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San Gabriel Local History Information
San Gabriel Local History Information

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Painting of San Gabriel Mission The oldest settlement in Los Angeles County and second oldest community in all of California after San Diego, San Gabriel lies in the San Gabriel Valley in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains. All three took their names from Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, one of twenty-one missions established by the Spanish in the late eighteenth century and the seed of present-day San Gabriel. Mission San Gabriel left a permanent imprint on Southern California. The arrival of Spanish missionaries permanently displaced the area's Native American inhabitants, but also permanently influenced the future of California, stimulating what would prove to be a rich agricultural industry.

San Gabriel Mission and belltower from Mission Road, 2000 Eventually, Mexican political interests interfered with the mission's work, leading to the dispersion of its extensive land holdings and the dissolution of its influence. Ranchers and farmers assumed prominence as the nineteenth century progressed. A trickle of Americans heading west late in the century evolved into a continuous expansion of San Gabriel's population in the 1900s, marked by a significant growth spurt in the 1940s and a new suburban look in the second half of the century. By 2000, San Gabriel was a prosperous community of more than 40,000.

Website Links:

Print Sources:

  • The Historical Volume and Reference Works: Los Angeles County. Arlington, CA: Historical Publishers, 1962-65.
  • San Gabriel, California: City with a Mission. San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce.

Aerial view of San Gabriel, c. 1928

Places to Visit:

    San Gabriel Mission
    416 S. Mission Drive
    San Gabriel, CA 91776
    (626) 281-2454

    San Gabriel Historical Association Museum (open Saturdays and Sundays only)
    546 West Broadway
    San Gabriel, CA91776
    (626) 308-3223


  • Painting of San Gabriel Mission
    [Courtesy of the San Gabriel Mission Museum]
  • San Gabriel Mission and belltower from Mission Road, 2000
    [County of Los Angeles Public Library]
  • Aerial view of San Gabriel, c. 1928
    [Courtesy of the San Gabriel Historical Association Museum]

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