Torrance is a U.S. city in the South Bay (southwestern) region of Los Angeles County, California. The city has 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of beaches on the Pacific Ocean, with moderate year-round climate with warm temperatures, sea breezes, low humidity and an average rainfall of 12.55 inches per year.
Since its incorporation in 1921, the city has grown rapidly. Its estimated 2013 population was 147,478. This residential and light high-tech industries city has 90,000 street trees and 30 city parks. Known for its low crime rates, the city consistently ranks among the safest cities in Los Angeles County. Torrance is the birthplace of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). In addition, the city has the second-highest percentage of residents of Japanese ancestry in California (8.9%).
The south bay city was originally part of the Tongva Native American homeland for thousands of years. In 1784 the Spanish land grant for Rancho San Pedro, in the upper Las Californias Province of New Spain and encompassing present-day Torrance, was issued to Juan Jose Dominguez by King Carlos III—the Spanish Empire. It was later divided in 1846 with Governor Pío Pico granting Rancho de los Palos Verdes to José Loreto and Juan Capistrano Sepulveda, in the Alta California territory of independent Mexico.
In the early 1900s, real estate developer Jared Sidney Torrance and other investors saw the value of creating a mixed industrial–residential community south of Los Angeles. They purchased part of an old Spanish land grant and hired landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to design a new planned community. The resulting town was founded in October 1912 and named after Mr. Torrance. The city was formally incorporated in May 1921, the townsite initially being bounded by Western Avenue on the east, Del Amo Boulevard on the north, Crenshaw Boulevard on the west, and on the south by Plaza Del Amo east of where it meets Carson Street, and by Carson Street west of where it meets Plaza Del Amo. The first residential avenue created in Torrance was Gramercy and the second avenue was Andreo. Many of the houses on these avenues turned 100 years of age in 2012. Both avenues are located in the area referred to as Old Town Torrance. This section of Torrance is under review to be classified as a historical district. Some of the early civic and residential buildings were designed by the renowned and innovative Southern California architect Irving Gill, in his distinctive combining of Mission Revival and early Modernist architecture.
Historically the El Nido neighborhood was home to many European immigrants, such as originally Dutch, German, Greek, Italian and Portuguese people. These were soon joined by Mexican-American and Hispanic and Latino immigrants, employed in the growing early 20th-century agriculture, petroleum, and manufacturing industries, such as the fish canneries.
Rapid new growth in the city began after World War II as wartime industries transformed into post-war aerospace manufacturers and related technology industries. Large housing developments were built in the 1950s and 1960s to accommodate the new population. The south bay city moved on after the closure of some aerospace development and oil refinery plants in the 1990s statewide recession.
Torrance survived the deindustrialization, regional economic slowdowns and national recessions in the 1970s to 2000s. Large-scale Asian immigration in the past couple of decades has transformed the city into a diverse and multicultural city.
This coastal community in southwestern Los Angeles County shares the climate and geographical features common to the Greater Los Angeles area. Its boundaries are: Redondo Beach Boulevard and the cities of Lawndale and Gardena to the north; Western Avenue and the Harbor Gateway neighborhood of Los Angeles to the east; the Palos Verdes Hills with the cities of Lomita, Rolling Hills Estates and Palos Verdes Estates on the south; and the Pacific Ocean and city of Redondo Beach to the west.
It is about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Downtown Los Angeles.
The city’s beach lies between Redondo Beach and Malaga Cove on Santa Monica Bay. The southernmost stretch of the beach, on a cove at the northern end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, is known to locals as Rat Beach.
Rare urban wetlands, the Madrona Marsh, is a nature preserve on land once set for oil production and saved from development, with restoration projects enhancing the vital habitat for birds, wildlife, and native plants. A Nature center provides activities, information, and classes for school children and visitors of all ages.