Downey Historical Chronology         page under construction        backto main

City     Schools
Downey City   Back to Top

An Overview of the "ownership" of what is now Downey follows a trail thus - - -
    .- Mexican Government
    .- Manuel Nieto
    .- Josefa Cota, widow of Manuel's son Antonio
    .- Lemuel Carpenter
    .- John Downey and J.P. McFarland via a Sheriff's sale
    .- and thence greatly sub-divided

In greater detail - -
Rancho Los Nietos was granted by Pedro Fages, Mexican Governor of Alta California, to Manuel Nieto;
        Boundaries: W= Rio Hondo/LosAngeles Rivers
                    E= Santa Ana River
                    N= San Gabriel Mission
                    S= Pacific Ocean
      originally 300,000 acres (Quinn-p.17) but reduced to 167,000 ac to accomodate the Mission.
         [  ]
SanGabriel Mission was located where San Gabriel Blvd. crosses the Rio Hondo (Quinn-pg.16);
 but later moved to Mission Rd. e.of Alhambra.

On the of the San Gabriel=RioHondo so.of Telegraph Rd was the town of
 Jaboneria where Lemuel Carpenter eventually opened a soap factory.

1833 Pedro Fages, Mexican Governor of Alta California, granted sub-division into 6 parts to Nieto's heirs.
  .- Rancho Los Alamitos
  .- Rancho Los Cerritos
  .- Rancho Los Coyotes
  .- Rancho Los Bolsas
  .- Rancho Palo Alto
  .- Rancho Santa Gertrudes granted to Josefa Cota, widow of Manuel's son Antonio.
      Boundaries: W= RioHondo
     (Quinn-pg.18)S= Apx Imperial Blvd. to the San Gabriel River
                  E= line to LaHabra
                  N= Old Mission Trail - apx Whitier Blvd

1843 Lemuel Carpenter bought Rancho Santa Gertrudes from Josefa Cota Nieto for $4000;
        originally apx 24,000 acres but reduced to apx 20,000 acres  (Quinn-p.21)

1847 Gen. Kearny came thru to win Calif for the USA had a skirmish near the no.w. corner
      of Rancho Santa Gertrudes. A plaque commererates the spot on Bluff Rd. near
      the Washington Blvd. bridge over the Rio Hondo.
      Dwight Clarke claims that the spot should be closer to Whittier Blvd.  (Quinn-pg.21)

1850 - Sept 9- California was admitted to the U.S.A. as the 31-st State
1859 - Dec 9- John Downey and J.P. McFarland bought Rancho Santa Gertrudes at a Sheriff's sale
             for $60,000; size was 17,600 acres.
                Thomas Sanchez Colima got 3,696 acres

1860-62 John Gately Downey was Governor of California.
1870s - "Downey City" begins to take shape as UNincorporated area of LA County,
           as the communities of Gallatin and College-Settlement grow together.
1871 -  Masonic Lodge formed
  ?? -  Odd Fellows Lodge formed
1874 -  Apr 15: Southern Pacific Railroad line opened.

1903 -  June: The "Board of Trade" was established, eventually becoming the C of C.
1906 -  An effort to incorporate into a City failed.
          The boundaries stated in the process were remarkably UNsophistacated.
            (Quinn-pg.177 notes "Good Luck")
1908 -  Mar 15: Electricity came on at the High School Auditorium

