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Anaheim Island, California facts for kids

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Anaheim Island, Orange County, California
Country United States
State California
County Orange
Elevation
157 ft (48 m)
Population
 (1990)
 • Total 6,800
Time zone UTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP Code
92804
Area code(s) 714

Anaheim Island (also known as Anaheim West, Southwest Anaheim, and Garza Island) consists of several unincorporated neighborhoods located in the northwestern part of Orange County, California, United States. Established between the 1910s and 1960s, the neighborhoods are bounded by the cities of Anaheim to the east, north and west, Stanton to the southwest, and Garden Grove to the south. The Orange County Board of Supervisors has referred to these unincorporated areas as "Anaheim Island" while Orange County LAFCO has referred to them variously as "Anaheim West" and "Southwest Anaheim". The Anaheim City Planning Commission refers to the entire area in the singular as the "Garza Island". Some local residents refer to the area as the "Gaza Strip".

History

After World War II, Orange County experienced dramatic growth, the formation of many new municipalities, and the expansion of existing municipalities through annexation of neighboring county territory.

Since the 1960s, the unincorporated neighborhoods of west Orange County that fall within Anaheim's sphere of influence have been colloquially called the "Gaza Strip" or, more recently, the "Garza Strip." Both nicknames allude to Garza Avenue, the area's oldest and southernmost street; the area's strip-like shape; and its popularity as a dragstrip frequented by scofflaws cognizant of the county sheriff's jurisdiction and delays in response to complaints to law enforcement resulting from the distance sheriffs must travel to reach the area. Additionally, the word "Gaza" alludes to the area's unincorporated status, similar to that of the Gaza Strip of the Palestinian territories.

The mid-1990s witnessed an influx of Middle Eastern immigrants into west Anaheim, with many businesses serving the Arab American population established on a stretch of Brookhurst Street adjacent to the unincorporated areas. This migration has earned the commercial district the nickname Little Gaza, which conflates the unincorporated area's "Gaza Strip" nickname with the "Little (place name)" naming convention for ethnic enclaves. Although "Gaza Strip" is also occasionally used to describe the Brookhurst Street corridor, the term predates the arrival of significant numbers of Middle Eastern immigrants to the area.

A local urban legend has it that a fire once broke out in one of the unincorporated areas near an Anaheim city fire station, and that firemen on duty witnessed the fire but allowed the structure to burn since it was not within their jurisdiction. Although the story's veracity is questionable, its existence is generally indicative of the disputes that have often arisen between residents of unincorporated, marginalized neighborhoods in urbanized areas and the cities that surround them.

Neighborhoods

Anaheim Island includes several discrete neighborhoods. Most of the homes in the area, except for those in La Colonia Independencia (see below), were built in the Early 1900s, spurred by the construction and opening of Disneyland. A 2008 survey of residents found that approximately 25% of Anaheim Island homes are in need of rehabilitation. Low-income first-time homebuyers purchasing in the area are entitled to receive down payment assistance loans through the County of Orange Mortgage Assistance Program.

Demographic information cited below is drawn from the Orange County 2005-2010 Consolidated Plan, which cites 1990 United States Census statistics, gathered prior to the arrival of significant numbers of Middle Eastern immigrants.

La Colonia Independencia

La Colonia Independencia consists of approximately 30 acres (120,000 m2) of residential land, 1.8 acres (7,300 m2) of school maintenance yard, and less than 1-acre (4,000 m2) of community center and parkland. The neighborhood is bounded by Katella Avenue on the south and Pacific Place (south of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks) on the north, between which run Garza, Berry and Harcourt Avenues. The neighborhood contains 101 single-family homes. La Colonia has approximately 1,700 residents, one-third of whom are children. 66% of its residents are Hispanic, 17% are white, 11% are of Asian/Pacific Island descent, and 4% are black. Many families have lived in the neighborhood for generations, and residents express a strong sense of ethnic and community pride.

