Located adjacent to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, Glendale is one of the handful of cities that make up Los Angeles County in California. Nicknamed “The Jewel City”, Glendale is characterized by its traditional suburban neighborhoods and rolling hillside open space. The city has an estimated current population of approximately 200,000 residents and is the 23rd largest city in California.
Spanish settlers were among the first to establish a permanent settlement in the Glendale area. José María Verdugo, a member of the Spanish army, was granted rights to graze and farm the local land in 1798. Today, sightseers can visit the Verdugo Adobe, built by Verdugo’s grandson in 1860. This building is the oldest in Glendale and contains valuable historical resources about the influence of Spanish missionaries and settlers in the area. Verdugo’s ranch originally measured 36,403 acres and today would include the areas of Highland Park, La Cañada Flintridge, and Glendale. Verdugo’s descendants eventually divided the ranch into smaller parcels and sold the land.
The town of Glendale was established in 1884, and the City of Glendale was incorporated in 1906. The city would soon become a hub for air travel and aeronautics. An early influential resident of Glendale, Leslie Coombs Brand, established an airstrip for his own private use. Brand and local entrepreneurs soon hatched a plan to establish a commercial airport in Glendale. In 1923, the Grand Central Air Terminal opened to the public. Over the following ten years, Glendale’s population increased by nearly 50,000 residents, likely due to the boom of development in the area that was influenced by the commercial success of the airport. The airport shut down in 1955 and today has been repurposed as the Grand Central Business Park and Grand Central Creative Campus.
Located at the meeting point of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, the City of Glendale is just 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The area’s landscape is predominately developed and is characterized by the typical suburban development found in Southern California alongside rolling hillsides. However, Glendale does contain 244 acres of open space in the form of the Verdugo Mountains Open Space Preserve. The city also contains over 50 public parks, including the Deukmejian Wilderness Park, and is bordered to the southwest by Griffith Park. The city measures 30.6 square miles in total.
Glendale boasts a temperate Mediterranean climate that is characterized by year-round sunshine and relatively mild temperatures. The coldest month in the city is usually January, with an average high of 68°F and an average low of 44°F. The warmest month is August, with an average high of 91°F and an average low of 62°F. The area receives an average of 21 inches of rainfall per year. Given the city’s location 15 miles inland from the ocean, the area can see greater fluctuations in daily temperature than other parts of Los Angeles county, with the possibility of frost during the colder times of year.
Economy and Governance
Glendale’s proximity to Burbank has made the city a center for the entertainment and animation trades. Industry giant Dreamworks Animation is based in the city and employs nearly 1,500 people. The Walt Disney Company holds offices in the heart of town at the Grand Central Business Centre. Many corporations also call Glendale home; the American headquarters of the International House of Pancakes is located in Glendale, as well as major offices for the Nestle Company and Cigna. Future job opportunities in the city are anticipated to increase by 37.75% over the next ten years. The US Census Bureau shows that key employment sectors include healthcare, social assistance, and professional, scientific and technical services; employment in these sectors is well above the national average. Combined sales tax in Glendale is currently 9.5%, however the average income level in Glendale is slightly higher than the national average.
Glendale is a hot real estate market; according to real estate website Zillow, the current average listing price for the city is $799,000 or $496 per square foot, which is higher than the average for the surrounding metro area. Real estate market values increased by 6.5% in the past year and are anticipated to continue to rise 2.6% in the coming year. The Brockmont, Greenbriar, and Oakmont neighborhoods contain some of the area’s priciest real estate, with listings frequently exceeding $1,000,000.
The City of Glendale has a Council-Manager form of government consisting of five city council members who are elected by voters to serve for four years. The mayor is selected by councilmembers to serve for one year. In the recent decade, the city has voted Democrat over Republican.
The workforce in Glendale is predominately white-collar, with 85.5% of its residents holding office jobs. The area is also home to a strong creative community of artists and designers, likely due to the presence of entertainment and animation industry jobs. The 2010 United States Census reported the median age of residents as 41 years, with families occupying 69.3% of all households in the area.
Glendale is home to the largest Armenian population in the world, outside of Armenia. Many of these residents immigrated between 1920 and 1970. The City of Glendale is incredibly diverse and also is home to prominent Mexican American and Filipino communities. Many of these groups have moved to Glendale seeking a safer suburban environment as compared to other parts of urban Los Angeles. Over half of Glendale’s residents were born in another country, making this area a true melting pot of various cultures and languages.
Glendale is located in the central part of Los Angeles County, adjacent to the San Gabriel Mountains. La Cañada Flintridge, a smaller suburban community that is home to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, borders the city to the northeast. Pasadena lies due east of the City of Glendale, and offers numerous cultural attractions. Burbank and Griffith Park make up the western border of the city, with much of the entertainment industry from Burbank spilling over into Glendale. The Sun Valley and Tujunga neighborhoods border the city to the north, and the Atwater Village neighborhood to the south. Glendale is accessed via four freeways with local and rapid bus lines available for transportation to surrounding areas.