El Monte is east of Los Angeles. Its slogan is "Welcome to Friendly El Monte," and it is known as the end of the Santa Fe Trail. The city is home to about 115,000 people, which makes it just about one of the 50 largest cities in California. El Monte resides in the San Gabriel Valley, which is one of the most scenic areas around Los Angeles. El Monte's history dates back to the time of Native American inhabitants. Since then, its economy and landscape have changed dramatically.
El Monte's History
El Monte has a strategic location between two rivers, which are the Rio Hondo and the San Gabriel. The city's name, which is Spanish, translates to "the mount" or "the mountain," and it refers to the fact that an abundance of things can grow in the area's climate. However, the city's old Spanish name translates to "the wood," which is also appropriate for El Monte given its vast areas of forests and plants. Although Spanish explorers named the city, its settlement history dates back thousands of years, when it was originally home to a Native American tribe called the Tongva. The Tongva lived an agricultural and hunter-gatherer lifestyle until the arrival of European settlers. The land that they lived on was eventually taken over by Spanish settlers in the 1800s. The Tongva were then relegated to live in Spanish missionaries while the settlers built up the area in their preferred manner.
While many towns in California were served by and connected via train, El Monte was connected to its neighboring cities by a critical trade route called the Old Spanish Trail. This trail facilitated the transportation of people and cargo across the state. In fact, the trail ran all the way to New Mexico, which allowed it to connect larger portions of the West. The Old Spanish trail also connected with a trail that ran from East to West through Texas, which enabled an even broader trade network to become established. These trails were also noted for their ability to transport settlers moving West during the Gold Rush. The initial settlers to the El Monte area arrived in the 1840s through the trail, and they were quickly followed by a rush of settlers seeking their fortunes mining gold. A core group of families (with the last names of Cuddeback, Thompson, Schmidt, Corbin, and Sheldon) are credited with establishing the backbone of El Monte's early economy, which was based primarily on agriculture. The initial families constructed homesteads and contributed to the significant expansion of the city's economy over the years. The railroad arrived around 1858, which brought even more people to the area. It also transformed the city's economy from one based largely on agriculture to one that was based primarily on industry and commerce.
Things to do in El Monte
Many of the things you'll find to do today in El Monte are a direct reflection of its past. Primarily, they involve history and natural areas. From museums to parks, there are plenty of sites to visit to get a taste of modern life in this vibrant city.
El Monte Historical Museum
For residents and visitors who enjoy history, a visit to the El Monte Historical Museum is essential. The museum features many exhibits and displays that showcase the city through the ages. The museum covers more than 8,500 square feet, which includes several artifacts and original historical pieces. Visitors are welcome to tour the museum on their own or join a guided tour for a more detailed look at the city's history.
Whittier Narrows Recreation Area
The Whittier Narrows Recreation Area has something for everyone. Among its attractions are a network of trails, three lakes, and a museum. The recreation area also has multiple shooting ranges, a place to play disc golf, and an equestrian center. There is also a farm on the property with animals and crops that shows what life was once like in El Monte. The recreation area is often the site of community events, especially organized walking and running events.
Although it is close to Los Angeles, El Monte is a city that is steeped in history and the environment. Even though you might not be using your yard to supply the city's crops, you can still benefit from having a happy, healthy-looking lawn. From weeding to gardening, call on Lawn Love, your local lawn care experts, to get your property in top shape this spring season.