About This Place
The City of Sierra Madre is a municipality in Los Angeles County, California whose population was 10,917 at the 2010 census, up from 10,580 at the time of the 2000 census. The city is located in the Foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains below the southern edge of the Angeles National Forest. Pasadena and Altadena are to its west, with Arcadia to its south and east. Sierra Madre is known as "Wistaria City", and its city seal is decorated with a drawing of the now widely known 500-foot (150 m) vine. It is also called the "Village of the Foothills" and was an All-America City in 2007.
In approximately 500 A.D. Tongva Indians, the aborigines migrated from the Mojave area to what would become the Los Angeles County, (including the San Gabriel Valley). Their name means "People of the Earth". Their primary language was Uto-Aztecan Shoshonean, exemplifying their roots in the Aztec empire. In the 16th century there were about 25 Tongva villages, with population of approximately 400 native people. By 1769, the first Spanish settlers arrived in the region, finding an estimated 5,000 Tongva living in 31 villages. Two years later, Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was founded in today's Montebello, causing the Tongva communities to rapidly dwindle. The mission was later moved to San Gabriel because of severe flooding from the Rio Hondo River, which ruined their crops. The original mission site is now marked by a California Historical Landmark. Tongvas were integrated into the culture of the mission, and the tribe were renamed Gabrielino Indians by the Spaniards. The first Mount Wilson trail was carved by the Gabrielino Indians which was used by them when they carried timber down from the mountains for the construction of the San Gabriel Mission in 1771.
Using Mexican and Chinese laborers, Benjamin "Don Benito" Wilson expanded the Mount Wilson Trail in 1864. Nathaniel Carter purchased the original 1103 acres that comprise Sierra Madre in 1881: 845 acres from "Lucky Baldwin", 108 acres from the Southern Pacific Railroad Company; and 150 acres from Levi Richardson. In 1888, The Santa Anita railroad station was built . The first of the year brought Pacific Electric Railway Red Car passenger service to Sierra Madre. Later that year the first electric lights were installed by the Edison Electric Company. In December 1906, the first telephones were installed, 250 of them, by the Home Telephone Company of Monrovia. On February 2, 1907, the first citywide election was held and 96 citizens voted 71-25 to officially incorporate Sierra Madre, the population was about 500. Eighteen days later, Sierra Madre became incorporated as a California city. Charles Worthington Jones served as the first mayor.