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Bellflower, CA

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.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

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

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.

EDUCATION

  • The American Beauty College has been training cosmetology students since the 1960s.
  • The College of Instrument Technology trains students in all levels of heavy-equipment operator use.
  • The Clifton M. Brakensiek Community Library has been open to Bellflower residents since the early 20th century.

EVENTS

  • The annual BRAVO Awards in February celebrate the heroism and outstanding service of men and women in public-support positions.
  • The Bellflower Chamber of Commerce hosts an outdoor chili cook-off each April. The annual event features a beer garden, vendors, crafts and live entertainment.
  • In September, Bellflower celebrates the Apple Harvest Festival with apple pie-baking contests, apple pie-eating contests and apple exhibits. A beer garden and arts-and-crafts booths are available to visitors.
  • The Liberty Day Parade has been held each October since 1968.

BEST BETS

  • Hollywood Sports Park is the most elaborate paintball facility in California. The outdoor paintball park covers more than 20 acres.
  • Pirate Park features a replica of a 17th-century pirate ship, a skull cave, treasure chest and a Spanish fort in a 4,000-square-foot park that is popular among children and adults alike.
  • The Bellflower Community Concert Association, which launched in 1947, currently offers six concerts per year. The concerts showcase everything from choirs to piano to guitar and include musicians from the community.
  • Since 1968 the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra has been performing concerts. On occasion the orchestra plays at Caruthers Park.
  • The Carpenter House features items and artifacts from Bellflower's past.

GETTING AROUND

  • California highways 105, 710, 605 and 91 serve Bellflower.
  • Bellflower Bus operates six days a week inside the city limits.
  • Long Beach Airport is five miles from Bellflower, Los Angeles Airport is 20 miles away and John Wayne Airport is 24 miles away.
  • Southern Pacific provides freight rail service, while Amtrak offers passenger rail service.

LOCAL MEDIA

  • The Bellflower Bulletin is distributed monthly by the Bellflower Chamber of Commerce.
  • While not printed in Bellflower, the daily newspaper Press Telegram and the weekly Herald-American both cover Bellflower news.
  • A local cable show, All About Bellflower, runs regularly as part of special event cable broadcasts.
  • Bellflower residents enjoy all of the television and radio stations that are broadcast in the Greater Los Angeles area.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The city flower is the dahlia.
  • The city mottos are "Growing Together" and "The Friendly City."