Downey Historical Chronology
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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.
[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rancho_Los_Nietos ]
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 w.bank 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
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
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.