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley and at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. It is the site of the Santa Anita Park racetrack and home to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. The city had a population of 56,364 at the 2010 census, up from 53,248 at the 2000 census. The city is named after Arcadia, Greece. In 2012, Arcadia was ranked 7th in the nation on CNN Money magazine's list of towns with highest median home costs.In 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek named Arcadia as one of the "Best Places to Raise Your Kids: 2010" for the second year in a row.


    For primary and secondary education the city is served by the Arcadia Unified School District. Reading scores for the AUSD are 76.6% higher than the state average and math scores are 67.9% higher than the state average. It is estimated that 88% of Arcadia students are at public schools and 12% in private and/or parochial institutions.

    Arcadia Unified School District has one highly ranked and prestigious high school, Arcadia High School. It is among the few public high schools in California to receive a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 10 out of 10. There are three middle schools, and six elementary schools, two which are winners in the United States Department of Education's Blue Ribbon Schools program. Approximately five percent of California schools are awarded this honor each year following a rigorous selection process. Eligibility is based on federal and state criteria including the No Child Left Behind program, Academic Performance Index (API), and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). The requirements are many and strict, and are based on such areas as a strong curriculum, solid library media services, professional teachers, and counseling programs at all grade levels. In 2010, BusinessWeek ranked Arcadia as the best place to raise children in the state of California for the second year in a row by, citing the city's excellent school system as one of the factors in addition to the low crime rate.

    Elementary schools

    • Baldwin Stocker Elementary 422 West Lemon Ave., grades K–5, 604 students
    • Camino Grove Elementary 700 Camino Grove Ave., K–5, 682
    • Highland Oaks Elementary 10 Virginia Dr., K–5, 628
    • Holly Avenue Elementary 360 West Duarte Rd., K–5, 623
    • Longley Way Elementary 2601 Longley Way, K–5, 485
    • Reid (Hugo) Elementary 1000 Hugo Reid Dr., K–5, 620

    Middle schools

    • Dana (Richard Henry) Middle, 1401 South First Ave., grades 6–8, 782 students
    • First Avenue Middle , 301 South First Ave., grades 6–8, 839 students
    • Foothills Middle, 171 East Sycamore Ave., grades 6–8, 836 students

    High school

    Arcadia High School 180 Campus Dr., 9–12, 3,657 students. The Academic Performance Index measures the academic performance and growth of schools on a variety of points. Arcadia High School scored 890, making it the highest performing large high school in California. In 2010, Arcadia High had 29 National Merit Award finalists. Arcadia is also home to the two-time National Championship boys cross-country team (2010 and 2012).


    Located at 300 W. Huntington Drive, Methodist Hospital sits on 22 acres of land. The 460-bed hospital opened in Arcadia in 1957, after moving from downtown Los Angeles. Methodist was the state's first community hospital to have a psychiatric unit. Its nursery school was one of the first corporate daycare facilities in the U.S. It was an Official Hospital of the 1984 Olympic Games.

    To keep up with the changing needs of the community, several upgrades have been made to the original facility. In 1998, the Berger Tower was completed, adding 169 beds. Methodist underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2006, and in the fall of 2011, a new five-story patient tower and new emergency department are scheduled for completion.

    The Methodist Hospital School of Nursing

    A School of Nursing opened at the hospital in 1915, with a class of 30 students. Ten years later, a residence was built to accommodate 150 graduate and student nurses. This four-story brick building, known as Philomena Hall, was connected to the hospital by an underground corridor and provided accommodations, classrooms and a gymnasium for the nurses. Beginning in 1944 (after a nine-year school closure), additional housing for nurses was provided in a refurbished residential house adjacent to Philomena Hall. After more than 40 years of operation and the graduation of hundreds of talented young nurses, the School of Nursing closed. Times had changed, and the practice of nursing education had moved into the domain of the formal education system. The school was phased out in 1958 with the graduation of the last nursing class.


