About the City of Lakewood
Lakewood was incorporated on April 16, 1954, and is a city ten miles southeast of Los Angeles whose founders redefined and revolutionized municipal organization in California, and was until after the Second World War open farmland with several thousand acres of beans and sugar beets. It broke new ground, literally and figuratively, when the Lakewood Park Company started building what would become known as the nation’s first post-war planned housing development, consisting of 17,500 house on about 3,500 acres.
It was the talk of the nation, with slogans such as “Lakewood, Tomorrow’s City Today,” and was part of California’s defense boom and home to the aerospace industry. The community was built in time for war veterans and their families to buy their first homes with help of the G.I Bill.
The community is studied by historians and city planners because of its distinction as a ground-breaking type of suburb and because of the Lakewood Plan’s visionary combination of local and county services. Among other things, Lakewood introduced a number of innovations into suburban development-such as assembly-line house construction.
Lakewood’s population was estimated by the State Department of Finance to be 81,352 as of May 2019. The population density of Lakewood is 8,636 persons per square mile, making Lakewood more than twice as dense as suburbs nationally.
The economic base of the city is primarily commercial/retail. Almost 3,000 businesses are located in Lakewood.
The world’s first helicopter law enforcement patrol program began in Lakewood in 1966 when the city joined with the Sheriff’s Department and the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration to test the concept of an “airborne patrol car.” Named Sky Knight, the program was an instant success as a crime fighting tool and quickly expanded to cities served by the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station. Sky Knight is one of the few aerial law enforcement programs to combine civilian pilots and observers who are law enforcement officers. Former Sky Knight Pilot Monica McIntyre was the first women pilot in the program’s history and the first in the nation to fly patrols for a law enforcement agency.
Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star third baseman Justin Turner attended Mayfair High School in Lakewood, earning three-time All-Suburban first team honors as a shortstop and second baseman.
Lisa Fernandez, former collegiate 4-time First Team All-American, 3-time medal winning Olympian, right-handed hitting softball pitcher and third baseman, attended St. Joseph High School, a Catholic High School in Lakewood.
Lakewood has an equestrian center, a golf course, more than a dozen parks, and a shopping mall.
Lakewood Veterans Memorial Plaza is located in De Valle Park, where a Korean War-era jet fighter donated by the Marine Corps., is located.