Cities Near Villa Park, CA
Local city information for Villa Park, CA
is an incorporated city located in northern Orange County, California. Villa Park, founded in 1962 is the smallest Orange County city in population but not in area (La Palma is Orange County's smallest city in area). The population was 5,999 at the 2000 census. Villa Park currently includes about 2,000 homes and the land is about 99% built out. Except for one small shopping center, the city is zoned for single-family residences, most of them on half-acre lots. The shopping center includes a Ralph's grocery store, banks, a pharmacy with a postal substation, a variety of stores and offices, City Hall and community room, and a branch of the Orange County Public Library. Three restaurants, including Rockwell's Cafe & Bakery, complete the shopping center. The city's public elementary, middle, and high school are part of the Orange Unified School District.
Many homes in the area include back yards with pools or tennis courts which is atypical in surrounding cities, and are desired by residents for family living and entertaining. The many trees and flowers contribute to its rural and peaceful feel. Streets are commonly winding and have no sidewalks and no street lights. Villa Park is an enclave completely surrounded by the City of Orange.
Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño nations long inhabited this area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Father Junipero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the areas first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted to Jose Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today.
After the Mexican-American war in 1848, Alta California became part of the United States in 1850 and American settlers arrived in this area.
Villa Park was not incorporated until 1962, but it was known in 1860s as Mountain View. Villa Park came into usage when the post office was founded and the name Mountain View was already taken by a city in Northern California.
Villa Park was, for many years, an agricultural area producing, in turn, grapes, walnuts, apricots, and finally, citrus, which was the major crop for about 60 years and is most closely associated with its development. It was the citrus ranchers and their families who molded Villa Park into a vital community and organized its incorporation to save it from what they felt were unwelcome zoning practices from the eastward-moving city of Orange.
These ranchers established the Serrano Water District, which still provides Villa Park's water. (The district office is located on Lincoln Street.) They also founded the Villa Park Orchard's Association, still a thriving business in Orange, although the packing house that was the dominant Villa Park landmark for many years, located west of the shopping center, was torn down in 1983. The citrus groves have yielded to the developers, but these pioneers have left an enduring legacy in half-acre zoning for housing, which has been instrumental in shaping the city's character.
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