Bellflower, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, California, is located in Los Angeles County. It is approximately 20 miles south of Los Angeles and 15 miles west of Anaheim. The name Bellflower comes from the "belle fleur" apple, which grew abundantly in the region. The area was inhabited by Dutch settlers in the late 1800s but was not incorporated as a California city until the late 1950s. Agriculture and ranching were the main industries in the early days. In addition to cattle, ranchers raised chinchillas and rabbits for sale to the fur industry. For many years the city government resisted larger retail establishments, depressing the economy, as more people traveled out of the city for their shopping. Thanks to business incentives, larger stores have opened in Bellflower, and the city is growing again. What started out as a collection of farms has expanded into a residential city.
Bellflower enjoys a moderate climate, with temperatures averaging 70 degrees during the summer and 50 degrees in the winter. The warmest month of the year is August, when the average temperature is 84 degrees. Whereas the average U.S. city receives 37 inches of rain each year, Bellflower gets an average of 15 inches of rain annually and no snow. The wettest month of the year is February, but the rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year. Bellflower is home to approximately 73,000 residents and covers just more than six square miles.
Bellflower is mainly a residential city, with some light industry, service and retail making up the economic base. The city offers incentives to businesses interested in opening locations in Bellflower.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the city enjoyed a booming economy. However, following the suburban growth in the neighboring counties and cities, the original population and the businesses in Bellflower started moving out and the city started experiencing urban problems. Despite this crisis, Bellflower has recovered some of its original businesses.
Neighborhoods and districts of Bellflower accommodate around 24,200 houses, out of which more than 23,300 are occupied. Of the occupied houses, more than 9,400 are owner-occupied, while renters occupy around 14,000 houses. The city has a very high population density, with more than 12,000 people per square mile.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Bellflower erected roughly 9,800 homes and apartments, about 40 percent of its current total housing. The area was originally developed for World War II veterans, and has remained a middle-class community. Growth slowed in the 1960s, with just 5,000 new housing units, and development continued to decline through the 1990s.
Three-bedroom homes are popular in Bellflower. The city is subdivided into large lots that once contained a single home but later added other homes and apartments. In some places, single homes blend into an apartment complex.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Bellflower Boulevard, the city's main thoroughfare, was a thriving commercial strip. However, suburban growth in Orange County and the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys made Bellflower's housing tracts decidedly unattractive, and by the 1990s much of its original population had left and the city began to show signs of urban problems. The departed were replaced by just about every ethnicity imaginable, to the extent that the "A-B-C" region, formed by Bellflower and neighboring Artesia and Cerritos, is considered one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse in the United States. Bellflower Boulevard has recovered some of its previous business traffic in the last decade.