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Monrovia, California
City of Monrovia
I-210 in Monrovia with San Gabriel Mountains in the background.
I-210 in Monrovia with San Gabriel Mountains in the background.
Official seal of Monrovia, California
Location of Monrovia in Los Angeles County, California.
Location of Monrovia in Los Angeles County, California.
Monrovia, California is located in the United States
Monrovia, California
Monrovia, California
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
County Flag of Los Angeles County, California.svg Los Angeles
Incorporated December 15, 1887
 • Total 13.74 sq mi (35.59 km2)
 • Land 13.63 sq mi (35.31 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)  0.79%
571 ft (174 m)
 • Total 37,931
 • Density 2,782/sq mi (1,074.2/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
91016, 91017
Area code 626
FIPS code 06-48648
GNIS feature ID 1661049

Monrovia is a city located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 37,931 at the 2020 census. Monrovia has been used for filming TV shows, movies and commercials.


Monrovia, 1886 (Myrtle Avenue, looking north)

Monrovia is the fourth oldest general law city in Los Angeles County and the L.A. Basin (after Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Pasadena). Incorporated in 1887, Monrovia has grown from a sparse community of orange ranches to a residential community of 37,000.

Around 500 BC, a band of Shoshonean-speaking Indians named the Tongva established settlements in what is now the San Gabriel Valley. They were called the Gabrieliño Indians by early Spanish missionaries, a tribe of Mission Indians. The Tongva were not farmers; they gathered wild seeds, berries, and plants along rivers and in marshlands. Abundant oaks in the Valley, such as Coast Live Oak and Interior Live Oak provided a staple of the Tongva diet: acorn mush made of boiled acorn flour.

Monrovia, 1892 (Myrtle Avenue, looking north)

In 1769, the Portolà expedition was the first recorded Spanish (or any European) land entry and exploration of present-day California, then the Spanish colonial Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (colonial México). It had been claimed from sea by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542 for the King of Spain, Europeans first visited the San Gabriel Valley, including Monrovia. The expedition, led by Gaspar de Portolà, proceeded north from San Diego, passing through the area en route to Monterey Bay. Accompanying Portolà was Franciscan padre Juan Crespí, famed diarist of the expedition. Much of what is known of early California is from Crespi's detailed descriptions.

In 1771, the Franciscans established the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel in the San Gabriel Valley. The mission continued after Mexican independence in 1822. In 1833, the Mexican Congress initiated secularization of the missions in Alta California, to begin seizure of mission properties for sale to private rancho grantees.

In 1841, Alta California Governor Juan Alvarado issued Mexican land grants for Rancho Azusa de Duarte to Andres Duarte, a Mexican soldier; and for Rancho Santa Anita to Hugo Reid, a naturalized Mexican citizen of Scottish birth. Monrovia is made of parts of these two ranchos.

In the mid-19th century, most of Rancho Azusa de Duarte was subdivided and sold by Duarte to settle his debts. Some of those parcels became part of the ranch of William N. Monroe, Monrovia's namesake.

Pacific Electric in Monrovia, 1903

Rancho Santa Anita changed hands several times before the multimillionaire, silver baron and rancher, E.J. "Lucky" Baldwin acquired it in 1875. That same year his Los Angeles Investment Company began subdividing and selling parcels from many of his ranchos. In 1883, 240 acres (970,000 m²) of Rancho Santa Anita were sold to Monroe for $30,000. Additional parcels of Rancho Santa Anita were sold to Edward F. Spence, John D. Bicknell, James F. Crank, and J.F. Falvey.

The completion of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad in 1887, later sold to the Santa Fe, (which would run through Monrovia), and Southern Pacific railroads to Southern California would bring new people looking for homes and investment opportunities. With this in mind, Monroe, Spence, Bicknell, Crank, and Falvey combined their land under the business name of the Monrovia Land and Water Company in 1886, centered at Orange (now Colorado Boulevard) and Myrtle Avenues; the first tract extended from Magnolia Avenue on the west to Charlotte Avenue (Canyon Boulevard) on the east, a half block south of Walnut on the south and a half block north of Lime on the north. The subdivision was subdivided into 600 500-foot (150 m) by 160-foot (49 m) lots and sold.

The town was incorporated in 1887 under the leadership of prohibitionists who wished to control the arrival of an unwelcome saloon. The first order of business for the newly formed government was to pass a tippler's law, prohibiting the sale of alcohol.

