Fullerton was founded in 1887. It secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Historically it was a center of agriculture, notably groves of Valencia oranges and other citrus crops; petroleum extraction; transportation; and manufacturing. It is home to numerous higher educational institutions, particularly California State University, Fullerton and Fullerton College. From the mid-1940s through the late 1990s, Fullerton was home to a large industrial base made up of aerospace contractors, canneries, paper products manufacturers, and is considered to be the birthplace of the electric guitar, due in a large part to Leo Fender.
Evidence of prehistoric animal habitation, such as saber-toothed cats and mammoths, is present in Ralph B. Clark Regional Park in the northwest of the city. Europeans first passed through the area in 1769 when Gaspar de Portolà led a Spanish expedition north to Monterey. From the description recorded in the diary of Father Juan Crespi, it seems likely that the party camped on July 29 near present-day Laguna Lake, in the Sunny Hills area.
After establishment of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel in 1771, the local Tongva people were dubbed "Gabrieliños" by the Spanish. In 1837, the Fullerton area became part of Rancho San Juan Cajón de Santa Ana, granted to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, a Spanish soldier.
Ontiveros began to sell parcels of the Rancho to migrant Americans settling and developing California in the aftermath of the 1849 Gold Rush, including Massachusetts native Abel Stearns. In the 1860s, Stearns sold in turn to Domingo Bastanchury, a Basque shepherd.
In 1886 while in the area on a duck hunting vacation, Malden brothers George and Edward Amerige, heard rumors that the California Central Railroad, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe Railway, was looking for land. Sensing opportunity, they arranged to buy 430 acres (1.7 km2) north of Anaheim for approximately $68,000.
They then began negotiations with George H. Fullerton, president of the Pacific Land and Improvement Company, also a Santa Fe subsidiary. They offered free right-of-way and half interest in the land to the railroad if Fullerton's survey were revised to include the proposed town site, and on July 5, 1887 Edward Amerige formally staked his claim at what is now the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue.
In 1894 Charles Chapman, a retired Chicago publisher and a descendant of John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman, purchased an orange orchard in eastern Fullerton. The Valencia variety of oranges he promoted from his Santa Ysabel Ranch, well suited to the local climate, proved a boon to producers; Fullerton boasted more orange groves than any other municipality in the United States. Cultivation of walnuts and avocados also flourished, and the Western railroad town became an agricultural center. Fullerton incorporated in 1904.
Drilling for petroleum began in 1880 with the discovery of the Brea-Olinda Oil Field and fueled the first real boom, peaking in the 1920s. Construction reflected the vogue for Spanish Colonial and Italian Renaissance-inspired architecture, as in the historic Fox Fullerton Theatre (erected 1925); the home of Walter and Adella Muckenthaler, designed by Frank K. Benchley (erected 1924); and the city's chief landmark, the Plummer Auditorium and clock tower (erected 1930). Fullerton College was established at its present location at Chapman Avenue and Lemon Street in 1913. Meanwhile, the city banned all overnight street parking in 1924— a law enforced to the present day. The period from 1910-1950 represented a golden age for the city which like other Southern California cities were marked with elegant architecture ranging from the Beaux Arts Movement to the distinctive California Mediterraneum architecture, which in turn were surrounded by bucolic farms and parks. Significant public works projects were constructed during this period, including the conversion of a southwestern sewer farm into Fullerton Municipal Airport at the behest of Placentia ranchers and aviators William and Robert Dowling in 1927.Following the depression, concentration of industry, a depressed farming economy, and cheap land development shattered the earlier period quality of life. Through the mid-1900s the economy shifted toward food processing rather than food production, as well as manufacturing; southeastern Fullerton became an industrial center. Val Vita Food Products (later Hunt Wesson and today part of ConAgra Foods, Inc.) began operating a citrus juice plant in western Fullerton in 1932. By 1941 it had become the largest food processing company in the US. In 1934 A.W. Leo, Tom Yates and Ralph Harrison developed the first Hawaiian Punch recipe in a converted garage in Fullerton. The city also became a producer of aerospace equipment, electrical and electronic components, navigation systems, and laboratory instruments.
In 1949 Dick Riedel and Bill Barris piloted the Sunkist Lady, a modified Aeronca Sedan, out of the Fullerton airport to set an endurance flight record of 1,008 hours and 2 minutes.
