San Marino, California

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San Marino, California
Seal of the City of San Marino
Location of San Marino, California
Location of San Marino, California
County Los Angeles County, California
 - Total (2000)

12, 945
Time zone
- Summer (DST)
Location 34°7′22″N, 118°6′47″W (34.122658, -118.112964)GR1
Mayor Matthew Lin
City Clerk Carol Robb
City Manager Matt Ballantyne
City website

San Marino is a city in Los Angeles County, California, USA.

In general, San Marino is a small, upper middle to upper class, well educated community largely populated by professionals and their families. The city is primarily known for its immaculately preserved housing stock, its strict zoning laws, and its schools.

The city is divided into seven zones, based on minimum lot size. The smallest lot size is 9000 square feet, with many averaging over 30,000 square feet. Because of this and other factors, most of the homes in San Marino, built between 1920 and 1950, do not resemble the houses in surrounding Southern California neighborhoods (with the exception perhaps of neighboring Pasadena). San Marino has also fostered a sense of historic preservation among its homeowners. The city's strict zoning laws have thus far prevented the development of "McMansions," found elsewhere in Los Angeles. Generally speaking, San Marino homes are older, bigger and more genteel than those in other communities. No apartment buildings exist in the city.

To Southern Californians, San Marino has always stood for the oldest of old-money wealth and the bastion of Southern California's WASP gentility. For years, San Marino's 91108 zip code was the wealthiest in Southern California. It is still the 14th wealthiest zip code in the United States. Recently, San Marino has seen an influx of Asians, mostly Chinese Americans. The average home price is now slightly less than the better-known Southern California communities of Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Santa Monica.

San Marino may in fact be more recognizable to most Americans than those other Southern California communities, due to the prevalence of filming in the city. Many television shows, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air have actually been filmed in San Marino and Pasadena. Location scouts also turn to San Marino when they wish to film a series in Southern California that takes place elsewhere. The atypical housing stock in the city, including Georgian and faux antebellum mansions cause certain neighborhoods resemble the East Coast.

San Marino is also regarded as having one of the best-performing schools in the Greater Los Angeles, California area. Its high school consistently ranks as the highest API score among public high schools in California. All of its public schools are distinguished as California "Blue Ribbon" schools.

The city includes the estate of Henry E. Huntington, who made a fortune in the development of Southern California and opened the library and art collections in his large neo-Palladian mansion to the public in 1919, best known as the Huntington Library. At the time, San Marino was some twelve miles from Los Angeles. Huntington Drive and Sierra Madre Boulevard serve as the main thoroughfares, leading to Pasadena, Alhambra and San Gabriel.

The Edwin Hubble House, residence of astronomer Edwin Hubble, is a National Historic Landmark.

Another landmark is the Michael White Adobe House, located on the high school campus.

In the middle of San Marino lies Lacy Park, a huge expanse of grass and trees rare for urban areas. Lacy Park was modelled after New York's Central Park.

The Old Mill, completed about 1816 as a grist mill for Mission San Gabriel, is in San Marino. The original two-story structure measured 53 by 26 feet. It is the oldest commercial building in Southern California.


[edit] Geography

San Marino is located at 34°7′22″N, 118°6′47″W (34.122658, -118.112964)GR1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.8 km² (3.8 mi²), all land.

There are many trees in the community, most cultivated by private homeowners. During the Christmas season, the tall trees of St. Albans Rd are decorated with many Christmas lights.

[edit] Demographics

San Marino, 91108, is the 14th wealthiest ZIP code in America.

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 12,945 people, 4,266 households, and 3,673 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,325.8/km² (3,430.5/mi²). There were 4,437 housing units at an average density of 454.4/km² (1,175.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 48.56% White, 0.25% African American, 0.05% Native American, 47.72% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.04% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

There were 4,266 households out of which 42.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.0% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.9% were non-families. 12.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 43 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $180,404, and the median income for a family was $195,708. Males had a median income of $98,928 versus $51,853 for females. The per capita income for the city was $69,150. About 0.7% of families and 1.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.

[edit] Politics

San Marino is a highly conservative community in the midst of a mostly liberal state. There also is large support for Asian interests. However, because many Asian residents do not hold American citizenship, there are few Asian Americans in city offices. Elected positions are often held by private citizens who show no ambition for higher political office. Political participation generally lies in the form of donations for political parties and candidates.

To preserve quality of life, the city council has passed numerous stringent ordinances, including laws against the use of power equipment on quiet Sunday afternoons and against dead lawns. It is illegal to leave trashcans on the street or in public view. Most contractors including gardeners are required to have city permits to work in private residential neighborhoods. Multi-family housing is not permitted and none exist within the city limits.