In 1903 the Monrovia News was established. In the same year, the Pacific Electric was opened providing transportation to and from Los Angeles, making it possible for Monrovian homeowners to work in Los Angeles.

Monrovia, 1914 (Myrtle Avenue, looking north)

In 1905 Carnegie funds became available and with the help of the Board of Trade (forerunner to the Chamber of Commerce), and the Monrovia Women's Club, a bond issue was passed to purchase the Granite Bank Building to be used as a City Hall, and to acquire property for a public park. The Granite Building serves as the city hall, fire and police department facilities in 1961 and the fire department in 1974. In 1956, the old Carnegie library building was torn down and a new library was constructed. In March 2007, a new library was voted on by the people of Monrovia. It won with 70% yes votes. The library now has 190,000 books, a heritage room for historical documents, and areas for children, teens, and adults.

A city council-manager type government was instituted in 1923.

Monrovia was the home to the precursor to McDonald's. In 1937, Patrick McDonald opened a food stand on Huntington Drive (Route 66) near the old Monrovia Airport called "The Airdrome" (hamburgers were ten cents, and all-you-can-drink orange juice was five cents); it remained there until 1940, when he and his two sons, Maurice and Richard, moved the building 40 miles (64 km) east to San Bernardino to the corner of West 14th Street and 1398 North E Street, renaming it "McDonald's". (The oldest McDonald's restaurant still in operation is in Downey, California, which opened in 1953.)

The Upton Sinclair House, home to activist and author Upton Sinclair, is located in Monrovia and is a National Historic Landmark. In 1995, Monrovia received the All America City Award from the National Civic League.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.5 square kilometers (13.7 sq mi). 13.6 square miles (35 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.79%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 907
1900 1,205 32.9%
1910 3,576 196.8%
1920 5,480 53.2%
1930 10,890 98.7%
1940 12,807 17.6%
1950 20,186 57.6%
1960 27,079 34.1%
1970 30,562 12.9%
1980 30,531 −0.1%
1990 35,761 17.1%
2000 36,929 3.3%
2010 36,590 −0.9%
2020 37,931 3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census


The 2010 United States Census reported that Monrovia had a population of 36,590. The population density was 2,668.1 people per square mile (1,030.2/km2). The racial makeup of Monrovia was 21,932 (59.9%) White (41.1% Non-Hispanic White), 4,107 (11.2%) Asian, 2,500 (6.8%) African American, 279 (0.8%) Native American, 76 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 5,818 (15.9%) from other races, and 1,878 (5.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14,043 persons (38.4%).

The census reported that 36,434 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 61 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 95 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 13,762 households, out of which 4,725 (34.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 6,295 (45.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,073 (15.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 778 (5.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 793 (5.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 131 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,649 households (26.5%) were made up of individuals, and 1,276 (9.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65. There were 9,146 families (66.5% of all households); the average family size was 3.24.

The population was spread out, with 8,514 people (23.3%) under the age of 18, 3,084 people (8.4%) aged 18 to 24, 10,733 people (29.3%) aged 25 to 44, 10,018 people (27.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,241 people (11.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.

There were 14,473 housing units at an average density of 1,055.4 per square mile (407.5/km2), of which 6,809 (49.5%) were owner-occupied, and 6,953 (50.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.9%. 18,478 people (50.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 17,956 people (49.1%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Monrovia had a median household income of $71,768, with 9.8% of the population living below the federal poverty line.


As of the census of 2000, there were 36,929 people, 13,502 households, and 9,086 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,686.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,037.0/km2). There were 13,957 housing units at an average density of 1,015.3 per square mile (391.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 62.92% White, 8.67% African American, 7.02% Asian, 0.87% Native American, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 15.61% from other races, and 4.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 35.24% of the population.

There were 13,502 households, out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 27.4% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,375, and the median income for a family was $49,703. Males had a median income of $41,039 versus $32,259 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,686. About 9.7% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.3% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.


Monrovia trolley bus
Monrovia Trolley Bus in front of the landmark Krikorian Theater

Monrovia's main roads include Foothill Boulevard and Huntington Drive (historic Route 66). It is also served by the Foothill Freeway (I-210).

In 2016, Metro opened a new at-grade light rail station in Monrovia called Monrovia Station. It is located at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Duarte Road, and is served by the Metro L Line. It is at the same location of the former Santa Fe Depot, which still stands.


  • The house seen in the 1986 horror-comedy cult film House (1986 film) is located at 329 Melrose Avenue in Monrovia.