    Located northeast of downtown Los Angeles, Arcadia is bordered by six other communities: Pasadena, Sierra Madre, El Monte, San Marino, Monrovia, and Temple City. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.1 square miles. 10.9 square miles of it is land and 0.2 square miles of it (1.87%) is water.


    2010: The 2010 United States Census reported that Arcadia had a population of 56,364. The population density was 5,062.5 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Arcadia was 33,353 (59.2%) Asian, 18,191 (32.3%) White, (25.7% Non-Hispanic White), 681 (1.2%) African American, 186 (0.3%) Native American, 16 (0.03%) Pacific Islander, 2,352 (4.2%) from other races, and 1,585 (2.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6,799 persons (12.1%). The Census reported that 55,502 people (98.5% of the population) lived in households, 639 (1.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 223 (0.4%) were institutionalized.

    There were 19,592 households, out of which 7,336 (37.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 11,703 (59.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,437 (12.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 865 (4.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 469 (2.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 92 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,855 households (19.7%) were made up of individuals and 1,926 (9.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83. There were 15,005 families (76.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.26.

    The population was spread out with 12,290 people (21.8%) under the age of 18, 4,102 people (7.3%) aged 18 to 24, 13,409 people (23.8%) aged 25 to 44, 17,349 people (30.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 9,214 people (16.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.1 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

    There were 20,686 housing units at an average density of 1,858.0 per square mile, of which 12,371 (63.1%) were owner-occupied, and 7,221 (36.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.7%. 37,000 people (65.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 18,502 people (32.8%) lived in rental housing units.

    According to the 2010 United States Census, Arcadia had a median household income of $77,342, with 9.9% of the population living below the federal poverty line.


    Arcadia's beginnings go back over 3,000 years to the Tongva ("Gabrielino") Indian tribe, whose inhabitants lived in what is today Los Angeles County. Their fluid borders stretched from the San Gabriel Mountains in the north to Long Beach in the south, and from the island of Pimu (Catalina) in the west into today's San Bernardino County to the east. These people were also known as the Gabrielinos, a name taken from the Spanish San Gabriel Mission (in present-day San Gabriel, California) and under whose control these people worked during the mission period in California. One of Arcadia's settlements of these Native Americans was known as Aleupkigna (or Aluupkenga) on what later became the Rancho Santa Anita, one of many land grants created during Mexican rule of California (1821–1848). The Tongva are still alive and well today, living in the Los Angeles area and other neighboring communities.

    Rancho period

    The town was originally part of Rancho Santa Anita and owned by San Gabriel Mission, Mayor-Domo, Claudio Lopez. It was named after a family relation, Anita Cota, on his wife's side. In 1839, a large area of land that included the present-day borders of Arcadia was sold to a Scottish immigrant, Hugo Reid. Reid documented the Native Americans in a series of letters written in 1852 and served as a delegate to the 1849 California Constitutional Convention.

    The land holding changed owners several times before being acquired by the real estate speculator and notorious womanizer Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin in 1875. Baldwin purchased 8,000 acres of Santa Anita for $200,000. Upon seeing the area, he gasped "By Gads! This is paradise!" Upon buying the land, Lucky chose to make the area his home and immediately started erecting buildings and cultivating the land for farming, orchards and ranches. In 1885, the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad, in which Baldwin was a stockholder, was opened through the ranch, making subdivision of part of the land into a town site practical. In 1889, on a site just north of the corner of First Avenue and St. Joseph Street, adjacent to the Santa Fe tracks, Baldwin opened the 35 room Hotel Oakwood to be the centerpiece of his new town.


