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Norwalk, California

Norwalk is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 103,298 at the 2000 census. The City of Norwalk was incorporated in 1957. It is located southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Like much of Southern California, Norwalk went from a predominantly agricultural area at the end of World War II to a well-developed suburb of Los Angeles. Due to an influx of immigration primarily from Mexico, the Latino population has grown significantly. In the 1990s, Norwalk gained a significant Asian population from families priced out of wealthier neighboring Cerritos and communities in Orange County.

Norwalk operates under a Council/Manager form of government, established by the Charter of the City of Norwalk which was drafted in 1957. The five-member City Council acts as the City's chief policy-making body. Every two years, Councilmembers are elected by the citizens of Norwalk to serve four-year, overlapping terms. Councilmembers are not limited to the number of terms they may serve. The Mayor is selected by the Council and serves a one-year term.

Norwalk is a member of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments. Norwalk's sister cities are Hermosillo, Sonora and Fresnillo, Zacatecas in Mexico.


Norwalk is located at (33.906914, -118.083398).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.2 km² (9.35 mi²). 24.2 km² (9.35 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (0.51%) is water.

Norwalk is bordered by Downey on the Northwest, Bellflower on the Southwest, Cerritos and Artesia on the South, and Santa Fe Springs on the North and East.


As of the census of 2000, there were 103,298 people, 26,887 households, and 22,531 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,120.2/km² (10,667.6/mi²). There were 27,554 housing units at an average density of 1,099.0/km² (2,845.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.82% White, 4.62% African American, 1.16% Native American, 11.54% Asian, 0.39% Pacific Islander, 32.75% from other races, and 4.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 62.89% of the population.

There were 26,887 households out of which 46.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.1% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.2% were non-families. 12.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.79 and the average family size was 4.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 32.1% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,047, and the median income for a family was $47,524. Males had a median income of $31,579 versus $26,047 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,022. About 9.5% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature Norwalk is located in the 30th Senate District, represented by Democrat Ronald S. Calderon, and in the 56th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Tony Mendoza. Federally, Norwalk is located in California's 38th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +20 and is represented by Democrat Grace Napolitano.

City services

Law Enforcement

Norwalk is currently a contract city, in which the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department provides police services. It maintains its own station, which also provides police services to La Mirada and unincorporated South Whittier. The station is staffed with 206 sworn personnel. The Joint Regional Drug Intelligence Center and Joint Regional Intelligence Center, which has a counter-terrorism focus, are located in a large commercial building at 12440 East Imperial Highway.


Norwalk is the home of the Los Angeles County Register/Recorder. The Los Angeles County Registrar's Office is responsible for the registration of voters, maintenance of voter files, conduct of federal, state, local and special elections and the verification of initiative, referendum and recall petitions. There are approximately 4.1 million registered voters, and 5 thousand voting precincts established for countywide elections. The office also has jurisdiction over marriage license issuance, the performance of civil marriage ceremonies, fictitious business name filings and indexing, qualification and registration of notaries and miscellaneous statutory issuance of oaths and filings. The office issues approximately 75,000 marriage licenses and processes 125,000 fictitious business name filings annually. The Recorder's Office is responsible for recording legal documents which determine ownership of real property and maintains files of birth, death and marriage records for Los Angeles County. It serves the public and other County departments such as the Assessor, Health Services, Public Social Services and Regional Planning. The office processes 2 million real and personal property documents and 750,000 birth, death and marriage records annually and services approximately 2,000 customers daily.

Superior Court

The Southeast District of the Los Angeles County Superior Court is located in Norwalk.



Norwalk has no fewer than 4 freeways that cross into city boundaries. The Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) and San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) intersect at its northern edge, while the Century Freeway (I-105) terminates at the San Gabriel River Freeway at the city's western edge. The Artesia Freeway (SR 91) runs just south of the city's southern border in the communities of Cerritos and Artesia.

