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Bell Gardens, Calif.-- With the distinction of being one of the cities close to both Orange County and Los Angeles beaches, Bell Gardens is somewhat of a business area where you may stay to visit families, or conduct business with clients in the area. Not far from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), Bell Gardens makes for an easy access trip.


The City of Bell Gardens is bordered by the City of Commerce, Downey, South Gate and Bell. It contains an area of 2.5 square miles and is located in the southeastern part of Los Angeles County. Beautiful parks, soccer fields, a lake stocked with fish, and a community golf course all help the City of Bell Gardens to grow and prosper.

The City of Bell Gardens has a rich history dating back to the late 1700’s when the area was  a bustling agricultural center for immigrants escaping the Mexican government. Among them was one of California’s first families, the Lugos.

In 1771 Antonio Lugo was given a land grant of more than 29,514 acres, which today is known as the cities of Bell Gardens, Maywood, Vernon, Huntington Park, Walnut Park, Cudahy, South Gate, Lynwood and Commerce. While stationed at San Antonio de Padua Mission near Salinas, Antonio Lugo’s son Don Antonio Maria Lugo was born in 1783. Don Antonio built one of the largest ranches in the history of the state of California along with an adobe home on the ranch, which he named Rancho San Antonio. He built several adobe homes within the boundaries of the grant, including the oldest house in Los Angeles County built in 1810 and still standing at 7000 Gage Ave.

One of Bell Gardens most well known citizens was Henry Tifft Gage who served as California’s 29th Governor from 1898-1903. He became owner and occupant of the Lugo Mansion, now known as the Gage Mansion at 7000 Gage Ave. When Gage occupied the residence, he added two wings and redwood siding, installed bronze fireplaces, and imported expensive fabric wallpaper from France to serve as background for the Gage coat of arms, which enjoys a place of prominence in every room. In 1991 Casa de San Antonio was named State Historical Monument No. 984. Don Antonio Lugo’s his historic home will be preserved for future generations of Bell Gardens residents and Californians.

The Bell Garden’s school system began in 1867 when the San Antonio School was built where Bell Gardens Elementary stands today. Area farmers sent their children to the San Antonio School, which was one of the earliest educational institutions in the County of Los Angeles.

Because of the rich soil and abundant land, many Japanese immigrants are part of Bell Gardens’ early history. Japanese Gardeners leased land and farmed to produce quality vegetables for the marketplace. Rice fields also mushroomed within the city limits of Bell Gardens. With some of the richest agricultural land in the country, Bell Gardens remained a farming community until the 1930’s.

In 1927 Firestone Tire Company bought land, which, along with defense plants for the World War I and World War II efforts, helped build economic stability.

Bell Gardens is a relatively young city incorporated in 1961. It is approx. 94% Hispanic. Bell Gardens maintains only a small portion of the original Lugo land grant, which is located at the site of the Casa Mobile home Park at 7000 Gage Ave.

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