    By the turn of the 20th century, Arcadia had a population nearing 500 and an economy that was becoming based on entertainment, sporting, hospitality and gambling opportunities; the latter including an early version of the Santa Anita race track. Baldwin went on to oversee Arcadia's incorporation in 1903 and became the city's first mayor. His daughter, Anita Baldwin, built a stately mansion named Anoakia in 1914 on 19 acres of land. Anita converted the home into "The Anoakia School for Girls." The school later became coeducational but moved out of Arcadia in 1990 after the Anoakia building was declared a fire trap and earthquake danger. The old estate became overgrown with weeds and, after an extended local debate and efforts to preserve the historic home, the Anoakia mansion, the oldest remaining private property in the city, was bulldozed to clear space for 31 luxury homes in 2000. The old estate featured one-of-a-kind architectural features and a structure whose facade was a replica of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Only the perimeter wall and a guardhouse located at the southeast corner of the property remain to surround the "Anoakia Estates" housing development, which occupies the land today. Murals and artifacts from the home are preserved in museums throughout California.

    During World War I, Arcadia was home to the U.S. Army's Ross Field Balloon School in what is now Los Angeles County Park. Here observers were trained to watch enemy activity from hot air balloons. After World War I, Arcadia's population grew and local businesses included many chicken ranches and other agricultural activities. During the 1920s and 1930s, Arcadia began its transition to the fine residential city that it is today, as small farms and chicken ranches gave way to homes and numerous civic improvements, including a city library and a city hall. Scenes of many of Arcadia's interesting older sites can be viewed in a series of historic watercolors painted by local artists Edna Lenz and Justine Wishek.

    Thoroughbred horse racing, which had flourished briefly under Lucky Baldwin until it was outlawed by the state of California in 1909, returned to Arcadia with the opening of the beautiful Santa Anita Park in December 1934 when racing was legalized again.

    During World War II, Arcadia's Santa Anita Park racetrack became the site of the Santa Anita Assembly Center for the Japanese, where Japanese Americans were interned under President Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 (see Japanese internment in the United States). At one point, the assembly center at the racetrack was the largest Japanese American assembly center in the United States. 400 temporary barracks were constructed in the racetrack parking lot to house the prisoners. Internees lived three families to a barrack (or horse-stable in some cases), took group showers, lacked private bathrooms, and lived under 24-hour armed surveillance. Conditions were extremely difficult with each resident being given an "Army manufacture bed, one blanket and one straw tick."The Assembly Center, which opened in April 1942, ran until the end of October 1943, when the internees were relocated inland to more permanent internment camps in Owens Valley, Utah, and Wyoming. In March 1943, Camp Santa Anita was established for 20,000 Army Ordnance troops. At the time, Arcadia's civic leaders were very vocal in their support of the internment policies of the federal government. (See Japanese internment in the United States.)

    Postwar period

    Arcadia largely grew up as the well-to-do suburb of neighboring Pasadena, with many early residents being the sons and daughters of long established Southern California families. A large tract of estate homes was developed by Harry Chandler, the scion of the Los Angeles Times, who lived in adjacent Sierra Madre, California. The city became the residence of choice for many corporate chief executives, including those in aerospace, the horse racing industry, and finance.

    The postwar boom saw Arcadia grow rapidly into a suburban residential community, with many of the chicken ranches being subdivided into home lots. Between 1940 and 1950, the population grew by more than two and a half times. The housing boom continued through the 1950s and 1960s and along with that growth came the necessary infrastructure of schools, commercial buildings, and expanded city services.

    During the postwar boom, a modern commercial district developed along Baldwin Avenue south of Huntington Drive in west Arcadia. In 1951 this strip, called the West Arcadia Hub, was anchored by a new, locally owned Hinshaw's department store. This was the first large department store to be built in Arcadia, and the largest in the western San Gabriel Valley outside the city of Pasadena. This development marked the beginning of Arcadia's gradual transformation into one of the leading shopping districts of the San Gabriel Valley.

    In 1947, 111 acres that comprised the heart of the Baldwin Ranch were deeded to the State of California and the County of Los Angeles, and developed into Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Until a Supreme Court ruling in 1965, every property sale contract within the borders of Arcadia had to include a provision that the new owner could only sell the property to a white Protestant. However, these clauses had been ruled unenforceable by the Supreme Court's ruling in 1948's Shelley v. Kraemer, and many non-Protestant families did, in fact, own homes and live in Arcadia well before 1965.