Cerritos On Wheels (COW)

COW buses provide service to Cerritos College with routes connecting to the Cerritos Towne Center, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Cerritos Millennium Library, Los Cerritos Center and several other stops in neighboring Cerritos.

Norwalk Transit

Norwalk Transit serves Norwalk and its adjacent communities. Currently there are 8 different bus lines operating in Norwalk and adjacent cities.

Long Beach Transit

Long Beach Transit provides service to the Metro Green Line Station via Studebaker Road from Long Beach.

Los Angeles Metro

The Los Angeles MTA ("Metro") provides both bus and train service from Norwalk. The Metro Green Line light rail line provides service to LAX (via shuttle from Aviation Station) and Redondo Beach. Metro bus routes provide service to the west on Florence, Firestone, Imperial, and Rosecrans Blvd. from the Norwalk Green Line Station. Express routes also connect to Disneyland, El Monte Bus Station, Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles.


Southern California Regional Rail Authority ("Metrolink") The Metrolink Orange County Line and 91 Line (which operate on the same track in this area) connect Norwalk with Orange County, Riverside County, and Downtown Los Angeles.


The area known as "Norwalk" was first home to the Shoshonean Native American tribe. They survived primarily on honey, an array of berries, acorns, sage, squirrels, rabbits and birds. Their huts were part of the Sejat Indian village.

In the late 1760s, Spanish settlers, Padres and missions flourished under Spanish rule with the famous El Camino Real trail traversing the area. Manuel Nieto, a Spanish soldier, received a Spanish land grant (Rancho Los Nietos) in 1784 that included Norwalk.

After the Mexican-American war, the Rancho and mining days in the new, American California, ended around the 1860s and the land was subdivided once again and made available for sale now as part of the US State of California. Word of this land development reached the Sproul Brothers in Oregon. They recalled the fertile land and huge sycamore trees they saw during an earlier visit to the Southern California area. In 1869, Atwood Sproul, on behalf of his brother, Gilbert, purchased 463 acres (1.9 km²) of land at $11 an acre ($2700/km²) in an area known as Corazon de los Valles, or "Heart of the Valleys."

By 1873, railroads were being built in the area and the Sprouls deeded 23 acres (93,000 m²) stipulating a "passenger stop" clause in the deed. Three days after the Anaheim Branch Railroad crossed the "North-walk" for the first time, Gilbert Sproul surveyed a town site. In 1874, the name was recorded officially as Norwalk. While a majority of the Norwalk countryside remained undeveloped during the 1880s, the Norwalk Station allowed potential residents the opportunity to visit the "country" from across the nation.

This pre-1900 era also brought the "first families" to Norwalk, including the Sprouls, the Dewitts, the Settles, the Orrs, and many others. D.D. Johnston pioneered the first school system in Norwalk in 1880. Johnston was also responsible for the first real industry in town, a cheese factory, by furnishing Tom Lumbard with the money in 1882. Norwalk's prosperity was evident in the 1890s with the construction of a number of fine homes that were located in the middle of orchards, farms and dairies. Headstones for these families can be found at Little Lake Cemetery founded in 1843. The cemetery in on the Norwalk-Santa fe Springs border at 11959 E. Lakeland Rd.

At the turn of the century, Norwalk had become established as the dairy center. Of the 50 local families reported in the 1900 census, most were associated with farming or with the dairy industry. Norwalk was also the home of some of the largest sugar beet farms in all of Southern California during this era.

Airplane Disaster

In February 1958, two military aircraft, a Douglas C-118A military transport and a U.S. Navy P2V-5F Neptune patrol bomber, collided over Norwalk at night. 47 servicemen were killed as well as a civilian 23-year-old woman on the ground who was hit by falling debris. A plaque commemorating the disaster erected by the American Legion in 1961 marks the spot of the accident, today a mini-mall at the corner of Firestone Boulevard and Pioneer Boulevard.

