by Paul R. Spitzzeri
In its recommendations to the City of Industry for addressing improvements to an area between, roughly, 7th Avenue on the west and Nogales Street on the east and from Temple Avenue on the north to Colima Road (then still called 5th Avenue) on the south, Gruen Associates followed its introduction with a summary of existing conditions.
Other than some small areas of commercial activity along Valley and Hacienda boulevards and scattered housing from the La Puente Valley’s agricultural days, there were “several public buildings . . . including historic landmarks [the Homestead and the Rowland House]” as well as schools, fire station, post office, a church, the city hall, and El Encanto Sanitarium, adjacent to the Homestead.
Not surprisingly, given that the direction was toward Los Angeles, the report observed that most development to date in the city was to the west and “there is still a substantial amount of vacant land throughout the [project] area, particularly east of Hacienda Boulevard, although an accompanying map showed more of this to be east of Azusa Avenue.
About 60% of the project area was vacant and the largest parcel of any was the 500-acre Puente (or P) Hill “recently acquired by the City and [which] was previously used as a refuse disposal area.” This is now Industry Hills, containing a hotel and resort, golf courses, and the Expo Center.
Aiding future development were “superior links to the freeway network via major highways which are aligned in a north-south direction,” but there was a problem with secondary highways and collector streets, which were “incomplete and in places substandard, denying adequate access to many areas” within the project area.
As to property ownership, little was said, but it was pointed:
The achievement of orderly development in Project One is seriously inhibited by a fragmented and illogical ownership pattern in certain areas. This condition is especially predominant in the sector east of Azusa Avenue.
A particularly interesting map (especially for map nerds) is a partial fold-out that is headed as “General Ownership Data.” Within the defined project area are parcels shown by number and exhibiting a wide variety of sizes. It is worth noting that the Pomona Freeway (SR 60) had only opened within the project area in the last few years.
Another little point of interest was the “Town of Rowland” situated at the northeast corner of Azusa and Gale avenues. Lying on the southern side of the railroad line marked “Riverside Branch, Los Angeles & Salt Lake,” later the Union Pacific, the community included a depot for that railroad line and a Depot Street came out of Gale Avenue crossing Azusa and then abruptly curving into that street.
Hatcher Street, which now only exists north of the track, extended south to a “Frontage Road” along the freeway. That latter soon became the extension of Gale to Fullerton Road, which on the map ended at the Salt Lake/Union Pacific rail line. West of Nogales Street between that rail line and San Jose Creek was “Parcel Map No. 6” and parcel number 1141. This was the John A. Rowland III ranch, which remains in family hands and which is still partially undeveloped.
The Geraldine Tract at the bottom and east of Azusa and south of the freeway became the Puente Hills Mall upon completion in 1976, five years after this report was created. As for the Homestead, it is marked as parcel 324 and it can be seen that Don Julian Road, which ended at Turnbull Canyon (formerly Tenth Avenue) for many years, was extended to the east before it dead ended. It was not until the Homestead’s restoration at the end of the decade that Don Julian was opened on the east to Hacienda Boulevard.
Some accompanying photos in this portion of the document show three areas that were seen as blighted and inhibiting the “orderly development” noted above. The top image shows farm buildings and fencing near an open field; the middle one depicts a hay shed with a two-gabled roof and mostly open sides, but also piles of refuse and what might be a railcar; and the bottom image appears to be San Jose Creek and more farm land and buildings to the left. These were conditions to be corrected for the proper forms of industrial, manufacturing and commercial growth to take place in the city.
The next post in this series moves to a section of “General Physical Factors” with the project area broken down into four sub-sections, with a focus on problem elements and including plenty of photographs showing unsightly and blighted areas.