Time Capsule Tuesday: City of Industry and Hacienda Heights aerial photograph, 1 March 1961

by Paul R. Spitzzeri

Continuing with another great aerial photograph of the City of Industry and Hacienda Heights areas as part of the “Time Capsule Tuesday” series is this 1 March 1961 view.

It takes in a wide area from downtown La Puente and portions of Puente Hill (now Industry Hills) on the upper right, a largely undeveloped swath of the City of Industry (including the Homestead) from the top left to the center right, and a Hacienda Heights (recently renamed from North Whittier Heights) that is in transition from citrus and avocado groves to tract houses toward the bottom.

1 mar 61 aerial full.jpg
This 1 March 1961 aerial photograph shows downtown La Puente in the upper right, Hacienda Heights at the bottom, and, in between, largely undeveloped areas of the City of Industry, incorporated less than four years prior.

Details shown here take in a variety of specific locations, including the Homestead; the area where the City of Industry Civic Center is now located; areas of the City of Industry that were still largely farm and grove land; the right-of-way for the 60 Freeway, which was completed through the area by the end of the decade; the Rowland House, an 1855 brick home, that is in the City of Industry and now owned by the La Puente Valley Historical Society; and more.

1Mar61 Homestead and surrounding area
The Homestead is just below center in this detail, surrounded by open spaces within the City of Industry.  A bit of La Puente’s downtown is at the top right corner and new Hacienda Heights tract developments are at the bottom right.

So, the view that focuses on the Homestead and the surrounding area shows the ranch just below center with the Workman House and La Casa Nueva accessed from the north by a right of way (which still exists) dating back to the 1840s coming in from Valley Boulevard, which comes in from the top left corner and then curves toward the right center and from the west off Turnbull Canyon.

Look closely at the photo and you can see Don Julian Road slightly south of the Homestead driveway and then heading to the left or west.  Below the Homestead and forming its southern boundary is the dark line of San José Creek about eight years before it was transformed into a concrete-lined channel.  Just above the Homestead is a faint line on an angle from Turnbull Canyon to Hacienda Boulevard (formerly Hudson Road) that represents the northern boundary of the ranch from 1880 onward.  Finally, note the open land around the ranch that were undeveloped portions within the new City of Industry, which was not quite four years old when the photo was taken.

1Mar61 COI civic center La Puente P Hill
Downtown La Puente is at the center, today’s Industry Hills complex (formerly Puente, or “P”, Hill) is at the right, the Homestead is at the lower left, and the future City of Industry Civic Center is left of center, where a large open tract is situated next to the curving Hacienda Boulevard.

Speaking of the City, the area that includes today’s Civic Center is an open area left of center where Hacienda Boulevard heads north from Valley and curves to the left.  Across Hacienda Boulevard is the Stafford Mill, which occupied its location for decades and is now where the Industry Sheriff’s station and other structures are.

Note how west of Glendora Avenue where La Puente High School and La Puente Community Park are at the top center and to the west of that the streets are at an angle, but east of Glendora, they run straight north and south and east and west.  This reflects how the town of Puente, as it was called when laid out in 1885, was surveyed differently than the areas to the west.

To the right are the western portion of what was, in 1961, still called Puente (or “P”) Hill and now is part of the Industry Hills complex.  Additionally, part of the Homestead is at the lower left.

1Mar61 Rowland House East on Gale HH 60 ROW
The historic Rowland House, built in 1855, and located within the City of Industry is at the top center.  To the right are undeveloped areas of what became Industry, at the top, and Hacienda Heights, lower right.  But, the tract houses of the latter have largely filled in open areas at the left and bottom.

Moving southeast of the Homestead a detail shows a bunch of relatively new tract houses in Hacienda Heights with largely open space at the right and top.  A straight line running at an angle from about the top center to the right center is the line of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, built in the early 1900s and then sold to the Union Pacific.

At top center is a dark square area where the Rowland House is situated.  Built in 1855 by John Rowland, co-owner with William Workman of Rancho La Puente, the home, now owned by the La Puente Valley Historical Society, is within the City of Industry.  At the lower left of that square plot is the headquarters of the Hacienda-La Puente Unified School District and what was, earlier, Hudson School.

Gale Avenue which runs from the upper left of the photo and along the south edge of the Rowland House property passed Stimson Avenue and then ended not far east at open farm and ranch land that was later developed for industrial uses in the City of Industry and residential property below that in Hacienda Heights.

1Mar61 West of Homestead
West of the Homestead along Don Julian Road, Proctor Street and Clark Avenue are portions of the City of Industry awaiting development.

West of the Homestead are more largely undeveloped areas within the City of Industry.  At the bottom right just above where the dark line of San José Creek gently curves was the dairy of the Handorf family.  The house still stands on the corner of Turnbull Canyon and Don Julian roads.

But, large expanses of open land within the city awaited development.  Another interesting feature is the wide channel from the top right to the center of Puente Creek where it empties into San José Creek.  To the left of that going from the top center to the housing areas at the bottom left is 7th Avenue.

1Mar61 60 ROW
The right-of-way for State Route 60, the Pomona Freeway, can be made out running left to right across the center of this detail, with Gale Avenue at the top, Turnbull Canyon Road at the left (with the new Los Altos High School along its right edge), and Hacienda Boulevard right of center.

Finally, there is a future development that can be traced out in the photo.  Still in the planning stages, but on the books by transportation planners since the 1940s, was State Route 60, or the Pomona Freeway.  It wasn’t completed through the area until the end of the 1960s, but you can see the right of way pretty clearly in the above photograph.

From the left to the right just below the center, the future freeway’s path runs between new housing tracts, though there are, toward the middle of the photo, existing houses and remnant citrus groves that had to be purchased by the state and removed.  Att the left is the new Los Altos High School, with its oval track and football stadium adjacent to Turnbull Canyon Road and the right-of-way just above that.

We’ll see the freeway right-of-way more clearly in the next aerial photograph, dating to early 1965, highlighted in next week’s “Time Capsule Tuesday” post, so check back for that.

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