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El Monte, California
El Monte, California is an incorporated city in the County of Los Angeles. The City of El Monte is located in the San Gabriel Valley about 13 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles. El Monte is split into northern and southern portions by the San Bernardino Freeway (Interstate 10). The city’s eastern border runs parallel and just to the west of the San Gabriel River Freeway (Interstate 605), so named because it runs alongside the San Gabriel River. Across from the San Gabriel River are El Monte’s eastern neighbors: Baldwin Park, West Covina, Bassett, and Avocado Heights. To the south, El Monte’s neighboring communities are the cities of South El Monte, Pico Rivera, Montebello, and Whittier. El Monte’s western neighbors are Rosemead, San Gabriel, South San Gabriel, Monterey Park, and Alhambra. To the north of El Monte are North El Monte, Temple City, Mayflower Village, and, further to the north, Bradbury, Duarte, Arcadia, and East Pasadena.
Approximately 106,000 people reside in El Monte. El Monte covers approximately 10 square miles, approximately 58 percent of which is residential.Business and Jobs
The City of El Monte is known for its pro-business attitude. Businesses benefit from El Monte’s placement within a Foreign-Trade Zone. While in a Foreign-Trade Zone, merchandise is exempt from U.S. duty or excise taxes. Businesses may export goods from the Foreign-Trade Zone free of duty and excise taxes.
El Monte has excellent access to freeways and commuter rail service. The El Monte Bus Depot, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, serves around 25,000 riders daily and is touted as the busiest bus station west of the Mississippi River. A new mixed-use project, Paseo at the Gateway, is part of a plan to redevelop land near the station, much of which was devoted to parking lots. The Southern Pacific Railroad also passes through the city. El Monte is served by several major roadways, including Santa Anita Boulevard and Ramona Boulevard. El Monte is near the major job centers of Pasadena and Los Angeles.
In March 2020, El Monte voters approved a cannabis tax. The tax is expected to provide the City with approximately $5 million in revenue annually.Auto Dealerships
Established in 1967, Longo Toyota in El Monte is the number one volume Toyota dealership in the United States. El Monte is home to several other new and used car dealerships. Approximately 50% of the City’s sales tax revenue is derived from automobile dealerships.San Gabriel Valley Airport
Previously known as El Monte Airport, the San Gabriel Valley Airport was established in 1936 in a portion of the Rio Hondo riverbed. The airport hosts more than 97,000 general aviation takeoffs and landings annually. Owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles since 1969, the 103-acre airport is home to over 300 aircraft. El Monte benefits from San Gabriel Valley Airport related spending estimated at over $21 million annually.Top Employers
El Monte’s top three employers are El Monte City School District, El Monte Union High School District, and Mountain View School District. The fourth largest employer is Longo Toyota and Longo Lexus. The car dealership has over 700 employees. The fifth largest employer is the city itself. Other major employers include the Vons distribution center.Government
Historically, El Monte voters elected City Councilmembers through citywide, at-large elections. However, the City of El Monte recently initiated district-based elections for City Councilmembers to conform with the California Voting Rights Act. The California Voting Rights Act encourages district-based voting systems as a method of enabling legally recognized protected classes of voters to elect candidates of their choice. The City of El Monte has now been divided into six voting districts.
Total annual revenue for the City of El Monte exceeds $84 million. El Monte promotes a Harvest Festival, Concerts in the Park, El Monte Derby, and a Main Street Farmers’ Market.
The Tyler Avenue Heritage District features a public library, museums, community and senior centers, and an aquatic center.
The City of El Monte contracts with the County of Los Angeles for fire services. The City of El Monte has its own police department.Schools
El Monte City School District is a kindergarten through eighth grade district serving over 8,000 students. The district operates fifteen schools. Mountain View School District also serves the City of El Monte.
The El Monte Union High School District, established in 1901, operates several high schools in El Monte and serves over 8,000 high school students and about 11,000 adult education students.A Short History
El Monte is considered the oldest American settlement in the San Gabriel Valley.A Stopping Point on the Old Spanish Trail
The area now known as El Monte was a lush region of marshes, wild grapevines, and riparian woodland consisting of willows and alders. Due to its low-lying terrain, snuggled between the perennial San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers, the area offered an abundance of water in what was otherwise a relatively dry region. As one of the few sites east of Los Angeles with a reliable fresh water source, the area became a commonly-used resting point for people migrating along the Old Spanish Trail, and, debatably, the Santa Fe Trail. To serve these travelers, a stage station was established in the area in 1849.A Small Agricultural Community
The first dwellings, as well as a school, were established a few years thereafter in 1852. For a short time, the settlement was referred to as the Village of Lexington. However, the name did not stick. Despite periods of severe drought and occasional floods, El Monte became a successful agricultural community at a time when Los Angeles County was generally referred to as a “cow county,” dominated as it was by open rangeland. Residents were largely sympathetic to the Confederacy during the Civil War, and El Monte was known for its vigilante activity in defending “Southern Democracy.” In 1873 the Southern Pacific Railroad came to El Monte. Residents no longer had to rely exclusively on horses for transportation. While agriculture remained the mainstay for El Monte’s economy until after World War II, a growing dairy industry supplanted many of the field crops. Arden Diary became one the largest dairies in the region. The Pacific Electric Railway Company Red Cars, an interurban rail service, came to El Monte in 1907. It ran along Ramona Boulevard.Gay’s Lion Farm
Gay’s Lion Farm relocated its operations from Los Angeles to El Monte in 1924 and opened to the public the following year. Intended as a lion training center (the lions then being rented out to Hollywood studios for use in motion pictures), Gay’s Lion Farm also became a major tourist attraction in the 1920s and 1930s, at a time when animal-based amusements were hugely popular. Gay’s Lion Farm brought to national attention and was the defining symbol of the otherwise obscure City of El Monte. Gay’s Lion Farm attracted distinguished visitors such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. Gay’s Lion Farm closed in the early 1940s.
Incorporated in 1912, El Monte is now a large modern city,Contact Us
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