Whittier, California

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United States > California > Los Angeles County > Cities > Whittier

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Whittier is an upscale residential community about 12 miles southeast of the City of Los Angeles. The land was part of early Spanish land grants, but settlement in that area began in 1868 when Jacob Gerkens bought 160 acres from the US government. The first one room schoolhouse began in 1884. In 1887 members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) bought the land and named their new city after the Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier.[1]

History

  • First Quaker settlers were Jonathan Bailey and his wife Rebecca. [2]
  • Girlhood home of Louise "Lou" Henry Hoover, wife of Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States [3]
  • Boyhood home of Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States [4]
  • Whittier Narrows earthquake - On Oct. 1, 1987, at 7:42 a.m., the Whittier Narrows earthquake struck, the epicenter six miles (10 km) north by northwest of Whittier. The seismic event, which registered 5.9 on the Richter scale, resulted in eight casualties and massive damage to uptown Whittier's historic buildings. In the years following the earthquake, the city's deteriorating uptown business district, which suffered substantial damage in the earthquake, became the focus of renewed development. By early 2007, the district thrives, and continues to grow, as a trendy open-air retail center. Out of the rubble of the earthquake the Whittier Conservancy was formed in 1987 in an effort to stop the demolition of many historic buildings and residences after the disaster. [5]

Resources

Archives and Libraries

7344 Washington Ave.
Whittier, CA 90602
(562)567-9900
Available online from the Whittier Public Library
Historical Photograph Collection: Images of the establishment of Whittier-late 1800s to mid-20th century

15265 Mulberry Dr
Whittier, CA 90604
(562) 946-1880

Biography

Virginia Mathony with the Whittier Historical Society wrote Pioneer families of Whittier, published in 1998 by the Whittier Historical Society, 6755 Newlin Ave., Whittier 90601. At various libraries (WorldCat)
Also online here

Cemeteries

Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary (located at 3888 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, CA 90601) has an online grave location search. Simply type in the name you are looking for to find the exact location of burial.

Broadway Cemetery (Defunct)

Whittier, California - the area is now Founder's Park. The Broadway (formerly Clark) Cemetery operated from 1881-1958 and contained 926 burials - 68 percent of them prior to 1910. List of burials – both cemeteries - from city of Whittier: [6]
http://www.whittiermuseum.org/PDF%20Files/Cemetery%20Information%20Report-2009-08-03.pdf

Mount Olive Cemetery (Defunct) also next to Broadway Cemetery Whittier, California - the area is now Founder's Park. 365 burials took place here between 1888 and 1957. Most burials were from 1900 to 1937. List of burials – both cemeteries - from city of Whittier:[6] http://www.whittiermuseum.org/PDF%20Files/Cemetery%20Information%20Report-2009-08-03.pdf

Olive Grove Cemetery (Defunct) 10135 S Painter Ave., Whittier, CA 90605
Founded in 1896 by a colony of German Baptists known as “Dunkers” (due to their method of baptism). They moved in 1972, and another local church owned and maintained the cemetery, but as of 2005, that church had been torn down and ownership of the cemetery is unclear.[7]

Directories

Some Whittier city directories are available on microfilm through family history centers. Find them in the Family Search Catalog using Place Search for Whittier, California.

The Whittier Public Library has a collection of city directories.

Funeral Records

The White-Emerson Mortuary records for 1898-1939 were indexed and published by the Whittier Area Genealogical Society. This is available on microfilm at a family history center or in book form at various libraries (WorldCat).

Local Histories

Online oral histories courtesy of the Whittier Public Library: Oral Histories

Maps

Online maps from the city of Whittier include a 1911 map with a city directory surname index, as well as a street map from 1952. Those can be found here.

Newspapers

Courtesy of the Whittier Public Library:

In addition to the online digitized issues of the newspapers, the library has microfilm versions for the years 1924 through 1955 available for in-house use at both the Central Library and Whittwood Branch.

Obituaries

Rose Hills Memorial Park has posted some obituaries starting in 2011. To search their database, click here.

Societies

Whittier Area Genealogical Society (WAGS)
P.O. Box 4367
Whittier, CA 90607-4367

Vital Records

The Whittier Area Genealogical Society with the cooperation of the Whittier Historical Society extracted items on adoptions, births, marriages, deaths and divorces. This information from old newspapers is in two volumes: Vol. 1 covers 1888-1930 and has over 11,000 names, Vol.2 covers 1931-1957 with over 33,800 names.
These are available on microfilm at a family history center or in book form Vol 1 at various libraries (WorldCat) or Vol. 2 at various libraries (WorldCat).

References

  1. About Us: A Short History from the City of Whittier website (accessed 1 August 2014)
  2. Mathony, V., and Whittier Historical Society. (1998). Pioneer families of Whittier. Whittier, CA (6755 Newlin Ave., Whittier 90601: Whittier Historical Society. At various libraries (WorldCat) Also online here.
  3. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, Girlhood Home(accessed 30 July 2014).
  4. http://www.richardnixon.org/ (accessed 30 July 2014)
  5. Wikipedia contributors, 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 30 July 2014)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Broadway and Mount Olive Cemetery entry in Find A Grave (accessed 14 June 2014).
  7. Olive Grove Cemetery entry in Find A Grave (accessed 14 June 2014).