The Hargitt House

Built in 1891 by the D. D. Johnston family, the Hargitt House is an 1891 Victorian Eastlake. The Hargitt House Museum, located at 12426 Mapledale, was donated to the people of Norwalk by Charles ("Chun") and Ida Hargitt. The Museum is open on the first and third Saturday of the month from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Emergency services

Fire protection in Norwalk is provided by the Los Angeles County Fire Department with ambulance transport by Care Ambulance Service. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department provides law enforcement.


Norwalk is home to Cerritos College. Founded in 1955, Cerritos College is a public community college serving an area of of southeastern Los Angeles county. The college offers degrees and certificates in 87 areas of study in nine divisions. Over 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies each year.

Norwalk also, is provided with educational services from the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District headquartered at 12820 Pioneer Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650.

Famous Residents from Norwalk

  • Tiffany Darwish, 80's Teen Idol
  • Poncho Sanchez, Latin jazz artist
  • Pat Nixon Wife of President Richard M. Nixon; Excelsior High School Class of 1929 (Family bought a Truck Farm in Dairy Valley, formerly in Artesia, but now part of Cerritos)
  • James Gattuso Analyst and pundit now in Washington, DC who often appears on television and radio to give opinions on domestic policy; Excelsior High School Class of 1975
  • Cindy Sheehan, anti-Iraq War activist
  • Bob Kevoian Radio Host "The Bob & Tom Show" Norwalk High Class of 1969
  • Gene Taylor (musician) acclaimed blues-rock and Boogie Woogie pianist. Norwalk High Class of 1970
  • Nikki Schieler Ziering, Playboy Playmate, actress and Ian Ziering's ex-wife
  • William Conrad, Graduate of Excelsior High School; Actor, director and producer in film and television (b. 1920, d. 1994)
  • Alexandra Nechita, Artist, considered the youngest cubist ever discovered (at the age of 8) and nicknamed "petite Picasso". Attended Moffit Elementary School prior to her fame when she relocated outside of Norwalk, CA.
  • Lil Cuete, Chicano rapper
  • Shirley Babashoff, Norwalk High School graduate, 1973 and Olympic Swim Team, 1972 and 1976.
  • James Maciel, grew up in Norwalk and set the Guinness world record for Set-Ups, 3,845, completed in 2 1/2 hours, accomplished in 1965 at the Norwalk YMCA.
  • Dick Bass, born Richard Lee Bass, played professional football as a running back for the Los Angeles Rams from 1960 through 1969.
  • Richard Capistrano,1988 Major League Baseball first round draft pick Texas Rangers Right field.
  • Richard Brown Major League Baseball Player Los Angeles Dodgers 1990-93 Oakland Athletics 1993-96

Movies filmed in Norwalk

  • The Postman Always Rings Twice - (1946) Includes scene filmed on location at the Norwalk train depot near Front Street and Funston Avenue
  • Grease (1978) and Grease 2 (1982) - Mostly filmed at Excelsior High School
  • High School U.S.A. (1983) - Filmed at Excelsior High School
  • The Karate Kid (1984) - Golf 'N' Stuff
  • Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) - Outside scenes filmed at Keystone Lanes, a bowling alley on Imperial Highway
  • Best Men (1997) - Mostly filmed on Front Street
  • Another Day in Paradise (1998) - Locations include both Front Street and Firestone Blvd
  • Life (1999) - Scene filmed at Greyhound bus station on Front Street
  • Corvette Summer (1978) - Scene filmed outside of what was then the Golden West Ballroom on Studebaker between Imperial Highway and Firestone Boulevard
  • Heroes (TV series, 2007) - Scene filmed at Greyhound bus station on Front Street at San Antonio Boulevard
  • Cutting Class (1989 Horror Film) - Filmed in Norwalk, the movie was Brad Pitt's first major role in a movie. The John Glenn High School band is heard playing their school fight song during the game scene
  • Speed (1994) - Shots filmed at the construction site of the 105 Freeway at Studebaker Rd and Imperial Hwy
  • Frailty (2001)-Shots filmed at Greyhound bus station on Front Street at San Antonio Boulevard


  • Mountain View
  • La Habra City

External links

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