Great Value for Monterey Park Landlords
For at least seven thousand years the land was populated by the Tongva (Gabrielino) Native Americans. The Tongva lived in dome like structures with thatched exteriors, an open smoke hole for ventilation and light at the top. Both sexes wore long hair styles and tattooed their bodies. During warm weather the men wore little clothes but the women would wear minimal skirts made of animal hides. During the cold weather they would wear animal skin capes and occasionally wore sandals made from hide of yucca fiber. With the arrival of the Spaniards, Old World diseases killed off many of the Tongva, and by 1870 very few Native-Americans had survived. In the early 19th century the area was part of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel mission system and later, the Rancho San Antonio.
Following the Civil War, an Italian, Alessandro Repetto, purchased 5,000 acres (20 km2) of the rancho and built his ranch house on the hill overlooking his land, about a half-mile north of where Garfield Avenue crosses the Pomona Freeway, not far from where the Edison substation is now located on Garfield Avenue.
It was at this time, Richard Garvey, a mail rider for the U.S. Army whose route took him through Monterey Pass, a trail that is now Garvey Avenue, settled down in the King's Hills. Garvey began developing the land by bringing in spring water from near the Hondo River and by constructing a 54-foot-high (16 m) dam to form Garvey Lake located where Garvey Ranch Park is now. To pay for his development and past debts, Garvey began selling portions of his property. In 1906, the first subdivision in the area, Ramona Acres (named after the developer's daughter, who would also later inspire the title of the novel Ramona), was developed north of Garvey and east of Garfield Avenues.
In 1916, the new residents of the area initiated action to become a city when the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, and Alhambra proposed to put a large sewage treatment facility in the area. The community voted itself into cityhood on May 29, 1916, by a vote of 455 to 33. The City's new Board of Directors immediately outlawed sewage plants within city boundaries and named the new city Monterey Park. The name was taken from an old government map showing the oak-covered hills of the area as Monterey Hills. In 1920, a large area on the south edge of the city broke away and the separate city of Montebello was established.
By 1920, the white and Spanish-surname settlers were joined by Asian residents who began farming potatoes and flowers and developing nurseries in the Monterey Highlands area. They improved the Monterey Pass Trail with a road to aid in shipping their produce to Los Angeles. The nameless pass, which had been a popular location for western movies, was called Coyote Pass by Pioneer Masami Abe.