Whittier’s Roots

April 14, 2010

To all appearances, Whittier seemed to emerge out of the ground after World War II with rambling ranch homes and space-age commercial and retail buildings. While some 50s and 60s retro architecture still exists in Whittier real estate, the city’s historic roots run much deeper. Whittier, began on 300,000 acres which was presented to Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, for his service in the military in 1784. Pio Pico owned the land during the Mexican American War and built his hacienda on the San Gabriel River in an area now known as Pio Pico State Historic Park. After the war, Jacob F. Gerkens, a German immigrant, purchased 160 acres of the area for $234 and built a cabin on what is now the location of the historic Jonathan Bailey House. After changing hands multiple times it became a Quaker community. After staring out as a citrus growing area, Whittier later emerged as California’s largest walnut grower. Today, the rural Whittier is only detectable in the Bailey Street Farmer’s Market. Knowledgeable Whittier real estate agents can clue you in to the history around your prospective home. Visit historic Whittier homes as you search for your own and feel the history.

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