About the City of Bellflower
The original legal title to the land on which Bellflower now stands dates back to 1784 with one of the first Spanish land grants in California. The largest of these grants encompassed the land between the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers. In 1832, after the Spanish were ousted in the Mexican Revolution, the new Mexican Governor, Jose Figueroa, divided the land into five smaller ranchos, with Bellflower developed on a piece of land bordered by three of the ranchos. During this time, vast amounts of cattle sustained the economy and beef was cheaper than salt.
For the next few decades, the land ownership changed possession several times, but in the 1840s, the Golden Age of the Ranchos in California came to an end.
In 1869, the area known as Somerset Ranch, roughly from Alondra Boulevard to Artesia Boulevard, and from Lakewood Boulevard to Cornuta Avenue, was comprised of 4,000 acres of what would later become Bellflower.
The entire area was subject to annual flooding when the “tramp river” (San Gabriel) would swell from winter rains or spring thaws and travel down the middle of what is now Bellflower Boulevard. Early residents recall sometimes rowing from island to island in Bellflower during the rainy season.
In 1906, Frank E. Woodruff, came across the Somerset Ranch and formed a syndicate to purchase outright over 1,000 acres of Somerset Ranch to operate as a farm. When the property did not return the profit they expected, the syndicate also decided to subdivide the ranch into one-acre farms. Woodruff maintained his interest in Bellflower until he died in 1939.
The name Bellflower comes from the orchard of Bellefleur apples grown by pioneer settler William Gregory in the north part of town, meaning literally “beautiful flower” in French.
Originally settled by small communities of dairy farmers of Dutch, Japanese, and Portuguese descent, Bellflower and neighboring Paramount served first as the apple and later the milk production centers for Southern California, until soaring post-World War II property values and threatened annexations by Los Angeles led by real-estate syndicates, forced most of the farmers to move. These farms were in turn divided up into large housing divisions for Los Angeles's growing White American population which worked in the region's high-tech, skilled industrial, and service positions. From the 1950s through the late 1960s, Bellflower Boulevard, the city's main thoroughfare, was a thriving commercial strip for shopping.
It was incorporated on Sept. 3, 1957.
As of the 2010 census, Bellflower is the 25th most densely populated city in the United States, of cities over 50,000 residents and 8th most densely populated in California.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.2 square miles. 6.1 square miles of it is land and 0.1 square miles of it is water.
Hollywood director and writer Chris Carter of “The X-Files” fame was born and raised in Bellflower, as were Baseball Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman and former Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent.