Time Capsule Tuesday: The City of Industry General Plan, 1971, Part Two

by Paul R. Spitzzeri

This second part in a series about the City of Industry’s general plan, written by the well-known planning firm of Gruen Associates of Los Angeles; adopted in May 1971; and still in force, looks at sections that dealt with a regional orientation and the city’s place in it; general physical factors; and existing generalized land use.

The plan’s inclusion of a regional map showed the city’s place as a centralized industrial hub within greater Los Angeles in close proximity to downtown Los Angeles, major airports like Los Angeles and Ontario, several colleges and universities, and such freeways as the Pomona (SR-60), San Bernardino (1-10), San Gabriel River (I-605) and the Orange (SR-57.)

A regional map from the May 1971 General Plan of the City of Industry.

In a short statement about the regional orientation, the plan observed that “road access to the City is excellent” and “will be improved even further with the completion” of the 605 and 57 “and “the construction of the Huntington Beach Freeway.”

Wait . . . the “Huntington Beach Freeway”?!

Look closely at the regional map and check out the thick line running between “CITY” and “OF” in the city’s name and you’re looking at the proposed freeway, which was an intended realignment of State Route 39.  At the time, that highway was Beach Boulevard from the coast to La Habra, then Hacienda Boulevard over the Puente Hills, and up to Interstate 10, and then Azusa Avenue in the foothills, before entering the San Gabriel Mountains and terminating at HIghway 2 deep in the Angeles National Forest.

Metro Trans Eng Bd freeway master plan 1956
This 1956 map of proposed and existing freeways in greater Los Angeles, included the planned “Huntington Beach Freeway,” State Route 39, which was to cut through the Puente Hills from Orange County and go through the middle of City of Industry on its way north towards the San Gabriel Mountains.

Obviously, the idea never got beyond some master plans devised by various transportation agencies and entities and imagine how this area would have looked if the freeway actually was built.  Access to the Homestead would have been a lot easier, but . . .

The regional orientation statement also pointed out the city being served the Southern Pacific (its line opening in 1874, when the Workman and Rowland families still owned tens of thousands of acres in the area) and Union Pacific (the old San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake line, which opened in the first years of the 20th century) railroads.  The SP had a mainline switch yard along its line between Hacienda Boulevard and Azusa Avenue, which still exists, though the system is now controlled by the UP.

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This detail of a “General Physical Factors” map shows an eight-pointed flower denoting “Historical Site.”  This is the Homestead, of which the Workman House and El Campo Santo were purchased by the City in 1963 from the Brown family, owners of El Encanto Sanitarium.  La Casa Nueva was acquired from the Browns four years after the plan was adopted.

Observing that the city was surrounded by a population in the East San Gabriel Valley numbering some 500,000, the statement pointed out the proximity of colleges and universities like Cal Poly Pomona, Whittier College, the Claremont Colleges, and the University of La Verne.  Obviously, the population of the area has increased dramatically in nearly a quarter century.

A map of “general physical factors” has symbols and shadings for a variety of elements including suburban and rural residential areas; “sanitary fill,” meaning the closed landfill where the Industry Hills resort now is; freeways and their interchanges and underpasses and overpasses; rail lines; the converted San Jose Creek into a flood control channel; and others.

On this map, an eight-pointed flower denotes “Historical Site,” this being the Homestead.  In 1971, the City owned the Workman House and El Campo Santo cemetery and had an eight-year old agreement with the Brown family, owners and operators of El Encanto Sanitarium, to allow public access by appointment.  It was still four years longer before La Casa Nueva was acquired from the Browns.

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A detail of an “Existing Generalized Land Use” map.

Another brief statement on “Existing Land Use,” accompanied by a map showing residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, vacant, and other areas, pointed out that “the City is surrounded by suburban residential development [almost all built within the preceding twenty years] which includes some rural residential development.”  It observed that the Puente Hills were to the south and two cemeteries (Rose Hills near Whittier and Queen of Heaven in Rowland Heights) and pointed out that the Pomona Freeway and two railroad lines were major features.

It also noted that there was “a stockyard at the extreme eastern end of the City.”  This was the Currier Ranch, created by former Los Angeles County sheriff and state senator Alvin T. Currier, and which is now the Grand Crossing area along Valley Boulevard between Brea Canyon Road and the city limits with Pomona and Diamond Bar.

An “Existing Conditions” statement from the plan.

Finally, the statement noted that “flooding, which was a major problem in earlier years, has been alleviated considerably with the construction of the San Jose Flood Control Channel.  Completed just before the publication of the plan, this concrete conversion was of San Jose Creek, a natural watercourse and tributary of the San Gabrel River which had water year round.  William Workman and his Temple grandsons, among others along the creek’s course, tapped it for irrigation ditches that watered vineyards and orchards in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The statement did end by pointing out that there were “still many unimproved drainage courses within the City, which tend to retard the full potential growth of the area.”  This was one of many reasons why the general plan was implemented as it sought to provide broad guidance for the development of the city, including areas considered to be hazards or blighted.

Next week is part three of the series on the General Plan, so check back on Tuesday for more!

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