Then & Now

Orange County’s smallest city at just two square miles, La Palma has a long and distinguished history of being memorably ... small. A head-scratching legacy, to be sure, but one La Palma has embraced and continues to embody.

The community’s roots in the dairy business are about as small-town as they come. With just 500 residents in 1955, the year of its incorporation as a city, La Palma was originally named Dairyland. While the rest of the county was booming in population, Dairyland remained relatively unchanged and had just 600 residents by 1960.

The exodus of the dairy business from the area soon after, however, opened the door to new opportunities and new infrastructure developments in the city. By 1970 population jumped to 10,000 and the city became La Palma. Growth slowed in the ‘70s, and by 1980 La Palma reached its target population of 15,000, a number that has been stable to this day.

Along the way, residential, commercial and industrial developments have marked the growth. There is very little building space left, making maintenance a high priority for businesses and property owners in the community.

With the resulting aesthetic beauty and the inherent charm lent by the small-town feel, La Palma remains an exclusively small town in the heart of big-city Southern California.

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