About the City of Santa Fe Springs

Before its incorporation on May 15, 1957, Santa Fe Springs had a vibrant past that brought the area to prominence several times throughout its history. It was the hub for the early Spanish rancho of Jose Manuel Nieto, the holder of the largest Spanish land grant in California.

Dr. James E. Fulton came to the area as an agent for the San Gertrudes Land Company in 1871. He found, when drilling a well, a sulfur spring, and developed it into a health spa, Fulton Wells Health Resort, with 400 patients annually seeking its curative powers.

Following an oil strike in 1919, a dramatic change occurred in the area as oil derricks and refineries soon covered the landscape.

Santa Fe Springs, which has its roots going back to a Native American, Tongva village, then became a destination for those seeking their fortunes. Such famous people as Alfonso Bell and J. Paul Getty started their careers here in one of the largest oil strikes in the country.

In 1886, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway purchased land from Fulton to run the train line from Los Angeles to San Diego, changing the town since now there was rail transportation.

In 1907, the Union Oil Company of California began drilling near the intersection of Norwalk Blvd. and Telegraph Road, locally known as "Four Corners," with the spudding in of the Meyer No. 1 well. That well, and a subsequent one, failed. In 1921 the Union-Bell well blew in as a 2,500-barrel gusher and set off an oil rush by major oil companies and fly-by-night producers. Within a year the Santa Fe Springs oil field was considered one of the richest pools in petroleum history. Santa Fe Springs became a promoters' paradise. Prospective investors were bused into the field, served a free lunch in circus tents, and told stories about the fortunes made in oil. In 1923 the state legislature limited the amount of stock that could be sold in a well.

In the 1920s the field produced as much as 345,000 barrels daily, exceeding production at Signal Hill and Huntington Beach. Production slowed as the decade went on, and by 1928 the Wilshire Oil Company was drilling in deep sand levels. Production levels dropped each year from then on, but by 1938 the field had yielded a total of more than 440,000,000 barrels of oil.[12]

Santa Fe Springs is the birthplace of the Shelby Cobra. In 1962 Carroll Shelby set up shop in Dean Moon’s speed shop in Santa Fe Springs. Shelby had AC Cars of Surrey, England ship cars without a motor or drive train to the Santa Fe shop. Shelby shoe-horned a 260-cubic-inch V8 into the tiny, lightweight British roadster and the Cobra was born: a British sports car with American hot rod power.

The three main points of interest in the city are the Clarke Estate, the Hathaway Ranch Museum and Heritage Park. The Clarke Estate is the home of Chauncey and Marie Rankin Clarke in 1919. A wealthy, socially prominent couple, they hired architect Irving Gill to build their country home on 60 acres of citrus groves in Santa Fe Springs. The Hathaway Ranch Museum is a private museum and grounds hold farming, ranching, and oil drilling equipment from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries. Heritage Park is a beautifully landscaped six-acre reconstructed ranch estate from the late 1800s. Part of the park is home to a Historical Railroad Exhibit, a tribute to local railroad history. This exhibit demonstrates through equipment, buildings and signage the importance of the railroad to the Southern California region.

The city is 8.7 square miles, with approximately 63 percent of the total acreage being manufacturing; 9.5 percent residential and 2.8 percent commercial. According to city officials, the current population is 18,335, and there are approximately 3,100 businesses in the city.

The city owns and operates its own library, and has its own fire department – the Department of Fire-Rescue. It contracts with the city of Whittier for police services.

Population – 18,335 (Census 2010)