Originally a "citrus camp" established by Mexican farm laborers at the edge of a now-defunct orange grove, La Colonia Independencia ranks with El Modena as one of the oldest surviving barrios in Orange County. The community was born after the United States' entry into World War I, when relaxation of immigration restrictions spurred by the citrus industry's demand for cheap labor drew thousands of Mexican men and their families to the United States, where they made their homes in segregated communities near the railroad tracks that ran through the groves. Misión del Sagrado Corazón, La Colonia's Catholic church, was built in 1926; Magnolia School No. 2 was established shortly thereafter on Garza Street, and was attended exclusively by Mexican students. In spite of the 1946 decision in Mendez v. Westminster outlawing racial and language-based segregation in California schools, and in spite of then-Governor Earl Warren's subsequent repeal of provisions of the California Education Code that allowed segregation in the state's public schools, Magnolia School No. 2 continued to operate until 1954, when community activist Gloria Lopez challenged the district to transfer white children into the barrio school rather than build a new one. In the face of protests from white parents, Magnolia School No. 2 was closed and replaced with a school bus warehouse. As late as the 1970s, the community had no paved streets, sidewalks or sewers.

La Colonia Independencia is home to the La Colonia street gang, its tag "VLCR" signifying the motto "Varrio La Colonia Rifa." In 2001, the need to remedy public neglect of the area and address an increase in gang-related crime led county supervisors to secure federal funding for increased community services in La Colonia and the adjacent Southwest Anaheim neighborhood.

West Anaheim

West Anaheim occupies approximately 187 acres (0.76 km2) and contains 1,026 homes. Many of its streets bear Louisiana place-names (e.g., Bienville, Gravier, Antigua, Perdido, etc.). The district is bounded by Ball Road to the north; by the Union Pacific Railroad tracks south of Pacific Avenue to the south; and by Brookhurst Street and Gilbert Street to the east and west. The district also includes a tract of homes at the southwest corner of Cerritos Avenue and Gilbert Street, as well as an adjacent row of homes along the south side of Pacific Avenue, immediately north of the tracks. 50% of West Anaheim's residents are Hispanic, 27% white, 16% Asian/Pacific Islanders (23%), and 4% black.

The West Island Neighbors Group was established after the city of Anaheim's announcement of its plans to annex the area (see below). The organization publishes a newsletter, the West Island Breeze, which is distributed to community residents.

Southwest Anaheim

Southwest Anaheim (identified as "Anaheim Island" on the Orange County Development Agency's map of the area) is an entirely residential neighborhood near the northeast corner of Katella Avenue and Gilbert Street, south of the tracks from West Anaheim and adjacent to La Colonia Independencia. The 171-home development (originally called "House and Garden Homes") was built by Tobin Developers in 1955 on approximately 29 acres (120,000 m2) of residential land. 60% of Southwest Anaheim's residents are Hispanic, 23% are Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 17% are white.

Sherwood Forest & Thistle Development

Sherwood Forest is a development of 406 homes built in 1955, occupying approximately 95 acres (380,000 m2) of residential land bounded by Brookhurst Street and Gilbert Street to the east and west, and by Orange Avenue and Ball Road to the north and south. 39% of Sherwood Forest's residents are white, 31% Hispanic, 24% Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 4% black. Adjacent to Sherwood Forest and located between Orange Avenue and Broadway is the distinct, also unincorporated, 88-parcel Thistle development.

For purposes of community planning and needs assessment, the Orange County Board of Supervisors groups two additional, non-contiguous county islands bounded only by Stanton and Garden Grove with those adjacent to Anaheim, due to their close proximity. These two islands are not, however, included in the city of Anaheim's annexation proposals (see below).

Rustic Lane

The Rustic Lane neighborhood is located north of Katella Avenue between Gilbert Street and Magnolia Avenue. The 9-acre (36,000 m2) district houses 1,736 people in 347 housing units. 66% of Rustic Lane's residents are Hispanic, 17% white, 11% Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 4% black.

Mac Island

Mac Island contains 116 single family homes occupying approximately eighteen acres of land near the northwest corner of Katella and Magnolia Avenues. 62% of the neighborhood's 441 residents are white, 17% are Hispanic, and 17% Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Education

Anaheim Island students are served by the elementary schools of the Anaheim City School District and the Magnolia School District. The Anaheim Union High School District provides middle schools and high schools for the Anaheim Island.

The Anaheim Public Library and the Stanton branch of the Orange County Public Libraries system both serve Anaheim Island residents.

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