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Whittier, California is a city in Southern California about 15 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The City of Whittier encompasses approximately 14.7 square miles and has a population of about 85,000 residents. Whittier incorporated as a city in 1898.
East of Whittier are the Cities of Hacienda Heights, La Habra Heights, La Habra, Fullerton, and Brea. La Habra was once the largest avocado center in Southern California. La Habra Heights is almost entirely residential, and zoning requires a minimum one acre lot size.
South and west of Whittier are Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South Whittier, East Whittier, Norwalk, and Buena Park. Buena Park is home to Knott's Berry Farm theme park, Knott's Soak City Waterpark, and Knott's Berry Farm Hotel. Heading north from Whittier, one encounters the City of Industry, South San Gabriel, and South El Monte, the site of the Whittier Narrows Recreational Area and Whittier Narrows Natural Area. Bordering Whittier are several additional nature preserves, natural parks, and hiking areas, including Sycamore Park, Turnbull Canyon, and Arroyo Pescadero Trail.Business and Jobs
The economic development vision for Whittier is a “well balanced City where business complements and adds to the quality of life for all who live, work, shop and play in Whittier.” The City’s Business Development Manager acts as the Ombudsman for helping businesses open in Whittier. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation recognized Whittier as Most Business-Friendly City in Los Angeles County in both 2012 and 2018.
The Whittier Uptown Association was created in 2017 and its mission is to promote businesses in the Uptown District. The Association coordinates sidewalk cleaning and other beautification efforts and also hires security ambassadors to patrol the District. The Uptown Whittier District is the historic core of the City of Whittier. The District covers about three square miles and is home to Whittier College and historic buildings as well as shopping, dining, and entertainment. The Uptown Whittier District features the weekly Uptown Whittier Farmers Market.
PIH Health Whittier Hospital was founded in 1959 as the Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital. The hospital includes 523 beds, while the campus also includes medical office buildings, a pharmacy, an outpatient surgery center, and a breast health center. PIH Health Whittier Hospital has over 3,600 employees and around 560 medical staff. Annual emergency room visits exceed 70,000.
Whittier Hospital Medical Center is a 178-bed facility. About 400 physicians and 800 Healthcare professionals work at Whittier Hospital Medical Center.
Rio Hondo College is a community college in Whittier that opened in 1963. The current campus opened in 1966. Approximately 20,000 students attend Rio Hondo College each semester. Rio Hondo College employs over 1,300 full-time and part-time faculty and staff, amounting to a payroll of over $100 million annually. Rio Hondo College is estimated to add more than $500 million to the local economy and support over 7,500 jobs.
Founded in 1887, Whittier College is a four-year college located in Whittier with a student enrollment of about 1,300. The student-faculty ratio is 12 to 1, with a faculty of more than 100. The campus encompasses 75 acres.
Whittier is home to several shopping areas, including the 170,000 square-foot Whittier Marketplace; the 66-acre Whittwood Town Center, The Quad at Whittier (with approximately 50 stores); and the 90,000 square-foot Friendly Hills Marketplace.
In recent years Whittier has been home to several residential projects. Located in the Uptown Whittier area, the Groves in Whittier encompasses 75 acres and offered 561 homes for sale as well as 189 rental units. The development also features retail businesses, parks, and a ¾ mile walking trail.Government
The City of Whittier operates under a council-manager form of government. The City Council consists of five elected members. The City Council is Whittier’s primary policy-making and legislative body.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department provides fire services for the City of Whittier.
The Whittier Police Department provides law enforcement services for the City of Whittier.Recreation
The Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority manages approximately 3,800 acres of preserved public open space in or adjacent to the City of Whittier.
Some of this land consisted of the former oil fields of Unocal and Chevron. Approximately 330 acres of parkland are found in the City of Whittier.
Located in Whittier, Friendly Hills Country Club was established in 1968 on 168 acres. The Club features a challenging 18-hole golf course.History
Like many areas in Southern California, Whittier developed out of land that was once owned by land-grant ranchers and farmers. In 1887, Quakers (members of the Religious Society of Friends, better known as the Quaker faith) interested in founding a new community purchased 1,259 acres in what is now Whittier. Lots sold were priced from $200 to $250. Whittier was named after a popular poet of the time, John Greenleaf Whittier, who was a Quaker. Southern Pacific Railroad built a railroad spur to Whittier in about 1888, which stimulated development of the area. In 1891, the Reform School for Juvenile Offenders, the oldest school for juvenile offenders in the State of California, opened in Whittier. Later renamed the Fred C. Nelles School for Boys, the institution was in continuous operation for 113 years. In 1904, the Pacific Electric Railway Los Angeles-Whittier trolley line opened, making the area more accessible and desirable for development. Whittier became well known in the region for its citrus and walnut groves. Whittier remained largely agricultural until the post-World Wat II era, when a housing shortage and rising land values prompted widespread residential development.Points of Interest
"The Old Ranch House," or Jonathan Bailey House, was built around 1868-1869 and is the oldest building in Whittier. The house is owned by the City of Whittier and operated by the Whittier Historical Society, through which guided tours are available.
Also of interest are Whittier’s four residential historic districts: Central Park District; College Hills District; Earlham Historic District; andHadley/Greenleaf District.
Pío Pico State Historic Park features an adobe home called “El Ranchito,” which was the home of Pío de Jesus Pico, the last governor of California prior to the annexation of California by the United States. The park encompasses a five acre portion of the 9,000 acre Rancho Paso de Bartolo once owned by Pío de Jesus Pico.Contact Us
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