Los Alamitos, California

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Los Alamitos ("The Little Cottonwoods" in Spanish) is a small city in Orange County, California. The city was incorporated in March 1960. The population was 11,536 at the 2000 census. It is often mistakenly thought to include the adjacent but unincorporated community of Rossmoor (population just under 11,000) which uses Los Alamitos as its mailing address. Although Rossmoor is not part of Los Alamitos, it is speculated that it may be annexed to the city, or Rossmoor, Seal Beach, and Los Alamitos will combine to form one city. [1]

The USA Water Polo National Aquatic Center, where the men's and women's US Olympic water polo team train, is located on the US Military Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. The facility is also used for major water polo tournaments, swim classes and local swim teams. The Joint Forces Training Base includes the Los Alamitos Army Airfield.

Contents

Climate

History

The clusters of cottonwood trees Spanish explorers saw more than 200 years ago inspired Los Alamitos' name, but it is the sugar beet that figured most prominently in the area's later history. The history of the area during the Californio period and after U.S. annexation is detailed in the article on Rancho Los Alamitos.

The individual history of Los Alamitos separate from the rancho begins with the purchase by John Bixby of the Rancho Los Alamitos. John put together a consortium of himself, his cousins Lewellyn and Jotham (owners of Rancho Los Cerritos) and banker I.W. Hellman to finance the purchase of the Los Alamitos. Upon John's sudden death in 1888, the ranch was divided between the three owning families. The northern third—the land roughly north of present Orangewood Ave. -- went to the Lewellyn-Jotham faction (which later became the Bixby Land Company). By the mid 1890s, after the crash following the land boom of the 1880s—this group was relatively cash-poor and land rich. Having experimented in Northern California with sugar beets, the Bixbys agreed to provide the land, and contracted with Montana silver baron William A. Clark to provide the capital, and got E.A. Dyer to provide the expertise to build a new sugar beet factory on the Bixby's land. The community that grew up around this new sugar beet factory complex—with its streets of company houses for workers and surrounding farms—came to be called Los Alamitos. (As part of his arrangement to build and operate the sugar beet factory, William Clark and his brother H. Ross, who actually ran the Los Alamitos operation, also arranged to purchase significant area east of the factory as well as 8,000 acres (32 km²) of land north of the sugar plant—most of the latter in the Rancho Los Cerritos boundaries—that would eventually become the city of Lakewood. Also, Clark and Hellman were intricately involved with the machinations and corporate dealings of railroad tycoon E. H. Harriman and Henry Edwards Huntington and the destiny of the Southern Pacific in Southern California. In addition, some time after establishing Los Alamitos, the Clarks completed their railroad from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, establishing the desert stop of Las Vegas in the process.

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