Bell, California

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Bell is a city in Los Angeles County, California. Its population was 36,664 in the 2000 census.[5] Bell is located on the west bank of the Los Angeles River and is a suburb of the city of Los Angeles. At 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), Bell is number thirteen[6] in the list of the 25 smallest cities in the United States that have a population of at least 25,000[5] (ranked from smallest to largest in area).

In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked Bell's land area at 1245 out of 1257 cities (defined as incorporated areas) and two unincorporated areas that had a population of at least 25,000 in year 2000. Ten cities in the list of 1267 cities had no land area data (e.g., Goleta, California).

City residents voted to become a charter city in a special municipal election on November 29, 2005. Fewer than 400 voters turned out for that special election.[7] More than half of those votes were dubiously obtained absentee votes.[8]


Early history

The city of Bell has a Native American history dating back thousands of years. The Gabrieliño Indians migrated to the place now called Bell in 500 B.C. Spaniards have been living in this area of California since the mid-16th century. Among the early Spanish settlers was one of California’s first families, the Lugos. While stationed at Mission San Antonio de Padua near Salinas, California, Francisco Lugo’s first California son, Antonio Maria Lugo was born in 1775.[9] That son became Don Antonio Maria Lugo, Spanish aristocrat and soldier, who settled on 30,000 acres of land that encompasses what is now the city of Bell. In 1810, the King of Spain formally granted the land to Lugo, the land grant was a reward for his military service.[9] Lugo also became the mayor of a little town called Los Angeles, from 1816–1819,[10] and the acreage became known as Rancho San Antonio. The grant was confirmed by the Mexican governor in 1838. By 1865, the Lugo family fortune dwindled and most of the Rancho was sold for less than a dollar per acre. The Lugo family did manage to retain its home, built about 1810, and it is the oldest house in Los Angeles County. The original adobe house on Gage Avenue.[11]

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