    In October 1975, the Santa Anita Fashion Park was opened to the public on the corner of Baldwin Avenue and Huntington Drive. The center court featured a gigantic blue head by Roy Lichtenstein, later removed. Now known as Westfield Santa Anita, the mall was expanded in 2004. The mall was affected by the recession in the late 2000s, but continues to do a relatively brisk business.

    James Dobson, a previous Arcadia resident, founded the nonprofit Christian ministry Focus on the Family in the city in 1977. Its original office still stands on the south side of Foothill Blvd. Focus grew to larger quarters in the city, and in intervening years expanded to Monrovia for warehouse space before moving out of Arcadia completely in 1990. Focus on the Family is now based in Colorado Springs, Colorado; but still has thousands of members in Arcadia.

    In the late 1990s, Native American activists threatened to sue Arcadia High School over its use of the "Apache" mascot. The high school's use of Native American symbols, including an "Apache Joe" mascot, the Pow Wow school newspaper, the "Apache News" television program, the "Smoke Signals" news bulletin boards, the school's auxiliary team's marching "Apache Princesses" and opposing football team fans' "Scalp the Apaches" signs were viewed by these Native American activists and many Arcadia community members as offensive. The school consulted with Native American groups and made some concessions but didn't change the mascot. Some residents of Arcadia, who are former students at the school and have Native American ancestry, do not take offense to the school's use of these symbols. Arcadia High School has established good relations with the Apache community with their yearly charity drive to aid them.


    Arcadia's economy is driven by wholesale trade, retail trade, manufacturing, health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment, and recreation. Revenue from the Santa Anita Racetrack has long supported capital improvements for the City of Arcadia, resulting in the City having very little bonded indebtedness.

    The Westfield Santa Anita mall (formerly the Santa Anita Fashion Park) is a major shopping center in the city. In 2005, the Westfield Santa Anita completed its first phase of expansion featuring a new food court, Sport Chalet, Borders Books and Music, Dave & Busters, numerous smaller retailers, various full-service eateries in an area known as Restaurant Square, and a 16-screen AMC Theatres. In 2008, expansion of the mall continued as the Promenade outdoor structure was completed, with new high-end retailers such as Coach and Talbots.

    The proposal by Caruso Affiliated and Magna Entertainment to build a second large shopping mall adjacent to Westfield Santa Anita on the grounds of the Santa Anita Park racetrack will not be coming into fruition anytime soon. The controversial project, known as "The Shops at Santa Anita", had prompted heated debate among some residents in the community and enormous spending by corporate interests in favor and against the project. If the second mall had been built, the combined size of the two malls will make Arcadia the largest retail shopping district in Los Angeles County. "The Shops at Santa Anita", which require City Council approval, would have included signature retail, restaurants, and landscaping featuring a large decorative water display, all situated in what is the race track's southern parking area, severely curtailing race track parking property.

    Top employers

    According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

    # Employer # of Employees
    1 Vons 459
    2 Emergency Groups' Office 300
    3 Macy's 294
    4 Worley Parsons 277
    5 Nordstrom 274
    6 J. C. Penney 272
    7 MWH 184
    8 The Cheesecake Factory 168
    9 24 Hour Fitness 164
    10 HealthCare Partners 161


    The city has a council-manager government with a five member city council, Mayor Gary Kovacic, Peter Amundson, John Wuo, Bob Harbicht, and Mickey Segal. Arcadia is a charter city governed by a five-member City Council (which also serves as the City's Redevelopment Agency), with each member serving a four-year term. The Council elects from its membership a Mayor to serve as its presiding officer for a one-year term.

    In the state legislature Arcadia is located in the 29th Senate District, represented by Republican Bob Huff, and in the 44th and 59th Assembly Districts, represented by Democrat Anthony J. Portantino and Republican Tim Donnelly respectively. Federally, Arcadia is located in California's 27th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +4 and is represented by Democrat Judy Chu. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Monrovia Health Center in Monrovia, serving Arcadia.


