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The City of Downey covers a little over 12 square miles and has a population of around 113,000 residents. The City of Downey is located in Southeast Los Angeles County near the cities of Bell Gardens, Pico Rivera, Paramount, Bellflower, Norwalk, Lynwood, South Gate, Cudahy, Santa Fe Springs, La Mirada, and the unincorporated community of South Whittier. The first Taco Bell, a 400 square-foot structure built in 1961, was located in Downey. Tacos, tostados, burritos, frijoles, and chiliburgers were priced 19 cents each.Business and Jobs
The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation named the City of Downey the “Most Business Friendly City” in Los Angeles County with a population of over 60,000. The City of Downey has direct access to the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5), Glenn Anderson [Century] Freeway (Interstate 105), San Gabriel River Freeway (Interstate 605), and Long Beach Freeway (Interstate 710). California State Route 19, which dates from the 1930s, runs through the City of Downey. Downey is within 20 miles of Downtown Los Angeles, the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport, and Disneyland Resort. The largest employers in the City of Downey include Kaiser Permanente, Downey Unified School District, Stonewood (shopping) Center, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, PIH Health, and Lakewood Healthcare Center.
The planned West Santa Ana Branch light rail transit line will include a Downey station and will connect several cities in southeast Los Angeles County to Downtown Los Angeles.Government
The City of Downey is a full-service municipality with over 800 employees. The City of Downey operates under a City Council - City Manager form of government. The City has a Mayor, a Mayor Pro Tem, and City Council members.
Downey Unified School District has 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, and an adult school.
Downey Police Department was founded in 1957 and provides law enforcement services solely for the City of Downey.
Downey Fire Department has about 100 employees and operates out of four stations. As with Downey Police Department, Downey Fire Department was founded in 1957.
Downey Symphony Orchestra performs live concerts at the Downey Theatre, a 738-seat performing arts center.A Brief History
Downey, California was named after former California governor John Gately Downey. An Irish immigrant. John Gately Downey purchased the 17,000-acre Rancho Santa Gertrudes. Formerly used for open cattle grazing, John Gately Downey put the land to agricultural use. Southern Pacific Railroad extended a rail line into the area by 1873. Downy would later become known as an orange-grove town. As the 20th century progressed, the area’s agricultural land began to give way to industrial uses. EMSCO Aircraft Corporation set up shop in Downey in 1929. Vultee Aircraft Corporation was Downey's largest employer during World War II and, at one point, accounted for 15% of all military aircraft built in the United States. Vultee Aircraft was the first military aircraft manufacturer to employ women directly in production. Women received the same pay as men for equivalent work. Vultee Aircraft was the first manufacture to build aircraft on a powered assembly line. Vultee Aircraft later became part of North American Aviation, then North American Rockwell, then Rockwell International, and, finally, Boeing. The Downey facility developed the systems that gave birth to the Apollo space program. The plant closed in 1999 and has since been demolished. Downey was incorporated as a city in 1956.Points of Interest
Columbia Memorial Space Center is a science museum owned and operated by the City of Downey. The focus of the 20,000 square-foot, two-story museum is on space exploration, including the Apollo Space Program, NASA, and the Space Shuttle Program, as well as the range of sciences related to space exploration.
The Rives Mansion is a three-story residence built in 1911. The estate once covered 75 acres and included citrus and walnut groves. The Rives Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks of the United States Department of the Interior. The mansion provides a window into the area’s rural past.
Casa de Parley Johnson is an attractive Monterrey style residence, an architectural style popular in Southern California in the 1920s and 1930s. Built in 1927, Casa de Parley Johnson is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.
The oldest surviving McDonald’s restaurant is in Downey. Built in 1953, the restaurant retains the original design, including the outside-dining floor plan. The exterior features a neon sign depicting “Spee-Dee.” The neon chef Spee-Dee, who was the original mascot for the McDonald’s chain, symbolized fast and efficient service. This was the third McDonald’s franchise restaurant. The restaurant now includes a museum.
The Dismukes house, built in 1887, is a small farmhouse representative of the modest homes occupied by many of Downey’s earliest residents.
Downey has several large parks, including Furman Park, Rio San Gabriel Park, and Wilderness Park.
The Downey is home to two golf courses. City of Downey acquired Rio Hondo Golf Club, one of area’s premier golfing facilities, in 1970. The 18-hole golf course dates back to 1929. The property covers 101 acres. Los Amigos Golf Course opened in 1966 and is operated by Los Angeles County. The 18-hole golf course features two lakes.Famous People Associated With Downey
Karen and Richard Carpenter of the Grammy Award-winning recording artist and pop group the Carpenters moved to Downey in 1963. After they released a few hit songs, they bought a pair of apartment buildings in 1971. Each apartment building is named after one of their singles—“only just begun” and “close to you.” More than 100 million Carpenters records have sold over the years. The rock band The Blasters was formed in 1979 by Downey natives Dave and Phil Alvin. In their heyday, The Blasters toured almost continuously. Alfred Matthew Yankovic, better known by his stage name of Weird Al Yankovic, was also born in Downey. Weird Al Yankovic is the most successful comedy recording artist of all time.Healthcare Minimum Wage Ordinance
The ordinance establishes an elevated minimum wage for healthcare workers employed at healthcare facilities such as licensed general acute care hospitals, licensed psychiatric hospitals, licensed dialysis clinics, and licensed psychiatric health facilities. Many people believe healthcare workers deserve special protections, given the prevalence of long work shifts and the risk of exposure to infectious diseases. As of the writing of this article, the ordinance has yet to be implemented.Contact Us
We have more than twenty years of experience fighting for employee rights in the event of wrongful termination; sexual harassment in the workplace; discrimination due to age, race, gender, pregnancy, or disability; unpaid overtime or “off-the-clock” wages; denial of rest and meal breaks; unreimbursed work-related expenses paid by workers; and retaliation against employees for standing up for their legal rights. Give the experienced attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC a call or Contact Us via our online form. We advance all costs. No recovery, no fee.