Arcadia was incorporated in 1903 and became a Charter City in 1951. It is an upper-middle class community of approximately 60,000 people in an 11.2 square mile area located 20 miles east of Los Angeles. The City government is “full-service” with its own Police Department, Fire Department and Library, and a City Council-City Manager form of government.
Arcadia is known for beautiful neighborhoods, warm character and a “community of homes” atmosphere. The City places great emphasis on preserving “green space” and its commitment to the environment is evidenced by the large population of healthy trees you will find around town. Arcadia has been designated a Tree City USA for seventeen consecutive years.
Arcadians take pride in their well-established traditions and high standards. The Arcadia Unified School District is one of the most highly thought of in the State; high quality medical services are available locally; and an excellent assortment of recreation and leisure activities are offered for all ages.
Arcadia has a broad commercial base with businesses ranging from the very small to the very large. Westfield Santa Anita is a popular regional mall; downtown Arcadia has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years; south, west and north Arcadia all have thriving businesses; and many consider Santa Anita Race Track to be the finest facility of its type in the country.
With respect for its heritage, appreciation of the present, and excitement about the future, Arcadia remains true to its motto of “Community of Homes” by maintaining a good balance of quality economic development that mixes harmoniously with its primarily residential nature. Arcadians take great pride in their community and the qualities associated with the City are not taken for granted. It is not by accident that Arcadia is referred to as a jewel among southern California communities.
Data: City of Arcadia Site
Arcadia’s beginnings go back over 3,000 years to the Tongva/Gabrielino Native American settlement whose members were attracted to the water rich, ripe Southern California land in which to hunt and gather.
Arcadia saw it’s first notable settler in Hugo Reid who was deeded the land by the Spanish government, making him the first individual land owner of the area and the first to make a modern impact on the land by stocking cattle and building the first structure.
A succession of owners followed and the one who made a lasting impression on the area was Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin who in 1875 bought a large area of land including what is known as Arcadia for $200,000 ($25 an acre). When Lucky Baldwin first saw the land of Arcadia with its beautiful foothill landscape, lush greenery and oak trees, fertile growing land and acres full of potential, Lucky Baldwin was amazed and declared “By Gads! This is paradise.” Upon buying the land, Lucky chose to make the area his home and immediately started erecting buildings and cultivating the land for farming, orchards and ranches. It didn’t take log before he turned his sights to cityhood for the blossoming area he named Arcadia.
With a population of 500 and a booming economy that was somewhat based on entertainment, sporting, hospitality and gambling opportunities, Arcadia became a city in 1903. Since then, Arcadia has grown and matured into a city in which Lucky would have been proud – one of distinction, heritage, success and beauty.
If you are interested in learning more about Arcadia’s history, please visit the following pages on this website:
Arcadia History Collection
Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage
History Lives Here Historical Marker Program
Data: City of Arcadia Site