Hawthorne is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, United States. The city at the 2010 census had a population of 84,293, up from 84,112 in 2000. In 2013, the population was 86,200.
The city was founded in 1905 as the “Hawthorne Improvement Company” by B.L. Harding and H.D. Lombard. Harding’s daughter shared her birthday—July 4, American Independence Day—with New England author Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a decision was made to name the city after him.
The City was once a “whites only” settlement, commonly called a sundown town. During the 1930s, signs warned African-Americans to be out by sundown.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 6.1 square miles (16 km2), over 99% of its land.
To the north of the city is the unincorporated community of Lennox and the city of Inglewood. To the east is the unincorporated community of Athens and the city of Gardena. To the south is the unincorporated community of El Camino Village, and the cities of Lawndale and Redondo Beach. Manhattan Beach is at the southwest corner. To the west is the city of El Segundo and the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester is to the northwest. The unincorporated community of Del Aire is surrounded on three sides and along the western edge of the city.
The Century Freeway (Glenn Anderson Freeway, I-105) runs along the northern boundary of Hawthorne, with the LACMTA Green Line light rail line running down the center of the Century Freeway. The San Diego Freeway (I-405) runs along the western boundary of Hawthorne. Major east-west streets in Hawthorne include Rosecrans Ave., El Segundo Ave., and Imperial Highway. Major north-south streets include Aviation Blvd., Inglewood Ave., Hawthorne Blvd., Prairie Ave., Crenshaw Blvd., and Van Ness Ave.
Hawthorne is five miles (8 km) from the Los Angeles International Airport.
Hawthorne, like the rest of the Los Angeles basin, is well known for its year-round Mediterranean climate:
- On average, the warmest month is August.
- The highest recorded temperature was 111 °F (44 °C) in 1961.
- On average, the coolest month is January.
- The lowest recorded temperature was 15 °F (−9 °C) in 1963.
- The maximum average precipitation occurs in February.
Hawthorne has a Mediterranean climate or dry-summer subtropical (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csainland), enjoying plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of 263 sunshine days and only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.
The period of April through November is warm to hot and dry with average high temperatures of 71–79 °F (22–26 °C) and lows of 50–62 °F (10–17 °C). Due to the moderating effect of the ocean, temperatures are cooler than more inland areas of Los Angeles, where temperatures frequently exceed 90 °F (32 °C) and occasionally reach 100 °F (38 °C).
The Los Angeles area is also subject to the phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 18 °F (10 °C) between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over one degree per mile (1.6 km) from the coast inland. California has also a weather phenomenon called “June Gloom or May Grey”, which sometimes brings overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives way to sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.
The Los Angeles region averages 15 inches (385 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally light rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. On November 6, 1966, the first ever documented tornado touched down within city limits. It caused significant damage, ran for about one-half mile, from 132nd St. and Ramona Ave. to 140th St. and Ramona Ave. Snowfall is extremely rare but not impossible in the city basin.