Great Value for San Marino Landlords
The city takes its name from the ancient Republic of San Marino, founded by Saint Marinus who fled his home in Dalmatia (modern Croatia) at the time of the Diocletianic Persecution of Christians. Marinus took refuge at Monte Titano on the Italian peninsula, where he built a chapel and founded a monastic community in 301 A.D. The state which grew from the monastery is the world's oldest surviving republic.
The seal of the City of San Marino, California is modeled on that of the republic, depicting the Three Towers of San Marino each capped with a bronze plume, surrounded by a heart-shaped scroll with two roundels and a lozenge (of unknown significance) at the top. The crown representing the monarchy on the original was replaced with five stars representing the five members of the City's governing body. Beneath the city's seal are crossed palm fronds and orange branches.
The city celebrated its centennial in 2013, including publication by the San Marino Historical Society of a 268-page book, San Marino, A Centennial History, by Elizabeth Pomeroy. In September 2014, this book and author Elizabeth Pomeroy received a prestigious Award of Merit for Leadership in History from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).
The site of San Marino was originally occupied by a village of Tongva (Gabrieleño) Indians located approximately where the Huntington School is today. The area was part of the lands of the San Gabriel Mission. (The "Old Mill" was the Mission's grist mill.) Principal portions of San Marino were included in an 1838 Mexican land grant of 128 acres to Victoria Bartolmea Reid, a Gabrieleña Indian. (After her first husband, also a Gabrieleño, died in 1836 of smallpox, she remarried Scotsman Hugo Reid in 1837). She called the property Rancho Huerta de Cuati. After Hugo Reid's death in 1852, Señora Reid sold her rancho in 1854 to Don Benito Wilson, the first Anglo owner of Rancho San Pascual. In 1873, Don Benito conveyed to his son-in-law, James DeBarth Shorb, 500 acres (2.0 km2), including Rancho Huerta de Cuati, which Shorb named "San Marino" after his grandfather's plantation in Maryland, which, in turn, was named after the Republic of San Marino located on the Italian Peninsula in Europe.
In 1903, the Shorb rancho was purchased by Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927), who built a large mansion on the property. The site of the Shorb/Huntington rancho is occupied today by the Huntington Library, which houses a world-renowned art collection, research and rare-book library, and botanical gardens. In 1913 the three primary ranchos of Wilson, Patton, and Huntington, together with the subdivided areas from those and smaller ranchos, such as the Stoneman, White, and Rose ranchos, were incorporated as the city of San Marino.