Also in 1949, Fullerton was the setting in which Leo Fender developed and refined the design of the Fender Telecaster, a guitar which would later be used among some of the greatest musicians of the 20th and 21st Century. Among them: Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, Joe Strummer, Waylon Jennings, Dwight Yoakam, Greg Camp, Jimmy Page, Kurt Cobain, James Burton, Jonny Greenwood and many others.
Although Fullerton like other Southern California cities had experienced an expansion of population due to housing development, this increased by an order of magnitude during the post war years. Fullerton's population soared after World War II as American veterans migrated to California, bought housing in the land development which destroyed the surrounding farming and park areas, and in particular after the construction of Interstate 5 and development in neighboring Anaheim.
To serve the growing population, the California State Legislature authorized Orange County State College in 1957, which began operating out of Fullerton high schools in 1959. In 1963, it moved to its present campus on State College Boulevard, and later, after several name-changes, was finally redesignated California State University, Fullerton. Other institutions followed, earning Fullerton a reputation as an "Education City." The Fullerton Arboretum, a 26-acre (105,000 m²) botanical garden, opened in the northeastern part of the city adjacent the campus in 1979.
Manufacturing growth leveled off as ever-soaring property prices, increasing environmental regulation, traffic, and other pressures increased. By the late 20th century the city had lost much of its rural character in favor of suburban housing tracts and shopping centers.
The first years of the 21st century have seen several political issues played out against a backdrop of class division (between the more affluent northern and western parts of the city and the southern portion of the city, which borders Anaheim), rapidly diminishing supplies of undeveloped land, and demographic changes (including the influx of Asian and Latino immigrants into an area previously dominated by Caucasian Americans).
As in many cities, growth and development are contentious issues. In the 1990s, the downtown commercial district had become economically depressed, and was known mainly for being an area of sleepy antique stores and small shops. A symbol of downtown's problems was the Fox Theatre, a local landmark, which had fallen into disrepair. As of November 2004, a fundraising drive had accumulated sufficient funds to buy the theater, but not yet enough money to restore it. By 2006, restoration was started.
During this same period, the downtown area (a.k.a. DTF), especially south of Commonwealth Avenue (a.k.a. SOCO), has become more of a busy entertainment district, described by the OC Weekly as "Bourbon Street West." In less than five years, some 30 businesses that sell alcohol have opened, making the downtown area much more active at night. Ranging from a mixture of Mexican cantinas and Asian bars to Jazz, local venues and music stores, with the festive atmosphere have come problems such as public drunkenness, fights and a shortage of parking. In 2008, City Manager Chris Meyer called together department head and the finance department and reported to the city council that the Restaurant Overlay District (established December 2002)was costing the city $935,000 over and above the sales taxes collected. Then four officers were hired for downtown, bringing the costs to $1,600,000 a year. The ROD had abolished condition use; a new ordinance to establish restrictions was drafted and adopted by the city council in 2008. a police task force last year has addressed some of these problems.
The 293-acre (1.19 km2) Hughes Aircraft Company's Ground Systems Group campus in western Fullerton was redeveloped into a major new residential and commercial district, called Amerige Heights, in 2001–2004. This development was accompanied by extreme shifts in neighborhood property values, first dropping precipitously in the late 1980s to early 1990s as the former Hughes employees sold their houses, and then rising rapidly as part of a general increase in real estate values throughout Orange County.
Fullerton is located at 33°52′48″N 117°55′43″W (33.879914, -117.928749). It is approximately 25 miles (40 km) southeast of downtown Los Angeles, and approximately 11 miles (18 km) north-northwest of Santa Ana, the county seat. The city has a mean elevation of 150 feet (46 m) and lies approximately 11 miles (18 km) northeast of the Pacific Ocean straight-line distance. It has a Mediterranean climate, with a mean temperature of 62.2 degrees Fahrenheit (16.8 °C).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2). 22.4 square miles (58 km2) of it is land and 0.01 square miles (0.026 km2) of it (0.05%) is water.
It is bordered by La Habra and Brea on the north, La Mirada on the northwest, Buena Park on the west, Anaheim on the south, and Placentia on the east.
The flat downtown area is laid out in a grid plan centered at the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue. After recent renewal and beautification projects, it has attracted specialty stores, coffee shops, and restaurants, and has uncharacteristically retained much of its downtown character. Southeastern Fullerton is historically the industrial sector, and is home to small manufacturing, particularly east of Raymond Street and south of Commonwealth.
