The community of Irwindale was first settled by the families of Gregorio Fraijo and Fecundo Ayon during the 1850s. Generations of these families reside here today. The City of Irwindale was incorporated in 1957 and became the 56th city of Los Angeles County.
Irwindale: Through the Years
Irwindale was first settled in the 1850s when the families of Gregorio Fraijo and Fecundo Ayon came to this small community. They crossed the Colorado Desert in late 1840 in part to escape a revolution in Mexico and to seek gold in California. Both families settled and built homes in Los Angeles near what are now Tenth and Maple Streets.
The families, who were chased from Los Angeles by the land grabbers, moved south to El Camp Aleman (now Anaheim). From El Camp Aleman, they moved to 160 acres of rocky bottomland in the San Gabriel Valley, which was barren, unproductive and unwanted by all others. The only asset was an unlimited supply of rocks and water from the San Gabriel River.
Around 1860, the Valley was so thinly populated that most of the people lived close to each other for protection. Soon the Martinez family moved to Vineland (now Baldwin Park). Next came the Ruelas family. Most of the present population are descendants from these families.
The rocky soil that made Irwindale undesirable for farming was gold to the fledgling construction industry. In 1909, the first quarry opened north of what is now Foothill Boulevard, and today Irwindale is designated as a “Significant Mineral Resource Zone” by the State of California.
In the early days, Irwindale had many names: Lower Azusa, Cactus Town, Jack Rabbit Town and Sonora Town. The present name dates from the 1890s when a man named Irwin moved into town. He sank the first water well using a power pump. It created so much attention that the name of the town was changed to “Irwindale” in his honor.
On August 7, 1957, 9.5 square miles of land were incorporated to become the City of Irwindale and the 56th city of Los Angeles County. The residents voted for incorporation, 133-20. Initially a general law city with a council manager form of government, Irwindale was changed to a charter city on November 2, 1976. The city’s slogan is “Jardin de Roca” (Garden of Rocks), submitted by Rudy Silva in a contest.
Today Irwindale has a close-knit residential population that descends from those early pioneers. The sand and gravel mining industry is still an important part of the local economy and contributes to the unusual character of the community. However, the city is now also a magnet for business and commercial activities of a very diverse nature. Situated in the center of the San Gabriel Valley, between the 210, the 605 and the 10 Freeways, Irwindale has an enviable location, which has attracted many large, well-known businesses.
The centralized location, friendly business environment and helpful staff make the city an excellent choice for business. Nearby are not only excellent transportation facilities, but also respected educational institutions, a wide range of cultural activities and many recreational and entertainment opportunities.
The City of Irwindale, the Irwindale Redevelopment Agency and the Irwindale Chamber of Commerce continue to work cooperatively to strengthen the city’s economic base and to attract and retain business. We invite you to learn about our community and what we have to offer.