Lawndale, CA

Lawndale is a city in Los Angeles County, California in United States with a population of about 32,769 in the recent census. The city is in the South Bay region of the Greater Los Angeles Area. It is bordered by Redondo Beach on the west and southwest, Hawthorne on the north, Torrance on the southeast and unincorporated area of El Camino Village (also known as Alondra Park) on the east.

The name “Lawndale” was supplied by Millard and Decker, a real estate firm which subdivided the area in 1870. In 1871, after the Great Chicago Fire, the McCormick Reaper Company (later International Harvester) constructed and occupied a new large plant in the South Lawndale neighborhood. As a result, many plant workers moved to eastern North Lawndale. The remaining area west of Crawford Avenue was annexed in 1889 by a resolution of the Cook County Commissioners.

images4From the 1780s onward, the area that is now Lawndale was part of the Rancho Sausal Redondo, a land grant given by the Spanish colonial government that includes much of what is now the South Bay shore region. It was founded in 1905 by a real estate developer and it drew the first settler in 1906. The first railway to run through Lawndale was the Inglewood Division of the Redondo Railway which later became part of the Pacific Electric “Red Car” system. It ran down the middle of Railway Ave. presently know as Hawthorne Blvd till 1933.

In 1927 the Santa Fe railroad arrived after World War II, the immense demand for housing from returning veterans and California newcomers resulted in Lawndale’s formation as a bedroom community while in 1959, it was incorporated as a city in Los Angeles county.

Early 1970s recorded Lawndale’s relatively low housing prices but more desirable location relative to its neighboring cities attracted absentee landlords and a substantial portion of its residents increasingly became renters. There was new cycle of expansion of defense industry in 1980 in which many young people who wished to live in the Beach Cities found that they simply could not afford to do so and settled in less glamorous inland cities such as Lawndale. But with the contraction of this industry after the cold war, Lawndale reverted to its previous pattern. Lawndale has attracted more owner–residents as well as tourists with the completion of the “Beautify Lawndale” urban renewal project along the city’s stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard which is a major South Bay thoroughfare.

Agriculture predominated in Lawndale with crops, sheep and poultry being raised. The farms were small, and their products composed a secondary income for their owners. Lawndale’s first school opened in 1906 in the Lawndale Congregational Church which no longer exist presently.

imagesThe Lawndale community fair originated in 1918 and continued for five years. As an unincorporated area, Lawndale still possessed community identification and a cohesiveness that foretold the future establishments for the City of Lawndale.Oil discoveries in 1920’s, created major commercial activity and temporarily changed the face of the community. The boom reached its peak between 1927 and 1929, the influx of the oil workers and typical boom real estate speculation rapidly declined as the drilling subsided. During the oil period, Lawndale was easily recognizable by the landscape of oil derrick construction.

The population of Lawndale did not increase as rapidly during the war years of 1941 through 1945 as did adjoining communities. The major influx of people occurred in the decade following the conclusion of World War II, as Lawndale slowly lost its rural atmosphere. Post war veteran housing and the construction of the Harbor Freeway caused major growth. The advent of the personal automobile assisted in the gradual dismantling of the Pacific Electric and all rail transportation in the area. Lawndale’s residential community transformation from a rural community highlighted a rapid increase of daily auto traffic through the community. The Civic Association functioned much as a Municipal Advisor Committee does in the present county structure as a group to develop municipal services. With the increasing population, the Civic Association’s tasks multiplied and in 1945 August Reiss formed the Businessman’s Group within the Association for the purpose of advertising the residential, commercial and industrial advantages of Lawndale.

imgresThe incorporation of Lawndale marked the end of a year and a half struggle with neighboring communities as to acquisition of the businesses along Hawthorne Boulevard, or the need to round out their boundaries. The concern of one neighboring council man went so far as to champion legislation aimed at preventing this and other incorporation’s as fiscally unsound. Although this threat went as far as Sacramento, the question was finally resolved when the electorate voted three to one to form the City of Lawndale as a general law city following the Lakewood Plan. This plan provides contracting essential services through established county agencies when economically sound.

Lawndale have a City TV web page for original City programming such as Lawndale Living. The Safety Zone with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Lawndale Lifestyle and public service announcements.
Lawndale citywide newsletter informs the residents about programs and events happening in the City of Lawndale and is now available at the city’s website. The Lawndale Tribune is the community paper for the City of Lawndale. In the California State Legislature, Lawndale is in the 35th Senate District and in the 62nd Assembly District. In the United States House of Representatives, Lawndale is in California’s 43rd congressional district. The United States Postal Service Lawndale Post Office is located at Marine Avenue.

The newly built Lawndale Public Library is located adjacent to Lawndale City Hall.

imgres2The weather is nice and warm although the year. In the winter, there are moderate rains because of the formation of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and its proximity to the beach, the city gets effects of the marine layer which is almost identical.

According to the recent United States Census, Lawndale had a relatively high median household income with 16.7% of the population living below the federal poverty line.

Since Lawndale has a large amount of elderly residents, the city provides free trips for seniors on its city bus: The Lawndale Beat. The city also provides a meals on wheels program as well as a senior’s travel club.Today, Lawndale continues to utilize County Fire, Sheriff, and Library services for the community and has maintained its independence in other areas of control. The Charter promise of 1959 of no City taxes has never been altered due to this continuing process of responsible financial policy.