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A Brief History of Torrance

From Hunter-Gatherer Lands to Dense Urbanization

The earliest known residents of Torrance were hunter-gatherers called Tongva --"People of the Earth" in the Uto-Aztecan language -- who first inhabited the resource-rich Los Angeles Basin about 500 BC.

Spain began colonization of Alta (Upper) California in 1769 with the "Sacred Expedition" led by Father Junipero Serra and Captain Gaspar de Portola. They were directed to build a series of missions and forts acrss the terriroty. Subsequently the Tongva became known as Gabrielenos after the Mission San Gabriel nearby.

Expeditionary solder Juan Jose Domingquez was given a 75,000-acre land grant by the Spanish crown upon his retirement in 1785. His Rancho San Pedro comprised roughly 120 square miles, from El Segundo to Long Beach. These lands eventually passed to nephew Cristobal Dominguez, his son Manuel and then to Manuel's six daughters.

A portion of the Dominguez Rancho is supported by family control today.

Prompted by developing labor troubles in Los Angeles, industrialist Jared Sidney Torrance decided in 1910 to build a "workingman's paradise" -- a model industrial city halfway between Los Angeles and the San Pedro harbor. He formed the Dominguez Land Corporation and spent $1 million to buy 3,522 acres from the Dominguez family for the new city. He then persuaded major industrial firms and a railroad to relocate here.

The city was planned by world-famous landscape architects Olmsted and Olmsted. Modernist architect Irving J. Gill designed the original buildings, including the city's emblematic depot and railroad bridge. Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr. was hired to help with landscaping. Although the city was founded in 1912 (population 180 by year-end), the Olmsted plan was implemented over a 30-year period due to economic fluctuations.

Torrance incorporated as a city in 1921, and through gradual annexation increased to its present-day size of 21 square miles, including a 1.5-mile beachfront. A late 1940s housing boom consumed virtually all the remaining vacant land and the population rapidly expanded to 140,000+ today. Yet Torrance received an All-America City award in 1955 for "growth without strain."

Although seated in one of the most densely urbanized zones in the world, Torrance still strives to remain true to its motto as a balanced city.


The Torrance City Parks Department directs and maintains the thirty varied Torrance City Parks.[26] They include:

Torrance Unified School District 


Torrance City Data

Neighborhood Information 

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If you or someone in your neighborhood is planning on having a garage sale, please give me a call @ 310.961-8478.  I can lend out up to 5 A frame open house style,GARAGE SALE signs with directional arrows. Please give me 5 days notice prior to your event and I'll even set them up for you the morning of your garage sale.  

Important Contact Information - City of Torrance

Non-Emergency Police Response: (310) 618-5641

3300 Civic Center Drive, Torrance CA 90503

Office of the Chief: 310-618-5705

Animal Control: 310-618-3850

Community Affairs:  310-618-6392

Community Lead Officer:  310-618-6389

Detectives: 310-618-5570

Emergency Services: 310-618-5670

Graffiti Hotline: 310-781-7149

Jail Custody: 310-618-5631

Oversize Vehicle Permits: 310-618-5636

Personnel Division:  310-618-5707


Recruitment:  310-618-2324

Research & Training:  310-618-5679

Recruitment: 310-618-2324

Research and Training: 310-618-5679

Services:  310-618-5722

Special Investigations: 310-618-5709

Property & Evidence:  310-618-5521

Towing Services (Van Lingen): 310-370-4533 / 310-326-9220

Traffic: 310-618-5557

Special Investigations:  310-618-5709


General Information: 310-328-3456 

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