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Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolis that is home to many suburbs that have created an identity of their own. One of those is Bellflower, a 6.2 square mile patch of land that has a history much bigger than its small size. Long before the 75,000 plus residents that make their home there today arrived, Bellflower was farmland that was worked by dairy farmers who came from as far afield as Portugal, Japan, and Holland. Another major product of that time was apples, with a number of orchards stretching between Bellflower and neighboring Paramount. The apples must have had an impact on the community, as the name of the town was derived from the bellefleur apples that were grown in the area.
That name was not the first choice of the residents, though, as the town was called Firth for a short period of time. There was also a petition in place to build a post office under the name of Somerset. The application was put forward in 1909, but the request was rejected since there was already a town of that name in Colorado. There is some dispute as to how the final name with chosen, with some claiming that the name was chosen by prominent town officials, while others claim it was just the lucky one to be pulled out of a hat full of different potential names.
The town thrived as a farming and dairy community until the end of World War II, at which point land values in and around Los Angeles began to skyrocket. Real estate developers forced the farmers further out so that they could start to build on the land. The 1950’s and 60’s were thriving times for Bellflower, which was incorporated in 1957. The main drag became quite the popular little shopping spot, with all manner of boutiques, diners, and art galleries featured along Bellflower Boulevard.
As you might expect, this period prompted a population boom in the area, taking Bellflower from a town to a city in a very short period of time. The great shopping and dining in the city also meant that folks from the surrounding towns and cities made Bellflower a destination location. The “Friendly City” continued to thrive for a period of time, but the desire of the residents to focus on smaller mom and pop style businesses in favor of malls and major chains almost led to the city filing for bankruptcy in the early 90’s.
Bellflower is now well on the road to recovery, but it is still a place that cares about keeping its residents informed and up to date on all that is going on in the city. The city produces a great monthly newsletter known as the Bellflower Citizen and also keeps its people informed by e-mail about all that is going on. Bellflower is in the process of playing a little bit of catch up after its tough times in the 90’s, but the friendly city is still a great place to visit and shop.
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