La Habra

The name “La Habra” comes from the Spanish root word “abra” which means “passage.” Indeed, La Habra is a passage between the hills leading to Los Angeles county, and so La Habra is the gateway between Orange and L.A., situated in the far northwest corner of Orange County. This name was given by Spanish explorers in 1769. The city’s motto is “a caring community.”

La Habra’s history

The first ranches were established in La Habra in the 1800s, as explorers and settlers began to chart the area. Blessed with a Mediterranean climate and lush, rolling hills, La Habra land parcels were a hot commodity with settlers arriving by wagon and railroad in the 1890s. The first local post office was established in 1898, and by 1925 La Habra was incorporated under general law.

Agriculture is one of California’s chief claims to fame, and La Habra is no exception. The region is noted as the original cultivation grounds for the Haas avocado, named after rancher Rudolph Hass in the 1920s. The Haas variety of avocados has gone on to worldwide popularity, and you can still behold the commemorative plaque marking the original spot where the Hass “mother tree” once stood. Together with the bountiful citrus crops in the region, La Habra made its mark on the agricultural world.

Early settlers to La Habra were the Millhous family, whom you might guess provided the family lineage leading to Richard Milhous Nixon, 37’th US president. Before he was president, Nixon was a lawyer and opened his first practice in La Habra next to the civic center.

In the present day, La Habra has a population tipping around 60,000, often described as a “bedroom community.” Spread over little more than 7 square miles, the city uses three ZIP codes: 90631, 90632, and 90633.

La Habra points of interest

Immediately to the north of La Habra is La Habra Heights, and beyond that the scenic mountains bordering Los Angeles County. Venture as far as Hacienda Heights to see the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple.

Just to the east of La Habra lies the city of Brea, home to Brea Mall. Just south of there is Cal State Fullerton’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden, worth a day’s visit on its own and a rich resource on the agricultural background of southern California.

To the immediate south is the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, a former mansion turned museum which preserves much of the native Californian peoples’ history and culture.

Heading to the southeast, just minutes down Beach Boulevard will land you at Knott’s Berry Farm, originally a true farm and now an amusement park which can stand toe to toe with any other southern California attraction.


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