Original Tommy's, Trader Joe's, Green Dot and Naked Juice are based in Monrovia. Monrovia has a "Technology Corridor," primarily on Huntington Drive (old Route 66) east of Primrose Avenue, which includes AeroVironment, Tanner Research, Parasoft, Xencor, and ITT Deep Space Division.

Top employers

According to the city's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Monrovia Unified School District 743
2 Trader Joe's 319
3 Starr Surgical 254
4 Ctour Charter LLC 240
5 Worley 218
6 Movie Grill Concepts XXXVII LLC 209
7 Sierra Autocars 206
8 Ducommun 182
9 Amada Myachi America 164
10 BMW and Mini of Monrovia 160


Public schools

Monrovia High School

Monrovia Unified School District operates public schools.

Monrovia High School was built in 1887. It was located where Monroe School now stands, and housed the entire elementary and high school student body. A new high school on the property now occupied by Clifton Middle School was erected in 1905, and in 1912 was greatly expanded by the addition of new buildings. In 1928 a high school to serve the communities of Monrovia, Arcadia and Duarte was built. The same structure now serves only Monrovia students, as the elementary and high school district were unified into one district in 1961. The district now has one high school, one continuation school, two middle schools and five elementary schools.

The city's public schools are:

  • Bradoaks Elementary School, K-5, 930 E. Lemon
  • Canyon Early Learning Center, public pre-K, 1000 South Canyon
  • Canyon Oaks High School (public alternative), 7-12, 930 Royal Oaks Drive
  • Clifton Middle School, 6-8, 226 S. Ivy
  • Mayflower Elementary School, K-5, 210 North Mayflower
  • Monroe Elementary School, K-5, 402 W. Colorado
  • Monrovia Community Adult School 920 South Mountain
  • Monrovia High School 9-12, 845 W. Colorado Boulevard
  • Monrovia Mountain School, public Alternative K-8, 950 S. Mountain Avenue
  • Plymouth Elementary K-5, 1300 Boley Street
  • Santa Fe Middle School 6-8, 148 W. Duarte Road
  • Serendipity Early Care and Education Center, K, 940 W. Duarte Road
  • Wild Rose Elementary, A California Distinguished School K-5, 232 Jasmine
  • Vista Ridge Academy, 1311S. Shamrock

Private schools

  • Calvary Road Baptist Academy, K-12, 319 W. Olive
  • Church of the Nazarene, K-6 303 W. Colorado
  • First Lutheran School, pre-K-8, 1323 South Magnolia
  • First Presbyterian Church Preschool, 101 E. Foothill Boulevard
  • Immaculate Conception School, K-8, 726 Shamrock

Lycée International de Los Angeles previously had its San Gabriel Valley campus in Monrovia. It opened in 1990 on the property of the United Methodist Church. Its area campus is now in Pasadena. It moved to Pasadena in July 2006.

Miscellaneous education

  • Joe Ferrante Music Academy, K-12, 126 E. Colorado Blvd.

Colleges and universities

The city is a part of the Citrus Community College District.

Notable people

  • Kenny Baker, singer and actor
  • Dicky Barrett, frontman, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, late-night TV announcer
  • Corie Blount, basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls
  • Cisco Carlos, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Jason Earles, actor
  • Mary Ford, vocalist and guitarist
  • Jim Fuller, guitarist for The Surfaris (of "Wipeout" fame)
  • Prince Gomolvilas, playwright
  • Dean R. Hirsch, president of World Vision International
  • Ernie Johnson, former Baseball player and member of the New York Yankees first World Series championship team 1923
  • Ian Johnson, American football player
  • Katie Johnson, Mexican-American soccer player
  • Steven Kiyoshi Kuromiya, gay rights activist
  • Ellis McCarthy, defensive tackle for Miami Dolphins
  • Corky King, founder of Summum
  • Scott Land, puppeteer/actor
  • Don Mankiewicz, screenwriter and novelist
  • Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., nutrition researcher
  • Thomas J. Sargent, 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics, graduated from Monrovia High School in 1961
  • Upton Sinclair and Mary Craig Sinclair, authors and producers
  • Jacob Smith, actor
  • William A. Spinks (1865–1933), champion carom billiards pro, co-inventor of modern billiards cue chalk, oil investor, and flower and avocado farmer (developer of the Spinks avocado cultivar); also maintained home and farm in nearby Duarte
  • Leslie Van Houten, Monrovia High School graduate, Charles Manson follower
  • Henry B. Walthall (1878-1936), actor
  • The Fabulous Wonder Twins, entertainers
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