90403: Virtual Tour
Santa Monica was launched by two entrepreneurs: mining industrialist Colonel Robert Symington Baker, and silver mine owner and Nevada Senator John Percival Jones. They founded the city in 1875, plotted the layout, and donated some of the land for public use (the 26-acre plot that now makes up Palisades Park was donated by Jones). The city was incorporated in 1886, and the first commercial buildings appeared on Second Street in the 1880s and spread to Third Street in the 1890s. The naming of the city is connected to the Kuruvungna Springs, a sacred site for the native Gabrieleno Tongva people, that still survives today beneath a 150-year-old Mexican Cypress on the campus of University High School. Father Juan Crespí, a Franciscan missionary who catalogued Junípero Serra’s exploration of California (Serra is one of the characters featured in our 90012: DTLA – Clara and Serra and The Talking Bear play). Serra had remarked that the springs reminded him of Saint Monica’s tears for her wayward son Augustin. This story inspired Baker and Jones in choosing the city’s name. The zip code of 90403 is almost entirely a residential area of Santa Monica.