The northern and western reaches of Fullerton are dominated by the Coyote Hills, a low-lying mountain range divided into the East Coyote Hills and West Coyote Hills; the lands nestled to their south and west are known as Sunny Hills. For most of the city's history these areas were groves of citrus trees, open scrubland, and oil fields. While equestrian trails and many old estates endure along Bastanchury Road, the meandering roads through these areas today mostly connect a succession of housing tract subdivisions and commercial developments. In recent years, the City Council has tried to allow development in the remaining open land throughout the city. The most notable impending project, in West Coyote Hills, has been met with opposition by many of the citizens in the area.
According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Fullerton has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.
According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
Fullerton is a general law city with a council-manager government system. Legislative authority is vested in a city council of five non-partisan members who serve four-year staggered terms, who elect a chair who serves as mayor but hire a professional city manager for day-to-day operations. All council seats are elected at large. Elections are held every two years and are consolidated with the statewide general elections held in November of even numbered years.
As of July 2017 there were 68,243 registered voters in the city:Republican Party - 24,057
Democratic Party - 25,108
Decline To State - 16,240
American Independent Party - 1,651
Libertarian Party - 565
Green Party- 278
Peace and Freedom Party - 172
Miscellaneous - 172
Allegations of police misconduct
In 2011, a major controversy arose in the city over misconduct by the Fullerton Police, involving sexual assault by an officer against women he arrested and the killing of a mentally ill homeless man by police. This has led to the indictment of two officers and a recall campaign against McKinley, Bankhead, and Jones. Officer Manuel Ramos, 37, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Corporal Jay Patrick Cicinelli, 39, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force with regards to the death of Kelly Thomas. They have pleaded not guilty. On July 5, 2012, (one year after the beating death), the father of Kelly Thomas filed a lawsuit against the city and six officers, two of whom are facing criminal charges. The lawsuit also names former police chiefs Patrick McKinley and Michael Sellers. The suit alleges the violation of Kelly Thomas' federal and state civil rights; assault and battery; negligence and supervisor liability among others as causes of action. It seeks unspecified damages. Thomas' mother, Cathy, who is divorced from Ron Thomas, has already received a $1-million settlement from the city. On July 3, 2012, Officer Ramos's employment was terminated.
In a landslide, city council members Dick Jones, Don Bankhead and Pat McKinley were voted out of office in a June 5, 2012, recall election. Each was voted out by an almost identical majority of nearly 66%. Their replacements are: Travis Kiger, a planning commissioner and blogger for the site Friends for Fullerton's Future, who fills Jones' term, which expires December 4, 2012; Greg Sebourn, a land surveyor, who fills Bankhead's term, which ends December 2, 2014; and attorney Doug Chaffee, who fills McKinley's term, which also ends December 2, 2014. All were sworn into office in July 2012. Tony Bushala, a leading organizer of the Fullerton recall election, said he was seeking accountability for Kelly Thomas' death. The city's other two council members are not facing a recall.
Development of West Coyote Hills
West Coyote Hills is a ridge lying mostly in northern Fullerton, including 510 acres (206 ha) owned by Pacific Coast Homes (a land development division of the Chevron Corporation) that are the largest remaining tract of undeveloped land in north Orange County. The current development agreement calls for building houses on some of the land while donating the remainder to the city as a nature preserve. A group that supports keeping the entire area as open space has qualified a referendum for a November 2012 election.
In the California State Legislature, Fullerton is in the 29th Senate District, represented by Democrat Josh Newman, and in the 65th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva.
In the United States House of Representatives, Fullerton is in California's 39th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of EVEN and is represented by Republican Ed Royce.
Fullerton has five public high schools within the city limits, all part of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District:Sunny Hills High School.
Fullerton Union High School. The oldest high school in Orange County, it is the home of historic Plummer Auditorium and the Academy of the Arts magnet program.
Troy High School (which includes Troy Tech, a public magnet school).
La Vista High School and La Sierra High School (continuation schools, adjacent to Troy)
Other public schooling in Fullerton is provided by the Fullerton School District. There are three public junior high schools, enrolling grades 7-8: Ladera Vista, Nicolas, and D. Russell Parks Junior High School. Fullerton has two public elementary K-8 schools: Beechwood and Fisler. Fullerton has fifteen public elementary schools enrolling grades K-6: Acacia, Commonwealth, Fern Drive, Golden Hill, Hermosa Drive, Laguna Road, Maple, Orangethorpe, Pacific Drive, Raymond, Richman, Rolling Hills, Sunset Lane, Valencia Park, and Woodcrest.
