About This Place
South Gate is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The sixteenth largest city in Los Angeles County, it encompasses 7.4 square miles (19 km2). South Gate is located just 7 miles (11 km) southeast of downtown Los Angeles It is part of the Gateway Cities region of southeastern Los Angeles County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 94,396, belying the California Department of Finance's January 1, 2009 estimate that the city had a total population of 102,770. The "City of South Gate" was incorporated on January 20, 1923. South Gate became known as an official "Azalea City" when it adopted the azalea as its official flower in 1965. An image of the azalea is used in the official “All American City” seal. In 1990, South Gate was one of ten U.S. communities to receive the All-America City Award from the National Civic League.
The South Gate area was inhabited by the Gabrielino/Tongva Indians before development by Spanish ranchers. Spaniards have been living in this area of California since the mid-16th century. Among the early Spanish settlers was one of California’s first families, the Lugos. In the summer of 1769, a group of Spanish explorers set out from the coast of San Diego to explore the uncharted territory between San Diego and the Bay of Monterey. With them was Father Juan Crespi, considered by historians to be one of the great diarists of the new world explorations. His daily entries were remarkably revealing of the country through which the caravan passed. They proceeded in the general direction of the San Gabriel Valley, across the Los Angeles River, which Crespi named "Porciuncula" on August 2, 1769. There would be no history of South Gate without including the story of the Lugo Spanish Land Grant. That grant encompassed a great part of what is now the City of South Gate and is a vital and colorful part of this area's history. While stationed at Mission San Antonio de Padua near Salinas, California, Francisco Lugo’s first California son, Antonio Maria Lugo was born in 1775. That son became Don Antonio Maria Lugo, Spanish aristocrat and soldier, who settled on 30,000 acres (120 km2) of land that encompasses what is now the City of South Gate. In 1810, the King of Spain formally granted the land to Lugo, the land grant was a reward for his and his father's military service to the crown. Rancho San Antonio extended from the low range of hills which separated it from the San Gabriel Valley to the old Dominguez Ranch at its south, and from the eastern boundary of the pueblo of Los Angeles to the San Gabriel River. Lugo also became the mayor of a little town called Los Angeles, from 1816–1819,
A little more than 100 years after the establishment of the Lugo Land Grant, the area at the south gate of the ranch became the City of South Gate. As Don Lugo's family grew, he obtained San Bernardino Rancho and other grants in his children's names.