Montara was largely developed in the 1960s as military housing for the nearby Forbes Air Force Base, and was known as Cullen Village. The base closed in the 1973. In 1979, Lario Enterprises bought the community from the city of Topeka, and began refurbishing the approximately 1,050 units for resale. After about 500 units were sold by 1989, the developer turned to renting out units, leaving an owner/renter split in the community (40/60 in 2003).
While a large portion of the homes are owned and rented out by Montara Leasing, over time in recent years a large number of homes have been bought and are now owner-occupied.
Montara is a quiet community about 3 miles south of Topeka and near Pauline and Forbes Field. There are three parks, one on the north end, and two on the south end. There are also three baseball diamonds and a soccer field located to the east and behind the Paris Community Center. It also consist of Forbes Golf course and a Go cart track. There is also a community center (Shawnee County South Community Center) nearby.
In March of 2013 Mars Chocolate North America opened a $250 million plant south of Topeka near the Montara neighborhood. The large industrial complex brought concerns about increased property values.
In 2014, several properties were damaged in arson fires.
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