91754: In Person Tour
In 1916, the threat of a large sewage treatment facility being built in the area organized residents to form the city of Monterey Park. Over the last four decades, Monterey Park has become known as the first city and suburb in America to have an Asian majority, but it also has a long legacy of ethnic diversity.
Situated between the 710, 10, and 60 freeways, the area’s geographic placement made it ideal for those heading to Downtown, Pasadena, Long Beach or the Inland Empire. Following World War II, Monterey Park saw rapid growth with many veterans moving to the area thanks to the G.I. Bill of 1944, making it a modest middle-class neighborhood. Around this time, the area saw an influx of Japanese Americans from the West Side, Chinese Americans from Chinatown, and Latinos from East Los Angeles. It was also home to large Armenian and Jewish populations. Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, the area attracted well-educated and affluent Asian Americans and Asian immigrants, and has even been cited as a Chinese “ethnoburb” – a suburban residential or business area with a notable cluster of a particular ethnic minority population.
Fun Fact: Monterey Park is also where Laura Scudder invented the first sealed bag of potato chips in 1926. In an effort to extend the freshness of her favorite snack, Scudder developed a method to seal bags by ironing wax paper together.