    Arcadia has several main roads, including Foothill Boulevard and Huntington Drive. It is also served by the Foothill Freeway (I-210). In 2014, Metro will open a new light-rail station in Arcadia. Arcadia Station will be located northwest of the intersection of 1st Avenue and Santa Clara Street, and will be served by the Metro Gold Line.


    Popular culture

    The famous U.S. Route 66, immortalized in song and literature, passes through Arcadia, on Huntington Drive in Downtown Arcadia, before turning off onto Colorado Place and then Colorado Street. After intersecting the 210 freeway, Route 66 runs parallel to and south of the freeway, cutting across the middle section of Arcadia.

    The city is mentioned by Jack Kerouac in his novel On the Road: Sal, the protagonist, is put off by "preppy" teens when he stops for food at a local drive-in restaurant with a young Mexican woman. The vignette demonstrates the culture clash between the "Beatnik" way of life and that of 1950s conservative America.

    In a motel located in Arcadia across the street north-east from Santa Anita Racetrack, author Hunter S. Thompson wrote much of his novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the 1970s. In Michael Cunningham's novel The Hours, Laura Brown mentions that she heard of a man who died in nearby Arcadia.

    The McDonald brothers, who later began the McDonald's hamburger restaurant chain, opened their first restaurant, The Airdrome, near Monrovia Airport, on the Arcadia/Monrovia border in 1937. The restaurant was located on historic route 66, now Huntington Drive, but later moved to San Bernardino, California in 1940.

    In the comic strip Pearls Before Swine,Pastis's mother lives in Arcadia.

    The city is mentioned in the twenty-first episode of ABC's FlashFoward, which is set in Los Angeles.

    The X-Files episode "Arcadia" demonstrates the downfalls of fascist conformity in the upper-middle class planned communities in the town.

    Filming locations

    Many films on location (including Tarzan and the Bing Crosby On the Road movies), television shows, most notably Fantasy Island were filmed in Arcadia. A popular visiting site is the house with the bell tower, where Tattoo rang the bell, is the Queen Anne Cottage, located in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia. The plane, "arriving" with the guests, was filmed in the lagoon behind the Queen Anne Cottage. Occasionally, outdoor scenes and commercials are filmed at the Arboretum have been filmed on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

    The Santa Anita Park Racetrack is another popular filming locations. The 2003 true story film Seabiscuit was filmed and takes place at the Santa Anita race track. A commercial for Claritin allergy medicine, a Lexus commercial, and three episodes of Grey's Anatomy have used it as a location ("Walk on Water," "Drowning on Dry Land," and "Some Kind of Miracle").

    This city was one of the filming locations for the Columbia Pictures 1994 comedy film North.

    The film Matilda was shot here in 1996.

    A scene from "Step Brothers" was shot at the nearby Derby restaurant.

    Scenes from "Mission Impossible 3" were shot at Methodist Hospital.

    In the movie Cloverfield the scene in which the survivors walk inside Bloomingdale's was actually filmed inside a Robinsons-May store under reconstruction inside the Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia. Eagle Eye was also filmed in this location.

    Scenes from "Kicking & Screaming" were shot at Foothill Middle School and in Arcadia homes.

    The film Deal of a Lifetime was completely filmed at Arcadia High School.


    The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located in Arcadia across from the Santa Anita mall and racetrack. It is a popular attraction, especially for the flock of peafowl that inhabit the grounds and neighborhood near the arboretum. The peafowl are a remainder of the former Baldwin ranch. The peafowl were originally introduced to help Baldwin control the snakes and snails on his farm but they have since gone wild. They are considered an attraction to some residents and a nuisance to others due to their loud cries and the droppings they leave on residents' properties. The Arcadia Festival of Bands is a popular local yearly event.

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