The L.A. 'Burbs

Welcome to the Suburbs! Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, and Lynwood to be exact. Each with storied pasts on their journey towards achieving the American Dream. Each started out a promising L.A. suburb, but how did they end up? Come find out!

Long Beach

Long Beach as a popular surfing spot in the 1930’s. Taken December 11, 1938.

A History

Long Beach is located on the San Pedro Bay, south of Los Angeles, and surrounds the city of Signal Hill. It has a population of over 461,522, which makes it the fifth largest city in California (Dictionary of American History). It was first an Indian Trading Camp when a Spanish explorer named Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed along Long Beach in 1542. In 1784, this land became a portion of Rancho Nietos and was divided up into two parts which would later be called Los Alamitos and Los Cerritos (Bluff Heights Neighborhood Association). These two areas are what mostly make up Long Beach today.

In 1880, Willmore City was planned by W.E. Willmore, an Englishman and real estate developer, by subdividing a part of Los Cerritos. It was completed in 1882. However, it was not a huge success, because it only had a dozen residents by 1884. In 1888, more people started moving in and people decided to rename the city as the City of Long Beach, because of its long stretch of beaches (Bluff Heights Neighborhood Association). 

After its economy improved, it became an important commercial hub. The Port of Long Beach was established in 1911, and became responsible for handling more containers than any other harbor. The harbor was further developed after the discovery of oil on Signal Hill in 1921. This discovery of oil made Long Beach one of the main centers of oil production. The development of the harbor improved commerce and fishing greatly.

In 1933, there was a massive earthquake, and downtown Long Beach was rebuilt. The city was able to recover during World War II because of the growing number of aircrafts. The Long Beach Naval Shipyards were created in 1941, and federal investments in aircraft production increased (Bluff Heights Neighborhood Association).


There are about 461,522 people living in Long Beach today. Most of the people who live in Long Beach are white. They make up about 45% of the population, followed by African Americans who make up about 15%, and Asians make up about 12%. The average household size is 2.77 and the average family size is 3.55. The estimated median household income is $52,000, which is about $10,000 lower than the California median.

Popular Places

Long Beach is visited by people from various places for its popular locations. Of them is our very own school, California State University, Long Beach. It was founded in 1949 as Los Angeles-Orange County State College. The first day of classes was held on September 28, 1949. There were 160 enrolled students and 13 faculty members. Classes were held at an apartment on 5381 E. Anaheim. Over the years, the school went through many name changes. In 1950, its name was changed to Long Beach State College, California State College at Long Beach in 1964, California State College, Long Beach in 1968, and finally California State University, Long Beach in 1972 (CSULB Historical Site).


An assembly was held the first week of school, and the staff were introduced.

The next popular place that people visit is the Aquarium of the Pacific, located in Downtown Long Beach. It was founded in June, 1998. It is a 5-acre, nonprofit public aquarium that is home to more than 11,000 animals. Its goal is “to instill a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems” (Aquarium of the Pacific).



As great as it seems, Long Beach has a few problems that need to be addressed. Sadly, Long Beach is one of the cities with the most pollution in the U.S. Since it is close by to the twin ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the winds carry a great amount of pollution into the twin ports, into the heart of Long Beach. It has gone down over the years, but the pollution level is still pretty high, due to the trains, ships, and trucks.

Long Beach’s water quality is one of the worst on the West Coast. In the past, it used to be a popular surfing site, however, many of the beaches in long beach are of D or F quality. The reason for this is because the Los Angeles River floods directly into the Long Beach beaches and also puts in urban runoff directly into the water. The runoff has many chemicals and garbage, which pollutes the water.
The increase in population in the suburbs is what caused this pollution and is a major problem that needs to be seriously addressed.

“A Brief History of Long Beach, California.” Bluff Heights Neighborhood Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.     

“Aquarium of the Pacific.” Aquarium of the Pacific. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.                          

“Long Beach”  Dictionary of American History. 2003. 08 May. 2016 <>

“Long Beach” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 2016. Web. 08 May, 2016 (>

“Long Beach Revival | SURFER Magazine.” SURFER Magazine. N.p., 04 Feb. 2014. Web. 08 May 2016. <>

“Our History.” CSULB Historical Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>          




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