  ??  - Easy Street renamed to Florence Ave.
  ??  - College Ave. renamed to Paramount Blvd.
  ??  - Crawford Street renamed to Downey Ave.
  ??  - Old River School House Rd. renamed to Old River School Rd.
  ??  - Gallatin School House Rd. renamed to Gallatin Rd.
  ??  - Downey-Norwalk Road bridge across the San Gabriel is discontinued.
  ??  - Downey Sandford Bridge Road (when/wherever was the "Bridge")
  ??  - Somerset Ave. (n-s) renamed Bellflower Blvd.
  ??  - Michigan Ave. renamed Ryerson Ave.
  ??  - Andrews St. renamed Arnett St.
  ??  - Cerritos and Farlow Dr. (n-s) renamed and re-aligned
             as Lakewood Blvd. and Clark Ave.
  ??  - First traffic light installed at Lakewood & Firestone.
  ??  - Anheim-Telegraph Rd renamed Telegraph Rd.
  ??  - Lexington-Gallatin Road (formerly an "L"-shape) renamed
           to Lexington Rd. (e-w) and Brookshire Ave.(n-s)
  ??  - Washburn Crossing Rd. renamed to Washburn Road.
  ??  - Price Rd., San Gabriel Blvd.(tiny piece), and Church St. all
            renamed to Brookshire and extended north and south.
  ??  - Stewart and Gray Road extended east and west through the city.
  ??  - The bridge on Foster Bridge Road was discontinued.
  ??  - The bridge on Foster Bridge Road was RE-opened.
  ??  - Foster Bridge Road renamed to Suva St.
  ??  - Palm St. realigned and renamed Cleta St.
  ??  - Downey Ave. widened
  ??  - Paramount Blvd. cut thru and old part renamed Tweedy Lane

195x - The Santa Freeway (US-101) Opened through to Lakewood Blvd,
          making Lakewood and Firestone the busiest intersection in the USA.
1956 - Dec 17: Downey became an INcorporated City and begins to occupy
        the vacated Downey Elementary School
       1-st Mayor:   James L. Stamps
       1-st Police Chief: Ivan Albert "Robbie" Robinson

  ??  - Downey Ave. partially re-narrowed
  ??  - La Reina St. narrowed
  ??  - La Reina St. partially re-widened
  ??  - New Street (one block) given for development
  ??  - Second Street (one block) given for development
  ??  - Third  Street (one block) given for development
  ??  - Dolan Ave.  (one block) given for development
  ??  - Nance/Pangborn  (1/2 block) given for development

196x - The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) opened.
1969 - The Downey Community Hospital opened at Brookshire and Davis.

1984 - April: City Hall Corner Stone laid by the Free and Accepted Masons of California

199x - The Century Freeway (I-105) opened.

Downey Schools  Back to Top

Primary Education
 There were 4 Districts, with one school in each district ...
           (as the need warranted, each district added schools)
     Downey     n.w. area
     Gallatin,  n.e. area    
     Alameda,   s.e. area
     Old-River, s.w. area
  as the population shifted, some were closed and reopened, some sold to developers.

19?? - Downey Elementary School closed; students relocated mostly to RioHondo
  ?? - Edith Unsworth Elementary Closed and fenced off
  ?? - Roger Casier  Elementary Closed and sold for development
  ?? - Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary Closed and sold for development
  ?? - Edith Unsworth Elementary RE-Opened

Secondary Education

1901 - Aug - Los Neitos Valley Union High School opened
1904 - June - First graduation class
1905 - Dec 9 Cornerstone laid for the School
1912-14 inclusive - First yearbook -- "The Summary"
1915-16  - named  Downey Union High School
1920   - yearbook name became "The Volsung"

1952 - Sept: Burbeck Field dedicated to HIGHLY RESPECTED teacher Perry John "P.J." Burbeck.
1956 - Sept: Warren High School accepted its first class as 10-th graders
1956 - Dec 17: Downey became a City and began to occupy the vacated Downey Elementary School
       Dec 20: Chief Justice Earl Warren dedicated Warren High School.

  ?? - Downey Union High School renamed Downey Senior High School

1959 - Warren graduated it's first class of Seniors
1960 - Sept: Primary and Secondary Districts became Downey Unified School District
         unifying the former Primary Districts of Downey, Gallatin, Alameda, Old-River,
             and the High and Jr-Hi's.

  ?? - Downey Senior High School renamed Downey High School
  ?? - Junior Highs renamed as Middle Schools
1967 - Columbus Continuation High School opened

1995 - Downey High had its first Alumni Directory made by Harris Publishing
1999 - Downey High created its Alumni Hall-Of-Fame and inducted the first members.

As an alum of Downey High, the editor apologizes for any slant in that direction.

Please forward corrections or additions of salinet items.