Online Community Lesson
SAY “HELLO” TO
Montebello could be described as a small
city in Los Angeles County. How did Montebello grow to be what it is today?
Where did it all start?
Montebello’s history dates back to
Franciscan missionaries, Fathers Angel Somera and Pedro Cambon, who founded
the original Mission San Gabriel Arcangel on September 9, 1771, near where
San Gabriel Boulevard now crosses the Rio Hondo, which also is near the
present-day Sanchez Adobe, a historical site. This marked the beginning of
the Los Angeles region's settlement by Spaniards.
It was not until the end of the American
Civil War that Montebello came under the ownership of an Italian immigrant,
Alessandro Repetto. His ranch was purchased by five businessmen and later
divided among the partners. The acres and the tracks of the San Pedro, Los
Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, now Union Pacific Railroad, were developed
into a town site called Newmark. (There is a high school named after this
same Newmark. Harris Newmark Harris Continuation School is located in Los
Angeles. Also, we have Newmark Mall in Montebello.) The land was
subdivided into large lots for agriculture. Flowers were grown in the hills
of Montebello, which explains why we see the picture of a rose on our
street-name signs. The development was named “Montebello”. It became an
oil production site after Thomas Temple, the eldest child of Walter and
Laura Temple, made a discovery of oil in a pool of water found after a rain
in April, 1914.
Montebello was incorporated, that is, became
a city, on October 19, 1920, with a population of about 4,000, which is
little compared to the 61,519 who live here now. Montebello had five city
councilors then and has five city councilors now.
Now you know a little more about our small
city which neighbors Los Angeles. More information is available from the
main Montebello library, next to city hall. Interesting stories are
available from members of the Montebello Historical Society.
If you answer the multiple-choice questions
below and e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org with “Lesson answers” in the subject
field, you will be credited toward a “certificate of recognition in
community affairs” to be awarded in 2007 by a local nonprofit organization.
1. When did the Spanish
(b) Mid 1500s.
2. The land of
Montebello was first used for
(d) none of the above.
3. Which of these is
(a) Montebello became a
city in 1920, with about 4,000 residents and five city councilors.
(b) Montebello now has
over 60,000 residents and five city councilors.
(c) Montebello used to
have its own airport near Washington Boulevard and Vail Avenue.
(d) Before being moved
to a new building next to city hall, the main Montebello library was located
in Montebello Park, where the senior center now operates.
(e) There was a
Benedictine monastery where city hall now stands.
(f) The oldest
structure in Montebello is the Sanchez Adobe, dating to when California was
part of Mexico.
March 1, 2007