Great Value for Lake Forest Landlords
From 1863, the community had been known as El Toro. In 1874 José Serrano and his family occupied eleven thousand hectares of ranch that had been granted to them by the Government of Mexico, and that eventually reached the hands of Dwight Whiting. Whiting was instrumental in bringing the Santa Fe rail line through the region. The Rancho Niguel was granted to Juan B. Alvarado, Juan Avila and his sister Conception, the widow of one Pedro Sánchez. From them it passed to other owners and was divided into plots, including Yorba. In 1874 most of it was owned by Cyrus B. Rawson. Jonathan E. Bacon also owned 1600 acres. In addition to the Serranos, established in Aliso Canyon, there was a group of pioneers who lived in the foothills and several miles above El Toro, many of whom were among the first settlers of this neighborhood.
El Toro Road at the I-5 Freeway was the epicenter of the Saddleback Valley from the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century. However, the area gradually deteriorated, and most of the shops closed or moved to other cities. After years of planning, the city has worked with the property owners of some ageing strip malls and developed the "Arbor at Lake Forest" commercial district. The new center can now compete with large shopping centers in cities that surround Lake Forest.