Residents who wish to construct or refurbish their properties must undergo a strict and lengthy process that can include community hearings and consent among all neighbors. The plans must be approved by the city in order for construction to begin. At times, home-owners will be denied construction rights by the city if their plan does not satisfy building or design requirements.

[edit] Schools

There are four public schools in San Marino: Valentine Elementary School, Carver Elementary, Huntington Middle, and San Marino High School. Southwestern Academy, a private college preparatory school, is also located in San Marino.

The two elementary schools offer instruction for grades K-5. The middle school offers instruction for grades 6-8. The high school offers instruction for grades 9-12.

In 2005 and 2006, the San Marino Unified School District ranked first among all 328 California unified school districts based on the California Academic Performance Index. San Marino High School is considered one of the best-performing public schools on Standardized Achievement Tests (as of 2004) in Southern California. Most of San Marino's schools' funds come from private donors and organizations.[citation needed]

Asian-Americans are 70% of San Marino school enrollment as of December 2005.

[edit] Restaurants

As San Marino is wary of admitting chain businesses, there are few restaurants in town, all of which rest on Huntington Drive or Mission Street. Big-box stores are practically non-existent in the area.

Julienne (on Mission) is one of the best known restaurants in the area. It is an upscale bistro with popular patio dining.

Tony's Pizza, a local favorite that delivers only within San Marino, is located next to the high school.

Colonial Kitchen is a quaint place to go for traditional American food.

Vanille is a new store that opened in 2003 sells European-style pastries with a distinct Asian tone.

There is one Starbucks in San Marino, on the corner of Sierra Madre Blvd. and Huntington Drive (the Starbucks just east of San Gabriel Blvd. is in unincorporated county territory).

Tong Dang is a Thai restaurant on Huntington Drive, just east of Oak Knoll.

In 2004, a Lollicup franchise store opened across the street from the high school, specializing in boba drinks and popular Asian snack food.

In 2006, a Quizno's opened next to Vanille, and is one of the only fast food stores in San Marino.

Right across the street outside the city limit for San Marino is a large area which contains a How's Supermarket, Subway, Starbucks, B-Man's Burgers, and a Baskin Robins. San Marino Academy, a tutoring class, is also there.

San Marino also is home to the San Marino Grill which has been under the same ownership for over forty years.

[edit] Notable San Marino Residents

  • Robert A. Millikan, experimental physicist and winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Andrew D. Bernstein, photographer of the NBA
  • Ahmed H. Zewail, winner 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Rob Schneider, actor, comedian (The Hot Chick, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo)
  • Scott K Lunine, Managing Director ("SCI Real Estate Investments")
  • Jim Gott, MLB pitcher (Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants)
  • Howard Kazanjian, movie producer (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi)
  • Nancy O'Dell, TV personality (Access Hollywood)
  • Bradley Whitford, actor (The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Billy Madison)
  • Jane Kaczmarek, actress (Pleasantville, Malcolm in the Middle)
  • Stephen Pastis, comic artist, Pearls Before Swine
  • George S. Patton, General US Army WWII (Grew up in San Marino. There is a memorial to him at Lacy Park)
  • Donald Segretti, attorney and political operative. Born in San Marino.
  • Joachim Splichal, chef (Patina Restaurant")
  • Christopher Warren, MLB Pitcher ("Los Angeles Dodgers", "New York Mets").

[edit] Cinema/Television

  • Intrigued by the recently renovated campus, stellar academic program and wealthy community base, MTV scouted San Marino High School in early 2004 looking to cast students and shoot pilots for three different proposed television show concepts. The school administration agreed to hold a casting call on campus with students during school hours. Producers eventually shot two of the three proposed pilots, only one of which aired. The short lived "Borrow My Crew" series followed a high school senior around for a few weeks up until Prom Night -- in which singer and actress Jennifer Lopez lended her personal hair dresser, make-up crew, and stylist to make her Prom Night extra special. Celebrity Farnsworth Bentley was her date to the event and later performed on the dance floor with the student body. The third show concept was for a documentary series that would follow a group of wealthy and privileged high school kids as they went about their everyday lives -- intended as a reality spin-off homage to the show Beverly Hills 90210 and in the format of MTV's long-time running The Real World. Producers eventually decided to create the show in Orange County, set amongst a liberal beach town to capitalize on the immense success of FOX Network's new teen-drama sitcom The OC. The concept eventually came to be the first season of the now popular reality television program Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.

[edit] Fun Facts

  • Parking of automobiles is prohibited on all residential and public streets from 2AM to 5AM.

[edit] Reference

  • James T. Maher, The Twilight of Splendor : Chronicles of the Age of American Palaces 1975. Chapter on Huntington's San Marino

[edit] External links