Willowbrook, California

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Willowbrook is a census-designated place (CDP) in Los Angeles County, California. The population was 34,138 at the 2000 census. The community is located within the unincorporated part of edges of South Los Angeles.

Willowbrook is the home of the troubled[1] Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, which had been cited multiple times for failures in hospital accreditation. Also located in Willowbrook is the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which oversees residency training programs, allied health programs, a medical education program (jointly with the University of California, Los Angeles), a medical magnet high school, the area Head Start program, and various centers for health disparities research. Due to severe deficiencies, the former King/Drew Medical Center lost accreditation of several key residency training programs.



Willows and a slow, shallow brook distinguished this portion of the Los Angeles plain long before it was given the name "Willowbrook." A lone-standing streamside willow tree near the present intersection of 125th Street and Mona Boulevard was an original rancho boundary marker in the 1840s.

Willowbrook was rich in springs in the early days and winter rains would bring up fine stands of rye grass between gravelly ridges left by long-ago floods of the Los Angeles River. As early as 1820, Anastacio Avila was grazing cattle on the land and by 1843, the Mexican governor had granted him 3,599 acres (14.56 km2). This grant was named the Rancho La Tajauta and it extended from the marshes along present Alameda Street westward to approximately the present line of the Harbor Freeway. All of present-day Willowbrook is within the area covered by Rancho La Tajauta.

The first subdivisions in the Willowbrook area were filed in 1894 and 1895 on land along what is now Rosecrans Boulevard. The first official use of the name Willowbrook came in 1903, when the Willowbrook Tract was recorded with the County Recorder. The tract straddled the newly opened Pacific Electric railway line to Long Beach. There is no evidence that a townsite was envisioned and street patterns were not coordinated with adjacent tracts. The name Willowbrook came into use for the whole area, because the Big Red Cars of the Pacific Electric Railroad Company stopped at 126th Street in Willowbrook.

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