Fullerton's Catholic schools are affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.Annunciation Catholic School, formed in 2005 by the merger of Saint Mary's Catholic School, the oldest Catholic school in the city, with Saint Philip Benizi Catholic School, an annex of St. Mary's.
Rosary High School (all-girls')
Arborland Montessori Children's Academy, 2121 Hughes Drive
Berkeley School, Academics and the Arts (K-6), 306 N. Pomona Avenue
IvyCrest Montessori Private School, located where Mayor Hale once lived in the early 1900s
Eastside Christian School
West Fullerton Christian School, 2353 W. Valencia Drive, Fullerton, California
California State University, Fullerton, commonly known as Cal State Fullerton or CSUF, was first established in 1957 as Orange County State College. The twelfth member of the California State University system, its main campus is located on 236 acres (0.96 km2) of a former orange grove in northeast Fullerton near State Route 57 and Nutwood Avenue. In the fall semester of 2007, 37,130 students were enrolled in the undergraduate and graduate degree programs, making it the largest university in the CSU system and the second largest university in the state of California in terms of enrollment.
Fullerton College is a two-year community college, the oldest in continuous operation in California. Part of the North Orange County Community College District, it is situated on a 63-acre (255,000 m²) campus adjacent to Fullerton Union High School and had 20,118 students enrolled for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Western State College of Law at Argosy University is a for-profit law school.
Hope International University
Marshall B. Ketchum University is a health sciences school.
Fullerton is home to a vibrant music scene. It was a center for the Orange County hardcore punk music scene, producing acts such as The Adolescents, Agent Orange, Social Distortion, D.I., the "fathers of hardcore punk" The Middle Class, Gwen Stefani, lead vocalist of the alternative rock group No Doubt, was a student at CSUF and the group performed there regularly. Other popular groups and musicians from the area include Lit, 80s synthpop acts Berlin and Stacey Q, and Mike Ness. The popular singer-songwriter Jackson Browne attended Sunny Hills High School in the city. Singer-songwriter Tim Buckley also attended Fullerton College and dropped out after only a few weeks to focus on his music career.
Contributing greatly to Fullerton's musical heritage was the Fender musical instrument company, whose products such as the Stratocaster and Telecaster electric guitars, Precision Bass bass guitar, and Twin Reverb guitar amplifier revolutionized the music business and contributed greatly to the development of rock and roll. Leo Fender sold the company to CBS in 1964; production continued in the Fullerton plant until 1985, when the then-ruined company was sold to a group of private investors. (It was later reconstituted as Fender Musical Instrument Corporation, with its major production facilities in neighboring Corona and across the US-Mexico border in Ensenada, Baja California, and its headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.) In 1980, Leo Fender and his original partner George Fullerton (relation to the Fullerton founder of the same name unknown) reunited and started a new company, G&L (George and Leo) Guitars, which are built in what had been Leo Fender's CLF Research factory in Fullerton.
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center on Malvern Avenue near Euclid Avenue houses art galleries and a theater group. The former estate of the Muckenthaler family, it was donated to the city by Harold Muckenthaler in 1965. Fullerton Friends of Music, the oldest chamber music society in Orange County, perform five concerts a year at Sunny Hills Performing Arts Center, a notable classical concert venue in the county.
The Fullerton Museum Center is a multidisciplinary exhibit space housed in the old Carnegie Library downtown.
Fullerton is also home to the Fullerton Public Library. The Main Library is located on Commonwealth Avenue in Downtown Fullerton and adjacent to the City Hall. There is also a branch library, called the Hunt Branch on Basque Avenue.
Fullerton is also home to a small but diverse theater scene. Local educational institutions, such as Fullerton College and Fullerton High School's Academy of the Arts, are the source of numerous large-scale productions. There are also several storefront theaters, including the Maverick Theater, Stages Theater and the Hunger Artists Theatre Company. The Maverick Theatre is the host for the "World Famous Skipper Stand Up Show." Held six times a year, The Skipper Stand Up Show has, since 2006, showcased former and current skippers from Disneyland's famous attraction, the Jungle Cruise.
In addition to the theater scene, Fullerton has garnered attention for rare and international film screenings hosted by filmmaker Steve Elkins at the Hibbleton Gallery in the SOCO district.
