Sierra Madre, California, was originally inhabited by a Native American tribe called the Tongva. Their settlements were mostly along the coastline of Los Angeles County, northwest Orange County, and surrounding islands.
When the Spanish came to this area in 1771, they established the San Gabriel Mission. Indigenous inhabitants were converted and provided the Spanish labor. The land was hearty, and many orchards provided for the Spanish crown until 1833 when California fell into Mexico’s control and gave the San Gabriel Mission land to individuals.
In 1850, California became a state in the Union.
Decades prior, when helping to build the San Gabriel Mission, the Tongva forged a pathway to more efficiently transport timber from up in the mountains down to the construction site. This pathway— largely within Sierra Madre city limits— would later come to be known as the Mt. Wilson Trail and its central mountain Mt. Wilson, both dubbed such after Benjamin ‘Don Benito’ Wilson, the first American to explore & survey the area. Exploiting the labor of impoverished Mexican and Chinese workers, Wilson even spearheaded efforts to expand & extend the Trail in 1864.
Besides Wilson, the most notable individual associated with what would become Sierra Madre would be Nathaniel Carter, who purchased the acreage piecemeal from several local ranchers and the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1881. By the end of the 1880s, a new railway station named Santa Anita had been established within the territory, along with early electric lights via the Edison Company. The town was officially incorporated in 1907.
Much of Sierra Madre’s local reputation became synonymous with the Mt. Wilson Trail and the San Gabriel Mountains it traversed. Several resorts and inns were founded by the turn of the 20th century to accommodate visitors who wished to hike the trail. A toll road was created around the same time to facilitate increased foot and horse traffic, and not long after, Pacific Electric established a 16-mile railcar route from Los Angeles to Sierra Madre, likewise to capitalize on hikers and general nature-centric visitors.
An additional natural attraction of renown, a vine of Wisteria blossoms christened the largest blooming plant in the world, similarly began to draw crowds in the decades that followed, spanking an annual Wisteria Festival by the 1930s, which still occurs yearly to this day.
Age and Household Statistics in Sierra Madre
Male Population: 5,039
Female Population: 5,790
Sierra Madre Population: 10,829
Median Age: 47.5
Under 5 years old: approx. 4.5%
Under 18 years old: approx. 18.4%
Residents 65 or older: approx. 19.0%
Total Households: 4,679
Average People Per Household: 2
Marital Status Statistics
Never Married: 2,210
Racial Statistics (percentages) in Sierra Madre
Black or African American: 4.2%
American Indian/Native American: 0.2%
Two or More Races: 5.7%
Hispanic or Latino: 14.5%
Income Statistics in Sierra Madre
Average Household Income: $158,259
Median Household Income: $106,719
People below Poverty Level: 667
Blue Collar Positions: 308
White Collar Positions: 5,394
Education Level in Sierra Madre
No High School: 47
Some High School: 1,051
Some College: 2,229
Associate Degree: 976
Bachelor’s Degree: 2,821
Graduate Degree: 2,501
Located at 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, California 91024, the playhouse offers award-winning theatre only 20 miles from Los Angeles.
Independence Day Parade
Every year, three days of celebrations are held in Sierra Madre, including the town’s well-known Fourth of July parade. Depending on when the Monday following the holiday weekend falls, the parade’s date changes every year. It’s often referred to as a “Star Spangled Weekend” by locals.
This annual celebration is for the one acre of Chinese wisteria that was planted in the 1890s.
Located at 700 N Sunnyside Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024, this retreat is dedicated to the preaching of the Passion of Jesus Christ. All are welcome to explore their retreat opens in this sacred space at the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains,
Located at 222 West Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, CA, in the bandshell in Memorial Park, families can enjoy movies on select Fridays beginning at dusk.
Located at 49 S Baldwin Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024, The Mt. Wilson Trail Race, one of the earliest trail races in California, covers 8.6 miles from Kersting Court in Sierra Madre to Orchard Camp and back.
Having spent most of its existence as a destination, one is hard-pressed to find many individuals— in any field— that was born in the Sierra Madre. That said, there is a smattering of renowned people who either temporarily or permanently came to reside within the community. These include:
How Populated is Sierra Madre?
Out of 1,571 cities in California, Sierra Madre has the 470th-highest population, with 11,253 inhabitants.
What is Sierra Madre, CA known for?
The three square miles of tranquil communities and open space that make up the City of Sierra Madre are situated in the middle of the region, halfway between Pasadena and Arcadia. At its center is Sierra Madre’s attractive downtown shopping district, a well-known landmark for both tourists and the city’s about 11,000 residents.
What county is Sierra Madre in California?
Sierra Madre is located in Los Angeles County.
Where does Sierra Madre get its water?
Drought circumstances made it difficult for the Sierra Madre to draw groundwater in 2013, so the City was compelled to use imported water to provide its citizens. The City currently uses a combination of imported and local groundwater for its water supply.
What animals are local to Sierra Madre?
When in Sierra Madre, California, you may see coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and bears.