Fullerton maintains more than 50 city parks and is home to Hillcrest Park, the Craig Regional Park and Ralph B. Clark Regional Park. The Fullerton Arboretum comprises 26 acres (11 ha) (105,000 m²) of sculpted gardens and unusual plants in northeastern Fullerton. Additionally the city features approximately 200 acres (0.81 km2) of recreational land in the Brea Dam Recreational Area, plus an equestrian center and trails, two golf courses, a tennis center located behind St. Jude Hospital and the Janet Evans swim Complex.
The city is also one of the few Southern California municipalities to be served by a completely independent newspaper, the Fullerton Observer. The Observer is an all-volunteer paper that is printed two times a month. It was founded in the late 1970s by Ralph Kennedy, a fair housing and civil rights activist who advocated saving Coyote Hills as open space. In 2010, the city of Fullerton and the Orange County Register came out in court against the 32-year-old Fullerton Observer in its request to adjudicate the paper. In response to the city of Fullerton and the Orange County Register's request the Fullerton Observer prove itself a newspaper, the Fullerton Observer dropped its court case to be adjudicated a newspaper.
Fullerton is also home to the Golden Baseball League's Orange County Flyers (formerly known as the Fullerton Flyers). The team's home is Goodwin Field, home to the Cal State Fullerton Titans.
The city is also home to Burger Records.
In 2000, there were 44,771 housing units at an average density of 2,016.7 per square mile (778.7/km²). There were 43,609 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.1% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.37.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $57,345 (Orange County 2005), and the median income for a family was $75,700. Males had a median income of $40,674 versus $31,677 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,370. About 8.0% of families and 11.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.6% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Fullerton had a population of 135,161. The population density was 6,043.9 people per square mile (2,333.6/km²). The racial makeup of Fullerton was 72,845 (53.9%) White, 3,138 (2.3%) African American, 842 (0.6%) Native American, 30,788 (22.8%) Asian, 321 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 21,439 (15.9%) from other races, and 5,788 (4.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 46,501 persons (34.4%). Non-Hispanic Whites were 38.2% of the population, down from 79.0% in 1980.
The Census reported that 132,084 people (97.7% of the population) lived in households, 2,318 (1.7%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 759 (0.6%) were institutionalized.
There were 45,391 households, out of which 16,155 (35.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 23,240 (51.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 5,502 (12.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,505 (5.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,366 (5.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 290 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 9,771 households (21.5%) were made up of individuals and 3,342 (7.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91. There were 31,247 families (68.8% of all households); the average family size was 3.43.
The population was spread out with 31,558 people (23.3%) under the age of 18, 17,522 people (13.0%) aged 18 to 24, 37,764 people (27.9%) aged 25 to 44, 32,465 people (24.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 15,852 people (11.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.8 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.
There were 47,869 housing units at an average density of 2,140.5 per square mile (826.5/km²), of which 24,600 (54.2%) were owner-occupied, and 20,791 (45.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.0%. 73,127 people (54.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 58,957 people (43.6%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Fullerton had a median household income of $67,617, with 14.6% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
Fullerton, founded as a railroad town, is still bisected by the BNSF Railway, upon whose tracks run Amtrak trains 3 and 4, the Southwest Chief, between Chicago and Los Angeles, the Pacific Surfliner to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Diego and Metrolink commuter rail trains. Average trip time on Metrolink or Amtrak to Los Angeles is 30 minutes.
The Fullerton Train Station is located downtown at the Fullerton Transportation Center, which also serves as a major bus depot for the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA).
Fullerton is crossed by three major freeways. State Route 91 runs east-to-west down the length of the city south of Orangethorpe Avenue. It intersects with Interstate 5, the Santa Ana Freeway, in the west near Magnolia Avenue and with State Route 57, the Orange Freeway, in the east near State College Boulevard.
Fullerton Municipal Airport, the only general aviation airport remaining in Orange County, located in the southwest of the city, is the last remnant of the Hughes Company in the area, which was prominent in the aerospace industry up until the 1970s. From the early 1970s through the early 1980s the airport was served by Golden West Airlines, one of the larger commuter airlines of the period. The nearest airport with scheduled service is John Wayne Airport.
Fire protection in Fullerton is provided by the Fullerton Fire Department with ambulance transport by Care Ambulance Service. The Fullerton Police Department provides law enforcement, while the California State University Police Department also has law enforcement jurisdiction in areas of the city near the CSU Fullerton campus. Citizen Alert. Yongin, South Korea